An Impoverished Little Princess #OpenBookBlogHop #WritingPrompts #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do you remember the first book that made you cry? Or maybe the last one?”

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I don’t remember the last book that made me cry, but A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett was a tear-jerker in the middle when Sara’s father dies, leaving her penniless, and she’s compelled to earn her keep at the seminary where her father sent her years earlier. I was in high school at the time, and it was so heart-wrenching that I couldn’t finish the book.

A year or so later when I was in college, I saw the movie, with Shirley Temple. It also made me cry, but they were tears of joy because the movie had a happy ending. So, I decided to try the book again to see if the ending would be the same. It wasn’t quite, but it was still a happy ending, and that’s what I like in a book and movie.

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How about you? Do you remember the first or last book that made you cry? Please tell me about it in the comment field or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

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A Compelling Novel About Poverty #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Dog Bone Soup (Historical Fiction): A Boomer’s Journey

by Bette Stevens

 

What Amazon Says

 

Whether or not you grew up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find Dog Bone Soup (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. Dog Bone Soup is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living the American dream.

 

My Thoughts

 

I was born in 1961. Although my father wasn’t the town drunk, he had an alcohol problem. Fortunately, we were never as poor as the family in this novel, but there were times when money was tight. So, I can relate.

I was right there with Shawn and Willie through their antics and hardships. I like the way the author tells this story from Shawn’s first-person point of view in the way he would have talked back then. I nearly applauded at one point close to the end of the book when Shawn, a teenager, takes a stand against his drunken father.

One scene really made me mad. At Thanksgiving, after President Kennedy has been assassinated, ladies from a local church bring the family a basket of food. Although the children are starving, Shawn’s mother is too proud to accept this gift, and in no uncertain terms, she tells those nice ladies what they can do with their “charity.” If we were in that position, I doubt my mother would have done that.

I like the title. Dog bone soup is a concoction Shawn’s mother makes frequently, consisting of meat from rancid dog bones mixed with vegetables. It may not have been too appetizing, but if you’re really hungry, you’ll eat anything. This book made me thankful that my family was never in such dire straits when I was growing up.

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This coming Saturday, I’ll be signing copies of my new book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, from 1-3 p.m. at Sheridan Stationery Books and Gifts here in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you’re in my neck of the woods, please stop by. You can also visit the event’s Facebook page to learn more.

You’re also invited to my state poetry society’s virtual open mic poetry reading on Sunday, December 12th at 5 p.m. mountain time. You can share some poetry or just listen. See below for details.

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WyoPoets is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 

This event is open to anyone who wants to share or listen to poetry. You
don’t have to be a member of WyoPoets, you don’t even have to be in Wyoming
to participate. So, feel free to invite your friends!

 

Please sign up to read using this Google Form:
https://forms.gle/aRFLvfXSxJn3FF5F8
The first 20 poets to sign up will get to read, additional poets will be
allowed based on time.

Topic: Poetry Night
Time: Dec 12, 2021 05:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81527317416?pwd=VDZyTENmQ1VZM2pZaWowbUovc21GUT09

Meeting ID: 815 2731 7416
Passcode: 813443
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,81527317416#,,,,*813443# US (Tacoma)
+13462487799,,81527317416#,,,,*813443# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
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+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 815 2731 7416
Passcode: 813443
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbpMPXDmU0

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

Coming to Her Senses #It’s Six-Sentence Story Thursday Link-Up

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

On a cold winter day, with snow on the ground and the wind blowing, Celia stared out the window of her squalid New York City apartment at the swirling flakes. She had no money left to pay for heat, electricity, and other amenities, and she shivered, wrapping her sweater more tightly around her. At least her cellular plan was paid until the end of the month. She withdrew her phone from her pocket and made a call. “Mom, you were right about me not being able to make it in New York. I want to come home.”

***

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring the above story with her six-sentence prompt for this week. If you’d like to participate in her blog hop, click here.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books  

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook  

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Visitation #Friday Fun Reads #Fiction

Carrie was fourteen years old and lived in an apartment with her mother in New York City. A year earlier, her father wandered into traffic one night while drunk and was killed by an oncoming bus.

He hadn’t always been drunk. Carrie remembered many times as a child when he picked her up after school while between jobs and took her to the park where they flew homemade kites, and he pushed her on the swings and waited for her at the bottom of the slide. When she joined a softball league at school, he bought her a used glove, ball, and bat and showed her how to pitch, catch and throw. He occasionally took her for ice cream.

As she grew older, his drinking bouts increased in frequency. He rarely took her places after school and was hardly ever home when she went to bed. She often found him sleeping on the couch in the morning.

Her mother, Dianna, constantly berated him. He kept saying he was sorry, that he would stop drinking and get a job and keep it. He never quit drinking, and he never kept a job for long.

Dianna worked as a secretary at a Baptist church. Carrie was used to getting by on the meager salary her mother received. Most of the time, it was their only source of income, barely enough to pay the rent on their small, shabby apartment, let alone buy food.

On the night Carrie’s father died, when he didn’t come home for supper, her mother packed his clothes and other items in a box that she left outside the apartment door with a note. He never claimed his belongings.

During the following year, Carrie and her mother were forced to move to an even smaller, shabbier apartment, and Carrie had to switch schools. Dianna threw herself into the many projects at the church to help those in need. These took up a lot of her time, and Carrie was often left to fend for herself when she wasn’t in school. She didn’t attempt to make friends because the squalor where she lived embarrassed her, and she never kept in touch with kids she knew from her previous school.

One day after school, she boarded the bus, resigned to yet another evening alone with the cockroaches and leaking roof. She hated riding buses, since her father was killed by one, but on this cold Halloween evening, it was getting dark, and she didn’t want to walk alone at night. As she’d done many times, she’d stayed after classes to study in the library where it was warm. Now, as the sky gradually darkened, she found a seat in the back of the crowded bus and stared out the window at people and buildings, as it bumped along, stopping every so often to pick up and drop off passengers.

Someone sat next to her. A hand fell on her knee, and a familiar voice said, “Hey sweet pea.”

She jumped and turned to see a man who looked just like her father, wearing baggy blue jeans and his favorite plaid shirt, the clothes he wore the day he died. She detected no acrid stench of booze but a whiff of the cologne he wore when he was sober. Thinking he was just another pervert who happened to look, smell, and sound like her father, she turned back toward the window. “I know you don’t believe it’s me, princess, but it is,” he said, taking her hand.

Princess, that was one of the many names he called her. “Leave me alone,” she said, jerking her hand away and moving closer to the window. People turned and stared, and she wondered why.

“Honey, nobody can see me. I’m a ghost.”

“You’re nuts,” she said, turning back to him.

“So are you,” said a man across the aisle.

This couldn’t be real, she thought, as her face grew hot, and she stared at the man sitting next to her. She shook her head and blinked several times. “Carrie, you’re not going to get rid of me that easily.”

She turned back toward the window. She was nowhere near her stop, but she had to get off this bus now. Without a word, she reached for the bell to signal the driver to stop. The man’s hand shot up and grabbed hers. “You’ll have a long walk home if you get off now, bug-a-boo.”

How did he know where her new home was? This was ridiculous. “Besides, sweet pea, you really don’t want to go back to that fucking apartment with those god damned roaches, do you?”

Carrie smiled in spite of herself. She always thought it funny when her father used such colorful language when talking about things that didn’t appeal to her.

“Now that’s what I like,” he said. “a smile from my little girl.”

She looked around, wondering if she could move to another seat, but they were all taken. “Honey, I know I haven’t been the best of fathers lately, but I’m clean now. I haven’t touched a drop of liquor since last year, and I won’t ever again. I’m going to make it up to you. From now on, we’re going to have the best of times, just you and me.”

Just you and me? What did he mean? Was she going to die right here and now? She remembered something her mother said. The preacher at the Baptist church believed that people like her father went to Hell, a place that was always on fire, where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Was that where her father was taking her? She pictured herself being consumed by ugly, yellow flames.

“No, I don’t want to go to Hell,” she screamed, trying to stand and pull herself away from him.

He squeezed her hand. “It’s gonna be okay, honey. Daddy’s right here.”

He said those exact words the night her appendix nearly ruptured when she was seven, as she lay in the emergency room, tears streaming down her face, gripped by pain. He told her everything would be all right, and it eventually was. It was one of few kept promises.

A squeal of breaks brought her back to the present. She felt a jarring crash, then nothing.

***

The above appears in the Samhain edition of The Writer’s Grapevine, a magazine featuring stories, poems, articles, and news by authors and business owners who are clients of TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD Marketing. You can read past issues here and subscribe by sending a blank email to:  writersgv+subscribe@groups.io  This story was also published several years ago in Magnets and Ladders, another magazine, featuring work by disabled authors.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

Another Day in Paradise #Musical Monday

Years ago when I was single and practicing music therapy with residents in nursing homes and other facilities, my father and I drove one day to Billings, Montana, about 150 miles north of Sheridan, Wyoming, my hometown, to see an opera. Before the performance, we had lunch at a bar and grill. Afterward, as we stepped out of the establishment and onto the sidewalk, a woman approached us and asked for cash.

She sounded desperate and seemed well-educated. Dad immediately produced his wallet and handed her one or two bills. I said I didn’t have any extra cash and walked away with Dad.

When I heard this song, I was reminded of that incident. At the time, I’d thought this woman was perhaps a drug addict, needing money to fuel her habit. But what if she was down on her luck by no fault of her own?

I’ll never know. I can only hope her story had a happy ending. One thing’s for sure. No doubt Dad gave her at least twenty dollars.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.