Monday, December 5, 2011

Texting Through Time

What I'm reading: Texting Through Time by Christy Monson.

Today, I have the pleasure of taking part in a blog tour on behalf of Christy Monson and her book, Texting Through Time.

Texting Through Time is a middle-grade novel that follows the adventures of Micah and Alicia as they travel through time thanks to a smart phone prototype developed by their dad. 

The phone allows them to go back in time where they meet LDS prophet Brigham Young. They first meet him at his boyhood home then jump to later events in his life. 

This is not just an adventure story. The phone also presents challenges for Micah and Alicia to accomplish. Through these challenges, the kids learn lessons on faith, courage, charity, and a host of other desirable characteristics. The phone does not let them return home until they figure out a puzzle built on the challenges. 

Brigham Young led the Mormon pioneers west to settle in the Salt Lake valley. Because of this, some of his exploits are well known, especially later in his life, but Christy goes deeper. She has done extensive research and introduces us to little known gems from the prophet's life.

What's so unique about these stories is we are introduced to not only Brigham the prophet, but Brigham the man. We see his personality through the struggles and achievements in his life, both religious and secular. Again, it's geared toward middle-grade readers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot.

I could easily see this as the first book in a series of time traveling stories to the lives of other prophets.

~ * ~

In addition to this well told story, it includes some fabulous illustrations, by Rose Ledezma. These images really bring the stories to life. There are large, medium, and small pictures, some just tucked away in the corner of the page but they give additional depth to the work.

With her permission, I've included a few of my favorites:

Brigham Young covering his beard.

Micah, Alicia, and Brigham meet the Prophet Joseph Smith

Alicia learns to harvest syrup.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles

Today I have the privilege of participating in a Blog Tour on behalf of Anastasia V. Pergakis and her novel, 
Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles

Cleanse Fire is a fantasy adventure novel, with edge-of-your-seat action. Epic battles, suspense, and a bit of romance too! Follow the Kinir Elite as they track down a traitor and find more than they bargained for.

Complete the mission, no matter what…
Captain Derac Vidor has served Kinir for nearly twenty years. It’s his life, his blood soul. And then his Commander betrays everything Derac holds dear. Now he has to focus on his own life and his team instead of saving the citizens of Kinir.

Treason is only the beginning…
Fueled by rage, the team chases the source to their Commander’s betrayal – a powerful wizard bent on revenge. The wizard seeks to destroy the Kinir Elite, in both mind and body. No place is safe, even among their allies.

The past holds the key…
Derac’s tragic past may be the key to saving the team. But can he face the gruesome nightmare in time?

Some of the following information will never come out in the series, so I thought to share it with you all as a little "behind the scenes" info about the Kinir Elite and the type of elf it takes to be a part of their team.

The Kinir Elite are a special forces, "black ops", team with mostly top secret missions. They are still a very "public" group, unlike most black ops teams which are kept in secret, away from public knowledge. They are seen as the "super heroes" to young elves and are often the source of many bedtime stories. The majority of their missions are secret but when it's a hostage rescue situation, the news is spread around. Their country is rather small and limited in technology (compared to ours), so they don't have things like helicopters, cars, guns, etc. They use bladed weapons and bows, making for a more personal style battle/fight scenes. They use covered wagons, carriages, horses, and even dragons as their "vehicles".

They do work closely with their southern neighbours, The Tinally Elite, who are faeries. The faeries use magic and spells, unlike the physical weapons of the elves.  But the inally are limited in what they can do depending on location (can't use magic or survive long without sunlight or moonlight) and strength (if they use too much of their magic, it can drain them and they will need to rest to rebuild their power again). This why the two groups work closely together. When there is a situation underground, the Kinir Elite will step in to help as the Tinally faeries cannot operate, even minimally, in such conditions. It is the same when the Kinir elves have a situation that requires flight and/or magic of some sort.

Female elves (elfas) only recently were allowed to join the Kinir Elite, while the Tinally Elite allow only male faeries. The members of both teams (6 on each) are chosen by the Captains and Commanders of the teams; members can not apply or request to join. In order to be "in the running", an elf or faerie must serve at least ten years in the Army and five years in the Kinir Rangers/Tinally Airborne. If they are chosen - and accept the invite - they pledge to serve another twenty five years. (They live for a very long time, being elves and faeries...)

During the time in the Army and Rangers/Airborne, a person that wants to have a chance to join the Elite, must learn the following things:

  • Be fluent in 5 languages - 6 if counting the Ancient Language;
  • Pass all intelligence tests with a score of 175 or better (out of 200);
  • Be an expert in all manners of weapons;
  • Pass the Elite Aptitude and Endurance Test (Only Rangers who have served 3 years and have all the other qualifications are allowed to take this test.)

BUT even with all that, the greatest test, and the one the Elite Captain pays the most attention to, is seeing the possible recruit in action - seeing how they think on their feet in a real situation.

The Elite Test is essentially their version of "spy training". They are taking away from the Ranger base and taken to a secret facility. In order to keep the facility hidden, the Rangers that go at that time are given a sleeping sedative. Then they are transported to the secret facility and spend anywhere from two to five years depending on what they choose to specifically train in. In order to keep this explanation brief, think of this facility as a combination of SWAT school, Navy Seals SERE training, and "spy school".

Given the strong military theme in my book, I want to honor real life soldiers with my writing. Portions of my royalties from this book, and the upcoming books in the series, will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. This organization helps wounded soldiers and their families heal when they return home. You can learn more about them and read true accounts of soldiers they've helped at their website,

Excerpt from Chapter 8.

A groan escaped him as he unbuttoned his shredded tunic. His hand brushed over the crest of Kinir embroidered on the front. Two lions reared up on their hind legs, one of each side of a crown atop a letter ‘K’. Silver and green threads woven together to create a metallic green look. His fingertips felt each thread, each rise in the design. How could Palto betray us?

A ragged sigh left his lips and he tossed the uniform to the floor. He wiped the dirt and grime off his skin with a soft cloth. The water turned brown. Dried blood flaked off him and landed to float on the surface of the murky water. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the bowl. The liquid swirled, making his stomach churn.

Derac’s knees collapsed from under him and he landed hard on the floor. He dragged the cloth down his face in an attempt to wash the mines and everything from his memory. Nothing helped. When he closed his eyes he saw the tortured and starved faeries and Kie panicking in the dark.

He scrambled to his feet and dumped the murky water out the window. Full of clean water again, Derac plunged his face into it. Using the pitcher, he poured more water over his head. The dirt, he had to be rid of it. All of it.

Derac straightened and squeezed the excess water from his hair. Dried blood, chunks of dirt, and who knew what else turned the water to a thick mud. He threw the contents out the window again and wiped the bowl clean.

He yanked his brush from his pack and raked it through his black tresses. Tears stung his eyes. He told himself it was the tangles in his hair but it was a lie. How many faeries had died before the team could rescue them? How many lost their innocence at the hands of a dwarf?

Derac fell to his knees and bowed his head toward the open window. Moonlight poured in, but it did little to dispel the chill he felt in his bones.

Kie willingly entered the place of her childhood nightmares. How did she muster the courage? Why wasn’t she a wreck like him? He pulled on her strength and forced himself back to his feet. Breaking down was not going to help anyone.

~ * ~ * ~

Thank you Chris, for having me here today. I really appreciate the visit to your blog.

Purchase Cleanse Fire
Join the Kinir Brigade by signing up for our newsletter! Get exclusive deals, access to special giveaways, and inside information about the series! Join the Kinir Brigade now! And don't forget to visit our Facebook Page and Website too!

~ * ~ * ~

In honor of Veterans Day a few days ago, I’m giving away an e-copy of Cleanse Fire! Leave a comment on this post to enter into the random drawing by 11:59 pm November 20 (Eastern Standard Time). You MUST leave your email address IN the comment so I can contact you when you win!

Everyone who leaves a comment will also be added to the drawing for a chance to win a signed hard cover version of the book when it releases December 21.

I'm having more giveaways throughout the months of November and December! "Like" the series' facebook page to keep up to date on all the events!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Variant Book Bomb

What I'm reading: Variant by Robison Wells.

Young Adult (YA) fiction  is not my genre of choice, but I can be persuaded. Oh, I'll check something out if it gets enough play, like The Hunger Games. Plus I know a number of local authors who write YA and I'm all about supporting local authors (I plan to be one in the near future). 

Because Variant was only released about a month ago, it hasn't had time to pick up traction. However, I have had occasion to listen to Rob speak at writers' conferences and met him before this year's Whitney Awards (his brainchild, btw). Oh and a good friend of mine is a good friend of his, Marion Jensen. So, Rob and I are practically BFFs and therefore I bought and read his book.

Variant begins as a bubbling creek winding its way through picturesque valleys and ends as a rushing torrent plummeting over class VI rapids. It is book one of two and we are left with plenty of questions for which there better be answers in book two. I'm sure we won't be disappointed. 

To learn more about the plot line, check out the link above to Rob's website.

~ * ~


As I mentioned above, I'm only just getting to know Rob and the other amazing authors in this community. I know he's been instrumental in a lot of facets, like the Whitney Awards, and from others who know him much better, I understand there's much more admirable and amazing stuff I don't know.

In fact, go to Josi Kilpack's blog for some of those specifics.

Or check out Sara Eden on Twitter @SarahMEden

The following is taken from Larry Correia's website, NY Times bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International series. Larry gives an awesome account of how books/authors work and again how fantabulous Rob is.

I've included some of his post here, because it says it so well.

(Larry, my apologies for reprinting your blog here, but you say it SO well and I gave my $0.02 above . . .)

Mark your calender. On Thursday, November 10th, I’m going to book bomb somebody, and not only that, I’m going to ask all of you for help spreading the word because this particular author is in dire need of a boost.

Variant is an excellent read, sort of a sci-fi take on Lord of the Flies with a twist, and don’t just take my word for it, it made the Publisher’s Weekly list of the top books of the year.

Variant was one of the best books I’ve read this year. I stayed up late to read it in one sitting.

A little while ago he was diagnosed with a severe panic disorder. Basically, something in his brain chemistry has gone out of whack, and his fight or flight reflex is constantly switched on. As a result this has really screwed up his life. He has been trying to get it under control and his doctors have been experimenting with different treatments trying to find the one that will click.

Recently, Rob was laid off from his day job as a result of his illness. This is a real financial hardship for him and his family.

What many people don’t realize about writers is that we keep our day jobs until we have about five or six books in circulation, and sometimes longer depending on how well they are selling. Writing isn’t the most steady of paychecks. (I’m doing well enough now that I could just be a writer, but I happen to love my day job, so I plan on doing it for probably another year.)  You’ve got to earn back the advance and even then you only get paid every six months. Variant is Rob’s first book on the national market. He had a ways to go before he would be able to quit the day job, but his illness totally wrecked that plan.

What is a book bomb? Well, Amazon has its own bestseller list. It is calculated hourly and you are given a sales rank based up on how you stack up against the other six million books on there. It's some sort of strange rolling average algorithm, but what it comes down to is the more books that are purchased during that particular time frame, the higher you rank. The higher you rank, the more of their top 50 or top 10 lists you show up on. The more of those you show up on, the higher you go, the more attention you get, the more books you sell.

By getting as many people as possible to purchase the book on a single day, it really kicks a book up the rankings.

So mark your calenders, this Thursday the 10th.
Amazon link to Variant:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Alien Presence

What I'm reading: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.

This is the second book of Ms. Butler's I've read. The first was Wild Seed. Wild Seed is in my top 5 of favorite books.

Kindred didn't resonate with me like Wild Seed did. However, it still effected me--and that's what we hope and expect from good writing.

It was first published in 1979. Thirty-two years later, it's still relevant, likely because the issues it addresses are universal and timeless. Additionally, it largely takes place in the antebellum South. The impact of that era of  U.S. history is still felt today.

We might classify Kindred as science fiction due to its time travel element, however, I don't think I'd call it a science fiction novel. It's a story about the person we are in our given surroundings. If those surroundings change, do we change as well? A question posed by the protagonist is, (in part, in regards to her white husband) just how easily could one give in to the idea of slavery? It's also about family; in the sense that no matter how far we distance ourselves from them, we are also connected in some sense.

It's an important novel. One that I'm glad I read.

~ * ~

Alien Presence

Alien Presence is the title to my second piece of flash fiction I wrote for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2011. Click here for my post on the contest. This is my second entry in the first round. There are three rounds. In each round, judges award you a place in your group and a corresponding point value. For instance, in the first round, I was awarded 12th place out of 24. This gave me 4 points. First place gets 25 points. The points from your first and second story are added together. If your total points are within the top 5 of your group, then you get to move on to the second round.

My assigned genre for this story was: Open. My location, a space station. The object? A glass eye. I found this more challenging than my first story, Orange or Pink, which had a genre of Drama, in a cell phone store, including a chicken.

Below is my new story. Comments and feedback are appreciated.

Alien Presence

            Major Connor Jenkins closed his eyes and rubbed his left temple. You’d think I’d be able to feel it under my skin.

            “Major, are you all right?” asked the shuttle pilot.

            “When do we arrive?”

            “We’re on approach now.”

            “Thanks,” Connor replied. “You know how it feels when you’ve got something in your eye but you can’t quite isolate it?”

            “Yes, sir.”

            “That’s what I’ve got, except instead of having something in my eye the something is my eye.”

            “Come again, sir?”

            Connor shook his head. “Never mind.”

            Connor watched the air lock seal behind them, then descended the collapsible stairs of his shuttle. On the dock stood six people: two armed guards, two adorned in suits that probably cost as much as he made in six months of duty, a doctor of some sort judging by the white lab coat, and a fourth standing straight in a full dress uniform. Connor sighed and walked toward them, wishing for a breach in the air lock to suck him out into space, away from politicians and their insufferable prattle. I’d rather face down Chechtian rebels in the Kthetian quadrant than polish brass with bureaucrats.

            Connor forced the corners of his mouth upward.

            The man in uniform stepped forward. Connor gave a sharp salute.

            “Major Jenkins, I’m General Lopez. It’s an honor to have you. We couldn’t hope for a better launch of our new facility than by a true war hero.”

            “Thank you, General. I didn’t realize this space station is a military base.”

            “We function as a way station, med lab, and hospital between military bases,” Lopez said. “Currently, we staff about a hundred—military personnel and civilians. We expect to be up to three hundred in the coming months. We keep a small force on hand for security, but we do our best work in research. Dr. Perrine is our chief medical officer. Her people are working on a number of research projects and military prototypes.”

            “How big is it, sir?” Connor asked, looking about.

            “One hundred and twenty-nine thousand cubic feet.”

            Connor let out a long whistle. “Growing up my dad had a Buick. Felt about that size to me.”

            Dr. Perrine reached across Lopez and took Conner’s hand. “It’s a pleasure. I’ve been eager to meet you.”

            “How’s that doctor?”

            “If I’m not mistaken, you have a prototype of your own.” She gestured to his left eye.

            “My GLASS eye, of course. How did you know about that?”

            “I have a friend on the surgical team.”

            “I’m sorry,” said Lopez. “A glass eye?”

            “Global Lenticular Auditory Synaptic Stimuli,” Conner said. “Unlike a traditional glass eye, this is wired directly to my optic nerve. Perfect vision with audio and video recording capability.”

            “And you have no side effects?” she asked.

            “It weighs a few ounces more than a regular eye. I can feel the difference but they tell me I’ll get used to it.”

            “Major, let me introduce Senator Cosgrove and his assistant, Jack Carlton,” Lopez said, turning to his right. 

            Connor shook hands with both men. A small movement activated Connor’s left eye and drew his attention to the senator’s shoulder. A bug? Something akin to earth’s cockroaches. No, not earth, Chechtia. Could there be an infiltration?

            The roach seemed to be looking right at him, evaluating him. Does nobody else see it? Connor scanned the others. They looked oblivious to it. When he returned to the senator, the roach was gone.

            “You must be tired,” said Lopez. “Jack will show you to your room. Dinner will be at nineteen-hundred. If you need anything, let Jack know.”

            Connor switched his eye to ultraviolet then pulled his sidearm and fired two rounds into the senator’s head.

            Jack ran for cover behind the shuttle. General Lopez grabbed Dr. Perrine and pushed her to floor. The guards leveled their weapons at Connor and fired.

*   *   *

            Dr. Perrine stood over the autopsy table in med lab. Connor lay naked on the table with multiple gun shots to the chest and head.

            “Why does a decorated war hero assassinate a U.S. senator?” She pulled on latex gloves and turned on the recording equipment. “I don’t expect you to reply,” she said, leaning over and looking into Connor’s remaining GLASS eye, “but you will answer me.”

            Scalpel in hand, she made several cuts around the orbital cavity and gently lifted the eye from its socket. It rested in her palm, still attached to the optic nerve. She could see how, if alive, Connor could disengage the eye, but she was forced to disconnected the delicate wiring from the sides of the orb. Connecting the eye to her computer, she downloaded the contents.

            “Let’s see what you saw, Connor Jenkins.”

            The files were time stamped. One file showed today’s date, just an hour ago. She double clicked. A video opened on the monitor. It played back the scene from the receiving dock. She saw the interior of the shuttle, the stairs, and herself alongside the senator and General Lopez.

            The recording played out as she remembered it. When Connor shook hands with the senator, the recording zoomed in on a small bug near the senator’s collar. She didn’t remember seeing that. How would such a thing even get on board a space station? Then she saw it. Looking back at her through the flesh of the senator’s face was a Chechtian warrior.

            She replayed the video—twice, before touching her com device.

            “I need to speak to General Lopez, immediately.”

            “He can’t be disturbed,” replied the voice. “There’s been a shooting and he—”

            “I know,” Dr. Perrine replied. “That’s why I must speak to him—now!”

            “I can try to hail him but I don’t think—”

            The voice cut off, replaced by sounds of gun fire and the death cries of her crewmates. She screamed into her com in a futile attempt at what?

            Then everything went silent. 

            No more screams.

            No gun fire.

            Eventually, they would find her, too.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Orange or Pink

What I'm looking forward to reading: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Not long ago I started my first epic fantasy: Mistborn. I found it to be hugely satisfying. I've read a scant number of fantasy novels so it was a real treat to read this series.

There's always a bit of a let down when you finish a series, more so than a single novel. You get to know the characters and the lines between your world and theirs start to blur. Then it's over. Done. There's not even a Facebook page to catch up once in awhile. Brandon Sanderson, however, is attempting to ease my melancholy with a new book, based on the world of Mistborn. 

From Publishers Weekly
Sanderson gives the world of Scadrial the Wild West treatment in this rollicking adventure tale set 300 years after the popular Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy. This “side deviation” gives up swords for guns, and while the three-part magic system of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy continues to play a crucial role in the story, Scadrial itself is on the cusp of modernity. Wax, a lawkeeper gifted with both Allomantic and Feruchemical powers, has returned to the circular city of Elendel to take his uncle’s place as Lord Ladrian. When a gang of thieves known as the Vanishers begins stealing from railcars and kidnapping ladies, Wax, his miscreant buddy Wayne, and the intelligent and pretty Marasi decide they are honor-bound to uncover the perpetrators and save the victims. Part Sherlock Holmes, part X-Men, this exciting stand-alone adventure is full of close shaves, shootouts, and witty banter.

I pre-ordered my signed and numbered copy today. You can too, just click on his name at the top of this page. Click here to read the first few chapters for free at

~ * ~

Orange or Pink

Orange or Pink is the title to a piece of flash fiction I wrote for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2011. Check out my previous post for more information on the contest and a bit of the genesis of this story. I'm posting it here now. This is my first entry in the first round. Comments and feedback are appreciated.

Orange or Pink

A man is caught stealing smart phones that he's been selling to help pay for his sister's chemotherapy.

             I stood on the center line of the store, one foot in pink the other in orange.

            “Orange or pink?” I said aloud, trying to determine which brand of phones to push. T-Mobile occupied the west side of the store, AT&T the east. A classic turf war. 

            Nobody responded. The store didn’t open for another half-hour  so the only people around were my manager and my coworkers. As the senior sales rep on the floor, they all knew to defer to me. My manager, Tilly Scott, had yet to emerge from his office. Tilly was a bear of a man, but his temperament was as soft as his name was girly.

            “I’m feeling awfully pink today,” I said. 

            Vanessa laughed. “No comment.” 

            I turned to her with a friendly scowl. “Better not be, missy. You’re only six weeks out of training. When you’ve earned a couple of stripes, come talk to me. I was pushing phones back before phones were smart.”

            “Just wait,” Vanessa said. “You’ll be eating your words when we start selling the iPhone. I’m the app-queen.”

            I pointed to my face, void of emotion. “This is my panic face. I’m so worried.”

            I moved over to the pink side to prepare the displays. Not only was I feeling pink, but the manufacturer’s promos were better than what the orange side was offering—which makes them more attractive to customers. A couple more big sale days and I’d beat my quota by twenty-five percent, which meant a bonus. 

            By the time Tilly emerged from the back office, I’d made two sales and was due for a break
            “Pete, can I see you for a minute?”

            “Sure boss,” I said. “What’s up?”

            “Not here. Let’s go to my office.” 

            I shrugged and followed him back. He opened the office door, and I’d have to say I was a bit surprised by the chicken. Tilly lumbered to his chair. He didn’t so much as sit in his chair as he did smother it. 

            “Close the door.”

            I shut the door then propped myself on a red vinyl straight-back with cracks on the seat and looked across the desk at him. The chicken sat over his left shoulder on a shelf behind him.  

            “Boss?” I asked.


            “Why is there a caged chicken in your office?”

            He looked back at the bird as if he’d yet to notice it.

            “Oh, that’s one of our hens. We raise chickens—best eggs you’ll ever eat. The rooster can get a bit cocky though.”

            He chuckled at his own joke, and I laughed too, because I wasn’t sure what else to do.

            “My wife had her checked out by the vet first thing this morning and then dropped her here for me take home, while she does some errands.”

            “How many do you have?” I asked.

             “Half a dozen or so.” Tilly leaned forward placing his forearms on the edge of the desk. “How’re you, doing Pete?”

            I nodded. “Pretty good.”

            “Did I hear that you recently took on a second job?”

            “Yeah, I’m working evenings at Musician’s Friend. I take inbound orders and do a little  customer support. Plus, I still work weekends at the baseball park whenever the team’s in town.”

            Tilly whistled. “That’s tough.”

            I smiled. “Hey, we do what we gotta do, right?”

            “Right, right.” 

            He paused as if unsure what to say next. 

            The chicken clucked softly, seemingly unfazed by its surroundings.

            Tilly sighed. “I’ve just finished going through our inventory and for the third month in a row we’ve come up short.”

            My stomach started to flitter, and I’m sure my pupils dilated. Crap, I thought. I should’ve been more careful. Should’ve spread it out over more months. My chair felt terribly uncomfortable. I gave him my panic face.

            “Can you think of anyone who might be stealing merchandise?”

            Whew. Thank you, I thought. Someone is looking out for me. 

            “It’s hard to say. I might think Vanessa, because she’s new. I can’t imagine anyone else.” I tried to maintain eye contact and not look away. A tell-tale sign of liars, I’d learned from watching cop shows.

            Tilly leaned back in his chair, the hinges squeaked in protest to his bulk, and rubbed his goatee. “I thought the same thing, but I ruled her out. After going over everything—shift rosters, who’d have the best access, and such—I’ve come to only one conclusion. How long have you been stealing from me?”

            “Wha-wait. Me? You think I did this?”

            “Come on Pete. Stop messing around. We’ve known each other too long.”

            This time I did look away. “All right. I admit it. Crap. I didn’t want to, if that makes you feel any better.”

            “Not really. Does it you?”

            “No. I know it’s wrong, but it does make my sister feel better.”

            “How’s your sister involved in this?”

            “My sister’s fourteen.” I felt a catch in my throat. “She’s got breast cancer, at fourteen.”

            Tilly leaned forward again. “That sucks. I’m sorry.”

            “I stole the phones and sold them to help pay for her chemotherapy. Which is also why I work at the ball park and took the job at Musician’s Friend.”

            Tilly rubbed his goatee for a long minute. He looked up at the chicken, then back at me. “I’ll tell you what.” He held out a piece of paper. “You see that?” 

            It was an itemized expense report. “Yeah.”

            “See the bottom where it says three percent?”

            I nodded.

            “That’s an expense that the company has built into the budget. Three percent to cover lost or stolen merchandise. You keep your after-hour activities within three percent, and this conversation never happened. You understand?”

            I nodded. My eyes started to water and I tried not to cry. “Thank you.  I will.” I got up to leave.


            I turned around.

            “Why don’t you take the chicken? Best eggs she’ll ever eat.”

            “Thank you. I will.”



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