Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Payne and Misery by Catherine Leggitt

Payne and Misery by Catherine Leggitt

Payne and Misery by Catherine Leggitt

Catherine Leggitt is the author of the cozy mystery novels, “Payne & Misery,” The “Dunn Deal,”and “Parrish the Thought.” She is also an inspirational speaker presently residing in northern California. During her first career–after raising children and before caring for her aging parents–Catherine worked as an elementary school teacher, where she developed her flair for playacting and storytelling. Struggling with retirement, Catherine needed a distraction. She found it at her keyboard.
In addition to writing and speaking, Catherine is the mother of three brilliant children who have collectively produced six incredible grandchildren. An avid Bible student, she sings in the church choir. Catherine is passionate about reading.
“Payne & Misery,” a Christine Sterling Mystery, won second place at the Orange County Christian Writer’s Conference in 2010. “Parrish the Thought” made the quarter finals in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest before Ellechor published the the trilogy starting in 2011. The remaining books, “The Dunn Deal” and “Parrish the Thought,” were published in 2012. Also, visit her at http://www.catherineleggitt.com/.

About the book:

All that glitters is not gold for Christine Sterling. The luster of her shiny Golden Years dream fades when Christine’s newly retired husband, Jesse, becomes obsessed with a hobby requiring extra time away from her.
Christine develops a bad reputation for conjuring wild tales and being chief complainer. Then she meets someone who has true reason to complain, if anyone does.
Lila Payne’s life is the mirror opposite of ideal. The plight of this seemingly abused woman gnaws at Christine, but the authorities turn a deaf ear to Christine’s pleas for help on Lila’s behalf. Spurred into action when her beloved dog Molly and Lila both disappear on the same night, Christine dives into a scary pool swirling with muddy secrets and misery. Sensing God at work in the situation Christine continues to search and pray, but even with God’s help, can they save Lila and Molly before it’s too late?



Dark—the word fit him like a bad guy’s black hat—complexion, glasses, expression, knit cap pulled low over his ears, tufts of curls poking out underneath. I concentrated on memorizing his suspicious features as I observed him through the plate glass window of the Humpty-Dumpty Restaurant where my husband Jesse and I often ate brunch after Sunday morning church. The man’s lurking worried me.


“Maybe he’s an Arab.” Not that I’d know an Arab if I bumped into one on the streets. Except for Hispanics, Grass Valley, California, maintained a mostly snow-white population, much like most small towns in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


Around us, flatware scraped stoneware, glasses clinked, voices swelled and ebbed interspersed with occasional laughter swirling through the appetizing breakfast smells, but I couldn’t pry my eyes off the shady man in the parking lot. Nevertheless, I would guess Jesse didn’t so much as look up from his breakfast when he answered. “Who?”


“Out there.” I jabbed a finger toward the culprit.




I let out the anxious breath I’d been holding in and pointed again. “See the man hiding behind that forest green car?”


Jesse frowned as he chewed a few more bites of chili bean omelet. “Honestly, Christine. If he’s behind a car, how can I see him?”


“He keeps popping up. There he is! Look, look. Now.”


Jesse dutifully followed my pointer and then sustained a long stare before turning his attention back to his food. “Okay, I see him. So?”


“He staked out that car. He’s been waiting the whole time we’ve been here. He paces behind it, trying to stay out of sight. When the driver comes back, he’ll jump out and mug her—take her cash and jewelry and who knows what else. Bet he has a gun or a knife in that pocket where his hand is. Watch him.”


Jesse rolled his eyes. “Give it up, will you? You’re jumping to conclusions again. How do you know a woman drives that car? Even if there is a man driver, maybe he’s in a hurry to get home and his wife is taking too long in the restroom.”


“Then why doesn’t he unlock the car and get in?”


Jesse stopped chewing and blinked.


Ha! I got him there. I went back to studying the perpetrator in case I got called on to identify him in a line-up.


Jesse’s delayed answer mumbled out between chews. “Maybe his wife has the car keys.”


After being married to this man for thirty-five years, I should expect Jesse’s reaction to my gift of observation. He never took it seriously. “You’re going to be sorry when you read in tomorrow’s paper that some poor woman got murdered in the Humpty-Dumpty parking lot while you gobbled down a chili omelet.”


Jesse didn’t look up, just harrumphed and kept on eating.


I returned to surveillance, thankful for last year’s laser surgery, which had given my vision razor-edge clarity. The man stood in the shadow of an overhanging oak, but from the direction of his head, I could tell his eyes remained fixed on the front door of the restaurant. My stomach knotted into a pretzel. Danger! I narrowed my eyes. Would Jesse run out to save the woman when the man attacked her? Jesse, my hero, the love of my life.


I’d be right behind him, swinging my heavy purse.


Just then, a woman in a leopard-print Spandex dress exited the restaurant and minced across the parking lot toward the man. I held my breath and then whispered, “Jesse!”


Neither of us moved while the woman’s rectangular bag flopped from side to side on its thin strap in rhythm with her swaying hips. Like a lamb to the slaughter, she sauntered closer to her fate without a trace of fear in her walk.


A gasp escaped my lips when the dark-complexioned man popped from the shadows directly in front of his victim. After a short verbal exchange, the woman opened the door of the green sedan and slid in. The mysterious villain hurried to the other side and settled in the passenger seat. Back-up lights flickered. The automobile reversed out of the parking space and sped away.


Without so much as a punch or a yell. He didn’t even grab her bag.


I leveled my gaze at Jesse and blinked. He opened his mouth. I held up one hand. “Don’t say it.” Instead, he shook his head and grunted again before returning to his omelet.


I gulped coffee and fidgeted with my napkin. “He did look suspicious. You can’t deny that.”


Jesse buttered his biscuit, took a big bite, and chewed. I felt the lecture building in his brain like a sudden summer thunderstorm. He stared at me with a curious expression—as if I’d grown a second head—swiped his mouth with his napkin and sighed. “You never give up, do you? There’s something sinister happening everywhere we go. Face it, Chris. This is an ordinary small town in northern California. Good people live here. Bad things don’t happen. That’s why we retired here. Remember? Extremely low crime rate. But you insist on seeing evil everywhere we go. You won’t stop snooping into other people’s affairs. Looking for ...”


His shoulders sagged and he waggled his head once more. “If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.”


“Funny? What would?” Do I dare ask?


“Your imagination.” He leaned forward and pointed his fork in my face. “Someday, that wild imagination of yours is going to get you into real trouble.”

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rest For The Wicked by Cate Dean

Rest For The Wicked by Cate Dean

Rest For The Wicked by Cate Dean


Claire Wiche is an ordinary woman, running her Wicca shop, The Wiche’s Broom, in an ordinary California beach town. But Claire wasn’t always ordinary, and she isn’t quite human. She hides a secret, and a past she thought she had put behind her.

A past that is about to explode into her present.

When it does, and everyone she loves is in danger, Claire must face up to her past – and become what she left behind in order to save them.

CATE DEAN  has been writing since she could hold a pen in her hand and put more than two words together on paper. She grew up losing herself in the wilds of fantasy worlds, and has had some of her own adventures while tromping through the UK, and a few other parts of the world. A lover of all things supernatural, she infuses that love into her stories, giving them a unique edge. When she’s not writing, she loves cooking, scaring herself silly in the local cemeteries, and reading pretty much anything she can get her hands on. Also, visit her at http://catedeanwrites.com/.
Excerpt #1: Chapter 1
Claire Wiche guided her unhappy customer through her shop, one arm around the woman’s hunched shoulders.
“You know I don’t do love spells, Mildred.”
“But I know if he could see me, really see me, he’d fall desperately in—”
“Would it be real, if he’s under an enchantment?”
Mildred pouted, not a pretty sight on an eighty-year-old woman. “What happened to the customer is always right?”
Biting her lip on a smile, Claire walked her through the open door.
“Never been my policy. And I have good reasons for that.” She rubbed the old woman’s arm.
“You go on home now. I’ll phone you when my new shipment of crystals shows up.”
Leaning against the narrow porch post, Claire watched her toddle down the sidewalk, sunlight bouncing off the thin silver poodle curls. The morning gloom had burned off early, and it looked like the start of another beautiful day.
She crossed her arms, cold despite the sweater she slipped on earlier. It took longer to warm up lately, a fact she did her best to ignore.
“Are you cold again, Claire? It’s got to be at least 80 in the store.”
Unless, of course, a well-meaning friend shoved it in her face.
She turned around, forced a smile. “Is it, Annie? I must have forgotten to turn it down this morning.”
“How could you not notice? The candles are sweating.” Annie Sullivan—the lively, noholds-barred friend Claire never expected to have in her life—stepped across the small porch that ran along the front of the shop, her almost six foot height topping Claire by a good ten inches.
She caught one hand before Claire could shove them in her pockets. “You’re like ice. Again.”
She looked down at Claire, concern in her warm brown eyes. “And you’re avoiding. Again.”
With a sigh, Claire squeezed her hand before easing out of it. The warmth in Annie’s fingers made her skin tingle, yearn.
“Time to turn that heat down before the candles become a puddle.”
Annie followed her back inside, hovering while she adjusted the thermostat to a more reasonable temperature. She would need a heavier sweater.“Come on,” Annie said, hands on her hips. “Give.”
Shaking her head, Claire smiled, a real smile this time. “Would I’m just cold and tired do it for you?”
“Hardly.” Annie stood in front of the counter, looking like a golden Amazon ready for battle.
“But it’ll have to until I can get you drunk and pry the truth out of you.”
Laughter burst out of Claire. “I’d like to see that.”
“Yeah, so would I. If you actually touched the stuff.” She gave Claire a wicked smile. “I could always slip you a mickey.”
“You could—if I wasn’t able to smell it from across the room.”
“Slapped down again. Hey—what if we just tried—”
“Not again. Never again.” Claire still felt the residual agony from her one failed attempt at social drinking.
“How do you do that?” Those warm brown eyes narrowed as they studied her. “How do you always know what I’m going to say?”
Claire reached up and patted her cheek. “I’m a witch, sweetheart. It’s what I do.”
“Wait.” She grabbed Claire’s hand, pushed her sleeve up to reveal the bandage that peeked out. “Is that another tattoo? What is it this time?”
Claire flushed. The second reason she put on a sweater this morning.
“A triquetra.”
“More protection? Jeez, Claire, the pentacle on your hip isn’t enough?”
“There is no such thing as too much protection.” She pulled free and walked around the counter. “And the subject is closed.”
“Okay, I can take a hint. I’ll drop in sometime tomorrow, see if you need any help during the festival madness.”
“That will be most appreciated.”
Annie strode to the door, her long legs taking her through the small shop in a few paces. She paused in the doorway. “Hey, Claire—I’m worried, and I poke when I’m worried. I’ll leave it alone for now. But if you don’t get better, I’ll do more than poke.”
“Annie.” She stuck her head back in. “Don’t you even think about taking on Mildred’s love spell.”
Color rushed into her cheeks.“I wasn’t—”
“I mean it. Last time you nearly had your victim falling in love with her cat.”
“Never gonna let me live that one down, are you?”
Claire smiled. “Not if it keeps you from trying again.”
Annie cursed under her breath and stalked out.
Chuckling, Claire made a mental note to put feelers out. Annie had more than enough power, and just enough knowledge to make her dangerous.
Without warning the pain stabbed her; a blade of ice in her gut.
Bracing her hands on the counter, she fought to breathe, fought to keep herself upright.
Shaking so hard her rings clattered against the granite countertop, she gained enough control to lower herself to the chair that she recently added, out of necessity.
“God above—” She pressed both arms against her stomach, prayed for a slow morning. If she believed God would actually listen to her, after all this time, she’d ask the single question that haunted her.
Is this how it feels to be dying?
Eric watched, helpless, as the beautiful creature tortured his sister Katelyn.
Not a woman, not anymore—but she may have been human once. She had looked human, and harmless, as she stood on the porch when Eric opened the door to her this morning. But now power coiled around her, dark and ugly. Power she’d hidden under a smile, and the name of a mutual friend who had recommended his clinic. That power held him against the wall with
invisible chains, locked his voice in his throat. He tried to scream as she dragged the knife across Katelyn’s bare stomach.
“She will feel that, and not know why.” The creature trailed one hand across the shallow wound, studying the blood that tipped her fingers. “You are so delicate, so easily broken. Why would she choose such a life, when immortality is hers?”
Katelyn no longer tugged at the ropes that tied her down to their heavy farmhouse table. She stared up at the creature bent over her, the bright light of the chandelier washing out her pale skin, and moaned deep in her throat every time those narrow hands touched her. Wearing only her faded jeans, she looked fragile, defenseless.
Fight her, Kate—damn it, you have to fight her until I can free—
“You would do best to save your strength, Eric. I have an important task for you.”
He would kill himself before he agreed to any bloody deed she had for him.
Katelyn recoiled, gasping as the tip of the blade moved up her torso, stopping just below her ribcage. Eric fought against the invisible restraints, his heart pounding so hard he could barely hear the silken voice over it.
“Your life, your soul, will help me crack open a door. Soon I will be able to return home in triumph, with the most coveted prize in my grasp. Sweet Katelyn—I will owe you all that I become.” The creature leaned in and pressed her lips to Katelyn’s cheek. “Thank you. Now I will send her a message she will not soon forget. Close your eyes, my innocent girl, and there will be no more pain.”
Eric’s scream echoed in his head as the creature shoved the knife into Katelyn.
She arched off the table, then collapsed, blood spilling down her skin, pooling on the scarred wood. Eric slumped against the wall. He didn’t care what the devil did to him now. He had just watched her kill the only important part of his life, his only family. Now he wanted her to end him, before the pain kicked in. Before he started to feel again.
She glided over to him, a beautiful, deadly predator.
“Now, my darling Eric.” He tried to jerk away from the hand caressing him. She simply smiled, and the restraints tightened until he fought to breathe. After an endless minute they loosened, just enough for him to take in a ragged breath. “I will not tolerate defiance. Do we have an understanding?”
“I won’t—obey you, bitch.” He sucked in another breath, bracing himself for the final blow.
“So just kill me.”
“Ah, Eric. Your bravado is refreshing. Most of your kind simply cower, or grovel. I do abhor the groveling.”
She sounded like someone out of an old novel. He searched for the term—then forgot everything when she kissed him.
Heat scorched him. He gasped against her lips, agony following the trail of fire straight to the center of him.“There.” She whispered into his mouth, her hand on his chest, the touch like a branding iron.
He moaned, and she took it in, her lips claiming him. When she finally tore away, he felt like part of him had been torn away with her. Struggling to catch his breath, he lowered his head, and saw the amulet in her palm. A stylized goat’s head, the gold edged with black, like it had been—burned. Just looking at it had dread and unnamable terror slithering through him. Then her hand
dropped out of sight, and he forgot what he was thinking, and why sweat slicked every inch of him.
The woman smiled at him, and dark lust squeezed his gut. “You will find her, Eric, and bring her to me. Hurt her if you must—and you most likely will need to, in order to subdue her. But I want her alive.”
“Whatever you want. I am yours . . .”
“Natasha. You can call me Natasha. Now watch, darling Eric, and remember.”
He stared into the dark green eyes, watched in wonder as her image shimmered, and another face laid over hers, an opaque mask. Her green eyes became a silvery blue. The mask expanded, and color bled out of her black hair, replaced by a rich brown. It grew, long and waving, until it reached her waist. He followed the progress of the shimmering mask, the part of his mind not
trapped by her screaming in horror. Her touch silenced it.
Looking up, he met the soft, silver blue eyes, the sculpted face framed by masses of hair that seemed to engulf her delicate figure.
“Find me, Eric. It is time for me to go home.”
Fingers slid over his face, burning the image of her into his mind. He sank into the waiting darkness, followed by a single word. A name.

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Rest For The Wicked by Cate Dean

Heroines With Heart is a massive blog tour that runs throughout 2013, that features books with strong female protagonists. We have authors from several different genres, including young adult, mystery/thriller/suspense, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and Christian fiction. We are also giving away fun digital prizes and sharing new and noteworthy books throughout the year. Want updates?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Simon's Choice



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

About Lianne Simon  

Over the past decade I’ve answered inquiries on behalf of a support group for the parents of children born between the sexes. However, as the Internet has grown, so have the options available. The Androgen Insensitivity Support Group, for instance, accepts girls with various differences of sexual development. With groups like AISSG flourishing, my time can be put to better use elsewhere.
In addition to working with the parents of intersex children, I had the privilege of making the acquaintance of a number of intersex adults. As a Christian I was disturbed by the lack of understanding on the part of the Church for people born outside the normal boundaries of male and female. The kids aren’t a part of anyone’s ‘agenda.’ Even when they have gender issues related to their condition or the treatment they’ve received.
My book, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite, is based on a number of people I know and some of the things that happened to them growing up, all rolled up into a fictional account of a teenager’s struggle to find a place in this world. Also, visit her at http://www.liannesimon.com/.

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite Description:

From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female–family or true love–comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other–an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.
Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that’s what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and
male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie’s dreams that they can’t be her life?

Excerpt Chapter Three

Lying on a feather bed underneath a pile of quilts, breathing the cold night air—could even a princess have asked for a more pleasant sleep? Stretching and yawning, I rubbed my eyes with balled fists. Muted noises somewhere in the house meant Mom was up. Soon she’d be telling me and Alicia to get ready for home school. I rolled over, bunched the soft pillow around my head, and pushed the hair away from my face. The last little bit of sleep was always the best.
An errant ray caught my eye. Bright light peeked around the drapes, too intense for an Oswego winter morning. This could only mean one thing. Snow! The little princess bounced up out of bed, clapped her hands together, and squealed at the thought of a white Christmas. I poked my head between the drapes, expecting a winter wonderland.
Bright sunshine dazzled my eyes. Tears formed as I blinked away the blinding colors. Behind the neighbor’s house a majestic rainfall stretched skyward to heavy cumulus clouds. God’s rainbow soared off into the distance. Memories of the previous day awakened me from my half-sleep and brought me back to the present. Ooh! The world was so much more alive without Jameson.
In the yard a magnolia tree spread limbs heavenward, dozens of lilac and cream blossoms declaring the beauty of creation. Great drops rolled off their petals and fell to the earth. Nearby, mist rose from puddles already returning to the clouds. Butterflies played tag among the hibiscus blooms. A hummingbird dallied within arm’s reach outside my window, winked, and zipped away. An enchanted land, it seemed, that fair place the humans named Coral Gables. Fully awake now, I pulled the drapes open, spun around on tiptoes, and waltzed to the bathroom.
A shaggy-haired girl frowned at me from the bathroom mirror. She wasn’t a real princess, you know, but even a waif expected to have her hair trimmed once in a while. She narrowed her eyes at me, but I spread my hands apart. “You shouldn’t expect Jameson to keep his hair all pretty. At least he didn’t cut it short.” The girl glared at me from under her brows until I turned away.
“It’s not my fault his hair’s a mess,” I whispered as I brushed out the snarls. “And look,” I said, holding up a golden lock. “Isn’t the color pretty? There’s more sun in my hair now. You can’t tell whether I’m a blonde or a redhead anymore.” She stared back at me, unimpressed. “Okay,” I whispered, “So maybe Sharon will trim the ends for us.”
The princess in the mirror scowled at me when I took off Jameson’s pajama bottoms. She didn’t like seeing what was down there because it proved she wasn’t a girl like she thought. She only had a pretty face and small size. “Don’t be sad, princess,” I tried to reassure her. “Sharon said you were supposed to be a girl. Maybe you will be when you grow up.”
I took a quick shower. Boy clothes were all I had—I couldn’t expect Jameson to keep girl clothes, now could I? He had no fashion sense anyway; all he wore were T-shirts and blue jeans. I dressed in the cleanest ones I found and went in search of my new friend.
Sharon was making coffee when I walked into the kitchen. “Good morning, Miss Sharon. Would you please trim my hair?”
She flinched and turned pale before nodding. “Trim…Sure…Go shampoo. I’ll find some scissors.”
In the guest bath again I glanced at the princess. “Should we use the sink to wash our hair?” I grinned at her, feeling a little mischievous. Jameson had to use the shower. That was one of those stupid boys-don’t rules. Back when being a girl was okay, Mom used to wash mine in the sink.
The little princess strolled out of the bathroom about ten minutes later, a towel wrapped around her head. I grinned when I realized that was breaking another of Jameson’s rules.
Sharon studied me from under her brows. “Would you like your hair cut short?”
Memories of my first buzz cut almost knocked me down. Even as a teenager, I fought against tears whenever Dad got out the clippers. My hands rose instinctively to shield my head. “No, ma’am. I only want my hair trimmed.”
Sharon smiled the way Mom used to whenever I got scared. She pulled up a kitchen chair and asked the little princess to sit. Then she wrapped a towel around my shoulders. “Your hair’s beautiful. You should take better care of it.”
My hair had gotten so tangled up with the whole boy-girl thing, letting Jameson do anything at all with it was hard. I craned my neck to gaze up at Sharon. “I’m sorry. Jameson isn’t any good at that.”
Sharon stared at me. I counted heartbeats until she pulled up another chair and sat down facing me. With one hand she brushed the hair out of my eyes. “Where’s Jameson now?” she whispered.
Deep inside, stacks of rules were all there was of him. I touched one to make sure everything was still okay. Then I smiled and tilted my head. “I took him apart. He’s not a real person, you know.”
A wisp of cloud crossed Sharon’s face, leaving a faint trail of distress. “Are you?”
“I hope so.” I chuckled, a soft melody at first, like wind chimes in the breeze. How long had it been since the little princess made a sound like that? When I realized that giggling was against another one of Jameson’s ridiculous gender rules, the insanity of it all bubbled up out of me as musical laughter.
The sound appeared to banish Sharon’s concern. Her smile turned carefree. “So…what’s your name?”
“I’m Jamie. You said you wanted to be my friend.”
“I do. I’m sorry. I was confused, that’s all.”
“You said you’d trim my hair.”
“I will.”
Sharon stood in front of me, a hand on either side of my head. Her face knotted up in concentration as she studied the little princess. “I think you’d be pretty with your hair cut just below your chin. Is that all right?”
Ooh! “That sounds neat.”
When Sharon finished, she asked me to go look in the mirror. The pretty little princess reflected there squealed with delight. She started crying, though. The princess hadn’t had a girl’s haircut in forever. I brushed my hand across the glass to wipe away her tears. “It’ll be okay now,” I whispered. You shouldn’t lie to her. You know Jameson can’t go back to the dorm like that. I dropped my hand and turned away, whispering, “Let her be happy for a while. Okay?”
I went back to the kitchen and thanked Sharon for the pretty hairstyle. Mom didn’t want hair in Jameson’s eyes, so I asked my friend for a barrette.
“There’s one on the dresser you can use. I’d like to speak with you after you get it.”
“Okay,” I piped and headed for the guest room again. The girl in the mirror grinned at me this time, her green eyes flashing as I pinned her hair back. It was only for a day, but neither of us cared. I winked at her and bounced back down the hall to the kitchen.
Sharon motioned for me to sit at the kitchen table, and then sat across from me. I imagined her with her white coat and stethoscope, hair tied back and face all intense. For some reason I found her medical student seriousness amusing. It only broadened my grin when she leaned toward me and asked, “Last night, you said you were a girl when you were young. Would you explain that?”
It seemed a strange question to ask first, but perhaps this was a medical student’s way of making friends. “I was small. When I played with boys, I got hurt, so my parents let me play with other girls. When I asked, Mom taught me cooking, and sewing, and all. My parents bought me dolls. I thought being a girl was okay.”
“What did you play?”
“Kaylah, and Alicia, and I played house and dress-up—” An old memory derailed my train of thought, leaving behind an image of Dad’s sad eyes when his happy little princess explained why she had a pillow tucked under her shirt. My sad eyes glanced at Sharon. “Sometimes I was a mommy.”
Sharon’s eyes lingered on mine. “Kaylah’s your cousin who was at the hospital?”
Had Sharon met her? “Yeah. We used to be neighbors.”
“You’re living as a boy now. What happened?”
Images from my childhood tumbled across my vision, like leaves on a windy fall day. My hands clenched on the wooden edge of the kitchen table as my world spun. I lay on cold steel, crying and alone. Doctors surrounded me, talking to each other. One poked my belly. Another examined me between my legs. “When I was nine, we went to a doctor in Chicago because my parents thought I was too small.”
I took several deep breaths, trying to slow my racing heart. My body trembled on the examining table. Why isn’t Mom stopping them? “I told the doctor I liked being a small girl. He said I had to be a boy.” I tore my eyes away from Sharon, trying to hold back the surging ocean of depression. “We moved. In Springfield they didn’t let me do girl things, and I couldn’t play with Kaylah anymore.”
Waves crashed over me, sweeping me off my feet. I had been hysterical when they pulled me away from my cousin. Alicia and I had clung to each other as our family left Oswego for the last time.
A barricade snapped into place, shutting out the images, protecting me, leaving only the indistinct shadow of childhood memories. The pain receded, but I struggled to catch my breath. “Mom took away my dolls. My parents kept my hair short.”
Tense muscles eased somewhat. I glanced at Sharon. A single tear spoiled her medical student detachment. I smiled, sure she was my friend. “Last year, my mom took me to one of the doctors she works with. He gave me shots. After a while, my voice started to change. I hated that, so I figured out how to get early admission to college, and here I am.” I stared down at the table and grimaced. “Or at least here Jameson is.”
“What do you mean?” Her voice was soft and gentle. Not the usual Sharon.
“I’m not allowed to be a girl, so I built a pretend boy. I started making him when we moved to Springfield. He’s not a real boy, you know, but he’s good enough for most people.”
“Why don’t you be a girl?”
“I’m not allowed. You saw me without clothes. I’m not a girl between my legs. So—”
“You’re not a boy either,” insisted Sharon.
Because I was part elfin princess? Because I had to sit down to pee? Because I wasn’t good at boy things? At times I wanted to be a boy more than anything. “It would be neat to be tall, and strong, and fast, and play sports.” I shrugged, still wondering what Sharon was thinking. “I’m not good at being a boy, but I’m not allowed to be a girl either.”
Sharon stared at the little princess, wheels turning. She appeared to be planning my future. I wondered whether she would ask me what I wanted or be like all the doctors who did whatever they liked. After a while longer, Sharon nodded. “Why not be a girl until you graduate? You wouldn’t need to tell your parents.”
“They aren’t stupid, Sharon. I can’t stay here until I graduate. Mom and Dad want me home for the summer.” They wouldn’t like the elfin princess. They’d cut her hair.
Sharon sighed, and then stood up. “Well, I promised Tyler I would do some baking for Christmas.”
The princess had her own little red apron. White streaks of flour ran across the front. The small dark spots were probably either butter or lard. How many times had I helped my mom cook? I jumped up out of the chair. “May I help? Mom and I used to bake cakes and cookies for Christmas.”
“Sure. Why not? Why don’t you find out how much flour and sugar are in the pantry? Look, don’t lift. I’ll find some recipes.”
“I remember our recipes for shortbread and for sugar cookies, and the Hershey’s Cocoa tin has a recipe for chocolate cake.”
Sharon made a yummy face. “Mmm! Shortbread sounds good. Why don’t we begin with that?”
“Okay. You start with two cups of flour, two-thirds of a cup of sugar, and a half teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl.”
Sharon measured the ingredients with care and mixed them.
“We need to cream in the butter. This way.” I smiled, picked up a stick in each hand, and squeezed them both through my fingers.
Sharon blinked at me. “Wouldn’t it be easier to melt them first?”
I shook my head, serious. “You don’t want the butter to melt the sugar.” I stuck both hands into the mixing bowl and began blending the mixture with my fingers. “You want the butter to break up into tiny pieces.” The little princess held a handful up in front of Sharon’s face to show her. “See?” Small bits fell to the floor.
“Jamie, you’re making a mess.” Sharon bent down to pick up the pieces. I reached for the washrag and accidentally bumped the bag of flour. A handful of the soft white powder spilled over the front of the cabinets. When Sharon stood again, she had flour in her hair and down one cheek. “Jamie!”
I grinned and covered my mouth with one hand, getting dough on my chin. With the other buttery hand, I tried to wipe the flour off Sharon’s face. “I’m sorry.” Giggling, the little princess began licking the batter off her hands.
Sharon scowled at me for a second before her lips trembled, and she started laughing. Seeing the always serious medical student crack up sent me into a fit that ended in tears.

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Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon
Heroines With Heart is a massive blog tour that runs throughout 2013, that features books with strong female protagonists. We have authors from several different genres, including young adult, mystery/thriller/suspense, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and Christian fiction. We are also giving away fun digital prizes and sharing new and noteworthy books throughout the year. Want updates?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How To Use Pinterest To Create A Vision Board For Your Business


How To Use Pinterest To Create A Vision Board For Your Business

by Tehmina on January 20, 2013 · 0 comments
Pinterest  Marketing | Vision Board| Epreneur TVVision Boards are no  thing new, but I only came across them by chance 10 years ago. I remember arriving at my sister’s house with just a suitcase after recently returning to the UK following a 5-year hiatus abroad. I had no job, no relationship and very little self-belief.
Then one day while reading a self-help book, I came across the concept of a Vision Board.
Click here to read more

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Sounds of Murder by Patricia Rockwell

Sounds of Murder by Patricia Rockwell

Sounds of Murder by Patricia Rockwell

Patricia Rockwell has spent most of her life teaching. From small liberal arts colleges to large regional research universities-and even a brief stint in a high school, her background in education is extensive. She has taught virtually everything related to Communication-from a fine arts speech-theatre orientation to more recently a social science research approach. Her Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees are from the University of Nebraska in Speech and her Ph.D. is from the University of Arizona in Communication. She was on the faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for thirteen years, retiring in 2007. Her publications are extensive, with over 20 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals, several textbooks, and a research book on her major interest area of sarcasm, published by Edwin Mellen Press. In addition to publications, she has presented numerous papers at academic conferences and served for eight years as Editor of the Louisiana Communication Journal. Her research focuses primarily on several areas of communication: deception, sarcasm, and vocal cues. Dr. Rockwell is presently living in Aurora, Illinois, with her husband Milt, also a retired educator. The couple have two adult children, Alex and Cecilia. SOUNDS OF MURDER is her first novel. Also, visit her at http://www.patriciarockwellauthor.com/.
SOUNDS OF MURDER tells a tale of academic intrigue and death. At Grace University, a small southern college, no one in the Psychology Department likes Charlotte Clark, so no one is particularly upset when she is found murdered in the department’s million-dollar computer lab. But because she discovered the body, Associate Professor Pamela Barnes feels obligated to find Charlotte’s killer. When she discovers a recording of the murder that was accidentally produced during Charlotte’s struggle with the killer, she begins her own investigation.
Along the way, Pamela agonizes with her own conscience as she fights her growing fear. She attempts to understand her mysterious Department Chair, keep her curious colleagues informed, placate her protective husband, and avoid antagonizing a local rube detective who belittles her efforts–all while she struggles to make sense of the sounds on the recording.
As she gets deeper and deeper into her analysis–trying to connect what she hears in the recording with sounds from people (and potential killers) around her–she gets closer and closer to the killer. However, the killer is observing Pamela’s efforts and resolving to stop her.

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