Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Trailer: Faint Promise of Rain by Anjali Mitter Duva

Faint Promise of Rain

Author: Anjali Mitter Duva
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press; New edition (October 7, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

About the book:

It is 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan, and a new Mughal emperor is expanding his territory. On a rare night of rain, a daughter, Adhira, is born to a family of Hindu temple dancers. Fearing a bleak future, her father—against his wife and sons’ protests—puts his faith in tradition and in his last child for each to save the other: he insists Adhira “marry” the temple deity and give herself to a wealthy patron. But after one terrible evening, she makes a bold choice that carries her family’s story and their dance to a startling new beginning. Told from the perspective of this exquisite dancer and filled with the sounds, sights and flavors of the Indian desert, Faint Promise of Rain is the story of a family and a girl caught between art, duty, and fear in a changing world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: To The Breaking Pointe by Cindy McDonald

To The Breaking Pointe (First Force Book 2)
by Cindy McDonald

Series: First Force
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: McWriter Books (September 13, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 1449 KB
Print Length: 307 pages
Publisher: Acorn Book Services (September 12, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the publisher. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

My thoughts:

This was a quick read, took me only a day and a few hours to read the whole story.  

I immensely enjoyed reading this mainly because of the characters and setting of the story. I liked Silja and Grant. Some main characters annoy the readers with their love story but not these two. They are very easy to like, especially, Grant.  Toughie but softie and sweet when it comes to Silja...

I was also hooked because the setting of the story is in Russia. I love Russia and Russian men! The author did a good job in narrating the story and the setting well. It was easy to imagine everything and the story flowed just right. I highly recommend this book for readers looking for a new series to start!

About the book:

Five years ago, First Force operative Grant Ketchum let the ballerina of his dreams dance right out of his life. 

After her American adoptive parents had been killed in an automobile accident, Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of the principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company. She was living her dreams, and although they had very little contact, Grant was proud of her. 

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia has become so desperate for funds to keep the company afloat that she’s forced her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties. 

As the prima ballerina of the troupe, Silja has been exempt and kept in the dark about the parties, until a big-time American financier, who is obsessed with Silja, offers to bail the failing ballet company out and provide Natalia with everything she will ever need. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire. 

Against her will, Silja is taken to the American’s mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her, Grant: 


Now Grant Ketchum is on a mission to find his lost ballerina and rescue her from this powerful man’s subjugation. He will do anything to get her out alive. 

If they survive, will he let her chasse out of his life again?

About the author

For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things that I have experienced with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack—she muses: they are greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born. 

Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one, Into the Crossfire is the first book for The First Force Series. People are always asking Cindy: Do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love writing my books, and I love sharing them with my readers. 

Cindy resides on her forty-five acre Thoroughbred farm with her husband and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Guest Author: Lana Cooper

Slightly Grizzled Words of Advice for Fiction Writers Starting Out

So you wanna be a writer? A fiction writer? Sweet! Welcome to the club! What's your style, kid? Do you want to write horror stories? Science fiction? Chick lit? Romance? Contemporary fiction? Or maybe some unique combination of all of those animals? No matter what type of fictional tales you want to weave, there a few basics to keep in mind to help you keep your creative streak, morale, and sanity intact – and hopefully give you a leg up on success (however you may define it).

Find the Truth in Your Characters

Even the most fictional of characters is anchored by a small grain of truth. You know that disclaimer in fine print in nearly every fiction novel? The one that says that all characters in the novel are complete products of the author's imagination and any resemblance to folks living or dead is a coincidence? It's a hot load of monkey crap.  Many famous authors -- from Charles Dickens to Charles Bukowski -- have drawn upon their personal lives to create vivid and memorable characters.

Your novel doesn't have to include thinly veiled facsimiles of your Great Aunt Matilda and your rotten next door neighbor, but perhaps you can pull attributes of these people into fictional creations. Maybe your Great Aunt Matilda likes to bake apple pies for every neighbor on the block, even the rotten one. You could recycle your Great Aunt's trait of generosity and kindness to create an elderly vampire who shares her stock of hospital-procured blood with other younger vampires in her vicinity, even the former vampire hunter-turned-vampire himself who once tried to kill her. There's always a way to twist the truth into a glorious tableau of fiction.

Get Ruthless With Your Red Pen

More is not always better. Your typical George R.R. Martin or Stephen King novel may lapse into 200,000-word territory, but as a first time novelist, yours shouldn't. If you're planning on pitching your novel to an agent or publisher, the maximum word count that most will consider is between 80,000 and 100,000 words. Typically, many agents and professionals in the publishing industry see an uber-high word count as the mark of an amateur who hasn't learned to edit themselves and whose story may tend to meander. This isn't always the case. Maybe you truly are writing an epic. And that's cool. Don't stifle your imagination. Instead, perhaps pitch part of your epic as part of a longer series.

However, don't hesitate to read through your work once or twice to check it over for redundancies, plot holes, or non-essential parts of the story that bog your novel down. Take a 3- to 6-month break from your work once it's been completed before you start hacking away at it with your red pen. This way, you're not as emotionally attached to any words you may have recently written. Every writer has those warm n' fuzzy feelings of "OMG! That's, like, the best sentence EVER!" Taking a little time away from your work may help you to remove the rose-tinted glasses and better streamline your story into something that really reels your readers in and gives your finished work a great sense of pacing.

Remember Your Gift

If you have a story inside you just begging to be unleashed upon the world, there's nothing more rewarding than being a fiction writer. In doing so, you become part of a long, ancient line of storytellers who brought people together – around a campfire or a computer screen – to unite them with the gift of imagination. Stories have the power to touch people and make them not only feel, but understand those feelings because they see a little bit of themselves in those characters you've created. Stories give readers hope that maybe they, too, can be capable of doing great deeds like the characters in that tale they're wrapped up in reading at that moment.

And you, as the writer, know that you've helped give them that gift. That's a pretty good feeling to have at the very end of the story, don't you think?

Now stop wasting time and start writing!

About the Author

Lana Cooper was born and raised in Scranton, PA and currently resides in Philadelphia. A graduate of Temple University, she doesn't usually talk about herself in the first person, but makes an exception when writing an author bio. Cooper has written extensively on a variety of pop culture topics and has been a critic for such sites as PopMatters and Ghouls On Film. She's also written news stories for EDGE Media, a leading nationwide network devoted to LGBT news and issues. Cooper enjoys spending time with her family, reading comic books, books with lots of words and no pictures, and avoiding eye-contact with strangers on public transportation. "Bad Taste In Men" is her first full-length novel.

Her latest book is the humorous nonfiction, Bad Taste in Men.

For More Information

Visit Lana Cooper’s website.
Connect with Lana on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit Lana’s blog.
More books by Lana Cooper.
Contact Lana.

Bad Taste in Men

Author: Lana Cooper
Publisher: Delightfully Dysfunctional Books
Pages: 352
Genre: Humorous Nonfiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

About the book

Have you ever felt like even Mother Theresa has got more game than you? 

If you have, you'd be in the same boat as geeky, awkward metalhead Nova Porter. 

Bad Taste In Men follows Nova from her prepubescent years through young adulthood and her attempts at getting dudes to dig her. 

Juggling self-esteem issues, small town outsider status, and questionable taste in guys, Nova is looking for love in all the wrong places - like the food court at the mall. Nova's circle of friends and her strange(ly) endearing family more than make up for what her love life lacks. 

Along the way, Nova alternately plays the roles of hero and villain, mastermind and stooge; picking up far more valuable life lessons than numbers for her little black book. 

One part chick lit for tomboys and one part Freaks and Geeks for kids who came of age in the mid-'90s, Bad Taste In Men is loaded (like a freight train) with pop cultural references and crude humor. 

From getting laughed at by your crush to being stood up (twice!) by a guy with one eye, Bad Taste In Men showcases the humor and humiliation that accompanies the search for love (or at least "like") as a small-town teenage outcast, managing to wring heart-warming sweetness from angsty adolescent memories - and jokes about barf and poop.

For More Information

Bad Taste in Men is available at Amazon.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Spotlight: Aftershock A Novel by Joe Lane

by Joe Lane

Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: Bancroft Pr (July 4, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 3822 KB
Print Length: 288 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Bancroft Press (June 23, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

A wild and suspenseful thriller, AFTERSHOCK is the story of an unlikely team of women who are determined to destroy the despotic power of Wall Street’s masters and their political supplicants. Somewhere between the television series Leverage and the film Thelma & Louise, this team of elite women, led by Air Force veteran Penelope Baldwin and Marine Senior Chief Tessa Montgomery, calls themselves The Wa (Cultural Restoration Society) ―and prove early on that they aren’t squeamish about spilling blood to get their point across. 

Together they become the most lethal predators the American political and financial elite has ever encountered. Like Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne, these women were trained by their own government to become the deadly forces that they are, but now find themselves fighting against powers they no longer recognize to extract a terrifying retribution from those who have long made it their business to mangle the American ideals of justice, equality, and freedom.

About the author: 

Joe Lane is an international business man and filmmaker and the author of AFTERSHOCK, a political thriller about the 2008 financial crisis and its aftershock for many Americans. Joe splits his time between the U.S. and China where he launched Spango, a new pizza chain in Shanghai. A renaissance man, he's been as a contract consultant for new product development, a speaker, Yale graduate, works with animal shelters to raise awareness for veterans, raises funds for animal therapy in hospitals, and he's been a pilot for over 45 years. 

For more information, visit:


Colonel Ben Selby, inside his command tent, was just beginning to issue next-day orders. “Major, you’ll fly lead. We want the number four bird tucked inside the V.”

“Colonel, Al A’Zamiyah is heating up daily. Flying at that altitude will expose my crew to everything from RPGs to rocks. Do we really need to do the mission at eight hundred feet?”

“Major Baldwin.” A man dressed in civilian garb stood as he spoke. “You’ll be moving plenty fast to avoid any risk. At that altitude, you’ll—”

“Pardon me, sir. We haven’t been introduced, but it’s clear you’ve never flown a mission over hostile territory here.”

“Major, what I have or have not done here is of no concern to you. I’m sure your commander—” he paused and looked at Colonel Selby —“will explain to you that this mission is set and you’ve been selected to fly lead. If you think you aren’t up to the task, I’m sure Colonel Selby has other pilots who are.”

Major Penelope Baldwin turned to the Colonel and, in a soft voice devoid of emotion, said, “Pardon me, sir, but who is this cretin?”

The man’s face turned deep red even though the temperature in the room was only about 45 degrees. A crisp breeze was blowing outside, and the tent’s gas heaters offered limited resistance to the desert night’s deep chill. 

The civilian started to speak but Colonel Selby held up his hand. “Major Baldwin, Mr. Foster is from Mr. Brunigg’s office. While you’re correct that he’s never flown anywhere here except from the airport to the helipad in the Green Zone at about eighty-five hundred feet, he speaks for Mr. Brunigg, so please refrain from voicing criticism, however appropriate it might be.”

At this, Herman Foster went livid. “You better listen very closely, Colonel Selby. I will not be talked to in this manner. You had—”

“Herman,” Colonel Selby interrupted, “I know your position and I know you’ve advised Brunigg that this mission is without risk to anyone. I also know you’re full of shit. And you can tell the viceroy I said so. Or, for that matter, I’ll tell him personally. However, I do know an order when I see one, so let’s dispense with the drama and get the necessary planning done.”

“You’d best listen to me, Colonel. Your troops and your insolence will cause you more headaches than you can imagine. I’ll—”

“You know what, Herman? I think to ensure the success of this mission, and the safety of Mr. Brunigg and his passengers, you need to fly in the lead bird with Major Baldwin.” Ben looked towards Penelope with an almost imperceptible nod as he picked up his phone. “That way you can advise Mr. Brunigg immediately if we see any hostiles. Keep him safe.” 

“Excellent, Colonel,” Penelope said. “My number-two gunner is due to rotate out in two days. Mr. Foster is about the same size, so the Kevlar jacket and chaps should fit fine.” She turned to Herman Foster with a smile that would cause a grizzly to reconsider messing with this woman. “If you’ll report in about twenty minutes before departure, I’ll have Lieutenant Parker suit you up. It’s a hell of a view at that altitude . . . sir.”

Foster was preparing to launch a fierce tirade warning of unimaginable retribution when Colonel Selby spoke into the phone. 

“Sergeant, get me Mr. Brunigg’s office. I have crucial information about our mission I need to discuss with him.”

Foster and Selby stared at each other for a few seconds. “Proceed with our mission as originally planned,” said Foster. “We’ll deal with this later.” 

“Sergeant,” said Selby, “cancel that call.”

* * *

After the meeting broke up, Penelope sat on the makeshift conference table. “Thanks for your support, Colonel.”

“None needed, Major. Those, ah, political geniuses are trying to get us all killed, I think.” 

“On this one, it sure seems so. May I ask what exactly is so important that Mr. Brunigg and his three, ah, passengers, need this mission carried out right now?”

“You may ask, Major, but I can’t tell you. It’s stupid as hell. I did all I could to get it aborted. But it’s above your pay grade, I’m afraid.”

“Got it.” 

Penelope started to leave when Ben put his hand on her shoulder, “Pen, you be goddamn careful on this one. I know what they’re up to and it stinks. I tried to kill it, but Brunigg is 
blind, deaf, and dumb to any ideas that aren’t his or that don’t come from the White House and their flock of so-called experts. 

A’Zamiyah is getting more unfriendly almost daily, and four birds in that formation at that time of day and altitude are going to attract a lot of attention. Regardless of orders, at the first sign of hostiles, you go emergency and protect your people and your birds. I’ll take care of any flak from the Emerald City.”

She nodded and put her hand gently over his. As his hand slipped off her shoulder, every nerve in her body radiated an intense heat. He watched her leave and wondered if she knew 
how desperately he wanted to protect her. He had been sending her on mission after mission since their deployment. Each time, the knots in his gut grew more intense. But this time, this totally FUBAR mission was being carried out purely for political reasons. Shit, if this one went south, he wasn’t sure what he would do. 

Colonel Ben Selby sat down in his chair and put his head in his hands. 

What the fuck are they thinking?

* * *

“Blue Ice Command. Blue Ice One. Over.” 

“Blue Ice One, Blue Ice Command. Whadda you got, Major?”

“Sir, we got too goddamn many people on their roofs watching us. Request permission to climb to two five zero zero.”

“Hold Blue Ice One . . . Negative on two five zero zero. Maintain current altitude and heading.”

“Blue Ice Command. Colonel, we’re coming up on that section of open ground with trees and good cov— Incoming two-thirty.”

Penelope and her copilot gave it all the left foot they had. Penelope yanked the stick hard left and back as she twisted the throttle to full power. The Blackhawk banked hard as the giant 
turbines spooled up and the rotors took ever bigger bites of air trying to get them some altitude.

“Blue Ice flight, hostiles at two-thirty. Evasive bravo, evasive bravo.”

Two of the three other Blackhawks broke hard left at angles 30 degrees apart, their turbines straining. Number four did a quick right—up to forty-five hundred feet as fast as it could and then straight back to the Green Zone. 

A second salvo of RPGs from three different rooftops caught Blue Ice Two head on. Blue Ice Three gunners cut down the shooters and continued to climb. 

“Incoming, eight-thirty.” Penelope yanked the stick hard left again to try to circle the round. They made it, but then a fusillade of small arms fire caught their tail rotor and shredded it.

“Blue Ice Command, Blue Ice One, we’re going in.”

“Blue Ice One . . . Blue Ice One . . . Major . . . Blue Ice Three, what’s your status?” 

“Sir, we’re out of their range for the moment, but Blue Ice Two is gone and Blue Ice One is down. Repeat, Blue Ice One is down.”

“Captain Sparks, can you cover until rescue arrives?”

“Affirmative on that, sir. Anybody on the ground even looks sideways at Major Baldwin, we’ll cook ’em.” 

“You do that, Captain. I’ll have rescue and backup on the way in five. You’ll be on your own for about fifteen to twenty. Can you see any survivors on Blue Ice One?”

“Negative on sightings, sir, but she put that damn thing down right-side up.”

“Alright, Captain. Make sure both of you make it back. Is that clear?”

“Roger that, sir.”

Colonel Selby put the mike down and turned towards Herman Foster. 

General Steve Crandall put a restraining hand on Colonel Selby’s shoulder. “Colonel, get your rescue team there and get those people back. I’ll deal with . . .” He let the word hang. He grabbed Herman Foster by his coat sleeve as he moved towards the door. 

“Mr. Foster, I think it’s best if you come with me.” Foster tried to pull away. “Now, Mr. Foster. Before . . .” He let his warning penetrate Foster’s arrogance in the same manner a rattlesnake tells an unsuspecting hiker it’s time to pay attention. 

Foster grunted his disapproval but hurriedly followed General Crandall out of the radio room all the same.

Buy Links

Friday, October 24, 2014

Insidious : Chapter 3 Teaser Trailer Reveal

Ayiiiii.... that knocking part is so creeeepy...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Music Trailer : The Boots My Mother Gave Me "Can't Get It Right" by Brooklyn James

The Boots My Mother Gave Me
by Brooklyn James

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 9, 2010)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 602 KB
Print Length: 282 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1461054397
Publisher: Arena Books (August 9, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book;

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else's shoes?

Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.

A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters.

Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.

Signed Paperback & Original Music Soundtrack to The Boots My Mother Gave Me can be found at


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Married One Night by Amber Leigh Williams

Married One Night
by Amber Leigh Williams

Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the publisher. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Love this book! My first Harlequin since 2010. I used to have these when I started my first job and as always, I love the stories. 

The characters are all likable especially Gerald, sooo nice and sexy with his charming British accent! Who wouldn't like a guy like him? Oh well, there's one... Olivia. Found her a little bit irritating with the constant refusal of accepting Gerald's offer but overall, this is an enjoyable read, short and very sweet. If you are into light romance, you might want to pick up this book. 

About the book:

What happened in Vegas…followed her home! 

Olivia Lewis is not the marrying type. So when a wild weekend in Vegas leaves her with a surprise husband, she's happy to sign anything to erase her mistake—even if that mistake is handsome, charming and comes with an English accent. Fortunately, her groom has other plans. 

Bestselling author Gerald Leighton knows he can make his new bride fall in love with him—he just needs time. In exchange for a quickie divorce, Olivia grudgingly gives him a few weeks to attempt to woo her. And whether Olivia likes it or not, Gerald plans on using every second to win her heart!

About the author:

Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Married One Night.

For More Information

Visit Amber Leigh Williams’ website.
Connect with Amber on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit Amber’s blog.
More books by Amber Williams.

Contact Amber.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Spotlight: Field Notes for the Earthbound by John Mauk

Field Notes for the Earthbound
by John Mauk

Paperback: 175 pages
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press (September 15, 2014)
Amazon Paperback Link

Book Synopsis:

Cursed by tenderhearted witches, saved by Nazarene healers, and haunted by brazen lunatics, the characters in FIELD NOTES FOR THE EARTHBOUND yearn to escape the relentless horizon of Northwestern Ohio. These connected stories chronicle an area dying to itself: shedding its history and awakening to modernity—to highways, speed, bottled beer, and rock-n-roll.

Chapter 1:

The Earthbound

Joel and Jeremy talked about Kathryn Mueller and the fact that she could fly. When the subject was anything else, anything but Kathryn, they worked like normal boys—ramming points at one another and huffing to conclusions. But Kathryn Mueller talks had gaps. And in the silence between words, each conjured a personal vision of flight. Joel’s was purple. He’d see Kathryn up close, slicing through the air with cool gelatin darkness pressing into her face, the night curling out away from her shoeless feet. Jeremy’s was faraway red. He saw Kathryn from a distance, like a dot arcing over the flatness of Northwestern Ohio and careening toward the Indiana horizon. 

Kathryn was the orphaned niece of Bill and Sally Mueller. She had perfect hair for flying, no glasses, and the only green eyes in Blakeslee. She wasn’t overly thick, but she didn’t have the kind of body you’d associate with flying—plenty of bulk in the shoulders and plenty of circumference otherwise. Anyone familiar with Kathryn Mueller lore could dismiss it with a glance. And no one ever saw her fly—at least they didn’t know it if they did. People didn’t say, “Look! Up there! Isn’t that the Mueller girl?” Not seriously anyway. But Kathryn talked about flying the way others might describe a day at work—going up and surveying the fields, checking on people’s affairs, detecting wind direction and telling anyone who might listen. Once, outside of Thiel’s restaurant, after a quick dinner of meatloaf and sweet corn, she told two younger girls that clouds are like swimming pools, which made them laugh and walk away. And Kathryn gave reports: “Wilma Huddleston sits for hours beside her dog’s grave.” “Jackie Grundon fiddles himself behind his barn. He leans against the side and points it out toward the field.” “Trent Leroy and Janet Brookins meet in the woods just after sunrise. They use a big tree stump.” And so on like that. She didn’t speak with an air of scandal. Her announcements were public notices—notes for the earthbound. But they had social impact. They put people into action. The Huddlestons got a puppy basset hound. Mothers grabbed their children’s arms when Jackie Grundon came around. Bill Brookins divorced his wife and shot the windows out of Trent Leroy’s house. 

At the Nazarene Church, Kathryn made for hard work. Denying the claims of some 
secularist freak or godless Catholic would have been easy enough, but Kathryn was a member of the congregation. Every second or third Sunday, she’d enter the square brick building with her aunt and uncle. She’d parade down the aisle with an aloof sternness that adolescent girls were supposed to lack. Because her parents had died in a fire when she was only five, her abnormal confidence was attributed to shock or lack of guidance or both. After all, Bill and Sally Mueller were good Christians and decent farmers, but they were accidental parents, not the brisk certain types to guide a girl through the manifold opportunities of childhood. They lacked force. Also, Sally Mueller drove too fast. Her powder blue Chevy bulleted down back roads where only a few, but enough, farmers heard the RPMs howling over the delicate cornfield silence. It was no wonder Kathryn had loose ideas. 

Joel and Jeremy were also Nazarenes so they got periodic eyefuls of Kathryn. They 
watched her stroll in, make her way to a pew, fidget with her unponytailed hair, and then casually head out the double doors to her aunt and uncle’s car. She didn’t tuck her chin into her neck like the other girls, nor did she acknowledge the tight-lipped whispers. 

On a Sunday in April, when the adults were huddled in a prayer meeting and the kids were milling around in the post-church fresh air, Joel and Jeremy stoked up the courage to ask Kathryn point blank, “When do you normally fly?” 

“I normally walk,” she said. 

“Do you fly at a regular time?” Jeremy asked. 

“Do you walk at a regular time?” she asked back. 

The boys didn’t have the prowess to defend their questions—and neither had an affinity for talking to girls. They waited for Kathryn to walk away or call them something mean. She didn’t. Instead, she settled into her spine, looked at one face and then the other with a warm smirk. 

“So, what, you just fly whenever you want?” Joel asked. 

“Whenever the feeling hits me.” 

“Do you feel like it now?” 


“Why not?” 

“It’s only when I’m alone. Usually at night but sometimes in the morning.” 

They were just about to ask how—to get into the mechanics of it. Joel had the question ready. He was breathing in and forming the first letter when Bill and Sally Mueller emerged from the church. Kathryn said, “Gotta go,” spun clockwise in the loose gravel, her dress swirling away from whatever legs were beneath it. 

In June of 1953, word ran through Blakeslee and on up into Edon after Betty Morris 
found Kathryn in her hemlock bushes. Betty had gone out to hang laundry at first sunlight— 
because she believed it made clothes softer—when she saw Kathryn balled up with twigs and needles in her hair. “It was a crow.” That’s what Kathryn said to Betty from inside the bush and what Betty told everyone else. And most of all, the one detail repeated no matter who passed the story on, was the bloody clot above Kathryn’s right eye where the crow’s beak apparently pierced her forehead and sent her falling. 

The pious wouldn’t accept it. They reinforced their position, calling Kathryn truly sad. They reminded themselves about poor Betty Morris who’d lost her husband nearly five years prior to a sudden and massive stroke. “All that loneliness,” they said. Others caressed the details of it all and wondered about sharing the sky with birds. As for Joel and Jeremy, they accepted Betty Morris’s report like a news bulletin. They assumed Kathryn was on one of her nightly swoops and heading home at the first hint of pink when a surprised crow kissed her forehead. 

They imagined Kathryn and crow fluttering downward, each trying to regain composure while feathers twirled after their bodies. 

“Crows’re smart,” Joel said. “You’d think he’d gotten outta the way.” 

“Yeah, if he’d known what to make of her.” 

“And if it was morning, he wasn’t very awake probably.” 

“Can you imagine the look on his face just before they hit?” 

On a muggy morning, after throwing rocks at a passing train, they decided to 
investigate—figuring that the crow, being smaller and more fragile than Kathryn, would have fallen to the ground after the mid-air crash. Out at Betty Morris’s, they paced in rows like they were mowing the lawn. Joel took the front, Jeremy the side next to the field. Even a stray feather would have been enough. At one point, Joel thought he found something, a clot of bird parts under a lilac bush, and he called out. Jeremy came running and they stood ready for revelation, but the clot was the tail of a squirrel or some varmint—fir instead of feathers. They went back to pacing and scanning. By noon, they lost their gumption. If the crow had fallen, it wasn’t there anymore. A cat or stray dog, they decided, could have come along. Or maybe the crow survived and managed to go about his business. Maybe he got the least of it. Maybe he and Kathryn hit at an angle. Or maybe a quick brush with a human skull wasn’t enough, after all, to throw a full-sized and practiced crow into a tailspin. 

Back home, a couple miles east of Blakeslee, Jeremy’s mother refused to discuss it. She turned the conversation on Jeremy who was probably out gallivanting all day, dreaming up these sordid affairs instead of weeding around the barn. And his father didn’t say much. Not that he was ever the conversant type, but he’d gone nearly mute two years back when his older brother put a shotgun to his mouth and pushed the trigger with a stick, apparently unable to overcome the grief of his oldest boy dying in Korea. “The Communists weren’t worth it,” he’d said before heading into the garage. 

At Joel’s house, Kathryn Mueller came up only once. A Saturday afternoon thunderstorm had caged them all in the living room. Joel was waiting for it to blow past so he could head out into the fields. His older brother, Tom, was watching horizontal rain out the north window. His mother sat crocheting in the rocker, and his father, Dale Krug—famous for drinking, wrecking, punching, and ruining things—stood in front of the screen door with his hands spread above the threshold daring the rain to come in. Tom said something about the Mueller girl getting blown all over the place. Joel explained that she wasn’t stupid enough to be out in a storm. 

“You think that girl can fly?” Dale asked. 

Joel looked down at the carpet. 

“Maybe. Ya never know,” Tom said. 

When their mother joined in, it was a family talk. “That girl has her own problems,” she said. 

“That doesn’t mean she can’t fly,” Tom said. 

“People don’t fly, Thomas. You know better than that.” 

“Well, ya never know,” Dale said out the screen door. “Ya never really know.” 

Later that summer, Joel and Jeremy got their second interview with Kathryn. After the last amen, they’d catapulted out of the muggy sanctuary. In the shade beneath the oak tree, they rolled up their church pants and splayed their legs across the grass. They watched Kathryn come down the front steps. She pulled the top of her dress a couple times to move air across her skin, scanned the churchyard, and walked straight toward them. When she got to the shade, Jeremy pushed his pant legs back down. 

“Your dad drives the green pickup, right?” she said to Joel. 


“Why was he sleeping out on County Road E the other night?” 

“I didn’t know he was.” 

“He was sleeping in the back, right there on the side of the road.” 

“You saw him?” Jeremy asked. 

“With my own two eyes,” Kathryn said. 

“Were you out there or something”? 

“That’s how I saw him with my own two eyes.” She kept looking down at Joel—waiting for him to comment. 

Joel said nothing. 

“Well, okay,” she said. “I was thinking the mosquitoes probably did a number on him.” 

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Joel said. 

Bill and Sally Mueller were headed their way, so Kathryn walked off. Joel and Jeremy sat in the fumes of it. They could both imagine a story that would put Dale Krug in the bed of his pickup out on County Road E. Since he’d thrown a pickled egg jar at the muttering owner of Ned’s Bar, Dale had become a migrant drinker. He’d been showing up in different places, in different people’s stories. 

In September, the town’s welcome sign was hit and knocked off kilter. People woke up on Sunday morning to the big blue greeting “Blakeslee: A Mile of Smiles” drooping toward the ground. At the Nazarene church, most assumed it was an outsider, a kid from Indiana or Michigan passing through on a Saturday night with his windows down and his head full of rock-n-roll music. The pastor suggested it before service and that settled it. 

Like usual, Sunday dinner at Joel’s grandparents’ started at 2:00. It was Joel, his mother, and sometimes Tom. Dale never came. He’d made it clear that the Nazarene church and any church related dinners were his wife’s, not his, form of salvation. And so Joel and Tom sat in the living room alone breathing the gravy aroma and waiting for their grandmother’s cue to gather in prayer. Their grandfather had gone to pull the pan from the oven and move the big potato dish onto the table. All the comfort of his grandparents’ house, or maybe the intimate scent of baked chicken, nudged Joel to speak up—to say what he’d been holding in for over an hour. “Kathryn Mueller said Dad was the one who hit the sign.” 

“When’d she say that?” Tom asked. 

“Just today, standing out by the church. But don’t tell.” 

“Why not?” 

“I just don’t think anyone should know.” 

“Why you talking to her anyways?” 

“Jeremy and me, we sometimes talk to her.” 

Tom kept the secret for about eight minutes. At the table, after prayer and just before putting a fork of potatoes in his mouth, he let it fly. “So I heard who plowed into the sign.” He didn’t wait for a response and he didn’t look over at Joel. “The old man did it.” 

“How would you know such a thing?” his mother asked. 

“The flying girl told Joel.” 

“And how would she know?” 

“Probably just looked down,” Tom said. 

Joel concentrated on the chicken. Other than compliments on the gravy, dinner stayed quiet. A month later, Dale moved out of the house for the second time. “And this time,” he said, “I won’t be back.” 

In late fall, public discussion about Kathryn Mueller climaxed when she was found face down in a field, her body pressed a good four inches into the mud. Some said she’d climbed the silo and jumped. It was a good theory, given her public musings, but her body was a full fifty yards from the silo and facing toward it, not away. Even if she could jump like a frightened white tail, it didn’t add up. Others suggested earthly foul play—all kinds of fiendish corporeal stories that zipped past Joel and Jeremy’s ears. But any rendering that got Kathryn planted into the hardening mud, with no footprints around, didn’t make much sense. To Joel and Jeremy, it was clear to anyone who’d admit it: Kathryn Mueller could fly. It was only a matter of why anyone who could lift off the flatland and go shooting through the darkness on her own power would stop over the middle of a field. They wondered what bird, bat, or miscalculation would halt forward movement and let gravity do its terrible work. 

“Maybe a sneeze,” Joel said. 

“Maybe,” Jeremy decided. 

Dale came back, staggered around for a year, disappeared again for a few months, and returned a final time to drag his family to a listing—and nearly free—shack on the outskirts of Edon. While Joel tried to get traction in a new town, Jeremy orbited Blakeslee alone. He started smoking and stopped attending church. Both boys went sailing into the craven world, and they both remembered, in their own quiet, nights of squinting up, almost seeing something bigger than a crow or a goose, but neither ever conjured up the real rush of flying: the flavor of all that air. They didn’t imagine Kathryn Mueller keeping her mouth slightly open so the wind could slip in around her teeth and dry out the inside of her cheeks. They didn’t imagine how the business of everyday life churns out a lush perfume, how the breath of every person, plant, and animal marries together, works its way upward. They didn’t imagine how the sweeter tones cluster just above the trees, how everything goes tart and brittle higher up, or how the best possible mouthful comes from swooping quickly downward from sour into sweetness. They didn’t imagine any of that. But they were just kids.

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