Sunday, April 24, 2016

Stairway to WHERE?

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Last week you met Jada just as she was realizing she wouldn't live to see another sunrise. She decides that if she's going to die, she'd rather not hang around for all the jolly festivities the psycho has in mind. She says something sure to piss him off so she can bow out of the party early.


After a brief flash of pain when the butt of the gun smashed into my skull, I welcomed the darkness.

But my oblivion didn’t last long.

When I opened my eyes again, I was sitting on an upholstered chair in a room that almost looked like the guidance counselor’s office at Tallahassee Premier Academy where I was a senior. But here everything was painted such a bright white that it almost hurt my eyes, and the sign on the door to my left leading into the inner office was lettered in some kind of glowing gold paint.

When I got up to read the sign, I realized I was wearing some kind of weird white dress. Where had that come from? Had somebody found me and taken me to a hospital?

I knew that wasn’t the case when I read the sign on the door:

AFTERLIFE ADMISSIONS OFFICE.

“Oh, crap. I’m dead.”


Can't wait for more? You can buy After Me here. And please 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!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dead Girls Do it Better

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




I'm starting a new series of snippets this week from my YA paranormal thriller, After Me, the first book in my UNFINISHED series. (If you missed the last snippet from Shades of Blue, you can read it here.) I shared snippets from this one before when it was just a WIP and had a different title, so it's a lot different now. Here's a blurb to set it up.


After she’s murdered by a sexual predator, 18-year-old Jada Gayle must stay among the living until she finds and stops the Internet stalker who killed her. When the Afterlife Admissions Office assigns the now “transdead” Jada to a foster home back among the living, she assumes the identity of a homeless teen and is expected to simply fit in as she hunts down her killer, but that's not so easy when you’re a hot zombie chick channeling Chuck Norris. Then she meets Lew Stanton—captain of the chess team and computer whiz who makes her dead heart beat phantom rhythms in her chest. As if it’s not bad enough to have the hots for a nerd, Jada’s new friend Annalee likes him too. While Jada deals with all this unwanted teenaged angst, the man who murdered her is closing in on more foolish girls. Jada thinks she has plenty of time to handle her predicament until the night she gets a terrifying message: I HAVE YOUR FRIEND.

This scene is from the beginning of the book, right after Jada's killer gets into the Ferrari he lured her with.


“Drive!” he said and jammed the nose of a freakishly big pistol into my ribs. “Go to the intersection and make a U-turn. Keep going until you get back to where you picked up the car.”

If I’d still felt emotions like normal girls, I probably would’ve been scared shitless, but the best I could manage was irritation that he’d tricked me.

“Look, you don’t need the gun,” I said. “I’ll do whatever you say.”

“You sure as hell will.”

Even more than his words, the laugh that came from behind the bandana was the second thing that told me I wouldn’t live to see nineteen. Dang, I’d need my fake ID for all eternity. And it wasn’t even a good picture.


Get used to that snark—it's Jada's trademark. Can't wait for more? You can buy After Me here. And please 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!

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Friend Carrie is Back!



Look who dropped in to celebrate her SECOND book release this year! My friend Carrie Dalby (AKA Wonderwegian) is always welcome here because I love her and her books so much, because she usually brings me some gluten-free cookies, and because she doesn't make me clean up for her visits! ;-) Carrie has written another wonderful, insightful guest post that I'm thrilled to share with you. Here's a little bit about Carrie and her new book.


Born and raised in California, Carrie Dalby has lived in Alabama for nearly two decades but still has trouble with the humidity of summer. When she’s not writing, Carrie homeschools her three kids and splits her time between family, reading, knitting, concert going, and volunteering. Sharing her love of literature for young adults and children is one of her favorite things to do, and her volunteer hours reflect that. Her local church congregation, the Mobile Writers Guild, SCBWI, and the Metro Mobile Reading Council are where she loves to spend her “free time.”


Fifteen-year-old Mary Lou Weber is suffocating in her sister's shadow. Though she struggles to break into the light and claim her own identity—and the attention of the cutest guy in school—something always seems to pull her right back down into the role of Barbara's little sister.

Down the street lives seventeen-year-old Ben Thomas, a lonely introvert who is captive to a sensory condition that makes it nearly impossible for him to stand in sunlight, much less talk to people whom he thinks could never understand his difficulties.

A new year kindles the friendship between a guy who pushes away a world and the girl who’s striving to find her place in it. Can the relationship help Mary and Ben find balance in a world that frequently seems too much to handle?

(Buy Corroded here)

Take it away, Carrie!

*Hands Carrie the sparkly blue microphone again.*


Hopefully you’ve heard by now, but April is Autism Awareness Month. As BLUE is the official color, Joyce Scarbrough is always a great sport in supporting the cause, whether by wearing a blue streak in her hair or dressing in blue—usually both. One of the goals of Autism Awareness is to spread acceptance for people living with autism. Since Corroded touches on some of the peculiarities of life on the Autism Spectrum, I’d like to share a few of the key points in main character Ben’s experience. *Note: Autism is called a spectrum disorder because each person is affected in a different way, to a different degree. Everyone is an individual, and no two journeys are exactly the same.

Sensory issues can be a big deal for people on the spectrum. Many experience heightened reactions to touch, sight, sound, taste, and hearing. While main character Ben Thomas has all of these issues, the main one is his sensitivity to light. Because of this, he doesn’t like to be in direct sunlight and chooses to venture out only at night. Light bulbs are also problematic. Harsh, bright lights like florescent and LED cause headache, eye fatigue, and emotional meltdowns. Avoiding these types of lights is part of Ben’s coping strategy.

In relation to sensory issues, therapeutic pressure and deep tissue massage are often used for calming reasons. Some people on the spectrum are in such an over-sensitive state that they need something strong/heavy to help them feel their own bodies and keep grounded. When Ben gets over-whelmed, he uses a weighted blanket to help calm his central nervous system. This is something we use in my family as well. It’s a simple, drug-free way to quickly relax your whole body.

Routines rule. Unexpected changes to the calendar, uninvited guests, and emergencies that alter the day can be catastrophic to someone with autism. When your senses are often over-loaded and you’re living with near constant stress from everyday situations that don’t bother neuro-typical people, routines are what keep you from falling apart. Ben has a set time he wakes up each day and has his day planned, right down to the nightly walk he takes on the beach. When he meets Mary, a whole new level of chaos enters his world. From deciding when to contact her, to choosing if he’s willing to switch his schedule to hang out with her, Mary is the catalyst for the next step in his self-acceptance and growth.

Chances are you know someone with autism. Reading is a great way to broaden your understanding of different lifestyles and experiences. Please keep Corroded in mind when looking for your next read. It may help you relate better to a peer, cousin, or neighbor. Thanks for hosting me today, Joyce. Catch you in the wild blue yonder!


Thanks so much for stopping by, Carrie!

For more stops on Carrie's tour, click here.

You can also find her all over the Web (She's everywhere! She's everywhere!)

Website: http://www.carriedalby.com

Twitter: @Wonderwegian

Pinterest: pinterest.com/wonderwegian

Goodreads: goodreads.com/user/show/27124063-carrie-dalby

Google +: https://plus.google.com/+CarrieDalbyCox/posts

Facebook: facebook.com/carriedalbyauthor


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

Follow me on Twitter: @JoyceScarbrough
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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Girls Gotta Stick Together

Time again for Snippet Sunday!



I didn't sign up for Weekend Writing Warriors this week because I knew I was going to run way over on my sentence limit, but since this is the last snippet I'm sharing from Shades of Blue, I couldn't help it. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) I'm skipping ahead quite a bit, but I wanted to end with this part.

After Sam's mom finds out that Russ is molesting her step-daughter Britney in addition to hitting her, she's finally promised Sam that she'll quit drinking and taking pills so they can get away from Russ. This scene takes place when JoJo and Britney have an unexpected talk in the back yard. JoJo has been trying to be nicer to her because of her abuse, but they still can't stand each other at this point. This is Britney's response when JoJo asks her why she lied about Sam groping her and got him beaten for it.


“I knew the old man was gonna blow his top when I told him I was tired of getting groped, but I didn’t care. Probably because I was still pissed that somebody at school that day had decorated my locker with a bunch of rubbers blown up like balloons, but I just wasn’t in the mood to take it from him that night. I knew he’d hit me for saying it, but getting hit ain’t so bad compared to getting felt up by your old man, you know?”

I was glad she didn’t wait long enough for an answer from me, because I didn’t have a clue what to say to that.

“Anyway,” she said, “Sam must’ve heard us and knew I was about to get my ass whipped, because he comes busting into my room yelling for me to stop lying to get him in trouble for something he didn’t even do. The old man bought the whole thing and beat the shit outta Sam, even with me screaming that he never touched me.”

I had no problem believing Sam would do something like that. And if I’d had any doubt before that he was the best person I’d ever know, I knew it for sure then. But that didn’t keep me from being furious with him for doing it, and he was gonna get an earful from me the next time I saw him.

“Okay, I believe you,” I said. “I can see Sam doing that. And now that I think about it, he never actually told me you said that about him. He knew what I’d think and just let me think it, same as he did with Russ.”

“Yeah, he’s pretty slick,” she said. “I asked him later why he did it, and all he said at first was that it wasn’t a big deal and I had to learn not to talk back to the old man. But after I kept pestering him about why he did it, he said he only did what brothers are supposed to do.”

She closed her eyes, and big tears squeezed out from the corners and ran down her cheeks.

“Nobody’s ever done anything for me like that before," she said. "Hell, nobody’s done nothing for me at all unless I gave ‘em something for it first. So as much as I hate having a sorry asshole like Russell Hart for an old man, I gotta be kinda glad about it since it means I get to have Sam for a brother.”

I changed my mind then. I wasn’t gonna yell at Sam for what he’d done when I saw him, but I was sure gonna kiss him for it.

“Look, Britney,” I said. “You don’t deserve to get treated the way you do, by Russ or by anybody else. I’m sorry for being such a bitch to you before, and I hope we can get along from now on. You know, since you’re Sam’s sister and all.”

She looked up at me, and I could see a smile fighting with the tears that were leaving tracks in the dirt on her cheeks.



Maybe it's just me, but I think I see a budding friendship sprouting here. ;-) And I'm sorry to leave you hanging like this, but you'll just have to buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here to find out how they all get away from Russ and uncover the truth about Sam's real dad. Please 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!

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Sunday, April 03, 2016

Repercussions

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Closing in on the last few snippets from my YA coming-of-age mystery, Shades of Blue before I switch to another book. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) Last week we left Sam and JoJo after he climbs in her window in the middle of the night to get away from his drunken step-father, and JoJo is surprised to hear that his step-sister Britney (not his mom as some people mistakenly thought) helped him get away. After talking to Sam about how he and his mother have to get out and never go back and getting a wishy-washy response from Sam, JoJo is terrified that they'll never leave despite Russ's abuse. Sam sleeps on the floor of her bedroom and goes home early the next morning when he sees that Russ's truck is gone.


Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

I got ready for school in a hurry so I could go next door and talk to Sam before Daddy came out to the car. When Britney answered the door, I had to bite my lip because her left eye was an ugly reddish-purple color and was swollen almost completely shut. She might be a spiteful tramp, but she didn’t deserve to get beaten. Especially by her own father.

Before I could think of anything to say, she turned around and called Sam then walked away. He came out of his room with his book bag slung over one shoulder and grabbed my arm when he got to the door.

“Come on, JoJo. I’ve got a lot to tell you.”


More next week, or you could always go buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here. ;-) Please 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!

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

More to the Story

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Happy Easter! Here's another snippet from my YA coming-of-age mystery, Shades of Blue. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) JoJo has just found out that Britney told Russ about Sam trying out for football, but Sam claims she didn't do it out of spite. I warned everyone last week not to jump to conclusions, but some people did anyway. Here's the explanation.

“She had just come in the room and didn’t know he’d already hit me. I don’t think she would’ve said anything if she’d known how mad he would get about it.”

“Oh, I just bet,” I said, my fists squeezed so tight that my fingernails were cutting into my palms.

“No, really,” he said, “because when he grabbed me by the throat, she started yelling at him to stop. And she hit him over the head with a lamp when he wouldn’t let me go, then she told me to get out of the house until he sobered up.”

“Oh my God.” I didn’t know if I was more shocked because Russ had tried to choke Sam or because Britney had actually done something decent. I rose to my knees and put my arms around Sam’s neck. “I’m so glad you got out of there, and you can’t go back.”


If only it were that simple. More next week, or you could always go buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here. ;-) Please 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
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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sins of the Father

Time again for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday!




Here's a little more from my YA coming-of-age mystery, Shades of Blue. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) As a lot of people guessed last week, there's more to the story of Sam's real dad than we know so far. I'm skipping ahead a little for this snippet, so I need to set it up. This takes place after Sam shows up at JoJo's bedroom window in the middle of the night and she helps him climb in. He's just told her that his mom and step-dad were both drinking heavily all night and arguing. While Sam was trying to help his mom to her bedroom, she accidentally called him Keith, his real dad's name.


I knelt on the floor beside his legs so I could look up at his face and said, “What did Russ do when she called you Keith?”

“He really lost it, JoJo--I’ve never seen him that mad before. He slapped my mom and told her he never wanted to hear that name again, and before I could say or do anything, he backhanded me and said it was my fault she did it.”

“How could it be your fault?”

“He said I’ve been trying to look and act like my dad on purpose because I want to turn my mom against him, and he said next I’d be wanting to go out for football so I could play the big shot quarterback like my old man.”

"You didn’t tell him you were trying out, did you?”

He looked at me and shook his head. “No, but Britney did.”



Now, don't jump to too many conclusions. More next week. Or you could always go buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here and find out. ;-) Please 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
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