Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book 2 in the Spirits of Maine Series, Lillies in the Clearing by Kim Scott

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PBA Release Event

PBA RDB Banner Release Day Event Mark My Words Trio

HOSTED BY: BOOK ENTHUSIAST PROMOTIONS & MARK MY WORDS BOOK PUBLICITY

Synopsis

9781254738590

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self. Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Amazon Final


 

9781482761283

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me. Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now. When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw-out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

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Amazon Final


9781493613205

The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.

Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be. Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.

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Meet the Author

Aimee L. Salter

Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you're really thinking. And she'll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn't ask you about. Aimee blogs for both writers and readers at www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON


 

Heather

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she's published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life. You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON


 

Tracy

Tracy Banghart is a cheesy movie-loving, fantasy football-playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began "practicing" her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family's cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON

 
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Legally Undead by Margo Bond Collins





Legally Undead, available May 27 from World Weaver Press

Blurb:

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs--not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.


Review


*****I was given an e-copy in exchange for an honest review*****

Elle has her entire life planned out far in advance. Marriage to an attorney, receiving her Doctorate degree and hosting fancy parties. Sometimes plans like this work out perfectly. For Elle, not so perfect. Her life is about to go in a totally different direction. One she never anticipated!

This is a very fast and intense story. The action starts in the very beginning and never stops throughout. It grabs the readers attention from the very start and one has a difficult time putting it down. Loaded with vampires and vampire vanquishers, Elle is unwillingly drawn into a life she never knew existed. 

If you like vampires then you will love this story. It moves at a very fast pace and never lets the reader put it down. I loved it and give it a 5 star rating!
_____________________________________________



About the Author

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

_____________________________________________

Connect with Margo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Be sure to add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18366353-legally-undead

Monday, July 21, 2014

Congratulations Raine and Adam

In honor of your new releases! I hope you like this!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find their books here:


Rout of the Dem Shyr

Amazon - http://bit.ly/ROTDSAmz                                  
Amazon - http://tiny.cc/gujdjx
iBook - http://bit.ly/ROTDSiBook
Kobo - http://bit.ly/ROTDSKobo

Witch Hunter Olivia
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1n0s2bn
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1u4gNU3
Amazon AUS: http://bit.ly/1qrbwEu
iBooks: http://bit.ly/SnouU9
B&N: http://bit.ly/1nJX02V
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1qSkFlq

 
                                                                                            

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happenings by Author Joy Redmond.

Author Joy Redmond


In 1976, I sold my house, and my three children and I left Kentucky. We moved to a small town in Missouri. I had to work second shift and I left my oldest daughter, Paula and my son, Peter in charge of Mary.

One night I got a call from Peter. “Mom, Paula and me had Mary outside watching her ride her bike and I was showing her how to pop a wheelie. When we came in the front door we could hear somebody in the middle bedroom and it sounded like they were tearing up the place. So we ran back outside and we’re at a neighbor’s house. They called the police but I wish you’d come home.”

I said, “Stay at the neighbor’s and I’ll get home as fast as I can.”

My hands were trembling so badly it was hard to keep a grip on the steering wheel. Who could be in the house? How did they get in? I was thankful I only had a ten minute drive, but it seemed to take forever to get home.

I pulled into the driveway and the children ran across Neighbor’s front yard toward me. Neighbor was close behind. I jumped out of the car and ran to my children.

Neighbor said, “I went over to see what the kids were talking about and just as I entered the living room, I could hear somebody ransacking the house, so I went back home and called the cops. They should be here by now.”

Just as Neighbor finished the sentence, a police cruiser pulled into the driveway. I told Neighbor to take the children back to his house and I’d come for them as soon as Officer had Stranger out of my house. Officer walked my way and asked, “What seems to be the problem, ma’am?”

I explained the problem as it had been told to me. Officer told me to stay in the front yard until he investigated. In few minutes, Officer came back outside holding a shoulder-strap purse on his forefinger. “Here’s your intruder!”

“What?” I opened the purse and found an empty perfume bottle and a key ring with several keys attached. The purse had been packed in a box in my closet. I said, “Are you sure there’s nobody in the house?”

Officer smiled. “I checked the house thoroughly. The back door is locked, all windows are down and locked, and no sign of forced entry, and no sign of a person. The purse was hanging on the doorknob, inside the middle bedroom. It was swinging and banging against the door.”

I thanked Officer and apologized for wasting his time. He merely smiled and went back to the cruiser, and I’m sure he was thinking we were a bunch of nuts.

I opened the front door, set the purse on the floor, then went to Neighbor’s and collected my children. I carried Mary and Paula and Peter stayed close by my side. “There’s nobody in house. We’re safe. I’ll explain when we get home,” I said.

Peter opened the front door, I stood Mary on the floor, then told them to go sit at the kitchen table. When they were seated, I came into the kitchen holding the purse. I looked at Paula. “Have you been using my purse?

“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t use that ugly thing and I hate shoulder straps.”

I looked toward Peter. “Hey, I’m not into purses, he said.”

I knelt by Mary's side. “Did you get in Mommies closet and get the purse out to play with it?”

Mary said, “I don’t like the purse, it stinks.”

“Stinks?” I said, pulling the purse under my nose and taking a whiff. It had an old musky smell. It had been boxed, but it had only been packed for a few weeks.

“Stinky Purse,” I said, and tossed it into the corner. I wasn’t going to leave the children and go back to work. A first happening is an alarming thing, and I needed to explain a few things to them.

We sat around the table. Paula was fifteen. Peter was twelve. Mary was five, but I thought it was time to tell them about visiting spirits. I told them about the visits from my mama and baby brother and how much comfort they had brought me. I told them about smelling roses from time to time, and how I
believed it was Mama paying a visit just to let me know she loved me.

They intently listened and I saw their eyes widen in surprise and joy. Paula and Peter thought it was cool. Mary was sitting in my lap. She patted my face. “Mommy, did Grandma get your purse out and play with it?” The idea of Grandma paying a visit seemed to intrigue her.

I thought for a minute, then said. “Well, it doesn’t seem like something that Grandma would do. This was a prank, which is exactly something like Grandpa would do. He was the biggest prankster I’ve never known. He’s probably laughing his butt off. And I guess it is funny, now that we know it was a prank and nobody was in the house.”

The children agreed that it was funny and we all had a laugh.

After our talk, I fixed us a snack, then I got Mary ready for bed. Paula and Peter wanted to watch TV before going to bed. I was tired, so I decided to turn in, too. I picked up Stinky Purse and took it back to its box in the closet. “Now stay put!” I said.

Two months went by and Stinky Purse stayed put in the box in my closet. Then one morning we were all sitting around the kitchen table having breakfast. We heard a strange sound. It seemed to be coming from one of the bedrooms.

“Sit still,” I said. I made my way down the hall and into my bedroom. There in the middle of the floor was Stinky Purse! The musky smell was stronger. I picked it up and headed for the kitchen. When I came through the doorway, swinging it by the straps, the children laughed and said, “Stinky Purse is out again!”

“Here’s hoping it finds another home,” I said as I headed out the back door. I threw it into the trash can, then pulled the can to the curb out front, thankful it was garbage pickup day. Stinky Purse was out of our lives. I hoped. The smell was sickening.

By the end of that year we liked Missouri well enough to call it home. So I decided I’d buy a house. When the realtor pulled up in front of the third house on her list, I felt a warm glow come over me. The minute the realtor unlocked the front door and I stepped inside, the house seemed to be calling my name. Or maybe it was the brick fireplace in the living room with a beautiful mirror encased in a gold frame. The realtor said the previous owners had bought it especially for the fireplace and they wanted to leave it. I was gratefully. There was something special about the mirror that I didn’t understand.

I walked over and stood in front of the fireplace. I reached up and touch the beautiful frame around the mirror that seemed to be beckoning me. My breath caught in my throat as I gasped. Mama’s face appeared and she was smiling, the same smile I had seen on her face when she came to me after I had learned of her death. I placed my hand on her image and she disappeared. Tears filled my eyes, but my heart filled with joy.

I didn’t want to leave the mirror but the realtor wanted to show me the rest of the house. It was an old home but it was in mint condition. It had three bedrooms upstairs, a finished basement with a sitting room, bedroom, full bath and laundry room. Perfect! My daughters who were ten years apart in age wouldn’t have to share a bedroom, and Son would have his private man cave downstairs away from all the women. He was drowning in estrogen.

The weather was perfect all of October, but by early November it was cold enough to turn on the furnace. Soon all the rooms were warm and toasty—except for my oldest daughter Paula’s bedroom. I held my hand over the vents and I could feel warm air, but it didn’t penetrate the room. By late November you could see your breath in that room.

There was no way the cold bedroom was going to hold heat, which was nice for sleeping but too chilly for dressing and undressing. I called a heating and air-conditioning company. A young man came and checked out the furnace and all the pipes and vents. He found nothing wrong.

One night I was snuggled up in bed with Paula and we were having a mother-daughter talk. Suddenly we heard a sound, like wind chimes. The sound was clearly coming from a few feet away. Then we looked up at the ceiling. There in the far right corner above the dresser was a cluster of glitter.

Paula said, “Mom, do you see that? Is it fairy dust?”

“I see it honey, but I didn’t see Wendy come in with it. I just hope Peter Pan shows up and gives me directions to Never-Never Land, where I’ll never grow old.”

“Stop acting stupid, Mom. What is it?”

“I’m not sure, honey. It could be orbs. I think orbs are supposed to be angels who are watching over us.” 

I continued to watch the dancing of glitter and the colors were different than anything I’d ever seen. It was like a rainbow with every color imaginable, and some of the colors were foreign to me. They were mesmerizing. And the chimes were the most beautiful music I’d ever heard. I wondered if it was the same sound the angels make when they play their harps. If the angels actually do play harps and I have my doubts about that.

We waited for the fairy dust or orbs or whatever it was to hit the floor, but they just danced around in a circle a few inches from the ceiling. After a minute or so, the chimes went silent, but the beautiful display of colors continued. A few minutes later the rainbow turned into a cloud of fog, slowly dissipated and disappeared.

Paula smiled. “I hope it comes back. That was really neat!”

“We never know when a spirit will come or what they’ll do. And we’re never sure who the spirit is. I think that was a cluster of many spirits who thinks it’s the 4th of July.”

“You’re not funny, Mom.

“Ah, lighten up, kid. You know I always have to make a joke about things. You should be used to it by now. I have no explanation, so you figure it out.”

I left the room, wondering who it could have been. I went into the living room and told Peter and Mary what had happened. Wide-eyed, they ran to the bedroom. We all piled into the bed and waited. And waited. By 10 o’clock, I told them the show was over for the night. Peter went to his bedroom in the basement. I put Mary to bed, and I read for a while before turning in.

For the next week, every night at 7 o’clock, which was the time the happening had occurred, we all piled into Paula’s bed and waited. Fairy Dust never returned. Peter Pan was a no-show, too. A big disappoint for all.

It had been a year since Fairy Dust had appeared. The children enjoyed making snowmen and I braved the elements and helped them build a few. Then came the snowball fights. Three against one, and I was pelted hard. I managed to get a few balls thrown, but my aim wasn’t good enough, and my hands were numb.

That winter, I introduced them to something I had enjoyed as a child. The snow was heavy and I thought it was safe to make snow cream. The children went outside with pans and spoons and gathered the snow as I had instructed. 

“Don’t take the top. Rake off a good inch, then get the snow underneath”.

When their pans were full, they brought them back inside. They watched in amazement as I emptied the small pans of snow in a large pan, added vanilla flavoring and milk and stirred for five minutes. I set the pan in the freezer. When it was frozen solid, I took it out, filled four bowls. We had plenty of snow cream that winter, and we enjoyed the fireplace. It was so cozy sitting close by the hearth and watching the flames dance. I kept hoping I’d see Mama, but she didn’t appear.

While we were snowbound, we entertained ourselves with board games. Our favorite board game was Monopoly. One night we sat around the kitchen table, all of us selecting our favorite board piece.
About thirty minutes into the game a horrible smell filled the room. In unison we said, “Who cut the cheese?” all of us eyeing each other and waving our hands in front of our faces.

I didn’t do it. I knew the children didn’t do it because of their surprised looks, and when one of them did rip off a wind-biscuit, they would break into the silly giggles. We continued fanning the air with our hands. Within a minute or so it was gone.

“I think we just experience another happening, I said.

Peter said, “It had to be Grandpa. That was a manly fart!”

“It wouldn’t surprise me. It’s like something he’d do,” I answered.

We continued the game and it went on for almost two hours. I was tired of playing and I was losing. 

“I’m done kids. Finish without me.” Just as I rose from my chair the smell of rotten eggs filled the air, and almost knocked me backward. The children’s eyes were wide and they all ask, “Who did it this time?”

When I could get my breath, I pulled a Daddy trick on them and said, “That’s not Grandpa. It’s the devil farting. Don’t you smell the sulfur?”

I’d never seen three kids jump and run so fast. I bent over laughing—until it hit me—what if it is the devil?

Several weeks passed. One night I was sitting on the couch, the children were at my feet, lying on their bellies, faces propped in hands, watching one of our favorite sit-coms. We were all laughing when suddenly we started choking from a horrible smell. The children looked up at me with wide eyes. “It’s the devil farting!” I yelled.

Three kids were off the floor and trying to crawl into my lap at the same time. By the time they had almost smothered me with their bodies, the smell was gone. I did have to sleep with all three that night, which taught me a lesson—don’t act like Daddy and scare the children. Though I never let on, I was a bit unnerved by the smell. Mother sent roses. Daddy played pranks. Fairy Dust was beautiful. But who was sending the sulfur smell?

After spending two of the coldest winters of my life I decided I was moving out of snow country. I’d scooped my last shovel full of snow, I’d used an ice pick and busted ice in a driveway all I was going to for the rest of my life and I had my fill of being snowbound for weeks. I swore if the sun ever did shine and the snow finally melted, I was on my way to Florida. Several friends had vacationed in Clearwater and it sounded like the perfect place.

I put my house on the market and it sold in June. I took the children to Kentucky to stay with their grandparents, and I headed to Florida in search of a house. It only took three days to find a nice home that I could afford, in a nice neighborhood and friendly neighbors. I filled out all the paper work and we set a date for closing. I headed back to Kentucky to collect my children, anxious to start packing, excited about moving to Florida, living close enough to walk to the beach every day, and listen to the hypnotic sounds of the ocean waves as they lapped the shore.

Twenty-eight days later, I called the Moving Company. The next morning the movers were there by 7 o’clock in the morning. We had said our goodbyes to all of our friends the day before. Finally the household contents were loaded in the moving van, and it was on its way to Florida. We had packed all we needed for the trip in the station wagon. I told the children to get in the car and I’d be there shortly. I wanted to make one more sweep through all the rooms, savoring the memories we had made, and privately tell the house goodbye. It had been the happiest two years of my life.

After I had made my walk-through, I opened the front door, glanced over my shoulder at the beautiful fireplace, the large mirror still hanging over it. My breath caught in my throat as I watched Mama’s face appear in the center of the mirror. She held a beautiful smile. “I’m doing the right thing, huh, Mama? Please come back and visit me often. I missed you so much.” Tears welled as I watched Mama’s image fade away.

I hurried to the car, but I didn’t mention Mama’s visit. We buckled up and were on our way. Paula talked non-stop, Peter cracked jokes, Mary slept off and on, and fourteen hours later, we arrived in Florida. I had only lost my religion twice during the long drive. I had cramps in my right leg and toes, and I hoped I didn’t have to get behind the wheel for a long time.

We were told the moving van wouldn’t be there until three days later. I rented us a motel room. A Waffle House was next door, very handy for me to make coffee runs.

Two days later we had the closing on the house which only took thirty minutes. I collected the house keys, wished everybody a happy life, then headed back to the motel, hoping the rain would let up and we could go to the beach. The next day it poured rain. We were going insane being hold up in a tiny room at Motel Hell.

On the third day, the sun was brightly shining, a perfect day for the beach, but we had to go to the house and wait for the moving van. Thankfully, the van pulled in the driveway ten minutes after we did. It was mid-July, and the heat and humidity was unbearable.

Finally the van was unloaded. I shut doors and windows, turned on the air-conditioning and fixed us a glass of ice water. The children were hungry, so I told them to sit tight and I’d make a run to Taco Bell. I got back with the tacos and we sat on the floor, because the table was piled with boxes. We all had our mouths full, when suddenly the smell of rotten eggs surrounded us. We just looked at each other, smiled and in unison said, “Phantom Farter!”

“Yep, he came with us,” I said, “But we’re eating, not playing Monopoly.” Within a minute or so, the smell disappeared and it never returned. We had laughed about Stinky Purse, we missed Fairy Dust, but we were glad Phantom Farter had departed.

Then we got another visitor.

Our first three months in Florida had been wonderful. We went to the beach every day after I got off work, and we spent most every weekend walking the beach, digging our toes in the sand, and building sand castles. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened since Phantom Farter left us. Then one night I was home alone. Peter was fishing off the pier, Paula was out with friends and Mary was at a sleepover next door. How nice and peaceful, I thought.

I settled down on the couch in the TV room and began reading a book. I was a few pages into the book when suddenly I heard music. It was the same music that used to play when I was a teenager and opened my jewelry box. When I lifted the lid a little ballerina would twirl and sweet music played, though I never recognized the tune.

I put the book down and kept listening. The music was clearly coming from a few feet away. I knew my old jewelry box had disappeared years ago. My daughters had never had one or anything else that played music. To my knowledge there was nothing in the house that played music—especially the same tune. I searched the room like a detective on the prowl for drugs. I found nothing. By the time my search was over the music had stopped.

A year after our move to Florida, Peter decided he wanted to display his beer can collection. He had order many of the cans from a catalogue with names we’d never heard of. He even had a Billy Beer and it was his favorite. The catalogue also sold display shelves and mounting devices for the cans. Using his birthday money from Grandparents, he ordered a shelf with slots for each can. I helped him assemble and mount the shelves to the wall. Then we painstakingly used the sticky cubes. One side of the cube was to be stuck to the can and the other side was to be stuck to the shelf slot.

The directions read: place in selected spot and wait thirty minutes before touching. We had four rows fixed so-so and waited thirty minutes. “Time to test,” Son said. He flicked the cans, shook them, pulled on them, but they were as secure as if they had been placed in cement.

“By cracky, they won’t fall down,” I said.

One night the three children had overnight plans and I was home alone. Since I didn’t have to monitor TV programs, I decided I’d watch a movie on HBO. After the movie was over I went to bed with a good book, propped up and read until I fell asleep. I was awakened at midnight by a strange sound. I sat up in bed and listened. Bing! Bing! Bing! I got out of bed, walked into the living room, and the ‘binging’ was coming from Peter’s bedroom.

I looked round the room and saw several beer cans were on the floor. I picked them up and put them back into their slot on the shelf. Just as I had placed the last one, the cans started popping out of the slots as if they were being thumped, one by one in, in a straight line, and in rhythm. I smiled and said, 

“That’s amazing.” I stood transfixed as a dozen cans flipped off the shelf slot and hit the floor, still falling in a straight line and in perfect rhythm. Finally, two rows were empty and they stopped falling. I folded my arms and said, “Is that all you’ve got?” I waited a few minutes. That was it. The show was over. I went back to bed, picked up my book and I heard, Bing! Bing! Bing! I didn’t bother to go look or pick them up.

We’ve been in Florida for two year, and it was Mary’s 9th birthday. I had promised her a new bike. I even let her go shopping with me and pick out the one she wanted. Her eyes glowed when she spotted a bright orange bike. I bought it. “Happy birthday, darling,” I said as she pushed it out of the store. We loaded it into the trunk and she couldn’t wait to get home and ride it.

Our driveway wasn’t long enough for Mary to ride her bike as far as she wanted to, and I wasn’t about to let her ride out of my sight. There was a church parking lot across the road from us. So in the afternoons, I let her push the bike across the road and ride in the lot while I sat in the front yard and watched, with a stray cat by my side. The cat had taken up residence with us two weeks before.
One afternoon, a young boy joined her in the parking lot on his black bike. I sat in the driveway and watched them riding, and smiled as I saw what a little gentleman he was. He always stayed a few feet behind her and never crossed her path. Suddenly, Mary tumbled off her bike. She got up and got back on and continued riding. A few laps later, she took another tumble. I thought she was nervous because a boy was riding with her. Mary was a pro who never took a spill. A few more laps and she took another tumble.

I jumped up and hurried across the road. By the time I had reached her, she was in the little boys face, screaming and letting him know she would do damage to him if he pushed her again. The boy did his best to explain that he hadn’t touched her, but she wasn’t buying it. The little boy had tears as he continued his plea of innocence. I intervened and said, “Hey, he didn’t push you. I’ve been watching and he hasn’t been close enough to touch you. Cool your jets, kid.”

She was frothing as she yelled, “I felt his hands on my back and I felt him push me. He pushed me hard.”

I did my best to convince her there was no way, but she insisted she felt hands push her.
The little boy apologized, even though he hadn’t touched her, and went home. For the next week, Mary rode her bike every day and never fell off. Then one afternoon, the little boy came back to ride with her. It was a rerun. Him following a few feet behind. Her taking tumbles. Her accusing him of pushing her. Him swearing he didn’t touch her. Her swearing she felt hands pushing her. Me watching and knowing he didn’t touch her.

“Now we have Bike Pusher to add to the mix,” I said, wondering how many spirits were with us. And who were they?
 

Two years and four months passed and nothing out of the ordinary had happened since Bike Pusher had paid a visit. The stray cat had stayed with us. He was a strange acting cat and I started calling him Stupid. The name stuck.

Summer was coming to an end. One night, Paul and his friend and his friend’s dad were having an overnight fishing adventure.  Paula was spending the night with a friend, and Mary was in a sound sleep. I decided I’d go on to bed and read for a while. I propped up with two pillows and had read three pages when a loud bang sounded on the back door, which led into the house from the garage. There was no way that Paula or Paul would be banging because the garage door was down and locked.

I lay the book on the bed and headed for the back door. Just as I opened the door, Mary’s orange bike fell across the sill. What? The bike had been parked on the far left side of the garage. I picked it up, put it back in its parking space and went back inside to read. One chapter later, I heard the same loud bang on the back door. I got out of bed and checked it out. Orange Bike was at the door again. I picked it up, put it in its parking space and said, “Don’t knock again. You’re not coming in and I’m tired of your tricks. Stay put!”  It did for the rest of that night.   

Two more years passed. It was time for Mary to start Middle School. I couldn’t bear the thought of her attending a school where stabbings were happening. The situation hadn’t gotten any better than they had been when Paul had attended the same school. I was in a stew. What to do?

I sat in the living room, deep in thought, but my eyes were heavy, begging for sleep. I went to bed. Suddenly, an orange bike with wings was flying through beautiful clouds. And Stupid was flying beside the bike. Stupid also had wings.

My body jerked and I realized I had dozed off. What was the bike trying to tell me? I ran things through my mind about Bike:  Hands pushing. Knocking on door. Flying. I got out of bed and went out to the garage. I slowly walked over to Bike. “What? I don’t understand.” I stood staring at the bike as if I thought it was going to talk. And it did.

I didn’t hear a voice, but thoughts were running through my mind and I knew it wasn’t my thoughts. The message was clear. “Move!”  I rubbed the chill bumps on my arms. “Okay. I get it.”

The next week I put my house up for sale. A month later it sold. I went house hunting in a town, twenty miles away. My instincts or the spirits or whomever were giving me strong feelings and thoughts were telling me I wasn’t supposed to buy, I was supposed to rent. I found a nice-enough house, and the owners said they would hold it for me until I closed on my house. That was a good sign that I was doing the right thing. How many renters would do that?

We moved two weeks before school was to start. Mary would be in school, only four blocks from the house. I had only heard good things about the school, and I breathed a sigh of relief. As much as the children and I loved Florida, Bay Area was becoming dangerous. Children were being kidnapped and killed on a regular basis. Old people were being robbed and killed for a few bucks. I had an eleven year old daughter and I wasn’t sure I wanted to rear her in such a dangerous place. I also had a twenty-two –year- old, wild daughter and I lived in terror.  

Mary had been in school for three months and every day she had been begging me to let her ride her bike to school. It was only four blocks, but I was uneasy and wouldn’t allow it. The begging continued and I finally gave in. She was so happy that her stupid mother was letting her ride to school like a lot of her friends were. What she didn’t know was Stupid Mother was five minutes behind her in the car.

All bikes were to be parked in the bike compound and the gate was locked when the first bell rang. I pulled into the parking lot, walked over to the bike compound, looking for the florescent orange bike that always stuck out like a neon sign.  It was nowhere in sight. I scanned the lot several times. No orange bike. With my heart pounding and my throat so constricted I couldn’t swallow, I managed to make my feet move across the lot and into the school building. I’m not sure I could feel the floor beneath my feet as I walked down the mile long hallway to Mary’s classroom.

Wiping sweat I made myself peer through the oblong window on the side of the classroom door. I blew a breath that I’d been holding since I had begun my journey. There was Mary, sitting at her desk, her double ponytails swaying.

I thanked the Good Lord and headed back outside, glancing at my watch. I was already late for work. I glanced over at the bike compound. What?  There was the bright orange bike parked in the front row. There was no way I could have missed it. It was then I realized this wasn’t a  happening.  It was a warning!

 After five wonderful years in Florida, we headed to the mountains of Tennessee. We watched the moving van pull out of the driveway, then we were ready to load into our cars. Paula was riding with Paul in his car, and Mary and Stupid were riding with me. Stupid was almost five years old as far as we could figure, and he refused to get in the car. He was a hard wrestle but I finally got him in. Mary placed him in her lap. Stupid set up a howl and he was wracking my nerves. By the time we were crossing the bridge in Bay Area, I’d had all I could stand.

I looked at Stupid, shook my finger in his face and sternly said, “If you howl one more time, I’ll pitch your hairy butt out the window and you can swim back to the house!”  He was in mid-howl by the time I finished my speech. He swallowed the rest of the howl and didn’t make another sound.

Ten hours later we arrived. I pulled into the driveway and Stupid went crazy. Mary opened the car door and put him on the ground. He took off like a streak of lightening with Mary running after him, crying, “Come back!”  I knew he was headed back to Florida but I tried to convince her that he was just exploring his new neighborhood. 

 The minute I walked into the house, I knew I had made the right decision. Peace and happiness flowed through me. I knew the spirit or spirits had been talking to me since Bike had given me a warning. We had called our visitors by many names in the past, but when things kept happening, I just called our visitor IT.  

The next morning, Paul announced he was going back to Kentucky to finish his senior year. I understood, though it broke my heart to lose him.  The moving Van arrived early the next morning. Then it was time to unpack and put the house together.

By the third day the screened in back porch was piled with empty boxes. I was too tired to flatten them, so I latched the back screen door, locked the sliding glass door that led into the kitchen, and went to bed. Mary was still sleeping with me, crying and praying for Stupid.

I got up on the fifth day and headed for the kitchen to get the coffee going. Just as I was filling the pot with water, I heard a faint meow. It sounded like a baby kitten. My heart leapt with joy. A kitten was at the back screen door. Kitten would be a replacement for Stupid, and Mary would stop crying.
I unlocked the sliding glass door and stepped out on the porch. Just as I headed for the screen door, I hear the meow again but it sounded closer. I walked in the direction where the sound was coming. I looked down into a deep, empty box. There sat Stupid. I picked him up and said, “I sure am glad to see you old boy.” Then I glanced at the screen door. The latch was still hooked. I checked all the screens around the porch. No holes. “How did you get in here?”

Just as I was carrying him back inside, Mary walked into the kitchen. She saw Stupid, ran across the floor and grabbed him from my arms. “He came home, Mom. I knew he would because I prayed for him.” 

I patted her head and said, “His name should be Houdini. He managed to unlatch the backdoor, latched it back and climbed into a deep box. How he did that, I’ll never know.”

Youngest smiled, stroked Stupid and said, “The angels put him there.”

Her explanation was as good as anything I could figure out. Unless IT had brought him home.  
           
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