All About Books

Starting off today, I want to share this cute meme a friend sent me. If you’re anything like me, you have more books than your shelves, or your e-reader, can hold. I wonder if that’s why my Kindle is dying a slow death? It’s getting choked with content. 🙂

I try to resist getting more books, as I have fewer bookshelves in my smaller house here in the city, but I continue to get requests for reviews, and I do like to get a book now and then just to read, especially from a favorite author. And my list of favorite authors keeps growing. Then I meet authors at events, like the book festival in Winnsboro last weekend, and I find books I can’t resist. So I add to the shelves of autographed books on my already sagging bookshelves.

The top left shelf has copies of books I’ve written. The rest of the shelves have autographed books, with a sprinkling of a few paperbacks waiting for me to read.

If you’d like to take a picture of your bookshelves and share in a comment, I’d love to see them.

With Mother’s Day coming this Sunday, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother, and I’d like to share an excerpt from the book I wrote about her life, Evelyn Evolving. It’s been such a thrill to see the book selling at a decent pace, and it warms my heart that so many people are reading and enjoying her story. Thanks to Next Chapter Publishing for taking the book and all their marketing efforts. I do some marketing, we all have to, but they do the bulk of it, which is good because I suck at marketing. Most of my writer friends agree that only a few authors really enjoy marketing and are good at it.

Okay, here’s the excerpt from the novel. This happens shortly before the orphanage my mother was in closed for good and follows a scene of sexual abuse, something that was prevalent in the orphanages.

Evelyn was so ashamed, she didn’t even tell Viola about what happened this time. By tacit agreement none of the girls had ever said much about what went on in the bathing area. But Evelyn had talked to Viola after that first time. She wanted to know if Viola had felt the same sensations when it had been her first visit from Sister, but Viola had refused to talk about it.

 For the next several weeks, Evelyn avoided the bathing area. She was still assigned to mop after baths were finished, and she was able to do a quick wash-up while she was alone in there. Keeping her clothes on, she quickly washed her face and stuck her head into the washtub to rinse the grime out of her hair. All of the girls had very short hair, cut once a month by another one of the good Sisters, so it only took a few minutes for Evelyn to dry her hair with a towel. Then she quickly mopped up the water and hurried out, hoping that Sister would not come in.

When Evelyn stepped into the hall, she almost collided with Maria. “Oh, sorry. Do you need something in there?” Evelyn gestured over her shoulder.

“No. Sister sent me to get the rest of the children. We’re all to come to the dining area.”

That was odd. It was mid-morning. They never went to the dining room unless it was for a meal. “Do you know why?” Evelyn asked as she followed Maria.

“Sister didn’t say.”

Even though Evelyn fervently hoped Sister would have good news to tell them, some instinct told her otherwise as she hurried to join the other children gathered in the cold dining room. Without the heat from the ovens that eased the chill and carried the comforting smell of food, Evelyn’s sense of impending doom intensified.

After the last of the children made their way inside, Sister Honora strode stiffly to the front of the room and told all the children to sit down. For a moment, all that could be heard was the scraping of chairs across the wood planking on of the floor. Then silence. The children knew not to speak unless asked to do so.

“Children. This is most difficult news I bear today. As you know, God has sent us many challenges in recent years. The Great Depression…”

For a moment, Evelyn’s mind wandered. Sister kept saying that; “The Great Depression” like it was something wonderful, but Evelyn didn’t know what was so great about it. The last few years had been too often filled with days of being hungry and cold and miserable.

“…the orphanage will have to close.”

Evelyn jerked her attention back to the good sister. What was that she said?

“We have made arrangements for some of you to go to work…”

Evelyn turned to Viola. “What is she talking about?”

“Shhh! If you weren’t daydreaming all the time, you’d know.”

“The orphanage will officially close in two weeks. We will meet with you individually to let you know where you will be going. That is all.”

The silence that followed was so complete; Evelyn could hear the beat of her heart as it thumped against her ribs. This was worse than the fire. Much worse. And she wasn’t sure she liked a God who would do this to them.

“What about Christmas, Sister?”

Evelyn looked around to see who had asked the question. It was Marie, and the look Sister gave the girl made Evelyn glad she had not asked.

“There is no money for food,” Sister said. “How can you expect Christmas?”

Evelyn didn’t care for herself, but she knew the younger children had been counting on something special for the Holiday. Last year the fire had stolen Christmas. Now this? If only there was a way. Evelyn raised her hand. Did she dare say anything? “Um, excuse me Sister.”

“What?”

“Perhaps if there was money. I mean… I have a silver spoon. I’d be happy to—”

“To what?”

“You could have it. Sell it and—”

Sister laughed, and the sound was anything but pleasant. “You stupid girl. You think that would help? One silver spoon will not bring enough money to buy even one present, let alone…” Sister let the sentence trail off as she gestured to the crowd of children. She shook her head and turned away. “Silly, silly girl.”

Evelyn looked at the ground so nobody would see the tears that brimmed in her eyes and then ran down her cheeks. When would she ever learn?

Please do come back on Sunday when I’ll have a special book review of a charming, fun book written by a cat. Yes, a cat named Destiny. Of course, she had to dictate the story to a human who could tap the keys on a keyboard and do all the other things a cat is unable to do without opposable thumbs.

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