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Story Excerpt From “Second Helpings” ~~~ Cookies Without by JJ Dare ~~~

Second Helpings
An Anthology of Holiday Recipes and
Short Stories
From Authors of
Second Wind Publishing

Second Helpings

A perfect gift for short story lovers and food connoisseurs!

From sweet childhood remembrances to fanciful solutions of family dramas to romantic relationships that begin–or end–during the holidays, Second Helpings is an anthology of stories and memories, but most especially of recipes. Our end-of-year celebrations are occasions that bring reunions with unforgettable feasts and that one special, treasured dish. At the end of each story, vignette, reminiscence, you’ll find a recipe or collection of recipes that will make your next holiday memorable as well.

EXCERPT FROM:

Cookies Without
By
JJ Dare

This would be the third Christmas without Marie’s husband. It was the second Christmas without her brother and the first without her mother. This holiday had all the markings of a celebration with ghosts as the main guests.

Three loved ones gone in three years. Marie dreaded the next year. Who would leave next?

No Paul, no Eddie, no Mom. The days were always heavy with their absence, but holidays were worse. The emptiness pressed against her soul. She was barely making it through the normal days let alone the times when her family gathered to celebrate life.
. . .

Marie pulled out cans of sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and, from the very back of the cabinet, an expired can of very young peas. She held the can in her hands as fresh tears fell. No holiday meal had been complete without very young peas, Paul had said. There were a few holidays when he went to the store the day of the meal because Marie had forgotten to pick up a can of his favorite vegetable.

Gathering her wits, Marie set the cans on the counter and looked around. What else, what else? Something important was escaping her. What was missing?

The cookies! How could she forget the desert the family had expected the past two Christmases but Marie had been too heartbroken to make. The bon-bon cookies had been a joint effort between Marie and Paul. She would roll the cookies into balls and he would stuff them with chocolate chip pieces. It was the one of their few collaborations in cooking.

Roll and stuff. Marie could not remember when they had started the tradition, but the kids had early on nicknamed the cookies “Mom-Pop cookies.” Maybe she and Paul had started doing it to speed up the holiday dinner long ago when restless children wanted to hurry and eat so they could play with their new toys.

It did not matter now. There was no hurry anymore. There was only time stretching out ahead of her and no end in sight. She washed her hands, sat back down at the table and drifted off in thoughts of bygone holidays.

A bell dinging broke her from her reverie. As she pushed against to table to rise from her chair, she felt something strange on her hands. Buttery dough was sticking to her fingertips. Her heart raced as she looked at the metal cooking tray in front of her.

Neatly laid out were the traditional cookies she had purposely not made for the past two seasons. She picked one up with a shaking hand. Breaking the dough open, three chocolate chips nestled inside. The perfect number.

No more, no less. Paul had been adamant to the point of silliness about the number of chocolate pieces he stuffed inside each cookie. So adamant that one Christmas when they were short of money, he had meticulously removed the chips from the half he had finished and delicately sliced the pieces in half.

The hair on Marie’s neck stood on end.

***

Second Helpings is available in print and all ebook formats from Second Wind Publishing.

 

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Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp? by Pat Bertram

Most writers claim they write only to entertain, and yet messages do creep into our books whether we will it or not. A few messages ended up in my novels: nothing is as it seems, we are not necessarily who we think we are, history did not necessarily happen the way we think it did, and what we see is not necessarily the truth. But all that was more of a side effect. Mostly I just wanted to write good stories with good characters that I would have loved to read.

Here are some messages that crept into other books by Second Wind authors:

From an Interview with Mickey Hoffman, Author of “Deadly Traffic”

The message in Deadly Traffic is that on hot button issues like immigration, we all like to think we have a strong grip on right and wrong, but when it’s down to working reality, things are often not as easy to decide.

From an Interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

Trust no one.

From an interview with J. Conrad Guest, Author of “January’s Thaw”

The January books are composed of a number of messages. In January’s Paradigm the reader learns that there are people in the world—men and women alike—who are not very nice, and that men don’t have a corner on the mean market. Men, too, can be hurt through a woman’s infidelity. One Hot January shows that no government is benign and that we must care about a world we will not see. While January’s Thaw is largely about redemption, that it’s never too late to close the door on the past and to live in the moment, for tomorrow.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp? Did a message show up inadvertently?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Rubicon Ranch: Do You Really Know Your Neighbors?

Video by JJ Dare, author of  False Positive and False World.

Find out more about the suspects here:  Characters

Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

Chapter Two: Seth Bryan — by Lazarus Barnhill

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Rubicon Ranch Video — The Suspects

Video by JJ Dare, author of  False Positive and False World.

Find out more about the suspects here:  Characters

Read the first chapter of Rubicon Ranch: A Collaborative Novel here: Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

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The Murder. The Mystery. The Unspeakable Crime.

Video by JJ Dare, author of  False Positive and False World.

Read the first chapter of Rubicon Ranch: A Collaborative Novel here: Chapter One: Melanie Gray — by Pat Bertram

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False World by JJ Dare

The second book in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy continues where False Positive ends as Joe continues his mission to destroy those who have destroyed his life. As the world changes, Joe’s search for justice takes on a global urgency and he races to find answers before deadly answers find him. 

Beginning in a secluded town in the middle of nowhere, it is not long before Joe is traveling across the country and, ultimately, across a collapsing world on his quest for vengeance. 

The world is not what you see. 

And neither is Joe.

False World is available from: Second Wind Publishing, LLC

Excerpt from False World by J J Dare: 

Joe felt more and more like Alice in Wonderland as the day passed. 

When he walked into the Citizens’ Identity Office, his first thought was he had walked into Utopia. When the caseworker assigned to him asked him to roll up his sleeves, Joe just looked at him. 

“Identifying marks, sir,” the office jockey said. “If you’ve been in the service, you’re granted carte blanche privileges within the scope of the new laws.” 

Rolling up his sleeves, the worker looked at Joe’s military tattoos and smiled as he nodded. 

“I could tell by you’re bearing, sir, that you were either army or marine,” he said as he filled out the paperwork for Joe’s new identity card. “I’ll have you out of here in just a few minutes, sir. 

“If you’d like to register your firearms now, I could expedite that for you, too.” The worker looked sharply at Joe as he continued. “You do pack, don’t you, sir?” 

Joe laughed as he told the desk jockey, “Hell, yeah.” 

As the worker relaxed, Joe again wondered what rabbit hole he had dropped into. People required to carry firearms, military given prestige above non-military, and Texas the capital of the country. 

Well, whatever psycho civilization he had wandered into, he liked it. 

“Sir, this is your new identity card. If you lose it, you’ll be issued a new one and the old one will deactivate. All of your information is stored on a chip inside the card and in our database. As military, you already have five thousand credits, which equals roughly a dollar per credit.” 

Holding up the Joe’s new identity card, the worker continued. “As a citizen of the new United States of the Americas, you swear to uphold the laws of the military and of the government. You swear to be vigilant and to protect yourself and other citizens against those outside of our nation. You swear to be vigilant and to protect your fellow citizens should the need arise.”

The worker looked at Joe and waited. Joe looked back at him. 

“You’re supposed to agree, sir,” the worker said. 

“Oh,” Joe replied. “I agree to everything.” 

“Thank you, sir. Now, if you’d just sign your full name, Mr. Daniels, you can be on your way.”

Joe signed the papers, pocketed his new identity card, took back his guns, and left. 

In the open air, he was waiting for someone to come after him. Of all the things he had imagined might be going on in the world while he was in seclusion, this was not one of them. 

The world was not was it seemed. Now, the world he thought he had known was radically different. Climbing into his truck, he realized that, more than anything, the tattoos he wore carried more weight in this new country than anything in his pockets. 

A month ago when he had gone with Liz into the survivalists’ camp, the United States had been a country pandering to too many special interests, too many foreign countries, and too many lost causes. 

The country he had stepped back into was a far cry from the namby-pamby one he had known. It was now the United we’ll-kick-your-ass States of the Americas.

 

J J Dare lives in a small, sleepy town with family and pets. Having visited many parts of the country, Dare has woven these places into stories and these stories have been incorporated into novels. 

Writing since the age of seven, the love of the written word has kept Dare grounded in the curiousity-laden world of writers. Constantly thinking what if?, has given Dare the seed for many stories.

 The first stories published by Dare were written for Rutger Hauer’s website many years ago. Since that time, other short stories have been published academically and in mainstream fiction. 

“False Positive” started out as an entry into a contest sponsored by CourtTV (now TruTV) in October, 2007. The initial book was written in thirty days. 

The author is still recovering. 

Although “False Positive” did not win the contest, the book interested Dare’s current publisher, Second Wind Publishing and made its debut in October, 2008. 

The next book in the Joe Daniels trilogy, “False World,” was written at a more leisurely pace and was published in November, 2009. 

The author is recovering quicker this time. 

The third and final novel in the trilogy has been started. Since the author seems to be averaging a finished book a year, expect the next installment in late 2010.

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Free ebook giveaway of the latest thrillers!

To mark the release of three of Second Wind’s newest thrillers – Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram, False World by JJ Dare and One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner – we’d like to know your experiences with the theme laid out in each book.

Choose the book that sounds interesting to you and answer a question based on a central theme in that book. If your response is chosen you win a free ebook download of that novel! You can enter for all three if you like and have a better shot at getting a free download.

First is One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner:

Kansas City, 1939.
In a world of fixed fights and mob influence Ray Ward and his brother Rex are two of the only clean fighters in town. With Ray in the corner and Rex in the ring they are headed for the big time. Until that fateful night. Now Ray has a score to settle using a lifetime of lessons in how to fight back.

Dean Fokoli is a detective with a new partner, an alcoholic wife and a guilty conscience. At least the boxer on the radio who just got beat to a pulp won’t end up in his homicide file. But when the dregs of the crooked fight world start turning up dead, Fokoli is on the hunt for the killer. The chase will take him to the underbelly of the Kansas City night and hopefully keep him one step ahead of his past.

The question is…have you ever been in a fight? A bloody knuckle brawl? A verbal smackdown? Tell us your story of when it got out of hand.

Next up is Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram

When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents – grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born – she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians – former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love with Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deady secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

The question is…have you ever learned something shocking about your past? Maybe not murder but what rocked your world once you found out?

Finally is False World by JJ Dare.

The second book in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy continues where False Positive ends as Joe 
continues his mission to destroy those who have destroyed his life. As the world changes, Joe’s search for justice takes on a global urgency and he races to find answers before deadly answers find him.  In this second installment of the Joe Daniels’ stories, the mystery and thrills are non-stop. Beginning in a secluded town in the middle of nowhere, it is not long before Joe is traveling across the country and, ultimately, across a collapsing world on his quest for vengeance.  

The world is not what you see.  And neither is Joe.

The question is…have you ever sought revenge or retribution? In a small way, a big way? What made you seek justice?

We look forward to hearing your real world experiences with these themes that make all three books page turning thrillers to leave you breathless at the finish.

Just post your story in the comments section below.

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Happy Bloggiversary to Us!

One year ago today, we at Second Wind Publishing started to blog. Many of us had never blogged before, but we wanted a forum to connect with our readers, and so we learned. While learning how to blog, we also learned how generous readers are with their comments, and we would like to thank all of you for your support. Click here for: Goodies and Giveaways.

To celebrate this anniversary, Second Wind authors talk about their experiences with blogging.

More Deaths Than OnePat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire: I have more blogs than one, so I was familiar with blogging when I joined the authors here at Second Wind Publishing Blog, but it has been a wonderful experience participating in the growth of this blog with its fantastic array of posts. Wishing us all — authors and readers alike — a happy new blogyear!

Images of BetrayalClaire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny: I’ve never been afraid to try new things, but my biggest problem has always been time. I didn’t know where I would find time to post blogs every few days in my already tight schedule. I started slowly, writing about writing and posting every couple of weeks to my blog and the Second Wind blog. Now, I actually enjoy blogging and I spend a lot of time on my own blog. Visit me if you get a chance.

Loving LydiaAmy De Trempe: author of Loving Lydia: For me, posting a blog was harder than writing a novel and it took some time before I became comfortable.  I wondered what I should write about and if I had anything intersting to say.  Now I find it to be a fun activity and have enjoyed posting to both Second Wind and my personal blog.  More importantly, I’ve found I really enjoy reading the posts of others and comments from readers. It has opened up a world for me that I barely knew existed.

False PositiveJJ Dare, author of False Positive: It’s been an interesting blog ride for me. Finding something new to say was daunting the first couple of times. I got over the initial “oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-talk-about” reaction fairly quickly. Instead ofagonizing over a post (and rewriting and rewriting the week prior to my turn atthe blog), I’m at the point where I can zip a blog post off with only a littlebit of editing. I’d have to say blogging is helping me in my own writing – I’m honing a fast write and never look back style 🙂

front-sta-195x304Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato: I appreciate being able to tell followers of the Second Wind Publishing blog the evolution of my debut thriller Staccato from inception to publication to promotion. Sharing the journey through a series of articles in order to show the entire path this writer took, as well as what pitfalls I encountered along the way, has been a pleasure.

Buried in Wolf LakeChristine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County and Buried in Wolf Lake: Last year I barely knew what a blog was and hadn’t read one. Pat Bertram asked if she could post an article I had written for my fellow Second Wind authors about my first book-signing experience on her blog. Okay, sure. Suddenly, a link appeared on an email. I clicked it and there on the Book Marketing Floozy blog was my article. It was like magic. I have learned a bit since then, but haven’t been able to carve out the time to develop my own blog, or update my website. I post blogs on the Second Wind Publishing WordPress site. Mostly, I enjoy reading what the other authors write, on WordPress and Facebook. I recently joined Twitter and will try to figure that out one of these days. Blogs have opened a whole new world for me!

Badeaux KnightsSuzette Vaugn, author of Badeaux Knights and Mortals, Gods, and a Muse: In my first blog I talked about my extended family which just keeps growing. Every month it seems we get new authors in our mix that fit with the rest of us. Over the last year we’ve added several authors that seem like they’ve always been here. Amy, Lucy, Deb, Eric, Jennifer, Jerrica, Pat, Sherrie, Mickey, Juliet and the newest member J. Conrad have officially doubled my Second Wind Family. Then we have all you wonderful readers that make our family possible, thank you.

I’ve learned a lot since then too. I’m still working on the whole blogging thing but since I’ve figured out it doesn’t always have to be about writing, I’m doing better. I’ve featured favorite music, books, and slight jabs at my sister on my personal blog and actually have articles in the drafts waiting for those off days where I can’t think of anything.

Hand-Me-Down BrideJuliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride: Blogging seemed one of those internet “too much information” things until I got into it, and began to read the blogs of other Second Wind writers. Blogging keeps you focused on your craft and gets you to work in a briefer, but just as interesting, medium. It feels just one short step beyond the world of the campfire story teller. Personally, it’s been a sort of archeological project. A way for me to excavate  my own store of memory, from times now considered “historical.”  🙂

Thank you everyone for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out our goodies and giveaways.

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Happy Halloween from Second Wind Publishing

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