Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's All in the Details

Time again for Snippet Sunday!



Last snippet from my MG novel, True Blue, the first book in my True Blue Trilogy. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) This scene takes place the first day of summer vacation after the fifth grade, a summer of major changes for Jeana and all three of the boys. Wade and Jeana are in the shed behind his house that they used for their Mystery Masters meetings. Wade has just given Jeana the bad news that his family is moving across town, but he also shows her a heart he carved on the shed door with their initials in it and officially asks her to be his girlfriend.



He set the flashlight down and took both of her hands to pull her closer to him. Jeana knew what was about to happen and couldn't believe none of the butterflies had come back to life in her stomach. She wasn't a bit nervous, because she'd been waiting for this to happen ever since the night they'd looked at the constellations together and she'd made her wish on the shooting star. It had taken awhile, but it was finally coming true.

Wade moved his hands to her waist, and she put hers on his shoulders. For a few seconds they just looked at each other, then he leaned toward her and she watched his lids slowly hide the green eyes she loved so much. When their lips touched, she closed her own eyes and tried to memorize every detail about the moment—how soft his lips felt pressed against hers, how fast his heart was beating, the way his arms trembled slightly as they held her close to him, even the clean, soapy smell of his skin and hair. It's not every day a girl gets her first kiss, and Jeana wanted to remember everything about it.


Okay, so we know which boy she likes first, but will it last through high school and beyond? You'll have to read all three books to find that out, and you can buy the True Blue Trilogy here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Change of Plans

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Last few snippets from my MG novel, True Blue, the first book in my True Blue Trilogy. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) I said this was going to be the last snippet before I moved on to Book Two in the trilogy, and I also said this one was going to be from Jeana's POV, but I decided to invoke Writer's Prerogative and change my mind about both things. You've met Mickey already, but I thought we needed one more snippet about him to show how important he'll be in the next books. This skips ahead a good deal from the last snippet about him. His family has since moved to Chickasaw because of his dad's new job and he's met Billy Joe, but up to this point in the book, Mickey thinks all girls are silly and giggly, and he especially doesn't understand why Billy Joe and his friend Wade are always hanging around that redheaded girl who thinks all sports are dumb and boring.

My apologies for the extremely creative punctuation, but I wanted to include all of this. I'm also going to put Jeana's poem in the comments so you can see why it made such an impression on Mickey.


Mickey had no idea what was going on—for the first time in his life, his heart was pounding in his chest, and it had nothing to do with baseball.

He'd been sitting in the school cafeteria waiting for the fifth grade honors program to begin, wondering if he might get a P.E. award along with the math award he knew he was getting and laughing at the joke Billy Joe had just told him. When the principal announced that the redheaded girl—her name turned out to be Jeana Russell—was going to recite a poem she'd written, Mickey rolled his eyes and slid down a little in his seat, thinking Man, talk about boring. He folded his arms across his chest and got ready to suffer through some dumb stuff about rainbows or kittens or ponies—or unicorns, what was it with girls and unicorns?

But then she'd started speaking, and Mickey slowly sat up in his chair because every word she said was the way he lived every single day, and it was like she knew he had to work harder and always be better than everybody else at baseball so his dad wouldn’t drink anymore, like she was telling him she wouldn’t think he was weird because all he thought about was baseball and couldn’t settle for anything less than the best.

It was like she was telling him that she understood, because she was the same way.

Mickey watched her face as she said the words that described his life, and he felt his heart speed up even more, because although he'd never noticed it before, now he realized that her hair was the same coppery red color as his mom’s, and the sunlight streaming in the windows behind her made those wispy curls on top of her head look almost like a halo. When she finished her poem, Mickey didn’t think he’d ever seen anything as beautiful as the way her smile lit up her whole face and made it seem to glow like her hair.

For a second he thought she was actually smiling at him, then he realized she must be looking at Billy Joe and Wade sitting in front of him, and his heart stopped pounding then because fear gripped it as he wondered if she liked one of them for more than just a friend. He knew they all lived close to each other and had probably known each other for a long time, but the way she was smiling made Mickey think she might feel something more than friendship for one of them.

He had to meet her and find out.


Uh-oh. Looks like the adolescent love triangle just because a quadrilateral. (Mickey's a math whiz, so he'd appreciate that analogy.) Next week we'll get that glimpse into Jeana's heart as promised. Can't wait? You can buy True Blue here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page


Sunday, October 02, 2016

Stars Fell on Alabama

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Last few snippets from my MG novel, True Blue, the first book in my True Blue Trilogy. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) I chose this snippet for two reasons: to explain the significance of the stars on the cover, and to give you some perspective on the major change Wade will undergo between this book and the next one. This scene takes place the day of Jeana's 11th birthday party. Jeana had promised earlier to teach Wade the names of the constellations and tell him the myths behind them as soon as the fall games were over at the ball park behind both their houses. (The park lights would've made it impossible to see the stars.) Edited from the published version to fit our guidelines.


Later that night after supper, she was sitting in her porch swing, trying to decide which one of her new books to read first, when Wade came over holding a wrapped package.

“Oh, I forgot you said I'd get your present later,” Jeana said, her eyes shining in the porch light, “but why didn't you give it to me at the party?”

Wade sat beside her on the swing and said, “Because I wanna ask you something after you open it and didn't want Billy Joe to hear.”

That brought a little tingle to Jeana's spine as she carefully opened the gift that Wade had painstakingly wrapped in white paper on which he'd drawn books of different sizes. They were just crudely-drawn rectangles, and most of the titles were misspelled, but Jeana thought it was the best wrapping paper ever, and when she saw that the gift inside was a rotating star wheel that showed every constellation in the night sky and how to locate them, she gasped with delight.

“Oh, Wade, this is so neat!”

"I thought you could use it when you show me the constellations, and since the ballgames are over at the park now, we can do it tonight if you want to.”

“Okay, sure,” she said, “but if you kept this for yourself, you wouldn't need me to show you anything.”

“Oh yes I would," he said, nodding for emphasis. “There's no way I can figure that thing out by myself, and you always explain stuff better than anybody, Redhot. Like I told you before, you should be a teacher when we grow up.”


I just realized I haven't shared any snippets from Jeana's POV yet, so I'll probably finish with one next week. I'll try to pick one that best shows why all these boys are in love with her at such a young age. Can't wait? You can buy True Blue here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bros Before Hoes is Easier When Gardening

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




I'm continuing with snippets from my new release, True Blue, the first book in my True Blue Trilogy. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) Hey, notice that "trilogy" part in the series title? There are indeed three parts to this coming-of-age saga, and the eBooks are now all available! Check out the three gorgeous covers my daughter created for me. I just LOVE them! You can buy one or all of them here, and I'm having a Facebook Launch Party with games and giveaways next Saturday (Oct. 1) from 9-1 Central Time. Come join the fun!


This week's snippet shows another side of Billy Joe, the jokester in the group. He and Wade and Jeana were watching Shane on the afternoon movie together at Wade's house, and Billy Joe witnesses a look Jeana and Wade shared because Wade was trying to hide his tears at the end when Shane left. This part takes place after Billy Joe gets home.

Wade had been his best friend for as long as either of them could remember, but the knot in Billy Joe's stomach made him afraid that was about to change.

Because of Jeana.

Billy Joe had been in love with Jeana since they were four years old and she'd told him he was funnier than Bugs Bunny. She was the smartest girl he’d ever known, but not too smart to like most of the same goofy stuff he liked. She was also the prettiest girl he’d ever seen, but what made her even prettier was that she didn't seem to know it. He loved the way her hazel eyes looked really green if she got mad when he was teasing her—which was all the time—and he loved how she never backed down from an argument, but what he loved the most was her smile and the way he could make her laugh so hard that her eyes almost disappeared.

And he knew Jeana loved him too, but only as a brother. For a while now, he’d been noticing how Wade looked at her when he thought no one was watching, and today he’d seen her looking at Wade the same way. She never looked at him like that, and seeing her look at Wade had felt like somebody punching him in the gut, but the scariest thing was how mad at Wade it had made him feel. What kind of a best friend did that make him?


I think I'll do one or two more snippets from this book before I move on to Book Two. Can't wait? You can buy True Blue here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tetanus Shots are Important

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




I'm continuing with snippets from my new release, True Blue, the first book in my True Blue Trilogy. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) Since the snippets from the last two weeks about what Mickey and Wade are dealing with at home have been so sad, I think we need something much lighter this week. I always try to have a good balance of humor and darker issues in all my books. Here's another scene with Jeana, Wade and Billy Joe in the clubhouse, about to sign the honor contracts that bind the members of the Mystery Masters together and swear them to secrecy. Jeana had originally told the boys they had to sign their names in blood and neither of them liked that idea at all.


“I got a better idea when I was reading this afternoon,” Jeana said. “We'll prick our fingers and press them together to mix our blood, but instead of signing our names with it, we'll put our fingerprints at the bottom of the contract under our signatures.” She pulled a hat pin from where she’d stuck it in the collar of her shirt.

“Geez, what were you reading?” Billy Joe said, “Nancy Drew Tortures the Hardy Boys?”

Wade laughed but stopped when Jeana gave him a look.

“No, it was a book about an Indian boy and his white friend who become blood brothers. I like that better. Plus, it’ll take less blood than signing our names, since both of y’all are weenies.”

“Weenies who don’t wanna pass out from blood loss,” Billy Joe said. “Me and Wade got longer names than you, ya know.”


No, that picture isn't a real book. I don't know who did the Photoshopping, but it cracked me up. Next week we'll get poignant again when we take a peek into Billy Joe's heart and see that he's more than just a jokester. Can't wait? You can buy True Blue here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Flip Side of the Coin

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




I'm continuing with snippets from my new release, True Blue, the first book in my True Blue Trilogy. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) Last week you met Mickey, who pushes himself to be the best at baseball because he loves his dad so much and wants to make him happy so he won't drink. Wade is dealing with some father issues too, but they're a lot different from Mickey's. This scene takes place after Wade is sent to bed early for fouling out of his basketball game, but he sneaks out to meet Jeana and Billy Joe in the clubhouse for their Mystery Masters meeting. His little sister accidentally gets him caught when he comes back in. Forewarning: there's some major creative punctuation going on in this snippet to make it fit our guidelines.

I couldn't find a snippet that applied to today's memorial, but here's a photo to commemorate those we lost.


“Boy, why aren’t you in bed?” Mr. Strickland said as he came down the hall, then he added, “Have you been outside?”

“Yes, sir,” Wade said, backing into his bedroom, “but I only went out for a minute, I had to... go look for something.”

“Yeah, I know what you were looking for—that little Russell girl! Didn't I tell you I was tired of you following her around like a stupid puppy dog?” He unbuckled his belt and walked into Wade's room, shutting the door behind him as he said, “That's probably why you can't keep your head in a ballgame long enough to win. Maybe this'll help you remember how to mind!”

When he came out a few minutes later, Sissy waited for him to sit in the recliner again, then she slipped into Wade's room and ran to where he was curled up on his bed and hugged him as she said, “I'm sorry I got you in trouble, bubba, I didn't mean to.”

Wade hugged her back and said, “Don't cry, Sissy, it's not your fault.”

“Why is Daddy always so mean to you?”

“He wants me to do better at sports—I just have to try harder, then he won't get mad at me.”


I'm sure you can guess that these father/son relationships are going to play a big part in how both boys grow up. Can't wait for the next snippet? You can buy True Blue here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page


Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Boys of Summer

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Here's the third snippet from my NEW RELEASE, True Blue. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) You've already met Jeana, Wade and Billy Joe. Now meet Mickey, a blue-eyed baseball player whose dad named him after Mickey Mantle. He's only ten like the other three characters, but he's dealing with some pretty deep stuff because of what he sees out on the patio one night when he wakes up and goes to the kitchen for a glass of water. Edited from the published version to fit our guidelines.

Oh, and check out the cover my amazingly talented cover artist made for me! I think she's the greatest, and I'd say that even if she wasn't my daughter. ;-)


His dad stood up and emptied the bottle into the glass, but instead of putting it back down, he stared at it in his hand for a long time, then he slowly went into a windup and hurled the bottle out into the yard like the all-star college pitcher he’d been—before he'd had to drop out of school and get a job to take care of his wife and unexpected baby.

Mickey never said anything to his dad or his mom about what he’d seen. He didn't want to embarrass his dad, and he also felt a little ashamed, as though he’d been spying on him. Sometimes he’d find empty bottles out in the yard and would always put them in the garbage so his mom wouldn’t see them, because he didn’t know whether or not she knew his dad was drinking and didn’t want her to think anything bad about him.

For the next few weeks, Mickey worried about his dad and tried to figure out a way to help him. Then it was time for Mickey’s baseball team to start the new season, and he got so busy practicing that he almost forgot about his dad’s problem—until the night that Mickey hit his first home run of the year and he saw that when his dad picked him up in celebration after he crossed the plate, there wasn't a trace of sadness in his eyes as he looked at his son.

That’s when Mickey knew what he had to do. He'd work harder than everybody else and be the best baseball player in the whole league. Maybe he could even play in the big leagues when he grew up, like his dad had wanted to do—maybe even for the Yankees. Then his dad could be happy all the time, and he wouldn’t need to drink anymore in the middle of the night.


Hey, you knew everything couldn't be all sweetness and light in any of my books. Next week you'll get a peek at what one of the other boys is dealing with. Can't wait? You can buy True Blue here. ;-) And please do also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks and the Weekend Writing Warriors. Something for everyone among these talented writers!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

See all my books at my Web site
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Fan Page