Tag: Excerpt

Book Release | a Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other, by Ralph Webster | Summary and Excerpt

a

a Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other
The Third Reich is rising.  The creeping madness in the heart of Germany will soon stain the entire world.  This is the chilling account of one family as they flee for their lives.

Blurb

The Wobsers are prosperous, churchgoing, patriotic Germans living in a small East Prussian town.  When Hitler seizes power, their comfortable family life is destroyed by a horrifying Nazi regime.  Baptized and confirmed as Lutherans, they are told they are Jewish, a past always respected but rarely considered.  This distinction makes a life-and-death difference.  Suddenly, it is no longer a matter of faith or religion; their lives are defined by race.  It is a matter of bloodlines.  And, in Nazi Germany, they have the wrong blood.

Genres:  Memoir; Historical Novel; Biography
Page Count:  372 Pages
Release Date:  June 28, 2016
Paperback: $15.95  Kindle: $9.99
ISBN: 1533656924 (ISBN13: 978-1533656926)
Publisher:  CreateSpace

Goodreads | Website |  Amazon

About the Author

bRalph Webster is retired and lives with his wife Ginger on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  An enthusiastic world traveler, he is the son of immigrant parents; refugees who were forced to leave their homelands and families for reasons that defy comprehension.  Through this prism, he has a profound respect for those who must leave their lives behind, and whose only dream is to journey to a welcoming land where there is freedom and opportunity to create a better life.  This is his first book.

 

Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt

We had no idea, no reason to expect that Father’s business would become a target, too.  There was no forewarning.  That morning, along the front of his building, in large red letters, was the message, “Udo Wobser is a Jew!”

I speak as an adult now, with the collected wisdom of age and hindsight.  I will always remember that Saturday through the eyes and mind of a ten-year-old boy.  That was the day Father became known as Udo Wobser, the Jew, no longer simply as Udo Wobser.  That was the day I learned that I could be both a Jew and a Lutheran at the same time, that being a Jew was about bloodlines and ancestors, that it was about race, not only religion.  That was the day I learned I was still a German, but now I was a German Jew.  That was the day I learned that my family was a member of a much larger family, a family that ran generations deep, a family that was viewed with disdain and contempt.

From that date forward, a line had been drawn.  It wouldn’t matter what we thought, how we had lived, what we believed.  Please don’t misunderstand.  We had never rejected the notion.  We simply had never been taught to embrace it.  Before April 1, 1933, I never entertained the idea that our family was Jewish, that I was a Jew.  It meant nothing to me.  If asked the question, I would have answered, “No, I am Lutheran.”

Ultimately, the answer was not ours to give.  Others told us who we were.  Both Mother and Father were descendants of Jews.  There was no denying.  There was no appeal.

At times, I wonder what Mother and Father really felt that day.  Given the choice, how would have they answered the question.  Did they consider themselves Jews?  Now I know their answer was obvious.  Our opinion did not matter.  There was no choice.  No one asked.  The question was not needed; the answer was evident.

 

 

Book Release | Rarity from the Hollow, by Robert Eggleton | Summary and Excerpt

1-rarity-front-cover-web-2

Rarity from the Hollow

Blurb

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

The second edition is scheduled for release on September 30, 2016.

Genre: Adult Literary Science Fiction

Page Count: 284 pages

Release Date: 8 November 2015 (original); 30 September 2016 (second edition)

Paperback: $20.84; Ebook $7.90

ISBN: Ebook: 1907133062; ISBN-13: 978-1907133060 (original);  Second Edition: ISBN (Print): 978-1-907133-95-4; ISBN (MOBI): 978-1-907133-24-4; ISBN (EPUB): 978-1-907133-64-0

Publisher: Dog Horn Publishing

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”—Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” —Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting, naughty story of a backwoods girl, who saves the Universe, in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

. “…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” —The Baryon Review

Goodreads | Website | Amazon | Amazon UK | Kindle Dog Horn Publishing | Lulu

About the Author

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Twitter

Excerpt

 

            …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn’s name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

I hear her voice. Why won’t she answer me? 

“Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods.

Nobody responded. The trees weren’t supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

I will always love you guys. 

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.

Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 

Jenny looked to the left of the path.

There ain’t no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 

She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn’t exit and into a blue light that did.

“All right, you mother f**ker!”

“Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you’re supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story).”

DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.

“Grrrrr,” emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn’s dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

“Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

“You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

Stay between them.

“Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I’m old enough — like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend — what you call it — my fiancé.”

“You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce.

“MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

He ain’t got no private parts, not even a little bump.   

“DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.

“Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.”

I will need much more training if I’m ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

“Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”

Jenny’s left eye twitched.

DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…

…(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There’re a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain’t complained since the shots started — not even with an upset stomach.”

“He’s a doctor?” Jenny asked.

“What’s your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that’s different — even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

“Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.

“So?”

Mommy’s right. Maybe I need a different argument.

            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.

“What’s that?” Jenny asked.

She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.

“But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.

“Mommy, I’m so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn’t talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain’t had no chance to talk. All I know is that he’s home and I’m sooooo happy.”

“Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more….

It’s unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that’s a good sign. Maybe she’s right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They’ve been together for a while and I ain’t seen a mark on her. That’s unusual too. He ain’t got no private parts and that’s another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. Id better play it smart. I don’t want to lose my baby.

“What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.

“I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”

“My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition — the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said.

They both glared at him.

“Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said.

“Okay, Mommy.”

“I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her.

“I love you too,” DotCom said.

Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile — at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.

Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”

Update 13-01-2017: Purchase links and cover.

New Release | Manipulated Lives, by H. A. Leuschel | Summary and Excerpt

30509344

Manipulated Lives
Five stories – Five Lives

Blurb

Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?

Manipulators are everywhere.  At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way.  They are often masters of disguise:  witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim.

In this collection of short novellas you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual.  First you meet a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Next, there is Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father.  Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself and finally Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

Genre: Novellas, Psychology, Literary

ISBN: 978-1534708976

Date of Release: 8 June 2016

Word Count: 85,445

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Helene Andrea Leuschel was born and raised in Belgium to German parents. She gained a Licentiate in Journalism, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. Helene moved to the Algarve in 2009 with her husband and two children, working as a freelance TV producer and teaching yoga. She recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. Manipulated Lives is Helene’s first work of fiction.

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt

The Spell

He had a small, delicate body, thin legs and arms, and a torso that was short and fragile. He almost looked supernatural, like a beautiful version of an elf, with his startling light blue eyes and hair as dark as charcoal. Later on, when we were as familiar with each other as a mother and son would be, he wrapped himself warmly around me like a shawl or a small monkey anchored to his mother’s body for the day. His lightness added to my initial impression that he looked like a beautiful, fantastical character who’d walked straight out of a children’s picture book, yet I quickly found out that my female instincts to protect him were undeniably linked to a human child whose cheeks reddened with exertion and whose occasional stroppiness could only be found in the very young. And I need to tell you right from the start that he is not my son, because I am not his biological mother. Yet, we would have both liked to have been each other’s family and, for a short while, we actually were. I know that because of the way he looked at me, the way he snuggled up whenever he saw me, and the way he always saw goodness in me. He had the capacity to make me melt there and then and I would forgive him instantly for small tantrums or cheeky retorts. He seemed to endear himself to my laughs and smiles and I loved his thin, fine fingers reaching out to claim a hug, one of so many he desperately needed.
You will wonder whose son he was and why he is no longer with me; and I will tell you why, so that I don’t go crazy with grief and so that our story, and the stories of those who were involved in it, may come to convey how life can deal you a difficult card.
I met Leo’s father shortly after meeting my little guy. That was a nickname I’d frequently use for my new and very special friend. Leo was a grand name for a small person with fluffy, wispy dark hair and a voice that never carried far, yet if you took the time to lower your ear towards his words, you would be enthralled by their wisdom. This child was unusual in so many ways. Leo loved to sing and that was exactly how I noticed him, sitting by himself in the kids’ play area which was part of the private sports club I frequented. He was singing a little song to himself and seemed very happy with his own company. I had just turned thirty and was already well acquainted with young children, thanks to my sister’s and my brother’s growing families. I just loved being their hands-on, and fun-loving auntie, and therefore making eye contact with strangers’ children came naturally to me.
However, when I turned my head towards the sound, the owner of the voice was nowhere to be seen. I was relaxing in the club’s café, adjacent to the play area, and had just ordered my usual cup of matcha green tea latte with a slice of fresh cake, well-earned, I thought, after a very demanding and dynamic yoga session. I looked at the green mix of tea and foamed almond milk and took a sip, enjoying the bitter-sweet taste. I was half-way through the thick raspberry-filled cheesecake when I heard the singing again. My fork stopped in mid-air as I listened more carefully. It was the funniest melody I had ever heard. He was copying the lyrics of a popular song, frequently aired on the radio at the time, so I caught on to it very quickly. However, it was unusually out of tune. Not only was the voice squeaky and mouse-like but the intonations were all wrong. I stifled a laugh, telling myself that this was incredibly cute, and I looked up once more to try and find the unusual singer. I couldn’t see him fully at first, but a few of his black wisps of hair were sticking out above a large, soft cushion which gave him away to my probing eyes. Convinced now that he was the singer I was looking for, I lowered my gaze further and widened my eyes with surprise. I had locked onto a big set of blue eyes, peeking round the corner of the cushion, looking straight at me. It was as if he’d deliberately sung again, to see whether I’d notice him. Questions were forming in my mind. Did he notice that I had been listening? Worse, did he know that I had been amused? I was taken aback, to say the least, and made sure he wasn’t actually looking at his own parent, by checking the people sitting beside and behind me. No one seemed to take any interest in the little fellow. So, I just smiled and he smiled back and our first meeting was sealed.
We had somehow found a secret understanding which was the base for a series of encounters that led me to talk to him, ask his name, and find out why he was on his own and query who was looking after him. He told me not to worry because his dad had left him to play while he was doing a ‘round’. That’s how he had put it anyway. I know now what he meant by rounds but, initially, I had been appalled. To leave a small child to his own devices was bad enough, but to do it for a few hours was criminal in my view. Why I had not reported it then, I don’t know. My excuse was that I’d built up a special relationship with a little chap, who became my friend before his dad did. Had he not been there, I don’t think I would ever have spoken to David. I imagined him as a small person himself, maybe even a Woody Allen type of a man, pale and skinny with big glasses, but my imagination was proven wrong when I finally did set eyes on him.
It had been a dark and rainy day when I eventually ran into David. I had decided to not only linger a bit longer at the sports club in the hope that the torrential rain would ease off, but also because I was wondering who the mysterious dad was. When I finally laid eyes on him I was pleasantly surprised. The man was tall and broad, his eyes blue, and his face was surrounded by wavy black hair. I could tell that he’d only just left the shower because his hair smelled clean and moist. His cheeks were still flushed from doing exercise and a big smile revealed a set of straight white teeth. He was a good-looking man, but with a strange insecurity. I would notice later that he did like to keep his T-shirt on to hide his waist, only slightly pudgy, when sitting by a pool or walking down a beach. Despite being ten years my senior, he had kept well-toned arms and legs and his voice carried far. The fact that I had met his son before I’d met him was the reason why we struck up a conversation.
‘Oh, so you’re the amazing Sophie who my son’s in love with!’ Of course, my cheeks burnt upon hearing this, as if I had been found out doing something illegal. He hitched his sports bag over his shoulder and we exchanged a few pleasantries, heading to the warmth of the café with a beaming Leo in tow. After some small talk, we ended up in front of two glasses of wine and an apple juice for Leo, who was chatting happily over a plate of pasta bolognaise. To this day, I cannot tell why being fond of a little boy had meant that I trusted his dad more quickly than any other stranger.
‘I must admit that I wouldn’t have picked you among a group of potential dads,’ I said eventually, with a cheeky grin. Alcohol had that effect on me that even half a glass of wine could easily loosen my tongue.
‘Yes, I know you probably wonder how this little fellow could be my son.’
I reassured him that I had met a family with three children as a child and had seriously wondered for years how they could even be remotely related to their parents. They each looked so different; had features that could not be connected to the others.
‘He must take after his mother,’ I said casually. David instantly seemed to change. My words must have struck like lightning because, as soon as they were out of my mouth, they took a life of their own and caused him to hunch up, lower his eyes, and twist his fingers. I also noticed a nervous tapping of his foot, which added to the overall unease. I had said the wrong thing or, at least, I must have said it in the wrong way, I thought. David’s friendly, jokey mood had changed to a clammed-up posture and the atmosphere turned awkward. What if Leo’s mother had died? Or maybe he was his step-dad? Many scenarios were plausible. How insensitive of me.
‘I’m very sorry for saying that.’ David raised his hand and waved it dismissively, reassuring me that no harm was done. No further word was mentioned about the mother and I decided to leave it at that until he would maybe be ready to explain himself. Looking from David to Leo, I concluded that at least their hair colour and the lightness of their eyes were strikingly similar, two features that could connect them clearly as father and son. But what I was really thinking about at that very moment was, Is there something wrong with the little fellow? He’s so small. I was curious to know why Leo was the way he was. I knew I had spoken too quickly, but sensed that talking about Leo’s mother was completely taboo.

 

Book Tour | IA: Initiate” by John Darryl Winston | Summary, Excerpt and Giveaway!

 

Welcome to my tour stop for “IA: Initiate” by John Darryl Winston. This tour runs from March 21 to 25. Please refer the tour page for the full list of bloggers who are participating in this tour.

 

Name: IA: Initiate

Author: John Darryl Winston

Publisher: Purple Ash Press

Release Date: April 19, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction

Buy @ Amazon

 

 

IA: Initiate is origin story and a hero’s journey that follows thirteen-year-old orphan Naz Andersen and his nine-year-old sister, Meri. They live in a present day alternate Detroit/Chicago-like city known as the Exclave where they are surrounded by poverty, gang violence threatens every corner, and drug dealers rule the streets. Naz thinks he is ordinary except that he hears voices, has nightmares, and walks in his sleep.

 

The most important thing in the world to Naz is protecting Meri and getting her out of the Exclave and into the prestigious International Academy. But Naz has a secret, one that he is oblivious to, and only Meri knows. When Naz becomes the target of a notorious street gang he begins to discover the voices in his head, the nightmares, and sleepwalking are actually telekinesis and telepathy at play, a gift from his father of whom he has no memory.

EXCERPT

 

 

Naz watched the two boys as they continued to approach. They were a block away. Why would they be here in this section … today … so early in the morning? If they’re new to this section and on their way to Union High School—a half mile away—they should have been long gone by now. He had seen them only twenty minutes ago two blocks away. Why are they still here? Something’s wrong. It doesn’t feel right.

Ham continued. “I think they call it—”

“Let’s cross here.” Naz began to nudge Ham.

Ham nudged back and said, “Like I was saying, I think they call it lucid dreaming.”

“Enough about dreams. Let’s cross here.”

“Why? Lincoln’s on this side.”

“I know, but …” He didn’t know what else to say to persuade Ham to cross the street. But something was definitely wrong. He could somehow sense the emergence of danger. He could feel it, and he knew now he wasn’t going to be able to get Ham to cross. Ham was no coward. Naz had never seen it for himself, but had heard fromothers in Section 31 that Ham was good in a fight and had the scars, including a nasty one under his right eye, to prove that he had been in wars. Naz had never been in a fight, at least not one that he could remember.Ham now noticed the two boys in front of them and caught on, only he had a different reaction. “Cross for them? This is our section. We ain’t goin’ nowhere.”  Ham’s whole attitude and body language changed, and instead of slowing, he sped up a bit. It was another side of him that Naz had only heard about, but had never seen.

“What are you gonna do?” Naz asked nervously.

“Nothin’. We’re just on our way to school talking about dreams is all, right?”

The boys were now within a half block of each other. “Have you ever had a lucid dream?” Ham asked, as he slowly reached into his back pocket.

“A what?” Naz asked in confusion.

Ham continued the conversation as if nothing had changed. “A lucid dream, you know, when you actually know you’re dreaming.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Naz saw Ham pull a black object out of his back pocket and hold it behind his back. Naz and Ham were now about fifty feet from the two boys. They were even bigger and possibly older than Naz first thought, but that didn’t seem to bother Ham.

“I don’t … I … I don’t think I ever had that dream … before.” Naz struggled to speak not even knowing what he was saying.

When the boys were within thirty feet of each other, Ham said something in Spanish, something that came out very fast that Naz didn’t understand. His hope that it was a peaceful greeting faded when he saw the reflection off a shining blade—a blade from the black object Ham was concealing behind his back. The husky boy in front of Ham said something back in Spanish—something Naz remembered the taller boy saying earlier.

“Únete a nosotros,” said the husky boy.

Then, as if on cue, like something out of a Western, they all stopped about fifteen feet from each other. The two strange boys and Ham were smiling at one another, and Naz hoped that it was because they knew each other. But he was soon certain that wasn’t the case, especially when the taller boy, who was also concealing something behind his back, began to taunt Naz and started moving slowly from facing him to Naz’s side. His voice was unusually gruff, as he was laughing and speaking in Spanish. Naz was confused. Is this a robbery? He didn’t have a whole lot of money. He didn’t understand what this was all about.

Naz said, “No habloespañol.”

It was something he remembered Ham teaching him, but the boy just continued to laugh. The taller boy was obviously trying to angle around and get behind Naz, but with the boy’s every move, Naz turned to face him.Suddenly Ham and the husky boy with the Mohawk pulled their knives and crouched in what looked to Naz like some sort of attack position. They were still smiling and still making verbal exchanges in Spanish.

That’s when it happened. Naz hadn’t heard the voices in almost two months and now they were back.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Darryl Winston is a recording artist, turned educator, turned author. He dates his love of storytelling back to reading the bible with his father and sisters and later when he first saw Superman The Movie as an 11th grader in his high school auditorium. He got the idea for his debut series while piloted a Boys’ Read program as a Detroit Public School teacher. He is the founder of the Adopt an Author program, which has as its mission to create an atmosphere where boys and girls learn to love reading and writing.

He has written songs with and for Grammy winner David Foster and record mogul Clive Davis. He has been a recording artist on Arista and Polygram records, and has written and/or produced songs for Gerald Levert, Jordan Hill, Gerald Alston, and many others.

He’s a graduate of the Recording Institute of Detroit, The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, and Wayne State University. He has his MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and will be graduating, June 2016 with his MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes. He lives in Detroit with daughter, Marquette and plans to buy an African Grey Parrot when he conquers his irrational fear of birds and name him or her Tony or Toni.

GIVEAWAY

John is offering ecopies of IA: Initiate to the 5 winners of the below Rafflecopter.

 Click here to enter!