Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It’s That Time of Year

Merry Crisis! Happy Stressmas! Oh, wait, that’s not right. Except maybe the stress in Christmas. This is the most stressful time of the year…oh, wait, I have to pay an overdue bill I forgot. Be back, one sec. 

Really, it is a time saver to pay bills online, but why is such a simple procedure so time consuming? I need to get my head wrapped around Christmas, so I turn the radio to the station that has the 24/7 continuous Christmas music that started last month. I guess it is all right since there is not really any Halloween music anyway and only one song that could pertain to Thanksgiving. 

Christmas tree lights on a tree is a very old tradition, dating back to the 17th century in Germany when those who had money decorated their trees with candles. In 1882, an associate of Thomas Edison and vice president of Edison Light Company, Edward Johnson, had 80 red, white and blue incandescent light bulbs the size of walnuts specially designed for his Christmas tree. But it was not until the 1930s that it became feasible to have the little globes replace candles for most people. From then to now: zoo lights and massive displays, to the tune of 250,000 lights at a Colorado mall, for the wonderment of all. Which reminds me to take down the outdoor lights, which reminds me that I need a better ladder this year, as statistics show that I am more likely to die from falling off a ladder stringing lights than I am to be killed by a terrorist. 

Oh, darn! Forget to order the Christmas dinner roast. Quick phone call to QFC. That exasperated sigh gave my memory a jolt. I’m sorry to have added some stress to the guy taking my order who remembered that I already ordered it when I picked up the Thanksgiving turkey.

That song with the refrain “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” makes me anxious. Don’t let it snow! That would really unhinge me!! I hate driving on icy roads and navigating parking lots. I have a few gifts already bought but far from being done!! Snow belongs in the mountains not in town! Shut up about it! Better to turn off the radio. Take a deep breath, and answer the phone.

Checked out the unknown caller on the internet to find out it is a scam call, which sets my teeth on edge. Take my advice and always confirm the website is legitimate; type in the URL yourself. And do not use a debit card, which is attached to your checking account, use a credit card. It is even safer to use a one-time-use credit card. Never, ever, give out credit card information by way of email or phone; if you cannot verify that it is a secured website, do not order anything from it. Be especially careful of e-cards, as these can contain malicious spyware—keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware current. According to the website, “Purchase gift cards online, if possible. Or, only buy the cards from retailers when they’re kept behind registers or available upon request.” Do this because it is easy for the scammer to get the card numbers and call the 800 number to learn when the card is activated. And sadly, beware of charity scammers, all too prevalent this time of year.

The box of Christmas cards teetering on the desk just fell onto the floor, splaying out 60 cards and and 60 envelopes. I could have sent those out last week. I forgot to get Christmas stamps and labels and ink for the printer.

What the heck is so good about this time of year??!!! I have no time for things I want to do, no energy for the obligations of the season. I want to be somewhere else...somewhere with sunshine and tropical sunsets.

Doorbell. I just hope it is not a salesperson for windows. I feel I should post a sign that we have had all of our windows replaced, which is not exactly true, but some of them were. Five years ago. Be right back.

A beautiful Christmas floral arrangement for me from my daughter. She has sent flowers at Christmas time every since she left home, even when she was deployed overseas; now she is living here in the same city, and still reminds me that I am special.

And that is the answer to my question. Christmas is about reminding those we love that we do care. It can be as elaborate as a gold-plated Rolls Royce or as meaningful as a sit down dinner with relatives and friends; it can be a gift wrapped with newspaper and twine or foil and velvet ribbon; it can be a dollar bill in the Salvation Army pot or an unwrapped toy for a tot; it can be reading The Night Before Christmas to your children or taking them to see the zoo lights. It is giving of yourself and that is priceless.

If I could give a gift to my readers, it would be the gift of time. Take time for yourself, give your time to those who matter to you. And have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Forcing the Hand of God: Chapter 19 (part 2)

Everyone shifted to the kitchen, but Kyle, drink in hand, and Carrie behind him, continued on through the kitchen. Kyle held the door wide for Carrie who stood sideways eyeing the table as she lectured her brother on the finer points of letter writing. The table had been set with everyday dinnerware, except for Madeline’s heirloom cut glass bread plate and pressed glass butter dish. She had fixed Rodger a plate of roast beef, bread, and hot vegetables with cold sliced tomatoes.

Heather crammed meat and peas into her mouth, while Rachel separated the peas and corn into piles and lined the slices of meat up in a row. Rodger tensed, waiting for his mother to scold both girls for their breech of manners. Instead, she placed her hand on top of Rachel’s hand holding the fork and stilled her.

“Rachel, eat a bite of each vegetable and one slice of beef. Heather,” she smiled at Heather, “please drink your milk slowly so you won’t have an upset stomach later.”
Rodger ate in silence until Madeline began clearing the dishes. He looked up directly into her eyes and swallowed hard.

“Mother, I just want you to know that I really do appreciate all that you’ve done for Adele.”

Madeline took a step back and cocked her head before she stammered. “Really, Rodger, I’ve not done half as much as she has for me.”

She picked up another plate and stacked flatware. “Everyone has done a lot for me since your father died. I just want to keep myself together for Rachel and Heather.”

Rodger rose and went to stand beside her, adding a fork and spoon to the plate.

“I know it’s not easy, Mother,” he fumbled for words to fit his emotions, “but we’ll all get by day by day. That’s how any of us survive.”

Madeline heaved a wrenching sob, the flatware rattled on the dishes as she sat them upon the table. She waved Rodger away.

“Just give me a minute, please.”

Surprising himself, he reached for her and pulled her to him in an awkward one-armed hug. She pressed her forehead lightly against his shoulder and rested without speaking. After a few minutes, she took a step away and turned to address the girls.

“Rachel and Heather, you may go to my room and turn on the radio. Mind you, I don’t want to hear it down here.”

The girls scampered out of the kitchen, through the living room and up the stairs. Rodger sat again at his place at the table, bemused by his mother and her brother. Kyle stood against the back door and, with a wave of his drink, refused Madeline’s offer of food. Aunt Carrie had left Kyle outside to come sit at the table with Rodger, picking at the stray vegetables on his plate. Rodger slapped together a sandwich and ate, listening to those around him.

Aunt Carrie, her mouth full of tomato, begged Madeline, “You must talk some sense into your boy. Jonelle is a beautiful name, but you must give her a middle name. Why, that poor little thing’ll have a peck of troubles with no middle name. Just last week I was talking with a lady from Sommerset about her niece who named her baby—”

“Carrie!” barked Madeline. “That’s between husband and wife.”

“I personally like the name,” interjected Kyle, coming in the door and sitting across from Rodger at the table.

Rodger, chewing loudly to annoy his aunt, looked gratefully at his uncle.

“It’s not the name, it’s the principle!” huffed Carrie. Rodger cleared his throat. “It’s a silly issue for Rodger to be so stubborn about.”

Wearily, Madeline sat down at the head of the table.

“I think it’s very nice that he named her after John. And who else?” She looked off in the distance, tapping the table top. “I remember! Adele’s friend who was killed.”

“Well, if you ask me, it’s creepy, giving a baby that much of dead folks’ memories.”

Madeline laughed, the sound tinkling like icicles breaking in the wind. Rodger smiled at her, sipping on his drink.

“And what of family names, sister? Aren’t those in memory of ‘dead folks’?”

“That’s different,” Aunt Carrie grumbled. Her hands flagged the air. “Family traditions are important!”

Rodger swallowed the last of his sandwich.

“Couldn’t agree more! That’s why we’re starting our own traditions.” He pushed his plate closer to Aunt Carrie.

While she nibbled on the leftovers, Kyle set his glass down on the countertop then walked out of the kitchen. Rodger heard the front door whisper shut. He listened, interested. He could pick out the humming of a car engine. Madeline and Carrie talked on, their voices rolling over his head.
Rodger felt all of his energy drain from him like an oil leak. Unlike a mission completed, he felt no victory or sense of belonging here. He wondered about Kyle leaving; maybe he’d gone next door to see Ada. Could be something between them, could not be something between them. Maybe he should just go on home and not disturb them. He might sleep tonight. Without pain. Without nightmares. Sweet dreams.

He checked his watch. Before it was too late, he’d go by Ada’s house.

Rodger caught his mother watching him. He’d been surprised by how easy he felt around her. Then, in a lull of the conversation, she tilted her head to one side and leaned toward him.

“I’d like you to have something. I’ll be right back.” She rose, stately like a queen, turning at the doorway. “You might say good night to Rachel and Heather. They’re in their room.”

As Rodger stood, Carrie grabbed his right arm.

“You must see about a few of the details your mother hasn’t been able to tend to. Tomorrow.”

“Sure, Aunt Carrie. Why don’t you make me a list?” Rodger placed his hand on hers, lifted it off his arm, giving it a firm squeeze, then moved quickly away.

His aunt smiled smugly as she got up and plodded to where his mother kept stationery and pen. Suddenly, Rodger heard her groan.

“Aunt Carrie, are you all right?” Rodger paused from the bottom of the stairs and peered around the hall doorway.

“Oh, Rodgie, don’t worry yourself over me. Nothing but a touch of arthritis.” She beamed at him. “It’s so sweet of you to care.”

Rodger flashed a quick smile, then bolted up the stairs. I’m sure she’d remind me if I didn’t care, he thought. He poked his head into his sisters’ room. They scurried from the doorway and each hopped into a bed.

“Good night, rascals. Don’t forget our date tomorrow.”

They giggled. Heather, in a small voice, called out, “Please, Rodger, a kiss.”

Rodger hesitated, and then went in, standing between the two twin beds and bending to give each a quick peck on the forehead. “Say your prayers and go to sleep.”

“We will, Rodger,” whispered Rachel.

As Rodger walked down the hallway, he saw Madeline standing at the threshold of her bedroom. Rodger walked slowly over to her, stepping inside the room. She fumbled with something in her hands.

In the awkward silence between them, his mother stared at a gold watch and fob.

“Here,” she offered, “take it. Your father wanted you have it.”

The watch dangled in front of him. He didn’t move.

“I don’t want it, Mother, if you’d rather keep it,” he said gently.

“No, no,” she murmured. “I have enough memories and such.” Tears fell from her eyes sprinkling the bodice of her dress. “He wanted his grandson to have it.”

Rodger reached out and took the watch, unlacing the chain from her fingers.

“Thanks. I’ll save it for him.”

“You might want to,” she stammered, “to have it for yourself.” She wiped the tears away and looked directly into his eyes. “It doesn’t matter if it’s passed on or not. Grandsons, granddaughters.”

Rodger shrugged, not knowing what to reply.

“Can’t believe I’ve got a kid. It hasn’t sunk in yet.” He straightened, his back cracking. “I’m beat.”

He cleaned his teeth with his tongue.

“Where’d Uncle Kyle go?”

Madeline’s eyes narrowed. “He comes and goes. I don’t ask because it’s none of my business.”

“Right, we’ll leave that to Auntie.” Rodger rolled his eyes, eliciting a grin from Madeline. “You don’t mind my using your car? I’d like to go to Chicago. Get something special for Adele.” He smoothed the watch in the palm of his hand, and then slipped it into his pants pocket.

“I’ll have it late tomorrow afternoon.” Madeline’s forehead furrowed. “No, never mind. I’ll make other arrangements.”

Rodger blew air bubbles, which used to annoy his mother, but tonight she gave him a half-smile and shake of the head. “No, I don’t want to inconvenience you. I’ll be back around noon or little after.”
“Rodger,” Madeline stopped him with a tug at his arm, “please keep the car and use it. I don’t really want to drive.”

“Well, Aunt Carrie’s making me a list of things I should take care of.” Rodger waggled his eyebrows, “I’ll need to be here early, I’m sure.”

Madeline nodded, releasing him. “You need to go home and get some sleep.” She cast a quick glance at her big bed. “You’ve had a busy day.”

He felt sorry for her, after thirty‑two years, to be without her husband, but he couldn’t imagine his mother lonely for a man. It didn’t suit her.

“Good night, Mother. Call me, if you need anything.” He turned away from her and started for the stairs. “Anytime. I’m used to service hours.” He gave a parting wave.

As he stepped out onto the porch, he called, “’Night, Aunt Carrie. See you tomorrow.”

He quickly shut the door and leaped over the steps onto the walk. He took long strides, stretching his legs, swinging his arms loosely by his side until came to an abrupt stop at Ada’s gate. He checked his wristwatch; twenty‑two fifteen. Ada’s house was dark, except for the porch light. That meant only one thing. She was gone, out for the night.

Rodger rubbed the stubble on his chin. It just might be. Maybe. But an odd couple, the two of them.

Rodger looked up then down the sidewalk, remembering as a kid overhearing gossip in town about Ada and Sam. He’d thought it unlikely, then, because he knew Ada so well.

He went out to the car, welcoming the cool touch of the car’s upholstery against his strained muscles as he climbed in the driver’s seat. He glanced once more to Ada’s empty house. He might have jumped to conclusions. He turned over the engine. Would Adele know anything? Just how the hell could he ask her about Kyle and Ada? A chuckle rose in his throat and just as suddenly choked him. So many things he didn’t know for sure anymore.
A familiar ache returned as he entered his own house. The part of him that was hollow could never be filled with people. He gently placed his father’s watch on the bureau and undressed. God, it never changed for him, this relentless need to be free. He wished he could get the hell out of here and fly.

Weariness rolled over his entire body. He stretched out on top of the bed covers as sleep crashed down on him. A dreamless night, a reprieve.

In the morning, he awoke refreshed. He hummed to himself, anticipating a day in the city. He took a small box of loose Burmese rubies and a pure silver band that he had bought for Adele in China from beneath the socks in his dresser drawer and examined them, thinking that he would find a jeweler and have something made with them. As he shaved, he laid out the plans for his day.

A solo flight, there and back. Just a routine mission. At thirteen hundred hours, he’d be back in town. With presents in hand. Just an everyday hero, he thought sourly as he locked the front door behind him. He shielded his eyes from the glaring morning sun, plucking his sunglasses from his pocket and putting them on.

Everyday, six days a week, fair and foul weather, his father had walked to work. He shook free of the memories. He was only his father’s son. Not an imitation of the man. And at last, he thanked him for that.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Forcing the Hand of God: Chapter 19 (part 1)

Rodger eased the car into his driveway and cut the engine. Their house looked at once inviting and strange. He slumped back into the seat. Tired. He was so tired.

The front door lock jammed. Rodger pressed his forehead against the door and sighed, then jiggled the key until the lock slipped. He eyed the kitchen but just thinking of food made him queasy. Later, he muttered.

He stripped off his clothes and lay down on the bed. He rubbed his hand along the ridges of the scar on his shoulder and pictured Adele laughing and crying as she held their newborn. He whispered to her, “I’m healed. It’s only a scar now.” Then he fell into the comfort of deep sleep.

In the dim light of dawn, he awoke with a start filled with a sickening dread of having left part of himself somewhere else. His watch read O-six-hundred-five. He showered and dressed to go see Adele and their new baby daughter.

He had an agonizing moment of disorientation when he came through the front doors of the hospital.
The smell.

“Christ! These places all smell alike!”

A passing orderly stopped. “Sir?”

“Nothing, nothing,” Rodger waved him on, turning to the receptionist. “What room is Mrs. Brown in?”

“Two‑twenty‑two. Down the hall and to your right.”

As he passed the nursery window, Rodger peered in, squashing his face against the glass. “Baby Brown,” the name tag, prominent on the outside of the bassinet, was the third from the left in the front row. A nurse motioned that she would pick her up. Rodger shook his head, tossed the woman an off‑hand salute, and moved on down to Adele’s room.

Rodger slipped into the room, his hand bracing the door as it closed. Adele lay semi-reclined, propped up by wadded pillows, her eyes shut and her honey‑colored hair spilling over the pillows. She opened her eyes and smiled.

“You just missed the crowd.” She pointed to an array of white and pink flowers.

“Oh, damn, I forgot!” Rodger frowned at the flowers. “I wanted to bring you some, too.”

“But I don’t need any more.” She patted a place on the bed beside her. “Come sit with me for a while.”

He waved in the general direction behind him. “You did one hell of a job in there.” He kissed her forehead. “I was so proud of you.”

“Everything worked out for the best, as it turns out. Dr. Adams had ordered some medication, but my labor went too fast. The nurse said it was better not to have any medication if I wanted to nurse right away.”

Rodger jumped to his feet. “You’re not going to are you?”

Adele folded her hands, placed them squarely over her abdomen. Her face set, eyebrows pinched together.

“Women have done it for centuries, Rodger. It’s perfectly natural.”

Rodger paced in a small circle at the foot of the bed.

“But I won’t be able to help with the night feedings if you do that.”

Adele’s eyebrows shot up. “I would never have thought of that!” She eyed him suspiciously.

“Does this mean you won’t re-enlist?”

Rodger shifted from one foot to the other.

“No.” He looked away from her probing stare.

“I want to help.”

“All right, Rodger. I’ll nurse her for the first three or four days.”

“Why even start?”

"Because. It’s better for both of us.” Adele stared him down. “Ask your mother to explain.”

Rodger made a face at her. Adele laughed, holding out her hand for him to take. He grabbed it and pulled himself down so that he could kiss her on the lips.

“Have you had the baby here with you yet?”

“Yes,” Adele whispered reverently. “She’s so tiny! So perfect!” She kissed his knuckles, one by one. “We have to name her.”

“Yeah. I was just thinking of that.” He rubbed her hand between the two of his. “It’s not easy coming up with a name.”

“I was so sure it was a boy.” Her look held uncertainty.

“Are you sorry?”

“No, are you?” Her grip tightened.

“Uncle Kyle says little girls are nice. But when they grow up…!”

Adele leaned forward; Rodger could hear the sharp intake of a breath. He shook his head.
“Hell, I’m so glad she’s alive!”

Adele relaxed. “Ada said there was some doubt. Did you know?”

Rodger looked away. “I knew.”

“You didn’t show it. Maybe a little when you didn’t eat much.” She squeezed his hand, “I thought you didn’t like my cooking.”

Suddenly, hunger pangs made him aware he was hungry. Ravenous. “When I go see Mother, she’ll feed me. I suppose everyone will be over there.”

“I think so.” Adele shrugged, shaking her head as if arranging her thoughts. She looked pale as she spoke in a wispy voice. “Your mother was telling me there’s a family history of names. Do you have a favorite?”

“No.” Rodger dropped Adele’s hand and stood up. “I hate all that nonsense about family history. We’re all born with new blood in us.”

“How about ‘Joan’?” Adele worked the sheet into a knot. “Or ‘Samantha’?”

Rodger watched the traffic from the window. Something Ada had said a long time ago. Love comes back in many forms. “You said you’d name your daughter after Ellen. Remember?”

“That could be her middle name.”

“How about Jonelle? And no middle name.”

“Jonelle, Jonelle Brown,” Adele repeated the name in a singsong. “But she’s got to have a middle name. Everyone does.”

“She doesn’t have to have anything,” Rodger growled, immediately regretting it. “It’ll help build her character if she’s not like everyone else.”

Adele frowned. She tugged at the blanket, wadding it into a larger knot.

“You know, you can be a bully. The kid doesn’t stand a chance with you as her father.”

“Oh, I don’t know. She beat the first odds just being born.” He touched Adele’s cheek. “She’s got you.”

“Jonelle Brown.” Adele scrunched up her face. “Jonelle Elizabeth Brown?”

“Nah. Sounds too poetic.”

The nurse tapped on the door. “All visitors must leave.”

He bent close and kissed her, prolonging the touch of their lips until the tapping resounded on the door.

He whispered in her ear, “’When I look into your eyes, I fall in love with you.’”

Seeing her smile, he smiled.

“See you later. Get some rest.”

“You, too, Rodger. Eat something tonight. You need to take of yourself.”

“I will.” He hugged her, kissed her again, and slipped out the door where he met the nurse coming down the hall.

“Mr. Brown, would you sign the birth certificate, please?”


Rodger stopped at the desk and took the form. He noted Jonelle’s birth weight, seven pounds, fourteen ounces, and time of arrival, two‑forty five, July 19, 1943. Attending physician was Dr. Adams.

Not quite true, he fumed. What the hell was the nurse’s name? He couldn’t remember. Let it go. On the line for a name, he penned “Jonelle Brown.” The nurse took the form and scanned it.

“What a pretty name! But, sir, you forgot the middle name. This is an official record so it must be complete.”

“I didn’t forget, nurse.” Rodger winked at her and was out the door before she could stop him.

He debated whether or not to go to his mother’s house. So many people would be there. He couldn’t very well call and just ask for Kyle. He’d have to make it through the whole evening with the family before he’d get away for a drink with his uncle and talk about flying. There was a hollow spot inside of him, part of him that needed to fly. He wanted to be back in his arena, the sky. Doing his job. His uncle understood that; he doubted anyone else in his family did.

He stood several minutes by his car staring at the nearly empty parking lot, unwilling to make a choice. This part of the world had forgotten about the war, it seemed, and simply went on living and dying.

“This town could eat a man alive,” he said aloud, flinging himself into the seat of the car. He shook his head, freeing himself of his gloom and drove to his mother’s house.

Madeline greeted him at the door, dressed in a pale blue a-line dress and her make-up perfect. She pulled him into the living room where Aunt Carrie, Rachel, Heather, Ada, and Kyle all sat. It occurred to Rodger that his mother was an attractive woman, and always had been with her clear complexion and sparkling blue eyes, although her face had a fine webbing of lines hinting at her age.
Ada sat encircled by his younger sisters, deep into a merry conversation. Her printed dress, cinched by a snug-fitting belt, reminded him of how she seemed forever the same, just as she looked to him now.

“Hey.” Rodger nodded to Kyle to get him a drink.

“We saw the baby!” squealed Heather, running to him.

“Only through the glass,” corrected Rachel. “And only a little of her face.”

Ada smoothed Heather’s curly hair, the ringlets popping up as her hand passed over each one.
“Did you pick out a name?”

“Jonelle.” Rodger clinked glasses with Kyle.

“Oh, how sweet!” Aunt Carrie lumbered across the room, displacing her brother to be at Rodger’s side. “And her middle name?”

“None. She’s Jonelle Brown.”

“Oh, no! That’ll never do!” Carrie clucked like a distraught hen. “Just think of all the trouble she’ll have with papers and such in school!”

“Oh, honestly, Carrie,” Madeline snapped. “It’s not important!”

Rodger couldn’t respond. His mother had said that.

“I think it’s—” Kyle started, but Carrie cut him off.

“Mind you, she’ll not thank you for this!” she admonished, wagging a finger in Rodger’s face.
Rodger looked over to his mother. “I’m hungry. Do you suppose I could get something to eat?”

“Of course.” Madeline started for the kitchen. “I’ll be just a few minutes.”

“Anything, Mother, would be fine. Make it simple!” he shouted after her.

Ada rose from the couch and came to him. “That’s a lovely choice of a name. How is Adele? Is she resting?”

“Yes. She wanted to name the baby after you.” Rodger winked at her. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his aunt stiffen.

Ada swallowed her chuckle. “Too many of us old birds around as is.” She kissed him on the cheek. “Good night. Drop by tomorrow.”

“I will.”

Ada left, and the conversation closed in again, tightening around him. Rachel pulled at his left arm.
“Rodger, have you heard of Captain Midnight? He’s on station WGN at five-forty-five. Mother lets us listen. You’d like him.”

“He’s a pilot! Just like you!” Heather’s smile exposed the gap where her front teeth were just coming in. “Mother’s going to send off for our very own secret decoder ring.”

Rachel rolled her eyes. “That’s kid’s stuff. But I think you might like the adventure.”

Rachel looked exactly like John had when he used to try and coax them into something.

“Maybe tomorrow night. In fact,” he tweaked Rachel’s nose, “it’s a date.”

Both girls clapped. Madeline called from the kitchen.

“Girls! Rodger! Come to supper.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catch Up with Fran Reed and Friends!

The first two books in my Bully Dogs series are available to read online! Book 3 is coming soon so here's you chance to catch up on all the adventures of Fran Reed and her friends.

Bully Dogs Book 1
Bully Dogs
Faced with her neighbor’s three ferocious dogs, and a group of girls at school determined to put her down, Fran isn’t sure whether to stand up for herself or sit the tough times out. Fran’s chore-centric mother is no help! And one of her best friends, Annie, has begun hanging out with the bullies. When Fran sees that her school’s volleyball team won’t succeed unless the bullying ends, she realizes she’ll have to stand up for herself. But who should she face first: the vicious-looking dogs who chase her to school, or the girls who try to make her feel bad about being herself?

As Fran begins to discover her own strength and find her self-confidence, she sees bullies are like growling dogs who just won’t go away. And Bully Dogs proves that when it comes to bullies, their bark can be worse than their bite!

All of the Bully Dogs chapters are available to read for free online:

Bully Dogs Book 2
YNK (You Never Know)
It is not easy to be 13 and going into the seventh grade.  Frances Reed, our gal from Bully Dogs, once again faces her peers in, YNK You Never Know, second in a series about her coming of age.  Fran gets a new look, a first kiss and a revised perspective on her relationships with boys, girlfriends and parents. She has to once again deal with bullies, and with some tragic consequences of bad choices. Through all the whirlwind changes, Frances must make moral decisions that impact her relationships with her parents, her girlfriends and her boy/friend, redefining herself along the way. People change, circumstances change, from one minute to the next, life changes, and you never know what will happen next.

All of the YNK (You Never Know) chapters are available to read for free online:

Coming Soon!
Bully Dogs Book 3
A Penny in Time 
Life is dumping a load of changes on thirteen-year-old Dusty, one of Fran's close friends. Her best friend only cares about makeup and boys. Her recently divorced dad has a new girlfriend who loves everything frilly and pink. And she's wondering about the strange feelings she has for her friend Frank. A fantastical trip in another dimension—or was it only a dream?—gives Dusty a fuller perspective and points her in the right direction in A Penny in Time, third in a series about Fran and her friends coming of age. Dusty learns she cannot change those around her but she can remain in charge of her choices—when to adapt, how much to compromise, and most important, how to remain true to herself.