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Historical Bestseller on Kindle, Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by Award Winning Author M. Louisa Locke – 4.3 Stars with Over 30 Rave Reviews & Now $3.99

4.3 stars – 39 Reviews
Or currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members Via the Kindle Lending Library
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

In this sequel to Maids of Misfortune, it is the fall of 1879 and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, has a problem. Despite her growing financial success as the clairvoyant Madam Sibyl, Annie doesn’t believe in the astrology and palmistry her clients think are the basis for her advice.

Kathleen Hennessey, Annie Fuller’s young Irish maid, has a plan. When her mistress is asked to expose a fraudulent trance medium, Arabella Frampton, Kathleen is determined to assist in the investigation, just like the Pinkerton detectives she has read about in the dime novels.

Nate Dawson, up-and-coming San Francisco lawyer, has a dilemma. He wants to marry the unconventional Annie Fuller, but he doesn’t feel he can reveal his true feelings until he has a way to make enough money to support her.

In Uneasy Spirits, this cozy, romantic novel of suspense, Annie delves into the intriguing world of 19th century spiritualism, encountering true believers and naïve dupes, clever frauds and unexplained supernatural phenomena.

She will soon find there are as many secrets as there are spirits swirling around the Frampton séance table. Some of those secrets will threaten the foundation of her career as Madam Sibyl and the future of her relationship with Nate Dawson, and, in time, they will threaten her very life itself.

One Reviewer Notes:

“Ms. Locke has done it again! An enjoyable well written historical mystery, Uneasy Spirits, will cast you back to 19th century San Fran for a delectable mystery. The characters are vividly drawn, and the historical significance of the setting is subtly explained. Cannot wait for another entry in this series!” – Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

Download Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Now! Currently Number #1 in the Kindle Store:

by M. Louisa Locke
4.2 stars – 120 Reviews
About The Author

M. Louisa Locke is a recently retired professor of U.S. and Women’s history at San Diego Mesa College. Dr. Locke has now taken her story telling in a new direction with her Victorian San Francisco mystery series. The first of that series, Maids of Misfortune, was a finalist in the historical fiction category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, a 2012 B.R.A.G. MedallionTM Honoree, and it, and the sequel, Uneasy Spirits, are historical mystery bestsellers on Kindle. Her short stories, Dandy Detects and The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage, are based on characters from her novels and can also be found on Kindle.

For those of you have read any of her work, Locke would love to hear from you at mlouisalocke@gmail.com, and she would really appreciate if you could spend a few minutes writing a review on Amazon.com.

Locke is currently living in San Diego with her husband and assorted animals, where she is working on Bloody Lessons, the next installment of her series of historical mysteries set in Victorian San Francisco.

If you are interested in learning more about Victorian San Francisco and the events and places in her books, please join her author facebook page at
http://www.facebook.com/mlouisalockeauthor or her website/blog at http://mlouisalocke.com/

(This is a sponsored post.)

Wow! 12 Brand New Kindle Freebies! Download These Free Titles Now: Jennifer Minar-Jaynes’ Never Smile at Strangers, Derek Blass’ Enemy in Blue, Eric Hobbs’ The Librarian, Shadow Stephens’ Legion of Bats, Ralph Shamas’ Javier’s Defense, David Brown’s The Bet, Julie S. Ross’ Grand Illusion of Tomorrow, D. Byron Patterson’s Little Tiger and the Year of the Dragon, Anthony E. Cardenas’ The Gestalt Man, Laith Doory’s REACHING FOR THE GODS, Eric Hobbs’ The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After) and Shadow Stephens’ Broken Butterflies

With hundreds of new books turning up free each day now in the Kindle Store, it can be tough to hone in on books that you will actually want to read. And almost of the new free books will be free for just a day or two at a time, so we are working hard to make sure that you do not miss the ones you want!

Here are a few books that have just gone free by authors who have already proven to be  favorites with Kindle Nation readers. Please grab them now if they looks interesting to you, because they probably won’t stay free for long!

Important Note: This post is dated Wednesday, August 29, 2012, and the titles mentioned here may remain free only until midnight PST tonight.

Please note: References to prices on this website refer to prices on the main Amazon.com website for US customers. Prices will vary for readers located outside the US, and even for US customers, prices may change at any time. Always check the price on Amazon before making a purchase.

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Never Smile at Strangers

by Jennifer Minar-Jaynes

4.6 stars – 192 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:


– Mystery, Thriller and Suspense
– Mystery and Thrillers
– Suspense Thrillers and Mysteries
– Thrillers
– Suspense

WHEN TEENAGE GIRLS VANISH in what was once considered a safe, Louisiana bayou town, the lives of four desperate young locals take unexpected turns, begging the question: Do you every truly know those closest to you?

When nineteen-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes from rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, best friend HALEY LANDRY’s relationship with her boyfriend becomes increasingly strained. To make matters worse, her impressionable younger sister BECKY has begun idolizing an impetuous, seductive 15 year old who’s encouraging her to do dangerous things.

Meanwhile, ERICA DUVALL, a reclusive 19-year-old aspiring writer, befriends Haley. Ten years earlier, Erica’s mother abandoned her, leaving her with the womanizing used car salesman father she loathes. She’s decided to write a novel based on Tiffany’s disappearance; a novel that she hopes will lead to a reunion with her estranged novelist mother.

RACHEL ANDERSON, a 36-year-old mother of two, is having trouble coming to terms with her husband, TOM’s, affair with the missing girl—a relationship that supposedly ended shortly before Tiffany’s disappearance. What’s more, she comes to the blood curdling realization that someone is watching her through the large back windows of her house.

A DISTURBED MAN also lives in the area. Ever since his mother’s murder four years earlier, he’s been raising his insolent teenage sister, ALLIE, who sleeps with truck drivers for money. He considers women to be dangerous—and his world revolves around his fear and hatred for them. He’s terrified of his sister, knowing she’s intent on pushing him over the edge.

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Enemy in Blue, A Thriller

by Derek Blass

4.1 stars – 106 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:


The streets aren’t safe when your enemy wears a blue uniform and a gold badge.

What if the good guys weren’t good?

What if a cop went rogue and killed an innocent man?

What if it was all caught on video and the cop would do anything to cover it up?Chase this lawless cop through the streets and to a scintillating series of showdowns with Cruz Marquez, a young attorney trying to nail down his enemy in blue.

Will justice be served?

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4.6 stars – 51 Reviews
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Wesley Bates thinks his life pretty much sucks. He’s landed at the bottom of his school’s popularity ladder, and bully Randy Stanford seems to be waiting around every corner.

The troubled teen thinks he’s found a way to escape his real-world problems when he stumbles upon strange doorways in Astoria’s local library that seem to lead into the extraordinary worlds from all his favorite books. Oz, Neverland, Wonderland — they’re all a reality with Wesley’s new discovery. Wesley teams with best friend Taylor Williams to embark on a great adventure, both ready to leave the drama of middle school behind.

But the two kids quickly find themselves embroiled in a centuries-old battle for the library and the magic hiding within. Now, fighting alongside the eccentric old man who’s vowed to protect the building’s power, the pair must help ward off an attack by a shadowy group with a strange tie to Wesley’s nemesis, forcing Wesley to face the fears he’s been dodging… and one of the most terrifying bullies of all time!

Exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle, The Librarian is a thrilling new series that provides kids an opportunity to experience the world’s most beloved fantasy novels in a brand new way – through the eyes of children just like them. And the fun doesn’t stop there! Librarian author Eric Hobbs has teamed with The Sylvan Learning Center to launch The Librarian Book Club. Toward the back of the book, each copy of The Librarian contains an exclusive invitation to join. Open to students in grades K-8, the club will bring kids together from around the globe to compete in a monthly reading contest where they’ll have a chance to win exciting prizes: gift cards, autographed books, new toys, video games, DVDs, iPods…even a brand new Kindle Fire! All kids have to do is answer questions about the books they’re currently reading! That’s it! It’s that easy! Pick up the book an join the book club today!

*  *  *

Legion of Bats

by Shadow Stephens

4.3 stars – 27 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Legion of Bats—They were all different, but together they changed the world
In a world governed by fear and corruption, a baby, Zoe Masterson, was born and immediately targeted for death. Hidden away in the rural West Virginia town of Tanner, Zoe grows up feeling like an outsider—always just a little bit different from the people around her. As bad becomes worse, she is arrested for arson and a murder she didn’t commit. She is taken to a mental hospital, where she discovers nothings is as it seems and her destiny awaits her. Zoe quickly becomes caught in a web of strange abilities, politics, murder, discrimination, and forbidden love. Will she be able to bring a government to its knees in order to have the one person who matters most to her?

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Javier’s Defense

by Ralph Shamas

5.0 stars – 3 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

A criminal defense attorney is retained to represent a man accused of accessory to murder–a cold-blooded shooting. The client’s family has risked everything to come up with the money for a retainer. The evidence seems damning. Nonetheless, the lawyer becomes convinced that his client is not guilty and sets out to prove his innocence at trial. The prosecutor, an ambitious and beautiful young woman in the Office of the District Attorney, presents the lead detective as her key witness. The lawyer puts his client on the stand to testify. The courtroom is charged with action and suspense. Is there justice? The ending of the story compels a shocking answer.

A novella by Ralph Shamas, the author of The Homicide Chronicle: Defending the Citizen Accused. Kirkus Reviews has said that the author’s “…prosaic approach…is deeply engrossing” and “…a welcome change in the genre of legal fiction.” Javier’s Defense displays the author’s intriguing style in a fascinating courtroom drama.

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The Bet

by David Brown

5.0 stars – 9 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Richard Kepperman was on top of his game until blowing the whistle on his high powered Atlanta accounting firm. Black balled from the financial arena, on the verge of bankruptcy, he returns to his roots in coastal Georgia to be near his aging grandfather, Clayton. Frustrated and underemployed, he is an easy mark when approached by a stranger who offers to bet ten million dollars that he can capture Richard within a span of thirty days. In return, Richard will be required to risk all that he holds dear.
Given a twenty four hour head start, Richard embarks on an odyssey that will forever change the way he views love, life, friendship and the power of money. On the run, he encounters forces that threaten to do irreparable damage to his sanity and rip his family to shreds. Fighting to stay alive, Richard uncovers the startling truth about the deaths of his parents and learns that the real power behind the stranger is a man who harbors a sixty year old grudge against Clayton and is willing to commit unspeakable atrocities to satisfy his desire for revenge.

*  *  *

Grand Illusion of Tomorrow

by Julie S. Ross

5.0 stars – 1 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Grand Illusion of Tomorrow is a tragic, romantic, and educational novel. This is a modern love story based on real events and experiences, bringing laughter and tears. Some chapters will bring chills, while others will startle the reader so much that they will tremble. The end of the story leaves a sense of peace, relief, and joy, of having experienced such an adventure through this literary work; about the unforgettable events of several individuals, striving to find what humanity has desperately been searching for…happiness.

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5.0 stars – 5 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

An Ancient Prophecy. A Secret Destiny. An Incredible Epic Fantasy Adventure.

On the first day of the Year of the Dragon, Master Ming Wu, a Chinese dragon disguised as a mysterious elderly gardener, makes orphan Little Tiger his son and only heir, secretly putting the fate of the world into the boy’s hands. Suddenly finding his life in terrible danger, Little Tiger must flee China for the safety of Tarpon Springs, Florida, where his magical destiny is waiting for him.

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The Gestalt Man

by Anthony E. Cardenas

4.7 stars – 3 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Michael Jeck suffers from severe dissociative identity disorder as a result of a series of traumatic incidents in his childhood. He has five separate and individual personalities–Kara, a brainy, intellectual woman trained as a medical examiner; Nick, an aggressive hit first ask questions later guy; Alex, the suave, sophisticated, educated man; Telly, a brainy teenager who is an expert with computers and technology; and Sara, a mute eight year old girl who creates mature, beautiful works of art to express herself.

Thanks to years of experimental psychotherapy, Jeck has managed to gain control over his five other personalities, not by suppressing them, but by living with them. He then uses their specific skills and talents to form a kind of think tank, capable of effectively solving complex and difficult crimes. In this way, he and his five personalities function as a unified whole, rather than individual parts–a truly gestalt personality.

Michael Jeck is now a special agent with the FBI and has garnered a reputation as an eccentric genius that can solve any case. Recently, however, he has been unable to crack a strange series of murders that appear to be completely different but also thinly connected to each other. Concerned with the lack of results, the Assistant Director of the FBI decides to assign Jeck a partner for the very first time.

Enter Grayson O’Neal, an FBI agent from the behavioral sciences division, whose mysterious past and strange eagerness to work with Agent Jeck causes a newfound tension amongst the normal “group” dynamic.

Together, Jeck and Grayson work to solve the mystery of the serial killings, at the same time trying to come to terms with their respective pasts, and their uncertain futures.

Content Advisory: This book is intended for mature audiences and contains graphic violence, explicit sexual activity and disturbing imagery

*  *  *

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

A behind the scenes account of a Hollywood soap opera, written in a fast paced style that simulates the momentum of a TV soap with a camp cast of characters including an aging actress referred to as Eva Braun behind her back.

It is 1984, the year of the Los Angeles Olympics, and Merle LaBrune plans to remain young for however long it takes for her to ascend a pantheon of Hollywood idols and be worshipped as a latter-day Aphrodite, goddess of love. However, she has the unerring feeling she is about to be dropped from the long running soap in which she stars.

Her life is further complicated by her live-in lover’s decision to bring his daughter, Heidi, to come live with them. Heidi does her utmost to make Merle’s life a living hell.

In spite of so many cards stacked against her, Merle almost pulls it off in her ambition for godhood, banged up in jail as she atones for the sins of mankind, but her delusions are finally shattered when she is confronted with her true identity.

Could Merle LaBrune actually be Adolf Hitler’s wartime lover, Eva Braun?

*  *  *

5.0 stars – 4 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Yesterday, Taylor and Wes turned a boring field trip to their local library into a grand adventure when they found a mysterious portal leading into the fabled Land of Oz.

But that was yesterday.

Today they’ve learned their actions have had grave consequences. Not only did they alter the Oz mythos, but their deeds may have had unexplained repercussions in the real world as well. Taylor’s returned home to find she’s living a life that isn’t her own. Nothing’s as she left it. Her normally warm father has become cold and distant. Her grades have fallen overnight. Teachers who once saw her as their favorite student, now consider her their most problematic pupil. Only Wesley remembers Taylor as she truly is, and together, he and Tay return to Oz hoping they can undo the damage and restore both worlds to the way they were.

But the children quickly find they’re in way over their heads. Not only has the Wicked Witch taken control of Oz, but Douglas Stanford has stayed behind to build a small army of storybook villains to help him obtain the magic hidden within Astoria’s library. The librarian’s returned to stop him, but the old man may need the children’s help as the fate of every known world hangs in the balance.

The adventure continues in this action-packed continuation of The Librarian Saga! Exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle, The Librarian is a thrilling new series that provides kids an opportunity to experience the world’s most beloved fantasy novels in a brand new way – through the eyes of children just like them. And the fun doesn’t stop there! Librarian author Eric Hobbs has teamed with The Sylvan Learning Center to launch The Librarian Book Club. Toward the back of the book, each copy of The Librarian contains an exclusive invitation to join. Open to students in grades K-8, the club will bring kids together from around the globe to compete in a monthly reading contest where they’ll have a chance to win exciting prizes: gift cards, autographed books, new toys, video games, DVDs, iPods…even a brand new Kindle Fire! All kids have to do is answer questions about the books they’re currently reading! That’s it! It’s that easy! Pick up the book and join the book club today!

*  *  *

Broken Butterflies

by Shadow Stephens

4.4 stars – 7 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Ilisha Morrison should have died the day she boarded the bullet train to Colorado. As her train collided with another, a handsome stranger saved her life, but put her in more danger than she ever imagined possible. Caught in a warring world of angels, demons, and a vengeful Death Maker who wants to destroy her, Ilisha discovers her true identity and that not everything is as it seems. Betrayal, heartache and two angels competing for her love forces Ilisha to make the hardest decision of her life.

Looking For Free YA Titles? Check Out Kids Corner @ Kindle Nation Daily!

(This is a sponsored post.)

Kindle Free Book Alert for August 29: 370 brand new Freebies in the last 24 hours added to Our 4,200+ Free Titles sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Laith Doory’s REACHING FOR THE GODS (Today’s Sponsor – FREE!)

Powered by our magical Kindle free book tool, here are this morning’s latest additions to our 4,200+ Kindle Free Book listings. Occasionally a title will continue to appear on this list for a short time after it is no longer free on Kindle. ALWAYS check the price on Amazon before making a purchase, please! If a book is free, you should see the following: Kindle Price: $0.00
But first, a word from ... Today's Sponsor
Could Merle LaBrune actually be Adolf Hitler’s wartime lover, Eva Braun?

REACHING FOR THE GODS: a satire of the cult of celebrity

by Laith Doory
Currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here's the set-up:
A behind the scenes account of a Hollywood soap opera, written in a fast paced style that simulates the momentum of a TV soap with a camp cast of characters including an ageing actress referred to as Eva Braun behind her back.

It is 1984, the year of the Los Angeles Olympics, and Merle LaBrune plans to remain young for however long it takes for her to ascend a pantheon of Hollywood idols and be worshipped as a latter-day Aphrodite, goddess of love. However, she has the unerring feeling she is about to be dropped from the long running soap in which she stars.

Her life is further complicated by her live-in lover’s decision to bring his daughter, Heidi, to come live with them. Heidi does her utmost to make Merle’s life a living hell.

In spite of so many cards stacked against her, Merle almost pulls it off in her ambition for godhood, banged up in jail as she atones for the sins of mankind, but her delusions are finally shattered when she is confronted with her true identity.

Could Merle LaBrune actually be Adolf Hitler’s wartime lover, Eva Braun?
UK CUSTOMERS: Click on the title below to download
REACHING FOR THE GODS: a satire of the cult of celebrity
Each day’s list is sponsored by one paid title. We encourage you to support our sponsors and thank you for considering them.
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British intelligence wants her spying skills. A vampiric warlock wants to steal her powers. The Master Wizards who trained her want her dead...Nazis have unleashed occult forces throughout Europe, and the Allies are forced to recruit wizards to counter their attacks. Among them is battle weary spy...
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From USA Today Bestselling Author Devney Perry comes a small town, second chance romance.Gemma Lane built an empire. Not a small feat, considering her home as a teenager was a makeshift tent in a California junkyard. She’s dedicated her life to turning pennies into millions. She has power, fortune...
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Wild Highway (Runaway Book 2)
By: Devney Perry
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1 EPIC TALE + 12 FREE COLORING PAGES = HOURS OF FAMILY FUN!"The Amazing Bees is a must read for all children, their parents, teachers and others." - Dr. Renai JonasFollow the exciting adventure of Princess Debbee, a honeybee who sets out to save her hive from destruction by thoughtless humans. This...
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The Amazing Bees
By: The Amazing Bees
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This book is a collection of 845 fun science facts.Their purpose is to make children think and stretch their minds.The book is arranged in three rounds....
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When widower Truett Mahan finds a trespasser hiding in one of his building renovation projects, he thinks he has a runaway teen on his hands. He's right about the runaway, but Hope Larson is all woman, and in desperate need of help. True never turns away a person in trouble, but helping Hope wakes...
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Defying old age and retirement, our cyclist embarks on a solo cycle trip to the remotest parts of Scotland. This wild ride invites the reader to join in, couch cycling through the oft times hilarious interactions with Western Scotland and the Scots.The camping stove starts conflagrations. Japanese...
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18+ for language and sexual content! Carter ‘Ace’ Quinn has spent his life running from the rage caused by a broken heart. After several tours in the Air Force, and continued missions as a para-jumper, he spends his down time within the Dogs of Fire Motorcycle Club. Cassidy Dennis is living...
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Road to Absolution (Dogs of Fire Book 3)
By: Piper Davenport
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"People have prayed to the gods to send them rain, but instead, the gods sent you."Rowyn Blythe might well be cursed. She’s brought only tragedy to her clan whose lands lay hidden beyond an enchanted shroud of mist, protected from outsiders. But now that the mighty Lyrican Empire has been brought...
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***New Release***Do you want a better prayer life? Need more joy in your heart? Wish you felt closer to God?In this short action guide, author John Christopher Frame, PhD, sets out a quick seven-day plan to help you revitalize your walk with God.7 Days to Upping Your Prayer Life, Loving Others, and...
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BOOK #1 IN THE LIVING IN EDEN SERIES! Eden Riley is a psychic consultant for the police, even though her abilities have never been her most reliable skill. On her most recent case, her paranormal powers are about to get her into some serious trouble.After a serial killer is gunned down in front of...
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Kindle Free Book Alert for August 29: 370 brand new Freebies in the last 24 hours added to Our 4,200+ Free Titles sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Laith Doory’s REACHING FOR THE GODS (Today’s Sponsor – FREE!)

Oaths And Promises Are Forever. Or Are They? Three boys, one girl. Friendship, honor, love … and betrayal. It ends with murder – 71 out of 74 Rave Reviews for Giacomo Giammatteo’s MURDER TAKES TIME – Our eBook of the Day at $4.99 and Here’s a Free Sample

Here’s the set-up for Giacomo Giammatteo’s Murder Takes Time, just $4.99 on Kindle:

This novel is not just a murder mystery.

This novel is not just a thriller.

This novel is not just a love story.

This novel is not just a life story.

This novel is all in one.  – OBI Amazon reviewer

From the book:

There was only one rule in our neighborhood–never break an oath. But oaths are easy to take and damn hard to keep.

Now I’m staring at my best friend, lying on the floor in a pool of blood, my bullet in his gut. Where the hell did it go wrong?

To understand that you’d have to go back to the beginning, back to when the three of us ruled the neighborhood.

From the reviewers:

Giammatteo turns a genre stereotype on its head with a smart balance of conflicting perspectives that emotionally involve the reader in the New York underworld… The narrative heat and layered characterization rarely drag, making for an engaging read. A nuanced debut that upends genre stereotypes and readers’ expectations. –  Kirkus Reviews

Giammatteo’s debut novel is breathtaking and groundbreaking. He creates a story that involves the conflicts of reality that pull at us from both sides of the tracks.This isn’t your typical mob story.  The author of Murder Takes Time, Giacomo Giammatteo, may be the Mario Puzo of our time. –eNovel Review

“Murder Takes Time” by Giacomo Giammatteo, is one of the best murder mysteries I have ever read. The goose bumps on my arms will attest to that!  -Reader Views.

Giammatteo wastes no time with long drawn out paragraphs. He gets right into the thick of it immediately, with the first murder taking place on page three. It is not your ordinary run of the mill murder either, as it involves a baseball bat, a shot glass, and a pair of tongs.  What follows is an action-packed book that never slows down. The writing is gripping and fast moving. The reader is reeled in immediately and the non-stop action doesn’t stop delivering until the last page is turned. If you are looking for a unique thriller, then definitely give “Murder Takes Time” a try! – Kam Aures for Rebecca’s Reads.

Giammatteo takes his crime novel to a new level and… puts the characters through the wringer, so the reader knows each one intimately.  – SPReview

Giammatteo grips you by the throat in the first two chapters…OnFictionWrit


Visit Amazon’s Giacomo Giammatteo Page

I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences.

Somehow I survived the transition to adulthood, but when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 41 animals–12 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 26 pigs.

Oh, and one crazy–and very large–wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.

Since this is a bio some of you might wonder what I do. By day I am a headhunter, scouring the country for top talent to fill jobs in the biotech and medical device industry. In the evening I help my wife tend the animals, and at night–late at night–I turn into a writer.

Go check out the website: www.giacomogiammatteo.com. Look  around, click some links, and, if you’ve got time, tell me what you think.

Contact me at jim@giacomogiammatteo.com.

And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample of Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo:

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal — Wednesday, August 28 – Save 70% on Reed Farrel Coleman’s Crime Novel Innocent Monster ; Kindle Daily Kids Deal — Save 74% on Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz; plus …Melissa Conway’s SelfSame (Today’s Sponsor)

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor



by Melissa Conway
4.8 stars – 9 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

Here’s the set-up:

A stillborn child revived. The past and the future intertwined. One girl lives two very different lives.

By all appearances, Sorcha Sloane is a typical small-town teen taking twenty-first century life for granted. While two centuries in the past, Enid Thompson is a poor farmer’s daughter in colonial New England. But Enid and Sorcha are the selfsame girl – one soul split between two bodies in a link that stretches across time.

Every night while Enid’s body is sleeping, she wakes in the future as Sorcha, just as the old medicine man prophesied at her birth. And every night when Sorcha sleeps, she wakes in the past as Enid, in a frontier world on the brink of war. She only trusts a chosen few with the truth, until Ben Webster comes into Sorcha’s life and tells her his family has been desperately searching for her for over two hundred years…

From the reviewers:

I loved the concept of the story and it was written in a very believable way, considering the paradox of things. – Deborah Rees | 5 reviewers made a similar statement

This is a great read and one you won’t regret. – English Rose | 5 reviewers made a similar statement

This book kept me turning pages just to know what had happened to the Enid while sorcha slept. – Nlw21 | 3 reviewers made a similar statement


Each day’s Kindle Daily Deal is sponsored by
one paid title on Kindle Nation. We encourage you to support our sponsors and thank you for considering them.

and now … Today’s Kindle Daily Deal!


Innocent MonsterKindle Daily Deal: Innocent Monster

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Publetariat Dispatch: The Dark Knight Rises, Thoughts on a Trilogy

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, Alan Baxter offers his perspective on Christopher Nolan’s gritty Batman trilogy.

[Publetariat Editor’s note: this post contains strong language]

There aren’t any spoilers in this post, but there are some spoilers at the places I link to at the end, so be warned.

It’s no secret that I’m a Batman fan. In fact, that’s an  understatement – I fucking love Batman, in a totally platonic way. I’ve  often said that Batman and the Joker are the two greatest fictional characters  ever created and I stand by that. So when talk of a new Batman film  started back in 2003 or 4 or whenever it was, I was dubious. But it was  to be made by Christopher Nolan, a man whose talents I already admired.  The result was Batman Begins, the first of a proposed trilogy. I was very pleasantly surprised.

The  first thing to remember when films are made from established literary  canon, be they novels, comic books, games or anything else, is that a  film is a self-contained thing. It’s finite. Batman comics have been  going since 1939 and there’s a metric fuckton of established canon and  ongoing story with which a film can’t hope to compete. Nor should it  try. So a film will always make changes to established canon and we fans  can’t be precious about that. It’s how the film plays with that canon that matters.

In Batman Begins,  Nolan turned the notion of Ras Al Ghul a little bit on its head. He  made Ras and Henri Ducard the same character, which they absolutely  aren’t in the comic canon. He also made Ras an Irishman. But the things  he then did with those characters, with Ras’s mission as an idealistic  eco-terrorist, were bang on the money. Nolan did a brilliant job of  retelling the Batman genesis and origin, and adding in a well favoured  supervillain. Within that, he kept the darkness essential to the  Batman’s story. He kept the gothic, noir edge of the characters and  setting. He made Gotham an integral character in the film. So while he  played with some aspects of established canon to make a film-sized  story, he did it well and kept enough of what we already know intact to  make a very impressive, cohesive whole. I was very happy with the film.

But  all along it was touted as a trilogy. And this is where we go back to  the nature of film compared to an ongoing series. This film was to be  finite in three instalments. The second film, The Dark Knight,  stands tall for many reasons. Not least of these is that amazing  performance from Heath Ledger as the Joker, which is still the highpoint  of the trilogy for me. And again, Nolan took some liberties with  established canon, but stayed true to so many parts that we love that we  went with him for the ride. I did, anyway. And most importantly for me,  he totally got what the Joker is all about. The Joker is the worst  monster imaginable, because he’s the embodiment of absolute chaos. No  rhyme, no reason, no appealing to any sense or intelligence. Just pure,  insane chaos. Some men, after all, just want to watch the world burn.

So I’d been waiting patiently and slightly nervously for The Dark Knight Rises,  the third and final instalment. So often a third film is where a series  can jump the shark. It can be the step too far. But Nolan always said  this was to be a trilogy and I trusted him as a storyteller enough to  hope that he would see it through well. Again, liberties were took. The big bad this time is Bane, and he’s very different from the comic book  character. In the comics, Bane is addicted to and fuelled by Venom. But  in this film, Venom doesn’t even get a mention. Bane’s origin is also  played with, as are the origins of other key players (who I won’t  discuss for fear of spoilers). But that’s okay, because Nolan is using  Bane in his own way, like he used Ras Al Ghul in the first one. And he  does a good job of it.

Nolan also does a very good job of using  the Selina Kyle character. She’s never called Catwoman in the film, her  cat ears are just her night goggles, pushed up onto her head and so on.  But the core of the character is there. She’s a tough, sassy, very  capable cat burglar. She’s a real-world foil to the Batman’s black and  white view of crime and culpability. She’s so much more than a sexy  accoutrement and Anne Hathaway does a brilliant job with a character  that is very hard to play well.

And using these characters and settings, Nolan brings threads from both previous films together in The Dark Knight Rises  and ties them into a truly epic story, worthy of its comic book roots  and also worthy of its cinematic grandeur. He does tell a complete story  in three films and he does it bloody well.

Each of the films is  successively darker, more epic and more daring than the last and by far  the best thing about them is that Nolan has made an absolutely  self-contained trilogy. It’s not the same as the comic books, because  the comics are still going on, and will continue to do so. Nolan has  taken the characters and spirit of those stories and turned them into  one complete and very clever tale. We see the full life of the Batman,  from genesis, through origin, through rise and fall and rise again,  right out to final closure. And it’s very satisfying.

Sure, the films have flaws. With The Dark Knight Rises there  are illogicalities, there are strange timing issues, there are simple  nonsensical things (like the one I mentioned the other day – how the  hell does Bane eat? And he’s a big boy, so he must eat a lot.) There’s  actually not nearly enough Batman in the third and final Batman film.  There are often certain events in the movies which are entirely too  convenient and plot-driven. But, these things are relatively few and far  between and largely eclipsed by all the good stuff.

There are those who have suggested that this final instalment is a pro-fascist movie  (although I disagree with most of that post and the author obviously  doesn’t have any real understanding of the ideology of Ras Al Ghul). I  mean, sure, all superhero stories are fundamentally fascist – the super  power steps in with violence, operating outside the law, to battle the  greater threat on behalf of the people. But that’s a whole other  discussion and not one limited to Nolan’s interpretation of Batman.

There  are those who have asked what the hell happened to the Joker after the  second film. Although Ledger died and couldn’t reprise his role, it’s  strange that there was never any mention. Though one possible answer lies here.

(Remember – spoilers at the above links!)

There  are several other concerns raised in various reviews and posts I’ve  read, some valid, some not so much. Regardless, Nolan has created in his  Batman trilogy something rarely seen from Hollywood these days – an  intelligent, complex, complete and satisfying story along with the  incredible special effects and cinematic epicness we’ve come to expect.  Effects are so often utilised at the expense of story, but not with  these films. The Dark Knight Rises is possibly the best of the  three when it comes to simply amazing set pieces of action and downright  brilliant photography. But it’s the combined power of the three films  together that really stands out as Nolan’s crowning achievement here.

Personally I can’t wait till The Dark Knight Rises  is released on DVD so I can put aside a day to sit and watch all three  films back to back in a beauteous Bat-filled marathon of cinematic  awesomeness.


This is a reprint from Alan Baxter‘s The Word.


Vera Jane Cook’s Sweeping Coming to Age Novel The Story of Sassy Sweetwater – ForeWord Clarion Review Gives This Uplifting Women’s Fiction Novel 5 Stars – Here’s A Free Sample!

The Story of Sassy Sweetwater

by Vera Jane Cook

4.3 stars – 3 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled


Here’s the set-up ForeWord Clarion Reviews:

5 Stars

The Story of Sassy Sweetwater is a sparkling debut novel. It is a bildungsroman chronicling the life and loves of the title character from age thirteen through adulthood. Born to promiscuous Violet McLaughlin in 1949, Sassy Sweetwater lives with her mother and her mother’s various boyfriends until she and Violet land at the family homestead in Carter’s Crossing, South Carolina, which is ruled by strict matriarch Edna McLaughlin. When Violet runs off with yet another man, Sassy is left at the family farm. She adjusts to small town life, surrounded by kin, some kindly and some dangerous. As she comes of age, Sassy meets Thomas Tierney, who becomes her true love. She endures good times and bad, as family secrets and the push for civil rights come to a head in Carter’s Crossing. Sassy survives everything life throws at her with aplomb.

Cook has penned a sweeping coming-of-age saga that is sure to appeal to fans of romance and drama. Sassy, an assertive, observant protagonist, gains the reader’s sympathy at the outset; in the manner of Jane Eyre, she survives the hand fortune has dealt her through sheer will, rising up to meet every challenge. Even the love affair between Sassy and Thomas bears some similarity to that of Jane and Rochester’s relationship: after a period of initial distaste, affection slowly grows between Sassy and Thomas, who, kept apart by circumstance, marry at long last. One of the biggest obstacles to their romance is that both Sassy and Thomas refuse to admit their feelings for one another. Readers will ache for their unspoken longing to be confessed, and they will swoon with relief when this finally occurs.

However, it is not just the gripping love story that will hold the audience’s interest; it is also Cook’s nuanced portrayal of Sassy’s positive relationships with people whom others are prejudiced against. She warms right away to Edna’s African-American employee, Dudley, her disabled brother, Kyle, and her lesbian aunt, Elvira. As she matures, she becomes aware of the biases of others.

Drama lovers will be pleased to note that Sassy faces lies, cover-ups, violence, murder attempts, and the rediscovery of loved ones once thought dead. None of this descends into soap opera, however, because Cook skillfully grounds these events in her protagonist’s emotions. Those who know the agony of a family rupture will feel Sassy’s pain as she wishes for Violet to return, yet hates her for leaving. Along with the main story, as Cook delves into the lives of Sassy’s family (particularly those of Violet and Edna) she paints a haunting portrait of physical abuse filtering through multiple generations. Despite its violence, though, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater is an uplifting read.


And here, for your reading pleasure, is a free, short excerpt:

Chapter One

Mama said I was born by a stream named Sweetwater. She called me Sassy

the moment she realized I was a girl. Mama said girls should be sassy,

gives them sex appeal. So I was named Sassy, after an attitude, and Sweetwater,

after a stream. The year was 1949, and the place was a dirty, back-road shack in

a dusty, little town in South Carolina. Mama never could remember the name

of the town, but she told me that it might have been Cottageville or maybe

even Ridgeville. Didn’t matter much what it was called, though. I never saw it

again, and as far as I knew, Mama didn’t either.

Some people think a gray, tumultuous sky is an omen of discontent, especially

if one’s entry into this world is shadowed by blustery clouds and thunder’s

emphatic roar. But my mama said that heaven welcomed my birth with great

horns blowing and mighty cymbals clashing and omens sent by mighty seers

bring the blessings of miracles, not the doom of devils.


“Gave you its gray,” she said. “Passed it right on to you.”


I always knew she meant my eyes, gray as the weather on the day I was

born, and sometimes showing up hazel when the sun confronts the gloom and

demands I show some color.


“Gave you its temperament, too, and its mystery, girl. Women need a little

mystery. That’s what turns a man’s head. Beauty has nothing to do with anything

more than that.”


It always sounded like the great god Poseidon was my father the way my

mama tells it. Where else could I have come from? No man had ever come forth

and claimed me as his own. Not that I didn’t wonder who my father was, but

when I asked I always got the same reply.



“You came from the sky, Sassy Sweetwater; clear as the stream I bathed you

in, fierce as the wind that blew away the storm, the one that welcomed you here

with great aplomb, and tender as the aftermath of nature’s roar.”


In other words, I was born an ambiguous bastard by a stream in South

Carolina, and my seventeen-year-old mama was not about to tell me whose

handsome smile had won her over. He was obviously too young or too old

to pay for his mistake. I would find out one day, of course. When you ask as

many questions as I did, the answers come at you, eventually. My birth was a

riddle and I wanted my mama to connect me to some kind of heritage I could

claim as my own, but she only gave me new conundrums to chase down. It

should have been enough; there’s nothing wrong with chasing around after

answers you don’t have, it’s how hard you’re hit with them when they fly back

and knock you down.


Mama had traveled at least twenty miles east in Elvira’s old Chevy to give

birth to me, screaming the whole way, or so I’ve been told. Elvira was Mama’s

nineteen-year-old sister and I guess they’d planned the great cover-up, and

the great escape, together. Out of a family of five girls, Elvira was the sanest,

according to Mama.


Of course, I never knew how they covered up Mama’s pregnancy, but Mama

said her family only had eyes for what they wanted to see and ears for nothing

more than what they wanted to hear. In those days, abortions weren’t anything

you could go to the doctor for and I’m sure, with Mama’s Catholic background,

she would never have entertained that option, even if she could have.


I can’t imagine what she went through when she found out there was a baby

in her belly before she even finished high school. And I sure don’t know what

she would have done without her sister helping her through it. Elvira promised

Mama she’d read every book on birthing babies she could get her hands on and

she assured Mama that she had nothing to fear. Well, Elvira must have been

pretty well versed in birthing ’cause there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with me

that my mama’s milk wouldn’t cure. There wasn’t a damn thing wrong with

Mama, either, except all the things you couldn’t see on the outside, all the hurt

she must have been feeling; and I don’t mean just about having me bursting

open her uterus, but the hurts inside her heart that she never spoke about. But

if you knew my mama, you’d know the hurts were there. Mama had the saddest

eyes, like a wounded dog on the side of the road that you really want so

badly to help, but you can’t offer your services without the risk of being bitten.


Elvira went back home a few days after I was born. Mama and me didn’t go

home for another thirteen years. Home for Elvira was fifteen miles outside of

Charleston, while where me and Mama went was hundreds of miles southwest.


I don’t know how we got there. Mama said we hitched all the way to Louisiana.

She said wasn’t a person on the road that wouldn’t stop for a woman with a

baby in her arms. I never knew why she’d decided to settle in Louisiana until I

found out from Elvira, years later, that Mama had gotten an offer to wait tables

in Baton Rouge from some man who’d passed through Carter’s Crossing and

had taken a fancy to her. I always wondered if he was my father, but my Aunt

Elvira said I’d be more likely kin to King Kong.


Can’t ever figure out why Mama left Baton Rouge and wound up settling

in a place as remote as Glenmora. We didn’t stay in Baton Rouge ’cause Mama’s

boyfriend turned out to be a shithead and it wasn’t long before some other guy

caught her eye just long enough to talk her into following him to Glenmora,

where he was assistant principal at the local high school. Of course, I don’t

remember much about those years, but I can recall an apartment in the back of

a small rooming house where we lived. I can just about capture the features of

the woman who took care of me while Mama was working. Connie was her

name and I guess she owned the place. Her bosom was large, always showing

white freckled skin where the crease was. The memory is good when I think

back on Connie, like the talcum powder she put in my underwear and the funny

little children’s books she read me, taking on a different voice for each character

and scaring me half to death when she spoke like the big bad wolf and kind of

lurched forward like she was going to swallow me whole.


Connie was old in the ways that make being old a good thing, with a round,

kind face and a voice as soft as silk lining. She made me hot cocoa before I went

to sleep every night and tossed a little marshmallow right up on top that melted

so nice in the back of my mouth. She picked me up after school every day too,

’cause Mama worked long hours at the Lobster Pot. Connie drove me over to

the Lobster Pot for my dinner and Mama would try, as best she could, to help

me figure out decimals and multiply fractions in between taking orders. I’d sit

at the counter eating crawfish, not really giving a damn what one third times

one eighth of anything could ever equal, and doubting if I ever would give a

rat’s ass about anything I’d ever have to add, subtract, or multiply.


Mama and the assistant principal wound up breaking up shortly after we

settled in Glenmora and not long after, Mama starting dating Guy Grissom,

her boss at the Lobster Pot. Mama made me call him Uncle Guy for years, but

I never liked him. He smelled feminine, like the cologne Mama wore, and he

was always breathing heavy, like he was about to pass out. You might think

he should have been real heavyset ’cause he was so short of breath all the time,

but he wasn’t at all heavyset. He was tall, though, and big, like those football

players with the phony shoulders. But Uncle Guy’s shoulders were naturally

broad and then he narrowed so much at his waist, he could have worn Mama’s

belts. I always thought he looked funny, sort of like a cartoon character, ’cause

his face was square, but Mama thought he was so handsome he could have been

up there on the big screen kissing blondes.


When Uncle Guy Grissom was around Mama didn’t act the same. She

giggled too much and pretty much said yes to anything I asked her. I knew

she barely heard what I’d said ’cause he was there, making himself at home in

Mama’s bed. I was pretty much ignored, except of course, when Mama remembered

that I was her precious little baby girl; then, all of a sudden, I became

this fascinating child with the cutest dimples Guy Grissom had seen this side

of Lafayette. “Wish I could adopt this child and make her my own,” he’d say.

Of course I knew, even back then, that he was bullshitting me as much as he

was bullshitting Mama. Said he was going to make Mama part owner of the

Lobster Pot and divorce his wife soon as his youngest child was out of diapers,

but of course that never happened.


Guy Grissom paid Connie to take care of me ’cause I saw him give her a

white envelope every Friday. She’d hide all the bills in her top dresser drawer,

all but a dollar that she’d stick inside her brassiere, right down the middle where

the crease was. She’d take me to the park in good weather and buy us ice cream

with that dollar or sometimes she’d keep me down at her apartment listening

to The Jack Benny Show or sometimes we’d watch Dragnet ’cause Connie liked

crime a whole lot. I’d come home late evening only to find Uncle Guy in his

underwear eating Mama’s fried catfish, which might have smelled inviting were

it not for his sweet cologne stinking up our room.


Uncle Guy got sick when I was about ten years old and he died three years

later. We didn’t really see much of him after he was diagnosed with something

Mama couldn’t pronounce. Mama had to stop working at the Lobster Pot, of

course, and it was eventually sold. Mama couldn’t pay her bills anymore, so

I guess Uncle Guy had been paying most of them. Guess he didn’t leave her

anything in his will, though, ’cause if he did, I doubt we’d ever have seen the

dusty back road of Carter’s Crossing or been desperate enough to claim the

McLaughlins as blood relatives.


Right after Uncle Guy died, his wife barged into our apartment and called

Mama wanton and loose, not one half hour after they put Uncle Guy in the

ground. Mama cried and ordered her out, but the next thing I knew we were

packing our bags and I was sitting on a bus and then I was sitting on a train

and then there I was on another damn bus and Mama and I were getting off

somewhere in the middle of nowhere with two suitcases and soon-to-be-sore

feet after walking the two miles from the bus stop to Carter’s Crossing where

Mama told me we had family.


Nothing about a bus is fun. Trains somehow have a romance to them that

buses just can’t claim. I always felt like I could be going anywhere on earth sitting

on a train, all the way across the world, listening to the whistle and catching

speedy glimpses of old towns I’d never step foot in. But buses are too close to

home. The towns all have a sameness to them and the roads are all too long,

the destination too far. You can’t be anywhere on a bus but where you started

from and I don’t care how many miles away you think you’ve gone. I’d grow

up hating buses. Maybe ’cause they’d always remind me of our trip back home

to South Carolina and that pathetic-looking, barren bus stop in the middle

of nowhere. I’ll never forget stepping off that bus wondering how far was far

when nothing stares back at you but road signs that signal you’re hundreds of

miles from anywhere you’ve ever heard of.


Mama turned heads, sad eyes or not. She was tall and her hair was nearly

black, but her eyes were the prettiest shade of blue I’d ever seen. It made me

giggle to see how many men thought the same. I used to watch them eyeing her.

Then I’d bat my eyes like Mama did, but they didn’t pay me any mind — just a

smile or an acknowledgement and sometimes they’d pat my head. But it was

Mama they were after and I knew it, even then. I was the convenient excuse

to get to her. I saw more buttons disappear into white handkerchiefs and had

my cheeks pinched by one too many hairy fingers and all the time they were

showing me magic tricks and pretending to be so fond of children, they were

ogling my mama. It made her smile, the way I’d copy her every move, bat my

eyes and shake my crossed leg while these lovesick men vied for her attention

and downright ignored my girlish flirtations. I always knew Mama wanted to

laugh out loud, but she stopped herself.


“Time enough to turn men’s heads,” she’d say, holding me to her.

I guess she didn’t realize I wasn’t at all interested in turning men’s heads. I

just wanted to be like her and to look like her and act like her. Hell, there wasn’t

a little girl in the world that wouldn’t have wanted the same. But I wasn’t tall

and blue-eyed and wispy-looking like Mama. I was skinny and Mama called

me strawberry head, ’cause my hair was flaming red, like the hot part of the

fire, something I never liked hearing ’cause strawberries gave me hives and fire

made my eyes tear. I didn’t have Mama’s clear white skin either. I was a constant

blush with pimples about as busy on my face as grass growing on the ground

under my feet. Mama smeared me with this stuff called PhisoHex at night, but

for every pimple down, three more had burst forth the next morning.

So be it. Mama said I was going to grow into my good looks; I held fast

to that. Mama said when your eye lashes are light and thick like mine, shading

my “overcast” color eyes, as Mama called them, then men were bound to fall at

my feet. Mama said all men are fools for women, but for drop-dead gorgeous

redheads, men are lame-brained idiots. Mama told me not to count all the

wounded and brokenhearted men I was going to leave in my wake, but to just

be prepared to have that effect on them.


Uncle Guy’s death changed things for us, that was for sure. For one, Mama

insisted we had to go back home and make amends. I never could figure out

what we were amending. For another, returning to South Carolina after Uncle

Guy died, and walking up that road with my mama’s hand in mine, was the

closet we were going to be for a long time. I always blamed the distances that

came upon us due to circumstance or choice, didn’t matter, distance was the

last thing I wanted from Mama. But we were coming back to too many bad

memories, wanting to be enfolded by a family whose arms were too short to

reach us. Walking up the road that day and heading toward Carter’s Crossing,

I knew that everything was changing. I could feel Mama’s thoughts and the

heaviness in her heart. She was passing it all onto me, the way she had given

me the sky’s likeness. And I took it in like a great tide cleansing me and filling

up my soul with my mama’s heart. I would cause the weariness she wore and

I felt its weight. I carried everything that was inside of her inside of me and I

always would. Everything that had hurt her, and everything that hadn’t, would

always be a part of my every breath. In my mama, I would find my anchor, but

as I held fast to the safety, so, too, I feared the drowning.

(This is a sponsored post.)