Sunday, January 26, 2014

Self Published Sunday Welcomes Piper Punches

I'm happy to welcome Piper Punches to Self Published Sunday. Piper Punches lives in the far west suburbs of St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. The Waiting Room is her debut novel. Piper is excited to connect with her readers and encourages everyone to stop by her website and say hello. In the meantime, she is currently working on her second novel, 60 Days, which will be available April 2014 and a short novella, Missing Girl, available January 2014.


Waiting rooms tell stories. They are a medical purgatory. Some sit in the waiting room for hours to be shone the light, graced with blessings. For others this is the final holding room before they are delivered into hell; facing uncertainty, despair, sadness, even death.
When Charlotte receives a note on the day of her mother’s funeral containing a cryptic message, she is confused and intrigued. Although she knew that waiting rooms told stories, she never realized that part of her own story resided in this seemingly neutral environment.  But, then again, why should she be surprised? Her mother had secrets. Charlotte knew this.  She just didn’t know how life-altering those secrets could be. . .
A stunning debut novel from Piper Punches, The Waiting Room weaves a tale that reveals the complexities of family, the invisible bonds that connect people, and the pain that can reverberate through the choices we make. Told from several points of view the story becomes clearer and clearer with each turn of the page that the secrets we keep aren’t always ours to take to the grave.


Excerpt:

It happened a few weeks into the New Year. The townspeople claimed that they could hear the anguished cries coming from the Gold cabin in the wee hours of the morning; the hours of the night right before sunrise when it is the darkest and coldest. Of course, this is country folklore and gossip. No one would have been able to hear a sound. They wouldn't have heard the cries of a mother in labor. They wouldn't have been privy to whether or not Gavin Gold had been so mortified at the sight of his son that he snuffed the life out of him. There is no way they could have known how desperately Sylvia had clung to her mother's weakening hand, urging her to push, begging her to stay with them.

Sylvie later recounted the circumstances of that night to Harold, years after the incident. She told him that after an exhaustive labor, Laurel Gold lay in the sweat and blood soaked bed, lifeless and gone. The baby boy had been born into the world silent. Sylvie and her dad had delivered him, but it was clear from the beginning that the baby was wrong.

"Mongoloid," Gavin had whispered or maybe it was monster. Sylvie couldn’t remember. She only knew that she had to preserve a moment with this little baby, who had for a brief second been her brother. She held him in her arms, kissed his head, and rocked him as her mother would have.

For what seemed like hours Sylvie had held onto the baby, while her mother lay on the death bed and her father slumped against the wall with his head in his hands. Eventually, they buried the baby together. He was never given a name. He was buried in her mother's arms on the cabin's property. In one night two lives disappeared. One had no record of death; the other no record of life.

Sylvie only recounted this tale one time in her life then never spoke of it again.

To purchase The Waiting Room, click here.

CONNECT WITH PIPER PUNCHES
http://www.piperpunches.com
http://www.facebook.com/piperpunches
http://www.pinterest.com/piperpunches

The Running Game Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Running Game by LE Fitzpatrick

Her father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes. Always be ready to run because they'll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they'll always be coming for you.

Rachel had let her guard down and they had found her. She could run now, leave the city and try her luck beyond the borders, but with no money and a dark secret to hide her chances of survival are slim.

But then she meets two brothers with a dangerous past and secrets of their own. Can they help her turn the game around?

This is the first installment of the Reacher series. Set in a grim and not too distant future, this urban thriller will keep you hooked until the last page.


The Running Game: Excerpt 

She arrived in S’aven a month after her seventeenth birthday. As she shuffled off the train at Trinity Station her head had been an onslaught of na├»ve ambitions and excitement. The convent was gone and she was free. Soon she would be with her sister and the world would be theirs. But it never happened. Her sister was killed and instead of liberation S’aven became just another prison; bigger, noisier and more dangerous.
As she waited in that same station, seven years later, watching the rats duel with the pigeons, she realised it would be the same wherever she went. The prison was countrywide because she was a prisoner on the run and that would never change. They blamed Reachers for everything, she was guilty by nature and no jury would ever say otherwise.
Police marched up and down the boardwalk, shining lights on those huddled around their worn suitcases or battered sacks. They checked the faces of the men and women, even the children, looking for fugitives. People only left S'aven when they had to, it was the cops' job to work out what they were running from.
She could see them questioning a couple, checking their bags over and over while the husband insisted they were just going to see family. His wife was pretty and the cops were enjoying making her squirm. They made the couple turn, press their hands against the wall. They only bothered to search the wife, laughing as her husband protested their innocence. She was smart though, she told him to be quiet – a quick feel was better than getting shot in the head.
“Do you want to know why we're leaving, because of this!” The husband yelled.
With other cops this would have been a step too far, but these two were in good humour. They released the woman, squeezing her backside as she gathered her things. Then they wished them luck – a couple like that were going to need it.
Then it was time to move on. Their flash lights darted about as they headed towards the end of the platform. They passed two men in suits. There was no talk, the men held out a roll of notes, the cops took it and moved on. Rachel sat away from them all, she rested her head back and closed her eyes as they started to approach. They never even looked her way.
The train was running late. There were rumours about insurgents commandeering the northern lines and taking passengers hostage. The longer the delays, the more people remembered what was outside the city walls. S’aven had civilisation and work and food. It was right beside London where people still had money and the world still ran like it was supposed to. But outside the border, beyond the protection of the rational south there was so much unknown. Rachel stared at the arched exit out of the city; for her at least, it was the lesser of two evils.
She turned her head to the station entrance and that’s when she saw him hobbling around the platform. He balanced on the crutch and scanned the crowd just like the cops had done. His bloodshot eyes looked panicked, maybe even desperate. She knew he was looking for her, she just wasn't sure why.
Then he spotted her, seeing through her powers, seeing just her, alone. The connection was instantaneous, it was like staring at a long lost twin. And it had been so long since she had felt anything more than emptiness.
He made his way over. He looked tired, but relieved to see her.
“Mind if I join you?”

What I thought:

The Running Game by L.E. Fitzpatrick is fast paced and action packed.  It is set in what is best described as an alternate future. However, while I was reading it - I kept thinking about some of my favorite black and white movies. (Think Humphrey Bogart and The Big Sleep). There are a multitude of characters and Fitzpatrick does an excellent job giving each one a voice.  The good guys aren't all good and the bad guys aren't all bad - and that's what makes this such an enjoyable read.

About the author

L E Fitzpatrick was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, but now lives in West Wales, with her family plus lots of dogs and cats. She manages an office, volunteers as a room steward for the National Trust and also supports independent authors as a proofreader and beta reader. She obviously has no spare time because of this, but if she did it would probably be invested in walking in the countryside and enjoying the peace and quiet.
L E Fitzpatrick published her first series Dark Waters in 2011 and is currently working on her Reacher series.



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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review of Late Summer Monarch by Angela Welch Prusia

As a rule, I don't often read a novel in one sitting. With     Late Summer Monarch, I broke that rule.  Author Angela Welch Prusia has penned a coming of age story that should be on required reading lists.  While the story covers subjects like bullying and abuse, the author takes great pains not to be preachy.  What she does do - is open a secret window into the lives of the characters.  We see their personal struggles and witness how a town is willing to look the other way when some of its own are suffering.

The author does a wonderful job developing and maintaining the mood of the story.  Her descriptions of the town hit just the right note - you get the feel for the place without a tedious narration that ultimately becomes a distraction.

There was a lot to love about this novel.  Main character Darby Fletcher is the typical girl next door, complete with the requisite teenage issues.  Characters Peyton and Keaton display a vulnerability to which many in society are susceptible.  While Crazy Rainey Shaw is quirky and full of insight:

Fire flashed from Rainey's eyes.  "And if I was you..." She tossed her money onto the counter and stood to leave.  "I'd guard my tongue.  It reveals much about the heart."                                                                  -Angela Welch Prusia, Late Summer Monarch

If you are looking for a quick read that offers more than passing entertainment, check out Late Summer Monarch.   While it is written for the young adult audience, adults will also enjoy the story.








Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review of Provoke Not The Children

Amazon's Book Description:     


In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be raised, educated and cultivated.   

Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer tasked with the regulation of the Proxy Industry, is plagued by guilt - the consequence of his own dogged pursuit of Maximization. Seeking redemption, he has pledged his life to save the lost but dangerous youth of the Deep Suburbs - the poverty-stricken and crime-ridden majority of society located far from the wealthy, civilized Inner Cities. When Chase uncovers widespread child abuse, the Government is forced to admit failure and shut down the Proxy Industry. All children under the age of eighteen are sent to a remote facility to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed to populate a new, functional society. Three years later, the first group of "children" return very much changed....


What I thought:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Michael W. Anderson's Provoke Not the Children is nothing short of compelling.  The author uses words the way an artist applies color - painting scenes with such detail that I caught myself imagining how it would look on the big screen and what A-list actor would portray the main character. 

The story is suspenseful and moves at a quick pace.  The characters are well developed.
When it comes to the main character (Chase Stern), Anderson introduces us to an individual who is haunted by the choices he's made in life.  His flaws and regrets make it easy to relate to him.  

Provoke Not the Children requires the reader to consider the cost of a society that places self above all else.  It is perfect for a book club discussion. 

 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Of Dreams and Shadow - CLP Blog Tour

This week Of Dreams and Shadow is on tour with CLP Blog Tours. You can follow the tour by clicking here.  I'll be giving away a $15 Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my novel.  Make sure you enter for the giveaway!

Of Dreams and Shadow Rafflecopter Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Novel Notions Welcomes Paulette Harper to Self Published Sunday!




Paulette Harper is my special guest today.  She is the author of Living Separate Lives.  Before I introduce Paulette, she is going to introduce you to her characters and give you a little background on their stories.

Q. Please tell the readers who are the main characters?

Living Separate Lives, a Christian Novella, centers around four high school friends, who have not seen each other in years. Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have agreed to come together for a mini retreat in Napa County.  

QIntroduce each character in the story-

Each of the characters is dealing with their own personal issues. For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised.  Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats. Each one of the characters is compelling people living their own individual stories. A novella that displays the sad realities of the world we live in, but through the perspectives of four Christian women at different stages in their faith.

Q. Which character are you most like?

I would have to say Tiffany Thomas. She is very successful, opinionated, and knows exactly what she wants. Her strength as a woman is something I truly admire.

Q. Take us inside “your book” What is the major events taking place?

The major event that takes place is the weekend retreat that was supposed to be a time of fun, relaxation and a reunion but turned into a nightmare.

Q. Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?

Yes they are. I wanted to introduce readers to relatable characters who are flawed and are dealing with life’s issues just like us. They face tuff situations that tests their faith—faith in God and faith in one another. I wanted to show the strength of sisterhood and how the dynamics of their friendship would play out after receiving unpleasant news.

Q. Describe each character in three words?

Candace Walker, confused, wounded, scared
Kaylan Smith, peacemaker, caring, ambitious
Tiffany Thomas, trail blazer, faithful, tenacious
Jordan Tate, quiet, patient, loving 

Now that you've met the characters, let me introduce you to Paulette!




Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008.  Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.




Buy Links

Barnes & Noble e-book:  http://tinyurl.com/lv5g79b

Genre: Christian Fiction, Novella
ASIN: B00GLF5BW0 $2.99
ISBN: 978-0989969109 $9.00
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing (November 10, 2013)
Pages: 148

Social Links

Amazon Author Profile: http://tinyurl.com/mvzj65j





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Writing my way to success!

 
I think we can all agree - we love our book babies.  I mean, how could we not?  We've devoted countless hours to creating characters and plots.  We've declined social invitations - prefering to spend the time weaving our tales. To say that we are emotionally invested would be an understatement. 

Finally, the big day comes - we publish! 

And then...

Silence.

You know what I'm talking about - that moment when we realize our novels aren't the overnight sensation we'd hoped.   We pull out the checklist - blog (check), facebook page (check), website (check), Goodreads and Amazon author pages (check and check).  We've submitted a press release to our local newspaper.  We've held our book signings.  We've tried various online promotion techniques and still we're struggling to get noticed.

In America, we seem to equate success with wealth & fame.  We might feel as though we've become successful when we've moved from "struggling" writer (as in I have a day job) to "writing is my day job."  But isn't success more than that?

By definition, success is the achievement of a goal.  It requires work and a quality product.  It requires a change of attitude.  I'm no longer a receptionist who writes in the evening and on the weekends.  I'm a writer who chooses to hold a public job so I can meet interesting people who may or may not inspire a character in my next book. 

We've all read novels by authors who are more "successful" than we might be.  We've also read works by authors who are unknown but whose talent is every bit as wonderful as "successful" writers.  While financial gain is wonderful, success may not come in the form of a large monetary payoff.   It may come in a more quiet manner.  It may come with the realization that not only did we set the goal to write a book - WE DID IT!  And that, in and of itself, is quite the accomplishment! 

So, my fellow writers - How do you define success?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Self Published Sunday Welcomes Dianne Harman


I want to welcome Dianne Harman to Self Published Sunday!  She is the author of several books as well as being a contributor to the Huffington Post. Today she is sharing a post with us:

SO YOU GOT A BAD REVIEW?

          When my first book, Blue Coyote Motel, had been out for several months, I was interviewed and one of the questions was “What do you do when you get a bad review?” I flippantly told the interviewer I’d never had a bad review. Well, having now published four books, I’ve gotten a few.

          The question is a valid one and certainly one that authors discuss a lot! When someone says something negative about one of my books it’s kind of like saying my child is ugly. How dare they?

          I think the most important thing is to differentiate between a snide, nasty one or two star review and a valid low star review. I have definitely learned from some reviews which were negative, but pointed out reasons that person didn’t like the book. Those I can live with. The ones I think are despicable are laid out below:

1.      A review that says they don’t like that genre. (Well, why did you ever read it and what gives you the right to review it?) And authors, that’s a good lesson in being honest about the blurb. People expect certain things from certain genres and if they don’t get what they’re looking for, they’ll take it out on you and the book.

2.      Why bother writing a review that’s a one or two star review? If you dislikes a book that much, get in touch with the author. Between all the social media outlets available, it’s pretty easy to find the author. Tell the author what you didn’t like about the book and why you would have given it a low review.

3.      I have a feeling that a lot of these negative reviews are done so that the “reviewer” (and I use the term loosely), can have, as Truman Capote put it so succinctly, (their 15 minutes of fame.) It may be the only time that the person will ever see their name in print.

4.      In Blue Coyote Motel, there is a rape scene and a pedophilic priest. Tea Party Teddy is a satiric outlook at the Tea Party movement in the Republican Party. I have received negative reviews for both of these books and have wondered if the reader took issue with those subjects, although that has never been said in a review, but it may not be politically correct to do that! Even one of my family members said they couldn’t get past the pedophilic priest. My husband was a California State Senator. Two of his detractors gave Tea Party Teddy one star damning reviews, such as “Don’t waste your money.” I don’t think it had a thing to do with the book, but more about my husband’s politics.

5.      Interestingly in the sequel to Blue Coyote Motel, Coyote in Provence, there is nothing that is controversial and I’ve never had a low star review on that book. (Please readers, don’t feel that you have to give me one now!) It’s made me think there is something in the subject matter of the books that causes strong reactions and some of those reactions result in a low review.

6.      I think one of my favorite stories about low reviews is an author who has consistently written best sellers. The other day she told me she’d received a one star review and could not understand it because the reviewer titled the review with the words “Couldn’t Put It Down” and then went on to say that they’d read it in an afternoon and it was a wonderful page turner. And then they gave her a one star review! Go figure!

     For those of you who write books and get an occasional bad review, let it go. Even if it’s a legitimate review, there will always be people who just don’t like your book. Yeah, I know, it’s hard to believe. I think Stephen King is a genius, but I can’t read his books. Didn’t sleep for nights after I read one of his books. Does that mean he’s not a good writer? Of course not. I’m just not wired for his books and I’m sure a lot of people aren’t wired for mine. Now I just say “Next.” I’ll read the review once and that’s it. No beating my chest and telling everyone how unfair it is. For one thing, it just makes everyone else aware of it and want to read the review. The reviewer ends up getting more than their 15 minutes of fame.
    
     For those of you who review books – I’d ask you to remember what your mother probably taught you “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all - or get in touch with the author.”


     And one last thing. If all you’re getting is one and two star reviews, better take a long look at improving your writing!




Dianne's Books:



       
  


Follow Dianne:

Dianne Harman, Author
Contributor: Huffington Post
Amazon: http://ow.ly/s6pN5 
Web Site http://www.DianneHarman.com

Monday, January 6, 2014

Results from December Book Tour

Last week I shared the results from my November book tour.  This week, I thought I'd share the results from my December book tour.

My second virtual book tour was with Bewitching Book Tours.   It was scheduled from December 9-16.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in promoting Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, however, they will consider other genres.

Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not is a Young Adult Paranormal novel.  I thought this tour might be a good fit for my novel.  Hindsight being 20/20, I'm not so sure.  While the owner was extremely helpful, several of my hosts seemed to have a preference for Vampires/Werewolves and steamy romance.

I was scheduled to for thirteen stops over a week.   Of those thirteen stops, two hosts did not participate. Of the eleven hosts who did participate, only two read and reviewed my book.  One of the two shared her review to Goodreads.

With this tour, I again chose to do a giveaway but instead of offering a copy of my novel (as I did with my November tour), I offered a $20 Amazon card and a $10 Starbucks card.

Before I go any further, I have to point out one of my tour stops.  Books Direct really tried to promote my book.  Throughout the week and into the next, Books Direct repeatedly tweeted the link to my novel. The site has an author listing where to my surprise, I found my name along with my social media, trailer, and purchase links.  Books Direct offers to list books, etc and are well worth checking out.

Like all things, prices may be subject to change but I paid $40 for my tour.

I monitored my sales for the week of and the week following my tour - and I didn't notice an increase in sales.  I did pick up 12 new followers of Twitter, 14 new likes on my Facebook Author page and 51 people added my book to their "to be read" shelves on Goodreads.  I had a total of 1,150 entries in my giveaway.  From my perspective, I was able to make contact with 1,150 potential readers.

On a side note:  

On December 14th, I participated in a local Winterfest craft show.  The show was scheduled to run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  The cost for a table $35.  The weather was cold and rainy.  Foot traffic trickled in for the first hour.   For approximately 2 hours, foot traffic increased and then dropped as the rain picked up again.  By 2:00 I was packing up for the day.  I sold 13 books in two hours under less than ideal conditions.  There is a lot to be said for local craft/art shows and festivals.  

I will be going on tour again at the end of the month.  I'm looking forward to visiting my hosts and hopefully getting a little interaction with the readers.
















Sunday, January 5, 2014

Self Published Sunday Welcomes J.U. Scribe

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Each Sunday, Novel Notions will shine the spotlight on a self published author.  Today, I'm happy to introduce J.U. Scribe.  

J.U. Scribe, also known as Joseph, is a multifaceted individual with a love for the arts ranging from drawing, painting, graphic and multimedia design and blogging. By day he's a QA Mobile Tester, by night he's a novelist/freelance blogger. He currently resides in his home state in Wisconsin, although he has roots in Nigeria.
Learning about different cultures, past and present, has been an interest of his since elementary school. It was in grade school when he wrote his first children's book called: Will's Problem.
He's grown much as a writer since his first drafts including the series that follows the main character, Troy, as he grows to be a young man. Before the Legend is the debut novelette from his writing collection which he's been writing for several years. The book is now being made available in print and eBook formats across major retailers.


Fun random facts:


1. I love rollercoasters
2. My favorite color used to be yellow but it changed to blue
3. I'm a picky eater
4. I'm a huge fan of the Sims games
5. When I was younger I used to love collecting ladybugs.
6. My first international trip was when I was 6.
7. My favorite fiction book is The Giver by Lois Lowry


Before the Legend- The Prologue  
Genre: Historical fiction/Alternative
 Before the Legend- The Prologue by J.U. Scribe
Blurb:
He thought the island was safe. He thought his parents loved him. He even once thought that his island home was all there was. But maybe it was all an illusion...

In the next three days, see the seemingly stable world through the eys of a precocious, noble boy living in the shadows of the Roman Empire. After a disturbing dream, he's plagued with doubts about his own fragile reality. Nothing though can prepare him for the earthshattering event that will flip his world upside down beyond his wildest dreams.
Excerpt:

“Long ago before our time,

when mere mortals were not of thought.

The greatest forces of nature came together

to create the seas and islands of the earth.

But one stood alone in the isles

waiting to be tamed.

It would remain peaceful for its time.

Then on the day when Artemis cries,

then the ashes come falling down.”

The voice was melodic, almost hypnotic. The low hum from her lips lured Troy’s attention away from the soaked herbs shivering under the cool drops in the garden. He knew that song. His brothers often recited it as they ran around the garden in their childish romps. But she sang the song in such a melodic way. How would his four year old mind describe this feeling? If only he could hold onto the sensation it brought. For him, it appeared he could freeze the moment in a memory; only for it to slip through his hands like water. He turned to face his mother. A look of serenity had graced the woman’s face before her arched brows scrunched into a frown. The song stopped. He looked back at his eldest brother Barbarius, who was chasing Apollus around the garden before coming to a halt. What was wrong?

A low rumble penetrated the silence. His legs wobbled as the earth began to quiver. One by one, the clay vessels sitting on the garden benches began rattling toward the edges.—

Crash!

Shards of debris flew in all directions.

“Run for cover!” she shouted as screams filled the air. Their shouts became indistinguishable, swallowing his mother’s voice in a mass of noise. Troy and his siblings ran to the side of the portico bordering the garden to find the entrance crumbling around them. Just as the tiled roof came crashing down, his mother raced to push him out of harm’s way.

 Boom.

 Troy swung around to see what happened to his mother. A pillar pinned her against the cold tiles. He wanted to help, but Barbarius grabbed the sleeve of his tunic and pulled him to the outer edge of the courtyard. Their father rushed into the garden from another side entrance to move the pillar. The ground splintered around him, making a loud cracking sound.

“Hold on!” his father shouted as he struggled to lift the fallen pillar. Troy’s brothers scurried underneath a wooden bench where they called out for help. As their father pried the pillar from the mother’s chest, the ground disintegrated beneath their feet. There was no time to run. No time to even scream.

“Down to Hades they will go!” a deep voice bellowed.

No!” Troy shouted as he watched the earth devour his parents alive.

“You cannot take them!” Troy said as his small limbs flailed out the wrinkled sheets of the bed. Beads of sweat trickled down the forehead as he opened his eyelids. The shaking had stopped. He blinked once more, but still trembled. Yet not a sound could be heard in all the rooms of the domus where they resided. Was he the only one who felt the tremors?
He looked around his room, searching for the slightest vibrations. The once colorful, fresco-covered walls stood motionless, now dimmed by darkness. He was alone and the thought itself made him shudder. Why must he be banished to his own bedroom? His first night alone and he was already having a nightmare! He had to find his parents. He climbed out of bed and crept to the adjacent bedroom, trying to ignore the looming shadows from the marble statues that adorned the corridor. He tiptoed into the dark room to find his parents slumbering away underneath thin sheets. They would not notice if he snuck inside and curled up for the night, he thought. He glanced at his mother’s face as he hoisted himself over the bronze bed frame. Even in her sleep, a smile found its way on her lips. Soon it vanished as a moan escaped her mouth.
“Troy, not on the bed. You are too big for that!” his mother sighed in a tired tone as he crawled over her legs. He glanced at her face. Her eyes were still shut.
She knew him too well.
“But Mummy, I had a bad dream. I am scared to go to sleep. Please, let me stay with you tonight,” he pleaded. Troy watched his mother’s eyelids flicker open to see his wide-eyed expression as he balanced his knees on her legs.
“Dreams are not real, Troy. They cannot hurt you,” she said in a soft tone. Troy stuck out his bottom lip at her words.
“All right, just this once,” she whispered. Troy snuggled closer to his mother’s bosom just as the father shifted in his sleep to face her. A loud snore escaped his father’s parted lips as Troy was squished by his father’s stirrings.
“I do not know if this will work,” his mother muttered under her breath.
“Ow,” Troy whimpered as his hand was caught under his father’s elbow. Acropolus’ eyes peeked open.
“What are you doing, Troy? Why are you not in your own bed?” he asked, rubbing his deep-set eyes.
“I am scared, Dad. I had a nightmare that the ground opened, and swallowed—” he began.
“Troy, I do not want to hear it,” he said shaking his head. Troy sat motionless staring at his father’s agitated face amidst near darkness. Acropolus lifted his hands to clap for the slaves in the nearby rooms. “Slaves, take the boy out of our bed!”
“But I gave him permission to sleep here just for tonight,” Helen interrupted in a soft tone. Troy shared a sheepish grin with his mother. Acropolus’ hands froze mid-clap.
“Why? He is almost five. If his days for weaning are ending, then he is old enough to sleep by himself,” Acropolus responded with a frown. He pulled the linen sheet over his exposed chest only to have it cascade to his hips. “The boy will continue to come here again and again. He needs to learn to grow up!”
“How would you feel if you were his age? Look at him. He is frightened. He wants his parents to comfort him. Otherwise he will not go to sleep!” his mother protested. His father let out a loud sigh as she spoke.
“Helen, I want to share this bed with you, not my children. I do not want to be disturbed.”
“So is this the real reason?” she asked, raising her voice.
Acropolus opened his mouth to say something in response, but paused as Troy cowered behind the foot of the bed.
Read on to find out what happens next to young Troy.