Tag Archives: short story

THE INHERITANCE

Today I am offering a very short story for your enjoyment. It started as a challenge to write a succinct story in very few words. The original story was 500 words, including the title. I have added a few more words for the posting today.

THE INHERITANCE

All my life I heard about some entailed, but incredible wealth in a family estate with an odd secret that had been passed down for generations form some eccentric ancestor with a biting sense of ironic humor. No one knew where it was until they received the letter with the key delivered by messenger.

I’d fallen on hard times. My mouth watered at the idea of the estate and its wealth.

One day, my deadbeat uncle got the letter. Enclosed in it was an old, ornate key and directions to his inheritance.

Later, I was informed, by post, that I was next in line. I needed the inheritance more than my uncle did. I made sure he did not live much longer.

What can I say, he had an accident.

Eagerly I waited for the missive to arrive by messenger about my inheritance. Finally the envelope arrived. Greedily I signed for it, and ripped open the packet. The instructions demanded that I live in the house for one year.

“Piece of cake,” I said smiling as I programmed the coordinates into my GPS and drove off to claim my inheritance. The house was a run down shack that had seen better days. It was not habitable.

I returned, disgruntled.

My cousin greeted me with a bullet. He was next in line.

No one knew there was the entrance to a gold mine under the floor. We all saw a shack, and no one, for generations, stopped to give it a second look.

I hope you have enjoyed this little story, and will contemplate where there is buried treasure in your life that you may not be seeing because of outward appearances.

By S. M. Senden, author of Clara’s Wish and Lethal Boundaries available from Second Wind Publishers.

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~~Excerpt From “Second Helpings”~~ ~A Taste of Louisiana by Jan Linton~

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 AND SAMPLE RECIPE:

A Taste of Louisiana
By
Jan Linton

Louisiana. We aren’t like the rest of the world. My home state stands out in ways that make it a unique place to live. We have parishes instead of counties. We love our incorrigible politicians—Edwin Edwards, four-term former governor, current ex-con, is still one of the most beloved citizens in Louisiana. And, we adore our food.

We love to celebrate anything. Mudbugs, alligators, even those pesky mosquitoes give us a reason to “make groceries” and put on a feast-like spread. There is always a place for one (or a dozen) more at the table in Southern homes. If you’re hungry, I’ll feed you. If you’re not hungry, I’ll still feed you. If you won’t let me force-feed you, you’re not stepping out of my house without a sack full of leftovers. It’s just our way.

Some call it “Southern hospitality,” but it’s really just part of our heritage. Our mommas would slap us hard, in person or in spirit, if we didn’t make our visitors (friends, family and strangers) eat until they waddled out the door. No one leaves a true Southern home with an empty belly.

Holidays are celebrated in style. We not only have turkey and ham, we cook every possible meat we can lay our hands on. Venison and beef will be competing for space on the banquet table. We have our traditional fare, but no Louisiana holiday is complete without our seafood and beer. Crawfish, fish, crabs, shrimp; you name anything we can catch in the Gulf, we’ll have it on the holiday table.

Deserts? Oh, sweet Pierre, do we have deserts. At any holiday or family gathering, it’s normal to have at least half a dozen different cakes, cookies, pies and candy. And that doesn’t count what our guests bring.

In Louisiana, we celebrate life through our food. Holidays give us the perfect opportunity to put our culinary skills and social heritage to work. The highest compliment to a Southern cook is to see our friends and family nap after a full meal. We make our mommas proud.

Shrimp and Corn Bisque

1 tablespoon margarine or butter
¼ cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cans cream of potato soup (10.75 oz)
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
4 ounces cream cheese
6 ounces Velveeta cheese
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 large baked potato, peeled and chopped
1 ½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Melt margarine or butter in large pot (Dutch oven works best). Add onions, garlic and pepper; sauté until tender. Stir in potato soup, evaporated milk, cream cheese, Velveeta cheese and both cans of corn. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. After cheese has melted, stir in baked potato chunks. Add shrimp and cook on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until shrimp are done.

***

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

 

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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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~~ Excerpt From “Second Helpings ~~ A Taste of the World by Dellani Oakes

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:

A Taste of the World
By
Dellani Oakes

When I was a child, my family lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts while my father attended Harvard. Living in the married student housing had its drawbacks, but it also gave me a first hand exposure to different cultures. Across the street, there was a family from Israel. On the corner, another from Australia. On our side, we had Scottish, German, Chinese, Indian and Japanese families. Not only were there many foreign students, there were people from all over the country. A rich blend of dialects greeted our ears whenever we went outside.

From time to time, we’d all get together for dinner. Someone brought out barbeque grills and did hot dogs and hamburgers. Every imaginable side dish you can think of would sit on long tables in the dead end street between the row houses. There was something there for everyone to enjoy, even if you were a picky eater like me.

I didn’t like a lot of foods as a child. I was persnickety and stubborn about what I would and wouldn’t eat. However, when we went to dinner at our friends’ homes, my parents encouraged me to try different things. I learned that there was a whole world of food out there I’d never encountered before. The flavors, the aromas, the vibrant colors – there was a veritable playground of food to be had. I might not learn to enjoy it all, but I certainly broadened my culinary horizons.

When I got old enough to cook, I tried my hand at many things. I loved to cook and took over that duty from my mother, who hated it. I made up my own recipes and served them for dinner. Sadly, I can’t find where I wrote them down and I can’t remember any of them well enough to share.

My father was an enthusiastic and ambitious cook. When I was in college and living at home, he prepared gourmet meals, which my mother & I enjoyed. When he died, I got his recipe cards and books and have found a lot of joy sharing those meals with my own family.

The recipes in this section reflect my love of food from all nations. They are simple, but delicious. Although only one is an authentic Italian recipe, the rest are representative of different cultures. They have a Taste of the World.

Egg Rolls

1 pound ground beef
1 package egg roll wraps
1 can green beans, drained
2 carrots, shredded
1 onion, diced
garlic power to taste
pepper
ginger
soy sauce
1T corn starch
1 tsp water
water chestnuts or bean sprouts optional

Brown beef with onion, garlic and spices. Drain. Shred carrots and chop green beans. Set aside. When beef has drained, mix with vegetables. Fill each wrapper with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of filling. Wrap by package directions and seal with the corn starch & water mixture. Egg rolls can be deep fried or brush with oil and bake 350 20 minutes. Turn once about halfway through. Serve with sweet and sour sauce or ketchup.

***

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

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Story Excerpt From “Second Helpings” ~~~~ The Gift by Pat Bertram ~~~~

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:

The Gift
By
Pat Bertram

Monica Dryden hummed along with the Christmas carols on the radio as she pulled the chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. They were David’s favorite, and she’d baked them for him every Christmas Eve for as long as they’d been together—five years now—continuing a tradition his mother started when he was a boy.

Still humming, Monica transferred the baked goods from the cookie sheet to a plate she’d purchased for the occasion—white china with a cheerful holly border. Her family had been too poor and too indolent to do much for Christmas, so making the holidays special for David brought her extra joy.

David Hollister. Even his name seemed to promise holiday cheer.

She put the plate of cookies and a glass of milk on a tray, added a sprig of holly from the bowl in the center of the table, and bore her offerings to the living room where David watched television.

He didn’t take his eyes from the screen when she nestled against him, but he didn’t pull away either, as he sometimes did. She smiled to herself, thinking how pleased he would be with the burgundy sweater and pinstriped shirt she’d bought him.

“Do you have to do that?” David asked.

“Do what?”

“You’re humming.”

She clapped a hand to her mouth. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize—”

“Are those chocolate chip cookies?”

“Of course.”

He clicked off the television and turned to face her. “We have to talk.” He spoke the words softly, almost kindly, but still they chilled her.

“Talk about what?” she asked warily.

“It’s not working out.”

“What’s not working out?”

“Us. We’re not right for each other. You’re too . . . predictable.”

She stared at him as if he’d spoken in an alien tongue. “Predictable? Me? You’re the one who insists on my doing the same things the same way. Remember those throw pillows I bought? You said—”

“That’s the old me. The new me wants . . . change.”

Her head snapped back as if she’d been hit. David wanted change? Since when? She opened her mouth and said the only thing that came to her stupefied mind. “Do you want me to make you a different kind of cookie?”

“This isn’t about cookies. It’s about . . .” He looked at her, expecting her to supply the words as she often did. She usually knew what he was thinking and could easily fill in his missing words, but now she couldn’t even hazard a guess.

David’s eyes shifted from side to side as if he were searching frantically for a way out of the conversation. Finally his gaze settled on his hands. “I want a divorce.”

Monica froze, then, getting control of herself, she pulled her shoulders back and lifted her chin. “You can’t have a divorce.”

He jumped to his feet and all but screamed, “I knew you’d be difficult about this. Why can’t I have a divorce?”

“We’re not married,” Monica said evenly.

He gaped at her for a moment, then a grin that broke her heart spread across his face. “That’s right. I forgot.”

Monica slumped forward, elbows on knees, head in her hands. He forgot? How was that possible? Just last week they’d talked about getting married. No . . . wait. She’d talked about getting married. He’d nodded with a faraway look in his eyes that made her think he’d been seeing their future together but apparently only meant he hadn’t been listening.

David’s voice seemed to come from a long way off. “I’ll guess I’ll be leaving.”

Monica jerked upright. “You’re leaving? But this is your apartment.” And then, all in an instant, she understood. “Who is she?”

***

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

 

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Story Excerpt From “Second Helpings” ~~~~ Unopened by Marie James ~~~~

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:

Unopened
By
Marie James

“Are you a gambling man?”

Josiah thought the voice was coming from his own head. In the midst of the department store’s holiday bedlam, words echoed and bounced like sound at a Super Bowl game. Mothers and fathers shouted to be heard. Children screamed like banshees as they ran unchecked through the crowds of last-minute holiday shoppers. Store clerks looked like prisoners serving out the last few hours of their Christmas sentences.

“Don’t take a chance, son,” the same voice seemed to whisper in Josiah’s ear. He turned and was almost nose-to-nose with an older gentleman. Grey-haired and bespectacled, the old guy met Josiah’s stare with a twinkle in his eye.

Nah. The twinkle was a reflection of the winking lights strung throughout the store. The old guy’s expression was serious as he admonished Josiah.

“Excuse me?” Josiah snapped a little more forcefully than he meant. His nerves were worn from the late gift buying. Every year it was the same, though: Janine bought Christmas gifts starting the week after the holiday while Josiah waited until the week—or usually the day—before.

Janine took care of the gifts, the cooking, the decorating and everything else associated with yuletide. The only thing she asked of Josiah was not to have to buy her own Christmas present. She was already responsible for her own birthday and anniversary gifts. She put her foot down years ago about being her own Santa Claus.

“That’s the worst perfume in the world,” the old guy said. “I used to buy it for my wife, but I didn’t know she hated it until after she died and I found over four dozen bottles in a box in the basement.”

A look of sadness crossed the old man’s face. “Look in your basement, son. I bet you’ll find a box of the ‘unopened’ in a dark corner.” He patted Josiah on the shoulder as he continued. “Find out what’s in her heart, son. Don’t let your holidays die like I did.”

With that, the old man turned away and was lost in the crowd. Josiah pushed his way to the counter as an opening appeared in front of him. With a frozen smile on her face, the cashier rang up his purchase. As he backed away from the counter, the crowd surged forward to fill in the empty space he’d left.

Josiah fought his way out of the store. On the bustling sidewalk, he watched as harried men and anxious women hurried from store to store in search of gifts to appease their conscience.

Why in the world did that thought cross his mind? Josiah had always been a good provider and a considerate husband. His wife and children wanted for nothing. He worked so they could have a comfortable life. Why did he suddenly feel guilty?

***

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

 

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Story Excerpt From “Second Helpings” Holiday Wedding by Lazarus Barnhill

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:

Holiday Wedding
By
Lazarus Barnhill

It seemed to Richmond that, for a joyful occasion, the parson was too serious. Despite the pinched and put-upon expression he wore, however, the preacher was at least doing the job right.

“. . . and do you, Mary Ester Blank, take Jeremiah Freeman to be your husband, to have and hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health . . .”

In the midst of the minister’s droning, it occurred to Richmond that he could’ve cleaned out a bank twice in the time it took to get married once. He made certain, however, that his countenance bore no expression but a happy smile. At the length the religious prescriptions seemed to be coming to an end.

“. . . I pronounce that they are husband and wife together, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Those whom God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

The parson closed the little black book in this hand, the slightest bit of relief in his expression, and gazed at the lovely young couple before him, who returned his look with delighted anticipation. Richmond leaned close to the preacher’s ear and uttered a single word.

“Oh, my, of course,” the parson said. “How could I forget that? You may kiss the bride.”

As Jeremiah leaned forward to embrace his new wife, the two dozen people in Louisa Booe’s living room erupted with shouts and laughter. An irresistible smile on his face, Richmond stood for a time in silence watching the celebration: children and adults embracing one another, tears flowing, laughter rolling through them in waves.

The preacher drew close to him and said something. Richmond had to lean down to hear what he was saying.

“Are you through with me, then?”

“Sure, Parson. Let’s go out on the front porch.”

Outside in the descending twilight, it was much quieter.

“Well, Brother Meade, I’m pleased you changed your mind and agreed to delay your own Thanksgiving supper so you could come out to my mother’s and do this wedding.”

The minister glanced anxiously at the pistol Richmond had not taken off his hip—even for the ceremony. “To be completely honest, Mr. Booe, in a shotgun wedding it usually not the preacher who’s got a gun pointed at him.”

***

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

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Congratulations to the Second Wind Short Story Contest Winner!

Congratulations to LeeAnn McLennan! LeeAnn won our short story contest for her wonderful story “Dormant.” Dormant will be published in Change is in the Wind, an anthology of stories about spring/renewal, which will be published by Second Wind Publishing this spring. (April 1, 2012 if all goes as planned.)

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest, either by submitting a story or by voting for your favorite.

This contest went so well, on April 1, 2012 we’ll be accepting contest entries for holiday stories focused around a recipe. The winner will be included in an anthology to be released in time for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas. So, be thinking of holiday stories with delicious recipes, and we’ll see you again on April 1st at the Second Wind Contest Blog.

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Short Story Contest! No Entry Fee!

Now that you’ve blogged about what you are thankful for and stuffed yourself with Thanksgiving goodies, now that you have finished your NaNoWriMo entry and celebrated your success, now that you have survived your Black Friday shopping and have not yet gotten into the Christmas mood (or have already gotten out of it)…

Think Spring!!

Second Wind Publishing is sponsoring a short story contest. The theme is . . . you guessed it! Spring. Spring and renewal to be exact. Your stories do not have to be light and uplifting (which should be welcome news for all of you writers who pen dark fiction), but they do have to fit the theme. The story should be your own work, no more than 5,000 words, and must not have been published anywhere, not even on your own blog.

There is no entry fee.

The contest is open to anyone in the world, 18 or older, though the entry must be written in English. The deadline is December 31, 2011. The best entries will be posted on the Second Wind Contest Blog for everyone to read and comment.

The winning entry will be published in the upcoming Second Wind anthology, Change is in the Wind. This anthology is a collection of stories by the authors of Second Wind, so you will be in good company. The winner will also receive a coupon from Smashwords.com for an unlimited number of free downloads of the anthology for one month. The coupon can be sent to as many people as you wish during that month. The winner will also be able to purchase an unlimited number of print copies of the anthology at half price plus shipping costs. And the winner will receive a one year free VIP account from Angie’s Diary, the online writing magazine to help you get even more exposure for your writing. ($99.95 value).

So what are you waiting for? Encouragement? Then here it is: you can write a wonderful short story! Please send your story as a Word .doc or .docx to secondwindpublishing@gmail.com. We are looking forward to reading it!

For more information, click here: Second Wind Contest Blog.

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Cloud Publishing – Another Opportunity by Deborah J Ledford

Yet another publishing opportunity is gaining popularity for writers and readers. Shaw’s iPulp.com is a perfect example of the next generation in providing published material. Essentially Cloud Publishing is the movement of data without cluttering your own PC, laptop or reading device.

iPulp’s version of Cloud Publishing allows you to purchase a story or book, then read the text on your device of choice: Windows 7,Vista, XP, MacOS, your iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android smart phones and tables, Blackberry and Nokia smart phones.

The material is housed literally in a cloud, available for you to access at any time, from anywhere you have wireless access. You merely sign in to your account, then select from your shelf the item you wish to read.

At iPulp, customers purchase “tokens” in twenty-five cent increments. Prices vary depending only upon on length of the story. Many are in the seventy-five cent price point.

One of my stories is featured on iPulp now. “Loose End” was originally published in the Desert Sleuths Chapter Sisters in Crime Anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation. And more stories from this collection will be added weekly until all 18 stories appear. “Loose End” will cost you a quarter.

Quite a lot of vintage noir stories are on the iPulp shelves at the moment, but they have over 500 stories to choose from in every genre you can imagine.

If any of you writers out there have as few as three short stories with a similar theme, iPulp may be the perfect venue for you. They prefer stories that have been previously published and you as the author must return the rights in order to offer your stories to iPulp. You will need an original cover that goes with the theme of your stories and you can add more stories to the corresponding cover.

This is the future of publishing, folks. Learn as much about this trend as you can.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.

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