Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tornado Alley Publications New Release -- Belle's Crossing by B.J. Betts -- Giveaway

Today B.J. will be giving away an e-copy of her story BELLE'S CROSSING to one person who leaves a comment on this blog. Be sure and include contact information in your comment for a chance to win!

In 1909 on All Hallows' Eve, three beautiful young sisters perished in a tragic accident…or was it?  For years, citizens of Council Bluffs, Iowa would report strange sightings around Big Lake Park. Were the sightings due to over active imaginations…or something else? Over one hundred years later, Laynee Rodgers's car accident in the same location takes its toll on her memory, but she knows she isn't crazy. With the help of a psychic, she may remember exactly what happened to her, and unlock a century-old mystery in the process—if she only has the courage!


    The three girls called out their good-byes as the old horse plodded down the dirt packed road.
    A harvest moon hung in the sky, and a spangle of stars surrounded it. The air felt crisp and clean as Old Blue hauled the wagon along the road.
    “I had the best time in my life,” said Rosie hugging her arms around her middle. She was beside herself with excitement, and wondered how she would get through the hours until Monday.
    “It was a wonderful night, wasn’t it?” added Katy, dreamily. Ty had whispered words of sweet love in her ear as they stood in the darkness of the yard.
    “Mmmhmm,” answered Susie. Her lips still tingled from the good night kiss Kyle had given her.
    As the wagon rounded the bend and passed by Spring Lake, the moonlight struck on the water turning it silvery black. The bit tugged on Old Blue’s mouth as he pulled the wagon up a small incline that led up to the railroad track ahead.
    Off in the distance, the shrill whistle of a train echoed in the night. Susie pulled her pocket watch from her dress pocket and looked down at it. By the light of the moon, she read the time, 9:50. Ahh, they were going to be late. The last thing they needed was to be held up by a long coal train. Pa would skin their hides, for sure. Without a second thought, she gave the reins a hard slap across Old Blue’s rump. The startled horse whinnied in surprise and took off at a gallop. Lickety split, up the incline he ran and onto the tracks.
    A loud cracking sound split the quiet of the night as the wheel of the wagon broke loose. The wagon twisted and turned violently, throwing the three girls beneath it—trapping them under it. Old Blue pulled as hard as he could, trying to free himself of the wagon, but to no avail. It was wedged tight into the grooves of the train tracks.  The shrill whistle of train chugging toward them filled the night.
    Blood dripped down Susie’s cheek as she tried to crawl out from under the wagon. The fabric of her dress held her tight. She reached up to her forehead, only to bring her hand down, now filled with blood. A deep gash marred her pretty face. Slowly, she turned her head in search of her sisters.
    Rosie lay next to her, motionless; and Katy laid nearby. Susie reached out and shook her sister’s thin shoulders. “Rosie, Rosie,” she cried.
    By the light of the moon that crept in through the darkness, she watched as Rosie’s eyes fluttered open.
    “Are you okay, Rosie?” she croaked out.
    “My leg, it hurts,” whimpered Rosie.
    Susie craned her neck to look and see Rosie’s leg. It was wedged into the track and a large piece of wood had gone through her thigh. Blood had soaked the skirt of her dress.
    “Rosie, can you wake up Katy?”
    Rosie turned to her big sister. Katy’s head was at an odd angle. “Katy,” Rosie nudged her shoulder.     Katy’s head lolled back, and she stared unseeingly into her youngest sister’s eyes.
    “Susie, Katy’s eyes are open!” Panic started to fill her voice.  “But she’s not answering me!”  Rosie started to cry. “Momma! I want Momma!”
    “Hush now,” soothed Susie. “We’ll be okay. Pa will come and help us.”
    The shrill whistle of a train broke into the silence. The train was coming, bearing down on them. Fear raced through every inch of the girls’ beings as the train chugged ever closer.
    “We’re going to die!” screamed Rosie.
    “Hush now, Rosie,” whispered Susie.
    Footsteps…she heard footsteps. “Who’s out there? Oh please help us!” she begged.
    She looked out through a small crack and out into the moonlight. She blinked in surprise as she saw a pair of near-black eyes looking back at her.
    “Help us! Oh, help us, please!” she screamed.
    She watched in horror as the man ran away, disappearing into the darkness.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 Days + 7 Authors = Writing Retreat

What do you get when you have seven authors on a mountain top with minimal internet connection?

A lot of good writing days.
Pages and pages of well-written pages. Which means more stories for you!
Last week I participated in a five day writing retreat. There were lectures by the facilitator, discussions about books, talking about our own books, and writing, writing, writing. The authors attending were at various stages of their careers: from working on their first novel to having published over thirty books with varying publishers. I fell somewhere in the middle.
We discussed the best way to polish our works-in-progress, learned rhetorical devices to make our prose stronger, and scoured examples of phenomenal writing. All of us came out writing stronger, pushing ourselves harder, and being confidant we were writing to the best of our ability.
I worked on ATLANTIS GLACIAL TIDES, which is Adria’s full story. Her novella was featured in Tornado Alley Publications’ THIS SUMMER STORM anthology. Now, she has a full story of her own where the growth she began in the novella is completed.
Now that I’m home, I miss the camaraderie of my fellow writers, the dedicated hours to perfecting my craft, and the internet silence. But I’m still pushing myself to write better and stronger.
News: SUPERNATURAL SIX, a young adult anthology featuring six different authors is being re-published at iBooks for a limited time only. ATLANTIS RIPTIDE, the first book in the Lost Daughters of Atlantis series is included in the anthology. Find out how the Atlantis series began and discover some other great authors.

For more information about other books in the Lost Daughters of Atlantis series, visit my website at www.allieburton.com.