Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.

Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.

But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help.   But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.

I belong to a number of tribes –

The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group.  Arden is a member as well.  Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams.  The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies.   I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.

Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry.   I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter.   I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA.    If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”.  First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.”  Yes, yes it does.

Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America.  As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership. 

Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there.   It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry.    Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.

Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community.   If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group.  This group is also FREE. 

Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon.   Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres.   They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused.   To me the focus is very creative and  wonderful  cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.

I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me.   I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one.   There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble.   I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you. 

The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey.   I can’t imagine writing without my tribes. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AuThursday – R. Marlaan Rush

21951433_1789429087738161_1218458456_oTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My real name is Ayneka Scott and my Erotica pen name (R. Marlaan Rush) was going to be for a 2nd daughter. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It started off as rewriting my favorite books and movies and then grew into creating my own worlds. I’m a proud mother of a beautiful 8-year-old daughter. My full-time gig is production at a nuclear facility where I also volunteer as a firefighter and medical first responder. I have lived in South Carolina all of my life and with the exception of the seemingly perpetual summers, I love it here.

How do you make time to write?

I schedule a mandatory 1-hour writing block every day. Outside of that, I write and outline on my phone whenever I have free time. I have a writer’s app and MS Word downloaded to my phone.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, very much so. But, I look at it as a challenge and motivation.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Erotica is my chosen genre for my Rush persona because I enjoy sex in all its forms-romantic, smut, some of the taboo things, etc. I’m also intrigued by the power it holds over people. It can make the sanest person a stalker and can even heal a broken person when emotions are involved. It can be a beautifully dangerous thing.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’m publishing as an Indie author because I like the hard work and dedication that goes into making yourself a success. I want to learn the ins and outs firsthand.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?

I feel like I’m a combination of both because even though I’m a social butterfly and love the hustle and bustle of people, I crave alone time. I don’t want to bothered; I just want the peace of my own company.

How does this affect your work?

The extrovert is the one that researches and interacts with others to get the materials to create a good read. The introvert, in her quiet downtime, puts the materials together to give the reader the best reading experience possible.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Make the impossible possible!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you want to be successful, come into the industry hungry and stay hungry. Help others if you can. And, when your plate becomes full and is overflowing, grab another plate and share with someone else.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?21931193_1789429084404828_1764812756_o

I’m on FB at www.facebook.com/rmarlaan

Twitter as @MzHoneypotC

Instagram as MzHoneypotC

On Amazon, I’m R.Marlaan Rush.

 

 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? Yes, see below.

A Dinner of Sighs
Her nipples ached maddeningly, but thankfully the water she was partially submerged in was warm.

Her lover wasn’t completely cruel. But he was cruel enough to make her his dinner’s centerpiece; here she was, blindfolded so she couldn’t see the people circling her making comments about how lucky he was to have such a beautiful and willing companion, naked as the day she was born on a table so it would look like she was floating in the water.

Her hair, done in tiny braids shocked with white ribbon, exploded around her face. Every time she licked her lips, she tasted the hooker-red lipstick he had insisted she wear because it looked naughty to him, and it was arousing…. As if a naked woman with beads of water dotting her skin wasn’t erotic enough. The only restraint present was at her ankles; girly bands of 24kt gold swirled with rose gold and decorated with hundreds of tiny but sparkling diamonds kept her legs in a slightly painful V.

He had had these cuffs specially made for her, and the matching necklace fit her neck like a thick choker, a perfect complement to her chocolate-milk complexion.

Her crotch being so exposed to strangers she couldn’t see made her want to put her hands between her legs. Even though she was groomed to the gods down there, lotioned and perfumed to the high heavens, the bit of peach fuzz he let her have laid like no one’s business; she didn’t feel pretty down there. Her lips felt too small while her clitoris felt too big, and without the normal bush she sported, her vagina was lighter than the rest of her. She wasn’t pink enough for her liking, either.

“Oh Kallen, your songbird is too perfect,” a woman exclaimed beside her in awe and then nails traced the inside of her arm down to the palm. Too long to be his, and pointy—had to be the woman. The urge to shrink away from her touch was powerful, but she denied it. She must be still.

“What is this beautiful creature’s name?”

“I call her August.”

“August,” the woman repeated, tasting the name. “Scrumptious name for your bird of paradise. I knew she had to be something when you played her songs for us the other day. They were so haunting and sensual—so damned sexy.”

Kallen laughed. “Yes, I remember. You started fingering yourself before us, and then Rachel and her girlfriend started kissing. That’s when the party really began.” “Mmmm… the way you bent me over the table…. How can I forget that?” The woman purred.

Jealousy flashed, hot and burning, in August’s soul at this confession, but she couldn’t break her character on the table. Sharing Kallen was a common occurrence, but still…. “May I?” The woman asked.

“You may. Any spot you desire.” Something firm and damn near hot was placed on her left hip near her thigh, then on the top of her crotch.

August felt warm wetness drip between her pussy lips and pool in the crease of her thigh and crotch… what the hell was that? Lips first pressed into the crease with the tiniest scratch of teeth, then something flat and warm lapped at the sensitive skin, making August jump with each stroke. She drew her hands into claws, twitching, wanting to pull her left leg up to end the torture.

It stopped briefly, and now the lips and tongue were just below her waistline, where the other piece of food was, kissing and sucking on her flesh. The pleasure was terrible because she couldn’t see who the woman with the expert tongue was!

“That’s far enough, my dear. You can look, but you can’t touch because that part of her is all mine.”

“I’m not sure which was more tender, your little songbird or the roast beef,” the woman mused.

August heard the longing in her voice and smiled to herself…. Kallen may share himself freely, but he drew the line at her and that was fine with August.

“I just wanted to enjoy all of my gravy.”

“Matilda! Kallen! My favorite people in the room!” a masculine voice boomed and grew in volume…. Someone else was approaching to admire her with their hands, but this was at least a man.“Damn, who is this sexy little buffet? I’m starving all over again.”

Kallen put his arm around the brown-eyed blonde’s wide shoulders and swept his other arm over August’s prone body. “Marcus, this is August. You don’t recognize her?”

“Not with her clothes off, that’s for damn sure,” Marcus answered, his eyes roaming the table. He spotted what he wanted and grabbed a small, silver cube. He filled it with warm, oozing chocolate. “My sweet tooth is suddenly screaming.”

“Indulge yourself,” Kallen encouraged, stepping to the side. “As a matter of fact, get another cube. There are two for your tasting pleasure. And, it is shell chocolate.”

Marcus smiled mischievously and placed the cubes upside down on each of August’s erect nipples, grinning at the moan that escaped her pretty red lips. While he waited for the chocolate to harden, he slowly walked around the table, devouring August’s nakedness, turned on by the fact she couldn’t see anything. He stopped at the foot of the table and stared at the top of the V, eyeing her cinnamon-colored pussy lips, her fat, undoubtedly juicy clit (he fancied it was plump and swollen for him), and the white honey pooling at the mouth of her vagina, waiting for a reason to drop into the water below.

So vulnerable…. Marcus touched her ankle and skimmed his fingers along the instep to her pretty red toes, watching her shiver. Kallen watched him intently…. Was he mad at him for making his woman react by touch alone? Marcus hoped so… he really did. “Matilda, dear, would you bring me some of that caramel?”

Matilda snatched up the caramel and handed it to Marcus, winking. “Save a little of her for me,” she whispered just loud enough for him to hear and then turned to Kallen.

“Marcus wasn’t with us when you debuted your songbird, Kallen. How about seducing him with her expressions of lust?” She snaked her arm around his waist and led him to the entertainment center that took up a little over half the wall on the other side of the room, her head against his arm.

His hand dropped to her ass. “We’re somewhat alone now, August,” Marcus murmured, walking back around the table to stare at the shape of her mouth, the sparkles in the red lacquer on her lips catching the light like the diamonds in her cuffs and necklace, her skin flawless in the bright-white light pouring across her body. He grasped the chocolate cube and pulled it gently, watching the nipple and breast stretch like taffy.

AuThursday- Samantha Anne

Please welcome Contemporary Romance Author Samantha Anne to the Clog Blog!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been a writer and a dreamer for as long as I can remember. I grew up in The Bronx NY, raised in the heart of New York City. I’ve seen some of the best of the boroughs, and I’ve also seen some of the worst. All of it plays a big role in what makes me who I am, and is part of the reason why I feel I inject a ton of escapism into my writing. Currently living in Texas, I’m still writing within the romance genre – working on my 3rd novel, fine-tuning my screenwriting skills, and considering additional creative pursuits that are near and dear to my heart. I’m a creative when all is said and done after all, so I’m always looking to broaden my horizon and make new things.

How do you make time to write?
I set blocks of time to write, prioritizing it as if I have a part time job, and protect it fiercely. It’s important to treat that time like anyone would a traditional job, and not let family or friends monopolize that time because they might not understand what it is to devote time to a sort of job that doesn’t involve punching a time clock.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do – it happens! It’s important, in my mind, to acknowledge that the noise in our brain exists; this makes it easier to combat, so that you can better re-center yourself, pull yourself back to the present task, and ultimately shut that block down. My favorite article about writer’s block is by Gail Godwin, titled “The Watcher at the Gate”. The Watcher, Gail expressed, is your inner critic, the jerk who criticizes your every move as you begin to transfer your ideas from brain to paper. She also tells us how important it is to silence that guy, and how to get over the hump. Check out the article here: https://www.csun.edu/~hceng006/watcher.html

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My last few books have falle under the Contemporary Romance genre, I do love romance novels and what they’ve evolved into, and I’m happy and proud to be a part of that. They are more real and representative of the average female, even while our writers continue to create characters that are stronger and more empowered. And I am saying that while catching up on romance series involving  Sci-Fi and Dragons! It’s so amazing to be a part of a world where love and life exists everywhere, from the every day to the most fantastical of situations. And today’s She-Ros (She-Heroes *smile*) are ass-kicking, whiskey drinking, outspoken femme fatales who are just as worthy of being celebrated as the gorgeous male characters we write that sweep them off their feet!

How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m excited to submit this manuscript to Crimson Romance, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, as I have my last two books. I’ve loved working with their team, and I can say honestly that they’ve pushed me hard to draw the best out of all my work.

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your writing?
I’m absolutely an introvert, but with a little extrovert peppered in. It’s probably more easily explained if there’s wine or beer involved (smile). It probably has affected my writing in that I, like any writer, is limited to my experiences when it comes to truly authentic writing, if that makes sense. I don’t believe that my ability to create dialogue has suffered, because I have tons of friends with whom I do a lot of talking (or texting!), but what may suffer is my grasp of how people are in general, outside of my circle. There are certainly traits and behaviors among people that you don’t get to see by watching movies, news reports, or documentaries.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I have three! They keep me feeling good, and they keep me trying at everything I do:
“Be who you are, and say what you feel – because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter!” – Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss
“Art must be seen. Art must be heard. You must show someone your shit.” – Taylor Dane, Recording Artist
“Live a why not life, man. Cuz we’re all going to die screaming. …take the shot. The shot is always worth taking.” – Kevin Smith
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First and foremost, don’t ask yourself why – ask ‘Why not?’ (see the quote above?). Then write. And don’t stop writing. In between? Read. See thing. Travel, even if it’s a couple of miles away. Stare at things, let your mind wander; talk to people, watch people. Fill your brain with ideas to let out onto paper, protect your craft, support your peers – and if Kevin Smith hasn’t said it enough, always the take goddamn shot.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Several places! I’m on Facebook, of course (www.facebook.com/author.samantha.anne) and my website is pretty simple to remember (www.samantha-anne.net). Make sure to also find me on Wattpad (www.wattpad.com/samiannert), Twitter (@SamiAnneRT), and Instagram (@thatrtchik) – and always say hi! 🙂
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Check out the 1st Chapter of my first published romance novel, Kirby, at the following link: https://www.wattpad.com/59217547-kirby-the-1st-chapter and be sure to leave a comment so I know you stopped by!

Thanks for the time Samantha! ~Tina

AuThursday – Tina Holland (me)

BirthdayI figured since today was my birthday and I’d already have comments on FB and Twitter (at least I hope I do), it might best serve to hog the spotlight, so next week another author can have the limelight to themselves.  🙂   I’ve sent an FB interview out  a few weeks ago, so the format below will feel very familiar. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born on October 26th (today) in Frankfurt, Germany.  We moved to North Dakota when I was seven, and I have lived here ever since.   I married my high school sweetheart and we currently live on a hobby farm with two horses, two dogs, a cat, a catfish and a parrot.

How do you make time to write?

I have a full-time job, so I tend to write in the evenings or on the weekends.  I’ve written before work and on my lunch hour too when I’m trying to finish a project.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

I do.   Not in the sense of I’m just not feeling it, but in the sense that a life-event can interrupt your flow on a project.   I believe stress creates true writer’s block.  Writing yourself into  a corner or reigniting passion for a project can be fixed.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write in both contemporary and SFFP (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal) subgenres of romance.  I love writing contemporary, because it makes for a quick write, as it doesn’t require the level of world building that SFFP does.   SFFP is fun to write because I love exploring legends, myths, and fairy tales, putting your own twist in for readers is wonderful.   They say you should write what you read.  I love historicals, but have not tackled them because I’m so intimidated by the history aspect.   When I discovered Steampunk, which usually requires changing history and including fantasy elements I knew I discovered a niche that I’d love.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (e.g.  Indie, traditional or both).

I just finished a Steampunk Novel, titled The Courtesan of Constantinople and am currently seeking representation for the traditional publishing market.   I’ve been digitally published in the past with both Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence Publishing, but am looking for a different (and hopefully expanded) market for my current story.

Are you an Introvert or extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Extrovert.  I learned recently that how you get your energy is what determines whether you’re an Introvert or an Extrovert.  I get mine from people.   It makes it very easy to write in noisy (like coffee houses) environments.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? swimming

“Just keep swimming.” ~Dory from Finding Nemo.   It’s simplistic but when I don’t feel like writing, it puts my butt in chair.   I have a goal to write 200 words a day, knowing if I write 200, I’m just as likely to write 500 or more.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

No one cares more about you and your story than you do.   I think knowing yourself and what you want out of writing is the most important thing you can do for your story.

Creating a work of fiction is a tremendous success and what you want when you in type “The End” is just as important as publishing (if that’s what you want).    I would recommend each writer get to know themselves and figure out their own path, which might be similar to other writers or completely different.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.tinaholland.com

https://www.facebook.com/

https://twitter.com/haveubeenaughty

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3122975.Tina_Holland

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003OLKLA6

I hope you enjoyed this insight into my writing life.  Next week we’ll get back on track meeting other writers. 🙂  Until then be Naughty. ~Tina

 

 

AuThursday – Jennifer Field

IMG_1294 (002)Tell is a little about yourself and your background?

Little about myself.. Hmmmm, well my name is Jennifer Field, I’m an only child raised by a strong single mom in the 70’s (go ahead do the math). When I was in school I had trouble reading and spelling and I’m sure if I had grown up today I’d be labeled as having some sort of dyslexia. But lucky for me I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (I still can’t spell to save my life), but I can write one heck of a story.

I’ve always written, sometimes it was short stories, sometime poetry but always just for me. Then a few years ago I had read 100+ books in 1year and at some point said, “I think I can do that.”. But seriously how many people say they are going to write a book someday. So… I had this bizarre dream, thought it would make a great story, so I started writing. It morphed and changed into my first novel Twice Lost which came out in 2014.

How do you make time to write?

This is always hard but what I have found that carrying a journal ( or two or three ) with me at all times gives me time to write whenever and wherever I am. Now finding time to type it all out… that’s an entirely different question. It seems to me the more authors I get to know the more I seem to realize we all seem to have this “late night” writing thing going on.

Do you believe in writers block?

Oh you bet and it can happen at any time. You think your just whizzing along with a story then BAM, none of your characters want to speak to you. I usually have a couple of story lines going on (hence the 2 or 3 journals I carry around) and I have found that if I start to write something else, they come back.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it?

I mainly write Paranormal Romance but I have also dabbled in Sci-fi, contemporary romance and straight up erotica.

But my favorite is always going to be Paranormal because I can make a world that before I put it down in writing never existed. I pull from a variety of mythology when writing and I always have some hidden gems in ALL my stories. For instance in the Harbinger Series if a character has a last name it will give the reader insight into who they are, Jenna Thanatos in Twice Lost… Thanatos is Greek for death.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? ( *e.g. Indie, traditional or both )

Currently I am under contract with Forever Red Publishing for the Harbinger Series. They are a small publishing company and really … because they gave me a chance.

Are you and introvert or extravert? How does this affect your work?

Both I guess. I think I’m an introvert until you get to know me then I’m an extravert. As an introvert it makes me the worst self-marketer ever.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Just be the best you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, even when you think everything you’ve typed is complete crap. We all read our own writing and think… “WOW, this is pure genius.” And five minutes later while reading the same thing we think “Who wrote this crap, oh right… I did.”

Oh… and BACK UP YOUR WRITING. Twice Lost got its name because of 2 separate and total hard drive failures. So now every few chapters not only do I back up to the cloud but I email them to myself… just in case.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is www.JenniferField-Author.com  (sadly it is in desperate need of an update like yesterday)

You can also follow me on Twitter @sexyharbinger

And on FB Jennifer Field Author  https://m.facebook.com//JfieldHarbingerSeries

Instagram: Jennifer_field_author

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Jennifer’s First Book in her Harbinger Series. ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Retreats

My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday.  I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.

I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.

This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did. 

We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.

0923171204 (002)

WZG 2017 Craft

This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling. 

The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed.  I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance. 

If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend: 

  1. Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat.  Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax.  Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want. 
  2. Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat.   Pick a location. Create a schedule.   Share it.   A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun. 
  3. Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain.   You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there.  If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it. 

Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm.   I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota. 

The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing.   This is for both retreats and conferences.  Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal.  My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it. 

My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success. 

Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:

http://rawdogscreaming.com/8-things-learned-planning-writing-retreat/

http://www.alexrwhite.com/how-to-plan-a-writing-retreat-part-1-goals-and-rules/

https://www.janefriedman.com/value-writing-retreats/

https://jenniferlouden.com/create-your-own-writing-retreat/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/do-it-yourself-writing-retreats

Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina

Saturday Excerpt – A Lancaster Love by Mary Lingerfelt

A Lancaster Love cover compressed“This is an excerpt from A Lancaster Love, my Amish romance novel. This scene is between Flynn Munro, the heroine’s love interest, and his little daughter, Molly.” ~Mary Lingerfelt

“Now, Miss Molly, would you like to watch your Da make dinner?”

Molly dimpled and nodded, and stuck a finger into her mouth.

“This is a dish your mother used to make,” he told her gravely. “It was a favorite of hers, though not so much of mine. She used to make it when she was too tired to cook fancy, because it’s easy. It’s called Bubble and Squeak.”

Molly giggled, and Flynn tapped her nose. “Now―we go to the fridge, and see what we have on hand. There’s some corned beef hiding in the back of the milk. So we just chop that up with the potatoes and carrots and toss it in.

“And then we fry them up, like so.” He reached down to turn up the heat, and the pan soon began to make small bubbling sounds.

“Hear it?” Flynn smiled, and Molly nodded vigorously.

He took a wooden spoon, and rubbed it against the greased pan. Squeak, went the spoon, and Molly squealed with laughter.

“Now, Miss Molly―you sit on this stool, right here, and hold the spoon. I’ll let you stir, this time.”

He lifted Molly from the counter and set her on a stool, and she sat beside him and stirred the meat and potatoes, and made the spoon go squeak, squeak, squeak.

 “That’s right, my girl,” he told her softly. “Just like your mother used to do.”

Molly looked down into the pan, and her eyes went somber. She stood there in silence for a moment, and then blurted, out of nowhere:

“Da―why did Mommy die?”

Flynn sucked in air, as if he’d been punched. He stood in stunned silence, and cast about for an answer.

“Why―Molly―your mother was―”

He pulled a hand over his mouth and hesitated. Something inside told him that now was not the time for a merciful lie―that the truth was important, if he wanted to keep his daughter’s trust.

He lifted her up in his arms, and sat down in a chair. He looked down into her face soberly, tried to read her eyes, wondered if she was old enough for the truth.

“Molly, you remember what I told you about the fighting back home, don’t you?” he asked gently.

Molly nodded solemnly.

“It’s been going on for a long, long time, and it―it never really goes away. You understand that―that the fighting was why we left our home, and came to live here.”

Her big eyes held his.

He swallowed, and went on: “Chickadee, sometimes―sometimes when there’s fighting, innocent people get hurt.”

He closed his eyes, trying to hold it back, but the memory roared over him. Instantly, he was back there again, kneeling on the corner in front of the Whistle. He was holding Maggie in his arms as her blue eyes fixed themselves on a point just past his shoulder. The panic swept him again.

Maggie?―somebody call an ambulance!” he’d screamed. But the rugby players who’d come running out of the Whistle had only crouched down beside him in silence, and glanced at the broken glass and groceries scattered over the sidewalk.

One of them put a hand on his shoulder.

He’d launched himself out into the street, swinging for the nearest chin he could find and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Flynn closed his eyes and willed that day to fade back into the past. He slowly came to himself, looked down at their little daughter, and thanked God; because it was only the mercy of God that Molly hadn’t lost both her parents that day.

“Daddy?”

“Chickadee,” he whispered, “your mother died by accident. The police are our friends, they’re there to protect us, but sometimes…accidents happen. There were police standing on the sidewalk across from our house that day, and some bad men drove by in a car, and fired their guns at the police. The police fired their guns back. Your mother was hit…by accident, as she was walking home from the market.”

Molly looked up at him, with her round blue eyes, and to his helpless regret, his own sadness slowly spread across their innocent depths.

Then she lifted her arms, closed them around his neck, and buried her face in his shirt.