Celebrating Veterans with Books

Left, left, left, right, left.

susanbasic3Any veterans out there? With May bringing both Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, veterans are at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds.

I served in the U.S. Army for five years (in the photo, I’m the short one in the front). I graduated college during a recession and the best opportunity to get out of my parent’s house and find a real job was to join the Army.

I was stationed at Ft. Polk, LA for a year (if you’ve been in the Army, I’m sure you just groaned with me) before I was married and joined my husband at a joint military base in England. It was five long, frustrating years, but I wouldn’t take that experience back for anything.

This weekend, my family will be participating in a Memorial Day parade as “A Family of Veterans.” My husband and I represent our generation, and we’ll be honoring our dads who served in Viet Nam and our grandfathers who served in World War II and the Korean War.

Please take the time this weekend to honor veterans, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom.

4_Deception_bookIn honor of Memorial Day, all royalties from my novel The Sound of Deception between May 22 and May 29 will be donated to Rebuilding Warriors as part of the Memorial Day 2015: Gone but not forgotten event. There are lots of author veterans donating, so check it out!

Summer LovinBut that’s not the only special event I am participating in right now. My debut novel from 2011, Relay For Love, is one of the novels in Summer Lovin’ box set. This collection includes 14 novels and novellas all with a summer theme, many from USA Today and National Bestselling authors. The best part, it’s only $.99. Get it while it’s hot because it’s available only for a limited time!

Book_Relay_newIn Relay For Love, widow Hannah Locke has a life plan, which does NOT include falling in love again. She lost her husband five years ago and still aches from that loss. That ache seems to dull as it is replaced with a new longing for a man she hardly knows but can’t seem to get out of her head. Aaron Hawkins was only supposed to write a story about Hannah’s Relay For Life fundraising event, but their immediate attraction has him looking for more than just a headline and has Hannah forgetting all about her perfect life plan.

Writing this story was an emotional journey for me. It’s an emotional journey for readers, too, who claim they are laughing on one page and crying on the next. Even my editor, who NEVER cries, shed a few tears (and cussed me out) while editing this story.

Let’s wipe out cancer together!! A percentage of my royalties from this book and A Flame Burns Inside is donated to the American Cancer Society to help raise awareness about prevention and treatment and help find a cure!

Pick up Summer Lovin’ today and check out my Facebook page for some great giveaways!

Summer Lovin’ buy links:


IMG_1095s copyBig dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.

Susan is a multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance, women’s fiction, and erotic fiction (her erotic titles are published as Ann Victor). Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series, three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).

In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

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Excerpt from Road Salt

This is one of my favorite chapters from

Road Salt – Karla’s mom is pretty mad at her for walking out the door when she reminded her that she was grounded.

Hello – 911?

Mrs. Centon hollered, “Karla, you get back here right this minute!”

Karla ignored her and kept right on walking away with her friends. She yelled to her one more time only to see her break out into a jog with her friends and quickly disappear down the street.

Mrs. Centon fumed, “Not again, I will not let you get away with this again!”

Her daughter had done this to her just the other day. She had walked right out the door knowing full well that she was grounded and not allowed outside. Her room was where she belonged, working on her school work, not outside keeping company with hooligans.

“Walk out on me, will you, I’ll show you,” she continued to say. Her words slurred a little but she never took notice while she took another small sip of her scotch and tonic.

That child of hers had not been the same ever since they had moved here some two months ago. She had no idea as to why her daughter was behaving like this. Ever since that first week here, Karla had become rebellious and disobedient and her husband would do nothing about it. He was useless when it came to disciplining their child.

Where the hell was he anyways? Shouldn’t he have been home an hour ago?

They had moved here so that he would be closer to work, but still he was never home on time. Maybe he was keeping company with someone else. No, she shook the notion out of her head, that wasn’t like him. He was a very loyal husband unlike some of her friends’ husbands.

But the fact was, he was never around anymore. But she would deal with him later. Laurette had to do something about her daughter or she was going to get worse. What could she do, she wondered?

Then the idea struck her. She took one more sip of her drink and picked up the phone and dialed 911. It was answered almost immediately.

“Hello?”

“Hello,” said Mrs. Centon. “I want to report a run-away.

My teenage daughter just ran away from home.”

“Maim’, this number is for emergencies only.”

“But this is an emergency. Did you not hear me? I said my daughter ran away from home.”

“If you wish to report a runaway teen then you need to call your local police station, Mrs. Centon.”

“What’s that? How do you know my name? I didn’t tell you my name,” Mrs. Centon slurred. She was bewildered over the fact that the operator knew who she was.

“Maim’, your phone number showed up on my caller id,” answered the operator, “and if you do not need emergency medical assistance then you need to hang up your phone. This line is for emergency use only.”

“Well, I never heard such a thing. Isn’t this the police station?”

“No Maim’…”

“Can’t you connect me to the police station; I mean you are an operator, right?”

“No Maim’,” answered the 911 operator, “we do not have the facilities or the equipment to forward phone calls for anyone.

You need to hang up so this line will be open to receive emergency calls, a life may depend on it May I reiterate this line is for emergency use only.”

Mrs. Centon was about to continue her argument with the operator when a rap sounded on her screen door. Instead of hanging the phone up properly she set the receiver down on the living room chair.

The 911 operator continued to say, “Maim’ I am sorry, you have left me no choice. I have reported your call to the police. They should be at your home within the next few minutes.”

Mrs. Centon forgot all about the phone. She could see the two police officers standing at her door looking in at her.

“Can I help you officer,” Mrs. Centon asked with a heavy slur. She held open the door allowing both officers to enter into her home.

While one officer questioned her, the other one crossed the living room to where the phone receiver was resting in the chair and hung it back on its hook.

“Ma’am, my name is James and this is Officer Theresa, what seems to be the problem here?”

“Well it’s about time you got here,” Mrs. Centon said as she staggered across the room to where her drink was setting on the end table next to her chair.

“I want to report a runaway.”

Theresa took out her pad of paper and began writing down notes as her partner continued with the questioning. At the same time she noted how intoxicated the woman seemed to be.

“Who is this runaway in relation to you,” asked James.

He moved closer to the woman and got a strong whiff of her breath and knew that they needed to handle this carefully.

“It’s my daughter Karla,” the woman fumed.

“Is it alright if we sit and talk,” asked Theresa. She could see that the woman was close to teetering over from her loss of balance.

Mrs. Centon sat down on the edge of her chair. She was still agitated by Karla’s disobedience and waved her hands about her in strong gesture.

James took a seat next to Theresa and continued on with the questioning.

“So how old is Karla and when did she run away?”

“Karla is sixteen and she ran away a little while ago.”

“Ma’am can you tell us what took place to make you think that your daughter ran away?”

“Well for one thing, she was with those kids…the ones I don’t want her around and she knows that she is grounded, but she left with them anyways.”

Theresa asked, “Did she take any of her belongings with her?”

Karla’s mom looked at the police woman strangely before answering.

Mrs. Centon scowled, “Are you implying that I am lying?”

The officers could see how agitated the woman was and knew that this was due to her high consumption of alcohol. It would be best for all if she could be left in peace to sleep it off.

Officer James scribbled a few more notes down on his pad.

“Tell you what Mrs. Centon, we will go and find your daughter and see to it that she returns home.

Can you tell us in which direction she went?”

Laurette stood up and swayed. She had to grip on to the edge of the arm of the chair to steady herself before she was able to indicate by pointing in the direction she had remembered seeing her daughter go, “She went down the street in that direction with her friends. I don’t know what is down there but I do know it is not the school or the Library.

Thank you officer…James,” Mrs. Centon leaned a little bit toward James so she could see his name on his badge. At the same time she glared at Officer Theresa. It irked her to have the woman question her on whether or not her daughter really ran away or not. Of course she ran away…

She waited for the two officers to leave. As soon as they were gone she locked the door behind them and staggered to the bed room. She could barely keep her eyes open and her balance was getting worse. She had to steady herself by grabbing on to any solid surface that was near her like the counter top in the kitchen and the walls in the hallway to keep her from falling down.

The bed was as comfy as it had been when she had awoken around noon time. Mrs. Centon nestled herself among the unmade sheets and blankets and fell fast asleep, never taking the time to change in to any kind of sleepwear.

Outside the house the two police officers walked back to their car. Many times they came across people who were under the influence just as Mrs. Centon was, so they knew they had to take care as to how they were going to handle the situation. Most likely she was making something out of nothing because of her intoxication. Drunks tended to do that.

“Let’s go pay Karla a little visit and see what she has been up to,” James said to his partner as he put the car in gear and drove in the direction toward the basketball court, “Hopefully she has been staying out of trouble since we last saw her.”

Road Salt now on Amazon Kindle

I did it. It only took me six months but I did it. I am so happy with myself for getting this book finished.

It is hard to believe that at this time in 2010 I was looking at publishing my very first book.

There were a lot of bumps and scrapes along the way but the writing journey has been a great one. I don’t think I would have done anything differently either. It has been a long learning process.

Now that 2 ½ years have gone by and 4 books later I feel pretty good about getting ready to start book 5.

I can see myself flipping back and forth between series with each book. That is fine. I really don’t mind now that the hardest story to write has been written.

I won’t even wonder if it is good enough for my readers. The main thing is that I feel it is a powerful read for me. All that I have learned from my kids are written in these pages.

It is all fiction – mind you, but the ideas for the story came from somewhere. Like hearing someone’s story here or there and tweaking it a little bit more.

I can already hear the mother’s gasp when they read what Carol’s mother has stolen from her room. They will say how could you?

I will say that there once was this child who attended a juvenile rehab facility and his mother did something at the rehab that would make everyone gasp. At a rehab, mind you…….

Any ways,

Road Salt (Wings from Ashes, 2) will be part of the Kindle Select Program for the coming 90 days. Once that is done I will see about releasing it to all the rest of the eReader sites and in print.

So if you are interested: You can find it here…. Road Salt (Wings from Ashes, 2) Kindle Edition

Before I forget!

Starting 01/04/2013 until 01/08/2013

This eBook will be offered for free to everyone who would like a copy for their Kindle. Get your copy while you can…

So you ask, what will you be working on next?

As I said, I will be flipping back and forth between series so naturally the next story I will be working on will be the next book in my Orgarlan Saga.

Who knows, maybe Keja and Chancy will make an appearance in the next book…. Hmmm…

Low Book Sales Getting You Down?

So, you’re a new author and you have published your first book. But that was six months or so ago. Are you feeling glum about those book sales?

I have seen this time and time again over the past few months. I have even had other writers ask me how do you get your book into Wal-Mart. Say – What???

That is right. They figured that since they paid the big bucks to have their book published at one of those vanity houses that their book should be showing up on the Wal-Mart store shelves. I had to tell them that it doesn’t happen that way.

So see there, you are not alone…

Almost every author goes through this. It does not matter if they self-published, used a small press, or a vanity publishing house. Most new authors expect to be on the top of the charts coming out of the gate. Well, let me tell you this, it does not happen that way… No it does not….

You have to work at this people. It takes time to build up that platform of yours and the only way to build it is by one brick or book at a time. In the meantime you need to market your book without spamming it. Oh and don’t forget to put that book into eBook format. This now is 70% of almost every author’s sales in the current publishing world.

How do you market without spamming??? (I will talk about that tomorrow)

Have you ever noticed that most of those best-selling authors have published four or more books before making it onto the charts? And, usually those are the ones who have used a traditional publisher and have an agent.

Does that mean you should give up?

Nope.

I will agree, it is tough out there. We all have stories to tell and we are all saying read mine, no read mine, no please read mine….

What else can you do?

This is what I see the publishing market as:

So who is bound to succeed?

The author who decides to stick with their writing and pound out book after book, they are the ones who will eventually succeed with their writing.

Remember, the more books you write the better you will get. And, the more people see your name out there the more curious they will become to see what you are writing about.

Keep your head up and your fingers on those keys and keep on writing!

Now People! Get out there and write your book!

The Board Game of Death The Rest of Chapter ~ 2

The Board Game of Death
The Rest of Chapter ~ 2
“Who did you get this from anyways?” Jordan asked.
“Mrs. Krendall, she said it was her son’s. He must have moved or something. I haven’t seen him in a while. In fact he has not been around since Carley died.”
“Oh, Brian?” Jordan held the necklace closer to her face for further inspection. “Yeah…I haven’t seen him around either. Didn’t know he was into this sort of stuff.” She then set it down on the game board.
“Isn’t he one of Lucas’s friends?” Shawna asked.
“Yeah…I think he is.” Alexus shifted herself, crossing her legs in front of her, sitting Indian style.
“So you want to give this thing a try?” Shawna asked.
“Yeah…I do. Who wants to go first?” Alexus held out the necklace. “You have to wear this.”
Jordan chuckled, “I’ll go first…I’m not scared.” She took the necklace and placed it over her head.
The necklace was made up of small white stones with green stones in between them. A larger yellow stone marked the front of the necklace. The stones were strung on some type of thin cord.
“You know, that would look better on you if you were wearing your other top.” Shawna commented.
Jordan usually dressed in the same Gothic dress style as both Alexus and Shawna. But her parents were totally against the style. She would have to smuggle the clothes out of her house in her backpack. Which she had in her bag now.
“I guess you are right.” Jordan removed the necklace. “Hang on while I change.”
Jordan reached for her bag and pulled her change of clothes out of it. She took off her dark blue tee shirt and put on a black top with a spider web pictured on the front. Her jeans were next, these were replaced with black chino’s. The finishing touches were a pair of black boots and a black headband with a green bat depicted on it.
“There!” Jordan felt better. She shoved her discarded clothes into her bag and took the necklace form Shawna and put it back around her neck. “Look better? I’ll do the make up later.”
“Yeah…much better.” Alexus agreed. “Okay…how do we do this? Do we need to hold hands or something?”
Shawna moved over to make room for Alexus. “You need to sit over here while Jordan sits on that side. And then we hold hands while Jordan does what ever with the game piece.”
Alexus took her place beside Shawna and joined hands with her.
Jordan took her spot and placed her fingertips lightly on top of the game piece. She closed her eyes. She asked, “Carley, are you there?”
They waited a minute. The game piece did not move. Shawna let out a chuckle.
“Maybe she did not hear you,” Alexus said.
“Carley, where are you?” Jordan asked again.
Another minute went by, but there was still no movement from the game piece.
Shawna broke the silence. “Well at least you only paid a buck for this.”
The game piece moved slowly to the top of the board and over to the left corner to rest on the word Yes. Startled, Jordan removed her fingers from touching the game piece.
“I didn’t do that.” Jordan said with bewilderment. “It moved all on its own.”
“Yeah…right!” Shawna said with disbelief. She stood up. “Let me try.”
Jordan and Shawna exchanged places and they started again after Shawna put the necklace on. She waited until Jordan joined hands with Alexus.
“Carley, how did you die?” Shawna asked. She placed her fingertips on top of the game piece just like she saw Jordan do. She waited.
There was no response.
“Try again,” Alexus instructed. “Maybe you have to ask more than once.”
Shawna was about to take her fingertips from the piece when it began to move. It went to the letter B and stopped there.
“B?” Jordan asked puzzled.
Alexus giggled. “Maybe she can’t remember how to spell.”
The game piece started to move again. This time it moved to the W on the board.
“Okay…so maybe spirits can’t spell,” Shawna agreed. She took her fingers off the game piece.
Alexus remembered the book she found at the flea market last weekend. It was tattered but readable. It had a lot of info in it about occult stuff. She reached for the book, it was on a shelf above where they sat. Opening it up, she began to look for some information on Ouija Boards.
Alexus was puzzled. “Hey the page on Ouija Boards is missing from this book. Like someone tore it out.”
Shawna held her hand out to receive the book. “Let me see.”
She too opened the book to where the page was supposed to be. It was gone. “Well that’s weird. I thought all the pages were here.” She looked around on the floor below the shelf. “Maybe it fell out somewhere.”
They all got up and began to search for the missing page. They couldn’t find it anywhere. After giving up their search, they returned their attention back to the game board. The game piece was no longer on the W. It was now resting on the letter A.
“Jordan, did you bump the board?” Alexus asked.
Jordan looked down at the board. “I didn’t touch the board. Why?”
“Shawna you did not move the game piece…did you?” Alexus asked. She knelt beside the board studying it.
Shawna turned to look at the board. “I left it on the W…Why?”
Alexus pointed to the board. “Look where the piece is now!” She motioned for Shawna to come closer to the board.
The three of them studied the board.
“It’s on the letter A now.” Alexus pointed again to the board.
The game piece began to move on its own. Stopping next to the letter R.
Shawna moved away from the board. “Oh my God! Did you see that? It moved all on its own.” Her voice became a bit shaky.
Jordan reached down and lifted the game piece off the board for better inspection. A cricket ran off the board. Jordan laughed, “It’s nothing but a bug.”
Shawna laughed too nervously.
“Hey, does anyone know what time it is?” Alexus asked. “It must be getting close to supper time. We should go check in with my mom. We can leave this here for now…put it away later.”
“Sound good to me,” Shawna agreed eagerly.
“Alright…” Jordan brushed off her pants and followed them down the ladder and out of the barn.
The sun was not so high in the sky now. Alexus believe it had to be close to 4 o’clock. She found her mom in the kitchen preparing supper.
Alexus stood and while Jordan and Shawna took a seat at the small table in the kitchen.
“Wha cha making, Mom?”
“Oh, we’re having chicken pot pies tonight.”
“Do you need any help?”
“Naw…I’m all set,” her Mom replied. “Dinner will be ready in about an hour…’Kay?”
“Alright…” Alexus moved toward the hallway, “we are gonna be up in my room then.”
“’Kay…”
The three girls went to Alexus’s room. It was up at the top of the stairs off to the left of the hallway. There was a guest room up here along with her parents bed room, a bathroom, and a room that was being used for storage.
Alexus’s brother was off to college, so her parents made his room into a guest room for now.
“What do you want to do for an hour?” Alexus asked as she took a seat on her bedroom floor.
Jordan took a seat in the tiger striped bean bag chair, while Shawna took a spot on the floor near Alexus.
The walls of her room were scattered with posters. The one above her bed was that of a pentagram while the others were of dark angels, gargoyles, and some sort of tree of life. A few posters of grunge bands were amongst the mix.
Her bedroom window gave a perfect view of the barn in the back yard. Small glass red bead curtains covered her window. They filtered the sunlight coming in the window, changing the hue of the light to an odd reddish color.
“Wanna try using that board again?” Shawna asked.
“I think we should go get it.” Jordan agreed.
“Let’s do that after supper. We need to find out how to use the thing.” Alexus replied.
She got up and went over to her book shelf and let her black fingertips drag along the spines of the books on the shelf until they came to rest on a certain book. A book by Margaist himself. She hoped he could shine some light on the subject.
She opened the book to the table of contents and found a section on the board. The first passage she found she read out loud. “It says here…what not to do…hmm…I wonder what he means when he says to make sure you close the board when you are done with your session….Also says…the board is not to be used as a toy, but a tool.”
She sat back down on the floor with the book still open in her hands.
Alexus said bewildered,“says…this thing is supposed to work…no matter who made it…Wow!”
“You mean…that thing really lets you talk to the dead?” Shawna asked.
“Yeah…says it works better if we use candles and incense to set the mood,” Alexus explained. “It’s got a whole chapter on dangers…we can read that later…after we try it again…I wanna see if we can talk to Carley…it can’t be that dangerous to talk to a dead kid.” Alexus handed the book to Jordan, she had her hand out to receive it.
Shawna peeked over Jordan’s shoulder so she could see the pages of the book too. “I don’t know…there seems to be an awfully lot of stuff written about the board being dangerous.” Shawna replied nervously.
Jordan looked over the pages of the chapter a bit more before saying, “says most of the dangerous stuff comes with extended use. We haven’t used it long enough to worry about getting into trouble with it. I don’t see any harm in contacting Carley. She was our friend anyways, she wouldn’t hurt us.” Jordan closed the book and handed it back to Alexus to put away.
“After supper I will see if I can find some candles. I think I know where mom keeps them.”
All the while time had passed while they sat looking for answers in the book about how to use the board. Alexus’s mom called them to dinner. They decided to tell Alexus mom nothing about the strange feature of the board, if she asked about it.
The pot pies were good. But Alexus’s mom always made great chicken pot pies. They were small homemade ones. Her mom would buy the little pie plates and make her own. She said she liked her own crust better than the store bought crust.
During dinner, Alexus’s mom asked Shawna and Jordan about their families. She asked how they were and if any special events were coming up, like weddings or family additions. But, neither girl had anything spectacular to report.
The town of Ashland is a small town. Small enough for all of its residents to know each other. It was common for most of the residents to show up for each others weddings or christenings.
After dinner, the girls excused themselves from the table. Mrs. Bordaine allowed Alexus to take the night off from doing the dishes.
Shawna and Jordan ran off to the barn to collect the game. They packed it up to bring it to Alexus’s room.
Mean while Alexus went in search of candles and some sort of incense. She planned on asking her mom tomorrow, if she would take them to the New Age Store in Mirtle Bay tomorrow. She could buy some incense there along with some real candles.
She looked under the bathroom sink. She remembered seeing some sort of candle being stored there. The were kept for when the power went out.
There they were in the back, large candles in jars. One smelled like pine cones and the other smelled like lavender.
She took them to her room and set them up on her desk. She placed her fake skull head in between the two candles.
In the hall closet she found a jar of potpourri and the little pot to put it in. It used a small tea light candle under the little pot. She took a couple extra tea lights to use for more candle light.

The Board Game of Death Chapter ~ 2 ~ continued

Alexus had to walk around the garage to get to the barn. Tall grass grew in the field behind the house. Cows had not grazed here in years. Her grandparents were the last ones to keep cows. The barn was now only used for storage.
Inside the barn, Shawna had set them up in the upper loft. The barn had three stories. The ground level held an antique car, a mustang to be exact and an old tractor. The second level was where things were kept that would not fit in their attic.
There was a set of stairs leading up to the second level. After that there was nothing but an old rickety ladder. Two of the rungs had been replaced about a year ago by her dad.
It was kind of dark in the barn. Some sunlight seeped through the old barn wall boards. Alexus knew her way up to the top loft. She could even make the trip in the dark.
She climbed over the top of the ladder. Shawna was against the far wall. An old blanket was spread on the floor for them to sit on. She had the box open and the board was sitting in front of her.
“Did you figure it out yet?” Alexus asked. “Does it seem hard to play?”
“Um…It’s weird.” Shawna replied. “There’s no dice or anything. Just this weird shaped board piece.”
“Let me see…” Alexus took the box from Shawna. The instructions were written on the inside of the box. “Talk to the dead?” She read out loud. “Yeah…right!” she said in disbelief.
She sat down on the floor across from Shawna and the game board, setting the box top beside her. She picked up the game piece to examine it.
It was made of some sort of wood that was funny shaped. But game pieces tend to be funny shaped. This one was pointy at the top and round at the bottom.
“It says you set that on the game board and hold your hands like and inch above it,” Shawna instructed.
“Then what?” Alexus asked. She picked up the box again.
“Let me see.” Shawna took the box from her.
“Says…with out touching the game piece…ask a question and concentrate on the game piece. It is suppose to move around the board. What? It spells out words? I don’t know….I doubt it works.” Shawna handed back the box.
“Maybe we should wait for Jordan to get here. I called her…she said she would be over in a bit…she was mowing the lawn.” Alexus set the box back down on the floor beside her and began to study the board.
It was covered with the letters of the alphabet and three words were at the bottom. They were yes, no, and maybe.
“Maybe this game is like the eight ball.” Alexus pushed the game piece around on the board. It slid around pretty easily.
Shawna picked up the box again. “It says you use it to hold seances. Cool. Do you think it could really work?”
“No way…really? Let me see…” Alexus looked at the box again. “It says we can talk to dead relatives and friends.”
“Who would we contact first?”
“I don’t know…how ’bout Carley? She hasn’t been dead that long. In fact I miss her.”
Shawna turned her attention to her sandwich and soda. Alexus set the box top back down beside her and decided to eat her lunch too while they waited for Jordan to show up.
After eating in silence for a few minutes, Shawna spoke up. “You know, her brother won’t even talk to me or any one since the accident.”
“I know. I saw him the other day, and when I said hi…he just looked at me and walked away. It’s not like anyone blames him for the accident. An accident is an accident. He did not mean to drive the car into that tree.”
“I heard he swerved to miss some cat.” Shawna ate the last piece of her sandwich.
“Yeah…now mom makes me wear my seat belt even when we are just going two houses down to Mrs. Hamworth’s house.” Alexus complained.
Footsteps sounded, someone was climbing the ladder. It was Jordan. “Hey!” she said as she poked her head above the floor. She pulled herself up the rest of the way and stepped onto the floor.
“Hey Jordan!” Shawna and Alexus chorused.
“What are you guys doing?” Jordan pulled her backpack off her shoulder and set it down off to the side of the room out of the way. “Mom said I can sleep over.” she said with a smile.
“Awesome!” Alexus scooted over making room for Jordan to sit with them.
“What’s that? You guys got a Oujia Board?” Jordan picked up the box top to check out the outside of the box. “Hmm…it’s not made by Milton Bradley? Where did you guys get this? I thought this game was only made by Milton Bradley.”
“Oh we were at a yard sale this morning. That’s where we got it.” Shawna put her hand on the necklace she remembered in her pocket. “It came with this too.” She pulled the necklace out of her pocket and held it up for Jordan to see.
“You have seen these before?” Alexus asked Jordan.
“Yeah…I’ve seen them in the store…but mom would not let me get one. She wouldn’t say why,” Jordan answered. She flipped the box over to read the instructions. “Oh cool, we can contact the dead!”
“Yeah…we were thinking of contacting Carley.” Alexus handed Jordan the extra can of soda she had brought with her.
“It doesn’t say anything about wearing a necklace.” Jordan handed the box to Shawna to reread.
Alexus held out her hand. “Let me see the necklace.” After inspecting it she handed it to Jordan so she could check it out.

Copyright © 2010 by Linda Nelson

Excerpt from: The Board Game of Death… My Current Work

Chapter ~ 1

Alexus and Shawna pawed through the belongings on the table. Yard Sales were always good for finding unique things.
Alexus picked up an old coffee mug with the picture of a dog on it. She grinned and set it back on the table. Mean while, Shawna found some old costume jewelry. She held it up for Alexus to see. They grinned at each other. Shawna put it back on the table.
They moved to the next table. It was full of toys, stuffed animals and games. Board games to be exact. At first they seemed to be the ordinary board games that everyone has in their homes. But then there it was sitting on the bottom of the pile. It was almost hidden from sight.
Alexus pulled the game from the bottom of the pile. It was one she had never seen before. She held it up to show Shawna.
“What’s this?” Alexus asked the woman behind the table. “I’ve never seen this game before.”
“Oh that,” the woman responded, “that is, was, my son’s. You can have it for a buck.”
“What do Ya think?” Alexus asked Shawna. “It looks cool.” She traced the words on the box with her black fingernails. They read, “the game to play with the dead.”
“Oh Yeah,” Shawna agreed. “We can play it tonight. Turn it over. How many players do we need?”
“Oh you don’t need many players,” the woman reassured them. “And it is real easy to learn to play.”
“Okay. How do you play?” Alexus asked the woman.
“The instructions are in the box. I have never played it my self, but my son use to play it all the time. If he was here now, he could show you how. But I’m pretty sure it is real easy to learn. Just follow the instructions.”
“Alright, I think I will take it.” Alexus reached into her pocket and pulled out a dollar bill. It was rolled up in a ball. She straightened it out before handing it to the woman.
The woman accepted the bill. She held out a necklace with some sort of pendant on it. “You can have this too. Wear it when you play the game. It has great enhancements.”
“’Kay.” Shawna took the necklace from the woman. It was the same necklace she had been holding up a moment ago.
“You girls ready?” Alexus’s mom called to them. She was on her way to the car carrying several small items she had purchased.
Alexus answered, “Coming.”
They had been going from one yard sale to the next all morning. It was one of the things Alexus really enjoyed doing with her mom. They usually took her friend Shawna with them.
In fact, there was not much of anything Alexus did without Shawna. They had been the best of friends for many years.
“Mom?” Alexus slipped into the front passenger seat of the light blue sedan. “Can Jordan sleep over tonight too?”
“Well I suppose she can.” Her mom started the car and waited for Shawna to close the rear passenger door. She put on her seatbelt. “Buckle up girls.”
“Awesome!” Alexus replied while clicking her belt into the buckle.

Chapter ~ 2

Alexus lived just down the street from this yard sale, on Jumper Drive. It did not take long before they pulled into the long drive way leading up to the old four bedroom cape. It had a large screen porch on the front of the house.
A newly built garage joined the side of the house and out behind the house sat an old barn. The barn was not in the best of shape, but it still stood solid against the elements.
During the day Alexus and her friends liked being in the barn. It was a bit spooky, but they were okay with that. And at night they would sit on the porch swing and watch while bats flew back and forth in the yard chasing bugs.
Sometimes they would ponder if any of the bats would change into something they had seen in a movie they watched the night before. Horror movies were one of their favorites. Alexus had seen every vampire movie she could find. She was now trying to dress like one.
As soon as she turned fifteen she asked her mom if she could pick her own style of dress. Her mom did not see any harm in it at the time. So, Alexus began with the basics, like buying the black fingernail polish and then moved on slowly to the rest of the garb of the Goth.
Because she had changed her dress style in changes, her mom never really noticed how deep she was into the gothic trend. Alexus would go to the extremes of trying to stay out of sunlight as much as possible. This caused and unusual paleness to her complexion. Almost to the point, where she looked kind of ghostly at times.
Her friend Shawna had also begun to follow the gothic trend. But not quite to the same extent as Alexus. She still would go out into the sunlight, allowing herself to have a light tan.
She once told Alexus how she needed to be able to go out in the sunlight. She would not be able to garden. Who would grow the herbs they would need for the recipes they would cook up together.
Mrs. Bordaine parked the car in the garage.
“I have to go call Jordan and see if she can come over,” Alexus told Shawna. “You can take this out to the barn with you.”
She handed the board game to Shawna.
“’Kay. Is it okay if I get a drink?” Shawna asked, taking the box from Alexus.
“I’ll bring you one. What do you want…root beer…orange…or cola?” Alexus asked.
Her mom took her things into the house leaving the two girls to discuss their plans.
“Cola…”
Shawna went off to get them set up in the barn, while Alexus made the call to Jordan.
The phone hung on the wall of the kitchen beside the small drop leaf table. The room was bright from the morning sunshine. Alexus tried to avoid standing in the sunlight as much as possible. She pulled the phone cord around the corner into the hallway after dialing Jordan’s number.
“Hi! This is Alexus. Is Jordan home?…Can I talk to her?” Alexus asked Jordan’s little brother.
She had to wait a few minutes while he yelled for his sister.
“Hey! What’s up?” Jordan asked. She sounded out of breath.
“Are you busy? Shawna and I were wondering if you wanted to come over.”
“Um…yeah…just give me a bit…I have to finish up mowing the lawn.”
“Why can’t your brother do that?”
“Cause it’s my turn…he made a big deal about it last night to my dad. So, now I have to take turns mowing the grass. But since he opened his big mouth, he has to take turns washing the dishes.” Jordan laughed.
“Alright…hurry…Shawna and I found this really neat game when we went to the yard sales today,” Alexus blurted excitedly. “Oh and ask if you can sleep over tonight.”
“’Kay…I will…see you in a bit.”
“’Kay…” Alexus said. She hung the phone up. Her mom walked past her into the kitchen.
“Mom…Shawna and I are going to be out in the barn, if you are looking for us.”
“Oh…here let me make you some lunch to take with you to go with your sodas”
She waited impatiently while her mom quickly made two chicken salad sandwiches for her to take.
“Can you carry all that?” Mrs. Bordaine asked. She held a big bag of chips for Alexus to grab with her free hand.
“Got it Mom. Thanks…”
Alexus took her pile of food and drink into the hallway where she had stood talking on the phone and followed it to the front door.
The front door had a wooden screen door on the house and the porch. They were easy to push open with a shoulder.

Copyright © 2010 by Linda Nelson