#This&That&TheOtherThing – #BlogBreaks – #GuestDayTuesdays – #Excerpts

Time for a quick catch-up, since I’ve nothing scheduled for today, but do have a few things I’d like to mention. Here goes!


THIS

Just a quick reminder that this week, my blog break day is Friday, so while I might check my email to see if there are urgent things awaiting me, I really won’t be around much too much.


THAT

Just want to remind you again that I’m ready to start scheduling #GuestDayTuesday guest posts for those of you who have something writing-related you’d like to share. I’m flexible on content for this one. Could be a new release or a cover reveal. Could be part of an upcoming blog tour. Could be you’d like to promote one of your books via your blurb and an excerpt. And it could also be something you’d just like to share about the process of writing and publishing. As always, I’ll include your bio, photo, cover, and all Buy Links and Social Media Links, so you’ll get some exposure that way, as well. For complete info, check General Blog Rules and Various Feature Instructions


THE OTHER THING

Another blog feature I plan to resurrect in the weeks ahead is “Excerpt Week,” wherein you are invited to share a favorite excerpt from one of your books, along with all of the Usual Stuff to promote the book.  I will, of necessity, limit the number of posts per day to two, so there will only be 14 spots booked for the week. But if it’s as much fun as it used to be, I will schedule it more often. And to get you in the mood, here’s an excerpt from my 3rd Wake-Robin Ridge book, Harbinger, which deals with the legend of the Black Dog as a harbinger of death. Happy reading!


***

Early June, 1994
North Carolina Mountains

~~~ 

           With a loud whoosh, the doors pulled closed on the big, yellow bus, and it rumbled down the old, two-lane highway, leaving the shrieks and laughter of the last few kids hanging in the muggy air. Sissy Birdwell stood on the dusty berm, waving goodbye to friends she wouldn’t see again until the fall, and watched the bus disappear around the curve.
          Reluctant to start the mile-long hike up the narrow, red clay road toward her home, she kicked aimlessly at some pebbles and twigs. Part of her was happy her mother had finally agreed she was old enough to walk home alone. After all, she was eight years old now, and certainly able to find her way to their house, which waited at the very end of the steep track. Another part of her shivered at the thought of the lonely, winding road ahead, which curved higher and higher through the thick woods, until it reached their clearing near the top of the ridge.
          She would never tell her mama this, but the dark beneath the trees scared her. She was afraid of bears. And coyotes. And snakes. And lots of other things that might want to share the road with her on an early June afternoon. But nobody in the whole Birdwell family would understand that, not even the women. They’d been part of these mountains forever, and she was sure nothing scared them at all.
          Of course, she could wait around for the second bus, then walk home with her brother—but that would be like admitting she was still a baby. No way she’d do that. So she squared her shoulders, and trudged up the drive toward home, refusing to look at the dusty trees and bushes that crowded close on either side. Instead, she pictured the litter of tiny pups their hound had presented them with last week, and tried to guess if any might have opened their eyes today.
          Thinking about cuddling those precious babies with their sweet puppy breath warm on her face made Sissy walk a bit faster, kicking up puffs of reddish dust from the dirt road. As she rounded the first broad curve, she saw a lone figure coming toward her. Even from a distance, the way the sun glinted on his coppery hair told her it was Cadey Hagen, the son of their nearest neighbor, but what he was doing on their drive, she wasn’t sure. The Hagen cabin was a good ways down the eastern slope of the ridge.
          “Hey, Sissy. You just gettin’ home from school?”
          “Hey, Cadey. Yeah. Sorry you missed the last day party.”
          He snorted. “Who needs them ol’ cupcakes, anyway? ‘specially if you gotta eat ‘em in a room full of stupid little kids.”
         “Wasn’t all little kids. All the grades were there, an’ the cupcakes were pretty good, too. Why’d you skip it?”
         He scowled, kicking at the dirt in disgust. “Didn’t skip it. Ol’ Lady Bratton suspended me for the last three days, just cuz she found me smokin’ behind the washroom.”
          “Oh. Didn’t know you got suspended. I heard you were in trouble, though. Only I heard it was because you had you a knife at school, and then you smart-mouthed Miz Bratton when she caught you.”
          “Well, she deserved it, dang ol’ biddy. Was only an ol’ Buck knife. Everybody carries ‘em. It don’t matter none to me, though. She’s the one gonna be sorry.”
          Sissy wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but she’d heard the bigger kids say Cadey was a boy you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of, so she kept quiet.
          Oh, he looked innocent enough, with his gap-toothed grin, freckled face, and jug ears poking out from under a thatch of hair that was more red than blond. He reminded Sissy of Opie Taylor, from the television reruns of the Andy Griffith Show, except older. Maybe twelve. She didn’t really believe he’d hurt anyone. Still, something told her not to ask any questions.
          They talked about school a moment or two, then Cadey made an announcement. “I got a secret. I’d tell you, but you ain’t old enough to trust with it.”
          Of all the things he could have said, implying she was still a little girl was the one guaranteed to get a rise out of Sissy. “Am so old enough! Ain’t nobody can make me tell a secret, Cadey Hagen. Why’re you grinnin’ like that? I wanna know.”
          “Just thinkin’. How old are you, anyway?”
          “I’m eight, an’ I know how to pinkie swear, an’ everything. I ain’t gonna blab your old secret. Probably isn’t all that good, anyway.”
          Now, Cadey was insulted. “Is so. Might be the best secret I ever had. You’d be pretty surprised, I bet.”
         They stood, indignant, in the middle of the dirt road, hands on hips, glaring at each other, then Cadey cocked his head. “What’s your real name, anyway?”
          “Cecelia Ann Birdwell. Why?”
          Cadey looked her up and down. The two of them were a study in contrasts, and Sissy scowled at the boy, as he took in her long black braids, tied with red cotton bows, and her smooth, tan skin, so different from his pale, freckled complexion. Even her tip-tilted black eyes, which clearly showed the Cherokee heritage in her family, contrasted sharply with his bright blue ones. When he finished his inspection, he seemed to have come to a decision.
          “Well, Cecelia Ann Birdwell, do you swear you’ll never tell? Hope to die? Lightnin’ strike you in the eye?”
          She huffed out a breath. “Yes. I swear I won’t tell nobody, hope to die, an’ lightnin’ strikes, an’ all. Now what’s your big ol’ secret?”
          “Come with me, then, an’ I’ll show you.”
          Without a moment’s hesitation, Sissy Birdwell took Cadey Hagen’s outstretched hand, followed him into the woods … and never came out again.


And there you have today’s This & That & The Other Thing
Hope you’ll start thinking about doing a #GuestDayTuesday soon,

and consider some excerpts for an upcoming #ExcerptWeek post, too.
Have a great day!

 

#Excerpt – #ABoyNamedRabbit – #MegaSale – #AlertTheMedia

Back again with one last excerpt in connection with this Valentine’s Day Sale, which ends today. This one was a little bit harder to choose, as I couldn’t find a good scene that wasn’t way too long. But maybe the one I decided on will work to give you a feel for who Rabbit is. Hope you enjoy meeting the little boy who took over an entire series. Happy Reading!


The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him.


EXCERPT from  Sarah’s POV, during their first breakfast with a goggle-eyed Rabbit, following his long journey through the wilderness:

If there was one thing this little boy was more interested in than the wonders of electricity and running water, it was my husband. He could barely keep his eyes off Mac, sneaking peeks every time he thought he could get away with it. It was time to find out why.

Last night, he had been so overwhelmed with the experience of being inside “Angel House,” we hadn’t spent much time asking him more about his life before reaching Wake-Robin Ridge. I thought maybe we’d sprinkle our questions in among other topics, so he wouldn’t feel like he was being interrogated. He was pretty talkative, if you approached it right.

“Rabbit, when you saw Mac yesterday, you said something about your gran, and about Mac having hair like a crow, is that right?”

He glanced at Mac, who was studying his own breakfast as though he’d never seen eggs and toast before, then he looked back at me and nodded.

“Can you tell me what you meant?”

His voice was sad and soft when he talked about his gran. I could tell he missed her very much. “My gran told me I had to find him. She said she seen me with a man with eyes like winter skies an’ hair like a crow’s wing. She said it was important for me to find him, because that’s where I belonged.”

Mac stopped eating, fork midway to his mouth, and eyes still glued to his plate.

“What do you mean, she saw him? Where would she have seen you with him?”

Rabbit’s face was solemn, indigo eyes round and serious. “My gran … she had dreams sometimes. Seein’ Dreams, she called ‘em. I never did have no dreams that came true, an’ my grampa said he never did, neither. But my gran did. She dreamed ‘bout the weather gettin’ cold when there wasn’t no reason to think it was gonna. An’ where to find ripe blackberries, when we thought they was all gone for the year. An’ ‘bout stuff that was gonna happen to Grampa when he went to get supplies. They always come true, her Seein’ Dreams.”

“And your gran dreamed about you with Mac?”

Rabbit aimed those adoring eyes at Mac, but Mac stuck to his pretense of eating his breakfast, as though he couldn’t hear this little boy telling his remarkable tale.

Turning back to me, Rabbit continued. “She was dyin’, you see. She was tellin’ me stuff I needed to know so’s I’d be okay by myself. She couldn’t hardly talk, her breathin’ was so bad, an’ Grampa hadn’t come back with medicine for her cough.”

His eyes filled with tears, and he was silent for a minute, but I stayed where I was, and let him tell me at his own pace. With a little shuddery gulp, he tried again. “My grampa, he’d never left us alone at night. No matter what, he was always back before dark. Only this time, he didn’t come all day, nor all night. And Gran and I, we knew somethin’ bad had happened. Maybe if he had gotten back to us, the medicine would have helped. I been thinkin’ ‘bout that for a long time. But she were bad sick. Never seen her coughin’ so much before.”

His voice dropped to a faint whisper. “There was blood.”

He stared down at the countertop, swinging his foot back and forth as he gathered his thoughts. “Gran, she held my hand real tight, an’ she told me what I had to do. She said I had to find my new people. I didn’t never know I’d have to do somethin’ like that someday. Grampa, he never would take me where there was other folks, ‘cause he said people was bad. He said they lied, an’ cheated, an’ couldn’t be trusted, an’ we was better off by ourselves. But my gran told me that some people was like what he said, an’ some people wasn’t. She said there was Good People in the world, too, an’ I had to leave the mountain an’ find them. An’ then she told me she seen me with a man with eyes like winter skies an’ hair like a crow’s wing, an’ that was where I belonged. The last thing she said to me was to find that man.”

He paused and looked straight at Mac, a profound longing shining from his eyes. “I promised her. An’ I found him.” His voice was so soft, I could barely hear him.

From the way Mac’s mouth tightened, though, I knew that he had heard, loud and clear. Without a word, he pushed his stool back from the island, put his plate in the sink, and walked out the back door.

Rabbit looked at me with a sad little smile. “He don’t like me much yet. But Gran weren’t never wrong. I can wait.”


Sale ends today, so don’t miss out!
Download  A Boy Named Rabbit for just $.99 HERE


Hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the second Wake-Robin Ridge novel! 
And my heartfelt thanks goes out to each of you for reading along, and for helping me get the word out about this Valentine’s Day Sale!
You guys are the BEST!