Commentary and Excerpt From Evelyn Evolving

Okay, I couldn’t hold a rant back any longer. As the politicians play games in Washington about raising the debt ceiling so our country doesn’t default on loans, their political machinations are creating havoc. Instead of agreeing to raise the ceiling, then hammering out a new budget after we reverted a crisis, they’re busy protecting their political futures while we flounder in insecurity and serious consequences.

Most Americans are losing money on investments. The United States faces potential financial repercussions in the way of higher interest rates on borrowing. The Treasury Department could have to make tough decisions about what bills will be paid, with delays of Social Security checks and benefits to veterans. And still negotiations are going to come down to the wire, increasing the uncertainty and turbulence in the markets and the global economy. 

Those of us in retirement are watching our IRAs loose money at an alarming rate, reminiscent of the severe hit in the recession of 2007 through 2009. We never recouped investment value, and now value is dropping again. That’s a very scary place to be as a senior citizen who relies on the IRA to supplement Social Security payments.

Sadly, this financial struggle is all too common, and it’s hard to fight the impulse to make the decision to pull money out of banks and investment accounts. That run on financial institutions was a major factor leading to the Great Depression, and there is no reason that we should be in the same scenario that keeps repeating over and over and over again, because politicians focus on what is best for their political career instead of what is best for the people.

I keep saying this, but I’m saying it again, “Shame on all of you.”

Okay that’s the end of the rant. I’m sure you are relieved.

There’s some good news to share on the writing front. No, I still haven’t come up with a title for the new book in the One Small Victory series so I’m still looking for suggestions.

The big news is that Next Chapter Publishing has included Evelyn Evolving in Memorial Day sales this weekend in two outlets the first is Apple Books and the other is Kobo.

Cover of Evelyn Evolving by Maryann Miller. Two young girls walking away down a country road. They are wearing summer dresses and carry a small suitcase.

From May 26th through May 29th the book will be only 99 cents.

Evelyn Evolving in the Kobo Store

Evelyn Evolving in the Apple Store

Here’s an excerpt from the book. Previous excerpts have been from Evelyn’s POV, and I’d actually forgotten that I’d written this about why her mother, Regina, put her and Viola in the orphanage. Enjoy…

A week after Fred left, a man came to the door asking about him. Regina didn’t like the looks of this well-dressed man – neatly-pressed suit, colorful tie and hat like any other salesman who tried to separate her from a dollar or two. But his eyes were different. They didn’t have that friendly sparkle framed by laugh lines. They were hard and empty, and the man didn’t lead with some pleasant banter. Instead asking, “Do you know where your husband is?”

Regina hated saying the words out loud, but his eyes compelled her. “No. Haven’t heard from him since he left days ago.”

“He say where he was going?”

“Out. Just out.” Regina couldn’t bring herself to repeat the tired reason that Fred had used. This man would see right through that.

“Do you expect him back?”

Indignation stiffened her spine and gave weight to her voice. “If he intended to come back, he’d be here by now.”

The man took a half step closer. “Do not use that tone with me, little lady. You understand?”

He spoke softly, almost conversationally, but the menace was like ice in his deep blue eyes. Regina nodded, swallowing her pride and her fear.

“Good.” The man eased back, but the hard look in his eyes didn’t change. “Fred owes my boss money. A lot of money.”

Momentarily, Regina flashed on the large satchel Fred had slung over his shoulder when he’d walked out that Friday night. Was that…? She masked any outward reaction as best she could.

“It’s my job to get that money back.”

“Don’t know anything about your money,” Regina said, hating the way her voice broke over the words. “He left me with nothing. Just the kids and a pile of bills.”

The man didn’t respond and didn’t move. As they stood there, silent, a trickle of sweat ran hot down Regina’s back. What if he didn’t believe her? What if he forced his way in? Searched the place? She was trying to figure out if she could close and lock the door before he made a move, when he took a half step back. Regina fought to keep relief from showing as she maintained eye contact.

“When that husband of yours comes back, tell him Bernie wants his money.” He paused, as if wanting to give time for that to sink in, then added. “Understand? Bernie don’t like hurting women and kids. But he does what he’s got to do.”

The man stood for another few seconds on the front stoop, then turned and left. Regina quickly closed and locked the door. Then she leaned her forehead against the wood. Oh, Fred, what have you gotten yourself into?

The answer to that question would have to wait. Evelyn was screaming to be fed again, and Regina felt the warm rush of milk filling her breasts. The beer trick still worked.

Fred stayed gone for six months, and then one day he came back. When he walked through the front door, as casually as if he’d only been gone a few hours, he didn’t say where he’d been. He had a noticeable limp, but he wouldn’t explain that either. He did very little explaining, just resumed his routine of talking to people on the telephone and answering the door when the bell rang. Since he was home day and night most of the time, he didn’t seem to care if Regina went out by herself, as long as she fixed meals and tended to the kids first. The marriage was all but over, but he never asked for a divorce. Neither did she, because he was now supporting them again. There was something to be said for security.

Regina didn’t ask where Fred got the money he gave her to buy groceries and pay the bills. She was just thankful that he was able to do that. He wasn’t much of a father, keeping a rather aloof distance between him and his offspring, but he did serve them the dinners Regina left. When she was home, it did hurt just a bit to see him brush any attempts at affection aside, but she rationalized that it would make the girls strong. They’d learn how to handle disappointment and frustration. Just in case their lives weren’t going to be any better than hers had been.

Two months later, Fred left again.

That time he never came back.

Regina didn’t like to think about what it had been like in those months after Fred and before John. She wasn’t proud of some of the things she’d done, and she’d certainly been a terrible mother to the girls. Leaving them for hours when she went out to hustle for some money. But she was still convinced that the hardships strengthened the girls for what might come in the future.

And now, a few years later, it appeared that she was right. Life was not going to be wonderful for the girls. Regina had no delusions about how they would be treated at the orphanage. It wasn’t like a home; a real home, and they would be lucky to just have food and clothes.

Was it better than what she could offer?

One final bit of news.

If you like to get a lot of free books and enjoy crime and thriller stories, here’s a contest from Booksweeps you should enter. Forty authors are sponsoring the contest and you could win all forty books if you are a winner. The grand prize winner also gets a new eReader.

A $450 value!

Graphic for Thriller Book Giveaway. Man with a black fedora blocking part of his face on the right. Wordage: Follow me to win thriller & crime novels you'll love.

By entering, you have a chance to win a copy of Brutal Season, the fourth installment in the Seasons Mystery Series, as well as books from some of my favorite authors who write crime fiction, like Stephen Puleston, E.J. Simon, and N.L Hinkens.

Graphic for Crime Fiction and Thriller Book Giveaway. Man in a trenchcoat and dark fedora on the far right. Display of author book covers. Wordage: Follow us for a chance to win, 40 novels, 1 e-reader. A $450 value.

Enter the Booksweeps Contest

Ends May 31. Good luck!

That’s all folks! Whatever your weekend plans are, I hope they are filled with good friends and happy times. It will be a quiet one for me.

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