January 29, 2016

Charleston's Evil Smile

Some small sound alerted Katrina that she wasn’t alone in the house.

Dear Lord, Charleston was in here, she just knew it! The feeling was prickling the back of her neck, making the hair feel as if it were standing straight out from the nape. Another muffled sound came to her ears. He was in her bedroom. If she could just get to the back door again, she’d be free!

As Katrina reached the back door, she heard her name called from the kitchen doorway. The sound, far from stopping her, gave her an added burst of speed.

Even as she cleared the porch and steps, her mind rejected the thought of finding the spot in the bushes where she’d entered her yard. Her main thought was to put distance between herself and the man in the house.

She rounded the corner, heading for the front of the house and ran smack into a man. Startled, she looked up as his arms closed around her. Even the pale light from the moon could not hide the evil smile on Charleston’s face.  (From Inherit My Heart by A M Jenner) Read More Here

January 28, 2016

Grand Theft Auto

“It will be two hours before anyone’s out of the movie theater,” Samantha explained. Most of them will go out to eat before coming out to their cars. That will give us another hour. Even then, the people whose license plates we switched will likely just get in their cars and drive away.”

“The people who own this car won’t, though.”

“Right. But they’ll give the police the information on the car, including the right license plate. The authorities will be looking for the plate, not the car. They won’t actually realize that plates were switched until they pull over the car wearing this car’s license plate. And by then, the cars at the mall will have all been dispersed. They’ll have to track them all down one by one, in order to know which plate we’ve got. By then we’ll be over the border into the U.S.” (from Quinn by Marie Evergreen) Read more here.

January 27, 2016

Screaming and Shouting

A squealing howl, a loud bang, and a very prominent whistling noise grabbed everyone’s attention. The wind suddenly poured itself into one of the jetways, flinging the terminal door open, bringing snow with it. A loud bell wailed and a bright red light above the door started flashing.

A woman’s shriek and several children’s terrified screams added to the din. The gate agent only took moments to punch a code into the keypad next to the door and silence the alarm. He picked up a phone receiver and shouted into it over the roaring wind.

His yell was loud enough everyone could hear him reassuring security the alarm had been caused by the wind, not a person trying to get into restricted areas of the airport.

Hanging up the phone, he struggled against the wind to push the door closed. Once the door was secured, he got on the PA system to calm everyone down. It was several long minutes before the children quieted. (From Meet Me Midway, by Natalie Peck) Read more here.

January 26, 2016

Not as dumb as he looks


One of the soldiers, who’d been watching their approach, leaned out over the battlement.

“Hey what?”

“What’s the gate closed for?”

“It’s closed, is all. Especially to you.”

“Well, open it then.”


“Why not?”

“Because my orders is to keep the gate shut. So if I was to open it and let you in, my boss would be plenty mad, see?”

Fergan nodded his understanding.

“Can I talk to him?”


“Your boss; the one who told you to keep the gate shut.”

“Whaddaya wanna talk to him for?”

“Well, so’s he can open the gate for me.”

The soldier on the wall sighed. Some of his companions hid their smiles behind their hands. The sight cheered Fergan’s heart. They thought him a farmer, and not too bright. Good. (From The Siege of Kwennjurat, by Scott Ashby) Read more here.

January 25, 2016


A dark figure emerged from the bushy shadows beside her. Marilee didn’t see him fully until he had grabbed her. She struggled, but with one strong arm around her, lifting her from her feet and the other hand covering her mouth to prevent her screaming, there was little her flailing hands and arms could do.

Shoved into the car, the man lay across her in the back seat, his sheer mass holding her still. The door slammed shut, and moments later the car drove off. The entire abduction had taken only seconds, and Marilee knew there’d been no witnesses.

These had to be Tony’s men; no one else had reason to take her prisoner. She didn’t think a random mugging would have been handled like this; at least not in any of the books she’d ever read, but then, books weren’t reality.

Her reality now was a nightmare, Tony’s men or not. She knew she’d be killed; she’d never again see Richard or Derrek. Tears sprang to her eyes, and she fought to hold them back. (From A Heart Full of Diamonds, by A M Jenner) Read more here.

January 22, 2016

The Cotton Fort

A strong fortification was ordered and approved to be built here and Colonel Waul was placed in charge of the supervision of the construction. The walls were made of bales of cotton in zigzag fashion stacked four high and covered with dirt. The stacks were fourteen feet high and stretched from river to river. Cannon of various kinds were spaced evenly across the walls and guns were stationed to be used on approaching ships seen on either river. (From The von Rosenberg Family of Texas: The Civil War Years, by Ann Barnes) Read more here.

January 21, 2016

Voices on the Rooftop

I had kept to my custom of spending an occasional night on my rooftop muffled in my cloak. We who are old do not need so much sleep, and I could think and write in my head the pages I would write the next day. On one of those nights I heard the familiar Voice around me or in me, and He said, “Go to Gibeah.”

“Lord, what shall I do there? I am not needed and King Saul has not called me,” I murmured.

The Voice said, “Go to Gibeah.” And that was all.

One does not argue with the Lord and one does not ask again after such an answer. (From Samuel, Seer, by Gordon C. Krantz) Read more here.

January 20, 2016

Who's yo Daddy?

“Patron?” She gave a little shake of her head to indicate her supposed lack of understanding of the word.

“Yes, patron; you know, someone with money who would back your, ah, venture, but who wouldn’t ask for money as repayment.” Again his eyes slid her frame from toe to head and back.

Bile rose in her throat before she swallowed it away. Dredging up a smile, she pasted it on her lips and stood, anger held in check by sheer willpower and the practice she’d had overcoming the odds which had been stacked against her since she was thirteen years old.

“Mr. Hellerson,” she said sweetly, reaching for her file. “I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘Sugar Daddy’.” (From The Moms Place, by Natalie Peck) Read more here.

January 19, 2016

A Child's Faith

One Sunday there were some questions in the book from which we studied concerning the ancient prophets, with scriptural texts as answers and some questions that were to be answered by the pupil.
One of these was “Is there any prophets in these days?” which happened to come to me in turn.
To the teacher's surprise, I answered, “Yes, sir.”
“False prophets I suppose you mean.”
“No, sir, true ones.”
“Who, pray?” was his query.
“Joseph Smith.” was my answer. He made some reply and passed on to the next. I heard no more of it until about two weeks after when Mother called me to her and asked me what I had been saying to my teachers about Joseph Smith. I told her what had occurred. I learned that this testimony had been talked of from the minister down through all that congregation. I was about 12 years old and this was the first time I had the privilege of bearing testimony to the work of God in the latter days. (From Journal Through the Ages, by Mischa Borgnaes) Read More Here

January 18, 2016

Sexiest Dimples Ever!

“Have I told you how sexy I think your dimple is?”

He shook his head.

Sheila laughed. “When I first saw you standing there in your tux, I thought you looked like James Bond.”

“James Bond, huh? That’s a reputation that will be hard to live up to.” (From A Gigolo for Christmas, by Natalie Peck)  Read more here.

January 15, 2016

A Nutty Recipe

Glenn’s Nut Mix

Contributed by Safari Man

Pecans, Almonds, Filberts, Dirt, Worms, and Grass Clippings.

1. Remove nut from jug.

2. Using nut cracker, Hammer or Heel of shoe, crack nut. (Caution: Using your teeth may be hazardous to your health!)

3. Pick nut from shell.

4. Eat nut (not shell).

5. Repeat recipe for remaining nuts.

6. Vacuum floor.

(From Clues to Food, by A M Jenner) Read more here

January 14, 2016

Tree Through the Roof

“Lightening usually hits tall things. We’re surrounded by very tall trees, so we should be okay with that. Light the fire and let’s keep watching.”

She’d no sooner spoken the words when the air in the cabin turned blue with lightening while thunder showered an angry roar around them. The crack of splintering wood followed the sound. Frozen in petrified horror they watched as part of the tree barely five yards from their front door disintegrate ten feet above the ground. The balance of the sixty foot pine shuddered, briefly suspended in the air before it tilted, gathering momentum and closed the distance to their cabin’s roof.

Matt yelled. Katy screamed. Melanie automatically gathered Katy in her arms. The tree settled with Melanie half sitting, half lying on the floor still clinging to Katy, who had buried her face in her mother’s neck. Melanie looked for Matt amid the debris which had been the living room just moments ago. Rain was pouring in on them where the roof had been destroyed, but Melanie ignored it as she turned her attention to finding her son.

“Matt!” Panic filled her. “Where are you?” (From "Hidden Strengths" by Natalie Peck, Bits and Bites) Read More Here

January 13, 2016

Broken Heart

So what if her heart was breaking? She was a princess. In time, she would be a queen. She was determined to be a good queen and rule together with Prince Fergan. It wasn’t his fault her heart was broken beyond repair. (From Tanella’s Flight, by Scott Ashby) Read More Here

January 12, 2016

I Flunked. On Purpose.

I had just purposefully flunked my academy entrance exam so I could stay another year in traditional high school living with my grandparents. Those peers of mine might have thought it was irresponsible and unorthodox.

But my grandparents had understood.

That thought prompted me to look out the window again, at the vast expanse of space. Which of the stars out there was Earth’s sun? I would have to ask my dad later, so I could wave at Grandma and Grandpa now and then.

Movement drew my glance upward. A large ship – a freighter by the blockish look of it – approached one of the docking towers reaching far above the station.

“Is that ship going to hit the tower?” Jay asked.

“No, of course not,” I replied. Distances in space could be deceiving – that probably wasn’t spaceship pilot rule number-one, but it had to be rule number somewhere-between-two-and-five. “It just looks like it from this –”

I stopped myself there.

Right at impact(From Rift Watcher, by C R Simper) Read More

January 11, 2016

Sorry, I Thought You Were Somebody Else.

As she pulled into her driveway, a car was waiting there. Fear knotted her stomach; she didn’t recognize the car. Rebecca tried to remember what kind of car Gil drove, but drew a blank.

It must be him. I told him I didn’t want to see him this morning. He’s got a lot of nerve.

Shaking with fury, she got out of her beat up Mustang, stomping over to the car. Rebecca yanked the door open and began her tirade.

“Just what do you think you’re doing here, Mister…” when she realized there was a woman sitting in the driver’s seat, not Gil. She stopped, confused and a bit disappointed and looked again. It was Harriet, her old school chum and very best friend. Shock held her still a moment before she could gather her wits. (From Sirens in her Heart by Natalie Peck) More about the book

January 08, 2016

Getting past the Guard at the Gate

Annette stepped forward and positioned herself about two inches in front of the gate guard, with her face right up against his nose.

“Listen up, you!” Annette screamed into his face. “My mistress is Princess Gladiola of Notia. She’s here by appointment to see your worthless ruler! Now I don’t know how things are done in this mud-hole you call a kingdom, but in Notia, royalty is given respect!

“You have about three seconds to acknowledge my mistress and open up this here gate and let her in, or I’ll be telling your dim-witted prince you ought to have your head chopped off for being so rude to a royal princess! Do you hear me?”

The gate guard, his face now a pasty white, nodded his head. “Aye, I can hear you. So can the whole street. For that matter, they might be able to hear you clear out to Land’s End, the way you shriek like a harridan.

“In your precious Notia they might cut your head off for being rude, but here they’ll cut it off even faster for disobeying orders. My orders this morning were to keep the gate shut and not let nobody in.”

During her speech, the guard had been backing up, and Annette had followed him, never allowing more than a few inches between them.

“Well, somebody’s head is going to roll, and that’s for sure,” Annette said in a normal tone, though she didn’t move away from him. She pulled a folded piece of paper out of the pouch she wore at her waist. “Can you read?” she asked in a condescending tone.

“Nay, ain’t nobody on the island can read, ‘ceptin the prince hisself and maybe the vicar.”

“Well, if you could read, I’d let you read it for yourself, so you could know I’m not lying. But since you can’t read, I’ll just have to tell you what’s in it. When we got here last night my mistress, Princess Gladiola of Notia, sent a note to the prince.

“This here,” she said, waving the note in his face, “is the note we got back, and it says we’re to see the prince in his throne room three hours after sunrise. Now, it’s almost that time. So somebody has given the wrong order, because the prince has invited us in, you see. If the prince invited us in, like this note says he has, then whoever gave the order to keep us out is doing what the prince doesn’t want him to do and, like you said, he may lose his head for disobeying the prince’s orders. So you’d better let us in, so we can see the prince, like he wants us to.”

The gate guard nodded, but didn’t move.

“Well, are you going to let us in, or do I have to smash down your rickety little gate and go find your boss and tell him you’re refusing entrance to a guest the prince has invited to the throne room?”

The guard shook his head violently. “I would be letting you in, Miss, ‘ceptin you got me backed up clear against the wall, and I can’t move to get to the gate.” (From Crown of Tears by Scott Ashby) Read more about this book here..

January 07, 2016

Lap Full of Soup

Dallyn Withers Maitland frowned with concentration at the report he was writing. While his right hand moved the mouse across his screen following the words and numbers he’d written, his left reached for his nearly full cup of hot soup.

The telephone rang, startling him. A curse left his mouth, and he moved the cup so it dripped soup on the floor now instead of in his lap. Exercise shorts may be comfortable to sit in, he thought, but they are not enough to keep hot broth from burning.

He glanced at the caller ID. Aunt Adelle. He cursed again and was grateful she couldn’t hear it. She was a royal pain. Whenever she called it was always for some penny-ante reason. He dare not ignore the call, though, or she’d go running to Johnson, and Johnson didn’t need to be – his eyes flicked to the clock – awakened – in Europe just because Dallyn didn’t answer his phone. He set the soup down on the absorbent coaster and reached for the phone.


“DW,” came the childish, whiny voice he detested. “This is Aunt Adelle. Where’s Terry?” (From Deadly Gamble by A M Jenner) Read More

January 06, 2016

News from the World

“When will the others be back from their exercises, and more importantly, do you know when I’ll be able to see Amityn? I’ve news for him from the world.”

Dexya smiled into her cup of tea.

“What?” Quibell demanded.

“Nothing,” she said, and then broke into a small giggle. “It’s just…do you know how pretentious that sounds?”


“‘I have news for him from the world.’” Dexya mimicked Quibell. “I mean, I know you communicate directly with the Heart of the World in ways no one else is able to, and honestly, you’re the least pretentious man I know. It just comes out that way!” She dissolved into giggles, and Quibell, seeing it from her point of view, joined in her laughter. (From Fabric of the World by Scott Ashby) Read more about this book here.

January 05, 2016

Uma Problema

We lined up with passports in hand, ready to be checked for disembarkation, but it seemed there would be “a little problem.” Oh no, not again, just now; but what a fitting end to this month-long voyage!

We’d learned to listen for the phrase uma problema (a little problem). This was the signal there was a problem, but didn’t describe the seriousness of that problem.

This time the problem was easily solved and only involved the Henderson family. Some in our group began to joke they didn’t know us for fear they would have a little problem, too.

The problem was that we had to have Yellow Fever shots before we’d be allowed off the ship. Carl had gotten those shots in Los Angeles because he knew he’d be traveling all over the country. He was told his family didn’t need to have them because we’d stay in the city. We explained it to the immigration officials, but they didn’t like that explanation, so we got in another line and got our free shots.  (From Jenny’s Daughter by Jaqi Wade) Read more about this book here.

January 04, 2016

Better Late Than Never

I see that my last "weekly" update was about a month ago. Maybe I ought to call them monthly updates.
December was a busy time, both personally and professionally.
On the personal side, my daughter celebrated her birthday, there were multiple trips to the theater to see Star Wars, and all the bustle of Christmas, even though we tried to keep things low-key this year. Also I designed and built a water bed pedestal and got the bed up and working, so I'll be sleeping better now and hopefully get caught up.
It was all good.
On the professional side, we published C R Simper's debut novel, Rift Watcher. It's a YA Science Fiction book that's part coming-of-age and part aliens-are-plotting-to-murder-me. Yeah, it's that good.
We're editing Misty, by Marie Evergreen, which is the second book in the Travelers series. It should be out in April. You might want to get ready for Misty by reading the first book in the series, Quinn.
We're also editing The Blogger, by a new author who hasn't decided yet whether to publish under his own name or a pen name. The Blogger is due out in June, and promises to be a real scream. After all, what would you do if the fiction you wrote on your blog started happening in real life?
You can read more about all our books - and buy them - at www.electric-scroll.com.