Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Guest Blogger R. D. Murray, Author of My Dead Blue Caterpillar, Shares "From Bullied to Author: There is Hope For You!

After reading My Dead Blue Caterpillar (Read my view), many readers will wonder and want to know more about the writer, so I asked him to share here at Book Readers Heaven...




From Bullied to Author: 
There is hope for you

By R. D. Murray

I have to start off by saying that this is a very hard topic and piece to write, but when I was in the 3rd grade I was bullied so badly and so often that at age eight I wanted to kill myself. My name is Rasheed Murray and I was born and raised in New York City, specifically the neighborhood referred to as Harlem. The fast and mean streets of New York City did nothing to harm me directly.  

My problems were never with the impoverished neighborhood I grew up in because my hellish nightmare had always occurred in my elementary school. This was not because a staff member harmed me physically or sexually, not because the school didn’t have heat or air conditioning, but because of bullies who tortured me for a three-year period. I was shy, quiet and awkward. I guess I was an easy target if you want to say that. I was thrown in the boy’s bathroom by these 3 particular kids who would punch and kick me as hard as they could. 

I could barely walk as everyday they would abuse me over, and over again. The other kids in school would just laugh at me and no one actually helped. There were a few young ladies who tried to defend me but they were outnumbered. In fact, many of the other children who watched and knew about my abuse would slowly join in on the abuse themselves, as if it was a game that required audience participation. 

As the bullies abused me questions would pop into my head.“Why are they doing this to me? What did I do to deserve this? Why isn’t anyone helping me?” My thoughts were all over the place at times “help, Mommmmmmmy, I love people…. Kids….. animals, Why.”


(This video has been disabled but it is worth watching on UTube.)

I remember having the entire class chase me out of school one day. I ran, and cried, up until the point where I almost got hit by a dark blue sports car going well over the speed limit. I didn’t care, I had to cross that street before “they got me.” I just remember that car speeding towards me, and stopping inches in front of me. The moans and sighs of relief from the people in the streets, let me know that they were as relieved that I was that I didn’t get hit. If that car actually hit me, things would have been pretty bad for me because I was running so fast that I didn’t even see my mother who was coming to pick me up. An act she got used to doing not only because I was young, but also because my safety was her number one priority. 

One day I got so sick of being treated this way I made the decision to end my life. I wanted to jump off a roof rather than go to school. But, instead I decided to be an obedient child and go back to school, and wouldn’t you know it, the bullying only got worse. I was teased, and laughed at daily, and the kids even threw food at me during my lunch period. The principle didn’t do much, the teachers were helpless, and the only person who was my advocate was my mother. My mother would come to my school and fight for me with the school administrators, and once she was so enraged due to the lack of leadership and support, she even tried to fight one of the bullies. Sadly, and despite her actions, the bullying continued up until I got to middle school, and away from many of those bullies. 


Till this day, I do not know why I didn’t kill my self but thanks to God, I am beyond overjoyed to still be alive, and here on this earth. God saved me and I found writing. It was an outlet to take me away from the pain I was going through in this world. For those three long years the bullying didn’t stop, but the writing I began as a child took me away from this world and brought me to another place, a place were bullies got what they deserved.

During those hellish years, I started to create different characters, and a different world just to escape. Thanks to writing I survived the bullying and I believe deeply that writing really saved my life. Now at the age of 42 with the large support from my wife, my children, and my mother, I just released my first novel. My Dead Blue Caterpillar which is currently on Amazon Kindle and peaked at number 73 on their Top 100 for Free Downloads in the category of suspense. 

So please know if you are ever bullied, know that you can survive your circumstance and become anyone you want.  You are worth everything. You can rise like me and become the special person that you are destined to be. Nothing last forever, not even pain as promising as it appears to be. Continue to fight the good fight, advocate for yourself, and always believe in the promise of tomorrow, the fact that it does get better, and ultimately, in yourself and the future you that you are meant to become. 

Rasheed Murray




My name is Rasheed Murray. I am 42 years old and I’m from New Jersey. I been writing for over ten years. This is my first release.









I am always happy to have role models appear in my life, who have gone through terrible times and yet found the strength to get through it, and share that it does get better... It's important that children who are getting bullied have someone to support them...parents, teachers, or relatives and friends. Especially those who are willing to stand tall and speak back to bullies! As with Rasheed, I was bullied, but it was verbal and I have told this before... I really think God's spirit tells us what to say, when we listen... I don't remember my age, probably in grade school, but my uncle and our family was at my grandmother's home... My uncle called me "Fatty" and went on to say something. I didn't answer. My mother said, "Glenda, Dale's talking to you..." I responded, "That's not my name." And walked away... I have no idea what occurred thereafter, but I was feeling pretty good, for saying what I said! Of course, that didn't stop other kids also acting out, but you get the idea...


Some kids can be so cruel! What's interesting to me, is that Rasheed chose to write in his novel about the little voices we all have in our heads... You know, the ones who tell us what to do, good and bad... Perhaps it is just those individuals who have grown up with some form of bullying, I don't know... but those voices have haunted me all my life... I can just hear the bad voice, telling me, "Go slap that man's face, for not being nice..." Thankfully, the good voice mostly wins

Thank you Rasheed for sharing here at Book Readers Heaven... We welcome further contributions when you want to come back!   Glenda


Monday, December 10, 2018

Guest Blogger, Writer and Author Guy Graybill, Pens about "America's Most Prevalent Writing Flaw"




Guy Graybill

LISTEN UP!
America’s Most Prevalent Writing Flaw


It’s the most common sign of sloppy writing; the unaddressed writing flaw that permeates American journalism.  It may be found in books, magazines and newspapers.  Yet, although easily taught and understood, it remains generally unaddressed.  It is the mutant modifier; the writing mistake that is intentionally inserted into the title of this modest literary piece.  Let me say again:  Listen!

TIME magazine used the mutant modifier several times in its August 18, 2014 issue, when it sloppily stated: “Megan Fox teams up with….”  and, again in that same issue one read:  “SPEEDING UP SECURITY.”  Please re-read those two news magazine phrases and note that, in each phrase, one word is utterly superfluous.  One word in each example only adds clutter to a clear and simple phrase.  Why didn’t we read, simply, “Megan Fox teams with…” and “SPEEDING SECURITY”?

Once a reader begins to recognize these intrusive modifiers, he or she begins to stumble over each offending modifier.  They absolutely don’t belong.  Further,
the student of writing can learn to avoid their use by simply reading enough examples of the flaw and indulging in a few practice exercises.

Kindly read the following quotes and note how easily you can identify the intruders.

“Amazon also rents out space on huge computer servers….”
 The Daily Item (newspaper), 4/22/11, p. A4

“Zuroff narrowed down the list of possible suspects….”
          David Rising (AP), The Daily Item, 10/2/14

“Count them up!”
          2015 mailing from the American Automobile Association

“Out where?”  “Down where?”  “Up where?”  You should have been asking those questions.  If you were asking those queries, you are about ready to eliminate the mutant modifiers from your own writing, unless you haven’t been using them.  Some writers likely rarely use them; naturally writing uncluttered sentences intentionally or by nature.

Try these additional examples:

“AGING: CAN WE SLOW IT DOWN?”
Cover blurb.  DISCOVER magazine, 12/84

“Words to Watch Out For”
Article title,  George F. Will, Newsweek, 11/25/85

“We will do everything possible to help clear up the matter promptly.”
Correspondence, Donald Cameron, RCA Music Service, undated

“Light Up Your Holiday”
Songbook title, The Express (newspaper), Lock Haven, PA, 12/21/2000

“I was a graduate English student… and I had packed up quite a few boxes….”
Robert E. Curtis, READER’S DIGEST, 4/99

“I went straight to Washington and dropped off a job application….”
Jack Anderson, PEACE, WAR, AND POLITICS, p. 59

“Woolley opened up the usual trenches in the mound of Ur….”
C. W. Ceram, GODS, GRAVES AND SCHOLARS, p. 309

“They would soon be fed, and then they would be tied up for the night.”
Louis L’Amour, THE WARRIOR’S PATH, p. 416

“whittled down the cost by cutting out all but the essential items.”
OXFORD AMERICAN DICTIONARY, 1980, p. 794

Yes, the Oxford lexicographers might have omitted two mutant modifiers and left us with a briefer and crisper dictionary entry.

“The Helenes had opened up a trade route….”
Will Durant, THE LIFE OF GREECE, 1939, p. 234

“Did this 16th century psychic map out the future of this century?”
Michael A. Snyder (undocumented source)

“Instead, the dinosaurs may have dug nests, and spaced themselves out
carefully to avoid crushing the next generation.  The next day the desert
skies opened up and dumped a surprise rain on Auca Mahuevo.  Three of
Coria’s technicians rushed out to the egg quarry….”
Thomas Hayden, NEWSWEEK, 7/12/99, p. 45

“We all know how that’s worked out.”
The Week, 5/26/06, p.14

“He also wanted to capture Leningrad and join up with the Finns….”
William Shirer, The Rise and fall of the Third Reich,
           New York, 1960, p. 857

“Halder copied it out word for word….” (ibid., p. 857)

“To back up his photographs….”
Elizabeth Winthrop, Smithsonian, 9/06, p. 20

“In an effort to bolster up the confession….”
Ralph Roeder, The Man of the Renaissance,
TIME Reading Program, Special Edition, 1966, p.121

“How do you soften up militants….”
Lisa Beyer, Time, 8/7/06, p.27


Honestly, I don’t look for these examples.  They simply trip me as I’m reading, breaking my line of thought and causing minor frustration pains.  Their frequency is surprising.  The ones offered here are just a representative sample of those which I’ve noticed and/or collected in the past few decades.  From all kinds of sources, I’ve read about soil being packed down, something being used up, plans being mapped out, an industry being built up, a paper being written out, verses being copied out, allegations being checked out, trees being cut down and piled up, funds being freed up and a problem continuing on!

Of course, information might be written up or down or out, with up being the most overworked of the mutant modifiers.  It is thoughtlessly added to almost any imaginable verb.

Have you any notion as to how long critics have been identifying the mutant modifiers? 


Some years ago, one of my sons gave me a copy of an old book on proper speech and writing.  It was entitled, Five Hundred Mistakes Corrected.  It was published in 1882 in New York.  The publisher was James Miller.  It was identified as being the thirty-second edition!  It is also related that the book was “Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855….”  Unfortunately, the volume cites specific mistakes rather than offering general rules; but about one dozen of the five-hundred corrections listed offered advice on the misuse of modifiers.  Two examples follow:

Number 463 – Some persons talk of “continuing on:” in what other
                                   direction would it be possible to continue?
Number 216 – “Iron sinks down in water.”  Leave out down.   


If this awkward usage of modifiers was condemned more than one and one-half centuries ago, why is it ignored today, when the practice is so prevalent?  One might suggest four reasons: 
Careful writers likely avoid the practice with little thought and with only a rare slip of the pen or the word processor. 
There is the tendency to become less formal in our writing.     
It is obviously difficult to excise, from our writing, intrusions which are
rather prevalent in our speech.
The problem seems to be overlooked in our teaching of writing.

Not only is the problem overlooked; but some of the extraneous modifiers might even appear on the pages of the very publications which are devoted to the writing craft!  Here are several annoying sentence fragments culled from the last place where one should expect to find them.

“I started out, some time back….”
            John M. Wilson, Writer’s Digest, 8/85, p. 68

“The days of just adding nudity or raunchy language to spice up original cable programming…”
John M. Wilson, Writer’s Digest, 1-85, p.67

“If this is acceptable to you, please make up a rough outline…”
John Wood, Senior Editor, Modern Maturity, private correspondence,
12/13/84

“When the technical problems are cleared up, your story will merit…”
Reading Report form, used by Manuscripts, a literary service in Dayton, Washington.


“Cleared up,” indeed!  Writing may be casual; but it should never be sloppy.  Superfluous modifiers suggest sloppiness.  They suggest an aversion to concentrating while proofreading.  That’s why it’s always surprising to stumble on needless modifiers while reading pieces that deal with the craft of writing.  We even encounter mutant modifiers in such a highly-regarded book as The Elements of Style (Strunk and White, 1959) .  Even here we encounter such anomalies as
“Do not dress words up by adding…” (p 62) and “When you use metaphor, do not mix it up.” (p. 67). 

One can’t imagine the fictional spy, James Bond, being offered a mixed drink and requesting that it be “Shaken up; not stirred up.”  We can stop saddling robust verbs with worthless modifiers if we make the simplest effort.  If we remove the mutant modifiers from our own writing, teachers will begin to emphasize the change, writers will embrace the change and editors will begin to demand it.  Allow me to close this bit of writing advice with one facetious remark:  Soon, we’ll be able to say, as one of the world’s great writers once wrote, “All’s well that ends up well.”


                 § § §


So, writers, are you guilty of using this most prevalent writing flaw? I remember an old saying "that is something about which I would not put up..." Yikes! One thing that struck me, though. The phrase for James Bond has become so common in use that it is immediately recognizable as a problem. I'm not so sure this can be said for many of the examples...



Guy mentions that often we can automatically ask "where?" which I tended to do with some of the examples.  "Do not dress words up by adding..." For me, this is indeed an adverb when we say, routinely, "I'll be dressing up for the dance." Meaning that something special will be worn.  Can a modifier, "up" not come to stand in for the actual modifier of dressing formal or dressing in a gown, or dressing in a tux... When can a word "up" come to mean a substitute for a word(s)? 

To your query, "Whats up" (often pronounced as wassup) means -- How are things with you? or What are you doing? 
Its an informal way of asking the well being of someone you meet.
But I agree that the language is becoming too sloppy. The word "Whassup?" has comes into wide use and it gets actually funny, because so many will say it differently, but want to be hip in using it... Whatsup...Wassup...Sup? Some I have yet to even figure out what letters are being used... Given Guy's article...that whole mess should be eliminated anyway! Right?






Thanks so much, Guy, for getting us thinking...At my age, I admit,

I'm Still Learning!       G


Monday, December 3, 2018

Astronomy for Kids: How to Explore Outer Space... by Bruce Betts, PhD

Mars is in the News!  And if your children have noticed and been talking about it, I highly recommend you check out the new book by Bruce Betts! Now is the time to take this latest event by NASA and encourage study that can help increase or improve their natural interest in outer space. 










This book is not to be mistaken for a young child's introduction. Rather it is created in a text format, meant for ages 7-13 (or Adults who have no background will find it useful) but with interesting star charts, inserts, drawings and explanations that helps lead kids through that world we call outer space... Because of the Mars landing happening so recently, Mars is the best possible section to be included to share what the book provides.

The format as we begin to study stars, planets, and more is simple to use. First a graphic, a picture of a planet, such as Mars, is shown. Thereafter a brief statement about the planet (or star) is provided. I enjoyed the little tidbit of information, That's so Cool!, which highlights something interesting and to be remembered as something not necessarily known. For Mars, for instance, did you know that the largest mountain in the Solar System is on Mars? The volcano, Olympus Mons, is more than twice as high as Mount Everest, and expands as big as the state of Arizona! 

I had to laugh when I saw that, included, was a "selfie" of the Curiosity rover on the surface, standing next to a sand dune (2016)...

Betts starts his book immediately with instruction, even on the cover, he shares you may want to use binoculars, a telescope...or most important, just your eyes! In the Introduction, he proceeds to share what the book contains, and closes with "Now I enjoy sharing the wonder and excitement of the weird and cool things in out space..." If you enter his name into a search engine, you will find many different sites on which he appears, and he also teaches an online college course, so no matter at what level you begin and how long you wish to continue studying the stars...this author can provide support! Cool, right?!

As readers begin, Betts shares about 30 sites that can be seen by the eye, and suggests that we start with the Northern Sky, specifically, The Big Dipper!


Beginning with the location of the Big Dipper, we proceed through the various stars and learn specifics, but also the relationship to those also identified in the book. 



For instance, beginning with the well know Big Dipper, the book will show how a point there can lead to Cassiopeia, a constellation that also rotates around the North Star. Telling us about the mythological story was fun to learn about. It seems  Cassiopeia was a queen who was made into a constellation by the sea god Poseidon for claiming she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs. If you stop to think about this tidbit of information, you will realize just how many thousands of years that humans have wondered and looked to the stars to learn and enjoy the great unknown...

The book is organized by "skys" so that location and seasons becomes a basis upon which to begin the individual study to be made. There is also an extensive, easy-to-use index by which the book can help a student when they wish to complete an assignment, for instance, on the Moon, which we have also explored... The little cool tidbit I learned was that the same side of the moon always faces Earth. But did you also know that the Moon is the only other planet where Earthlings have walked. LOL... I just thought I'd mention that since our movies take us to other planets that don't even exist...isn't it fun to know what our reality actually is and dream of some day when we just might reach another planet?!  

The book itself is well made and can withstand much use inside and outside as the reader explores the way they wish... I think I would go with a telescope for myself. The writing is excellent and the book easily used and the material can be found immediately. It is a definite recommended addition to your home library in my opinion... Do check it out!


GABixlerReviews


Dr. Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist who loves teaching people about planets, space, and the night sky in fun and entertaining ways. He has lots of college degrees, lots of big dogs, and two sons. Read on to learn more about his background and where to find him on social media and the Internet. 

Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist, science communicator and educator, and manager. He is the Chief Scientist and LightSail Program Manager for the world's largest space interest group, The Planetary Society. He has a B.S. (Physics and Math) and an M.S. (Applied Physics, emphasis Astronomy) from Stanford and a Ph.D. (Planetary Science, minor in Geology) from Caltech. His research there and at the Planetary Science Institute focused on infrared studies of planetary surfaces. He managed planetary instrument development programs at NASA Headquarters. 

At The Planetary Society, he heads the Science and Technology and the Education and Outreach programs. He has managed several flight hardware projects, and led additional science and outreach projects. He is the Program Manager for the Society's largest project: the LightSail solar sail spacecraft. He regularly writes for the member magazine The Planetary Report and his blog on planetary.org. His popular twitter feed @RandomSpaceFact and Facebook page (Dr. Bruce Betts) provides easy night sky astronomy and random space facts. His Random Space Fact video series (planetary.org/rsf) provides space facts mixed with humor and graphics. He also hosts the "What's Up?" feature on the weekly Planetary Radio (planetary.org/radio) show (100+ stations, XM/Sirius, podcast). He has been a guest expert on History Channel's The Universe, is a frequent contributor to Professional Pilot magazine, and has appeared frequently in TV, print, web media, and public lectures. Dr. Betts is an Adjunct Professor with California State University Dominguez Hills and his Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science class, featuring lots of pretty space pictures, is available free online (planetary.org/bettsclass). He is an Alumnus Senior Scientist with Planetary Science Institute. His website is randomspacefact.com


Sunday, December 2, 2018

For Love's Sake - Staci Stallings Once Again Sharing His Love! A Personal Favorite for 2018!

To all those who realize that injustice to one Is an injustice to all…

...how easy it is to get caught up in your station in life and to begin to forget 
that the suffering of others should be the suffering of us all...

Love can change the world In big ways and small.
 This book is for All those who believe
 In the power of love enough
 To work for a better world 
Than the one they were born into.
~~~





I can always depend on Staci Stallings to remind me of God's Love through her novels. Since my days in grade school, I have always been troubled by the stories of slavery. They were so contradictory to those stories that I learned in Sunday School...about God's love, his creation of each of us in His image, and giving His son to die for all of us who responded to His Call. God never said that He loved only white people, or those of any other race...He said all of us. You know, when you hear and accept these stories when you are a child accepting Christ as your Savior, you believed and continued to believe that Truth...



“This is ridiculous,” Bryna Elliott said as the carriage bounced roughly beneath her. “I should be home, taking care of Sissy and Nathaniel, not out here showing off for the Bromleys. They already know they’re better than us. What am I trying to prove?” 
“I don’t know why you insist on being so difficult about such things,” her brother, Frank said, sliding his hands over his gloves. “Parties are really not the ostentatious trials you make them out to be.” 
“For you maybe.” Bryna shook her head and looked out at the darkness highlighted with flashes of lightning and spattered with the icy raindrops of early January. It was almost certain they would turn to snow by morning. “Really, Bryn. Sometimes I wonder if you think you are the servant rather than the other way around.” 
“She’s my friend.” 
“She is not your friend. She’s your slave. There’s a difference.” 
Bryna’s soul hardened around the word. Sissy had never been her slave. The word wove terrible things into Bryna’s soul. Sissy was her friend. More to the point Sissy was her own person with her own thoughts and her own dreams. Of course, Frank would never understand that, or accept it. The carriage slowed and then turned, bringing Bryna’s attention back to the present. “Why are we stopping?”
“I told you, Daniel Brody is now occupying the old Hathington place. I told him we would come and get him for the evening.” Frank checked her with a hard look. “Please don’t embarrass me.” 
Embarrass me. The words sank right into her heart and held there. It really didn’t matter how much she ever did or why. To Frank, she would always be the family’s greatest embarrassment. Huddled in his long black coat and black hat Daniel Brody who she had no real memory of or interest in one way or the other rocked the whole carriage as he pulled into the cab. 
Bryna rolled her eyes and shook her head as she angled her gaze back outside. The storm had nothing on the tumultuous seething fury in her spirit. Sissy and Nathaniel needed her. The last place she should be was out here, getting cold and soaked for no reason other than society said it was the proper thing to do. Daniel Brody would much rather have stayed home and sorted the books in the extensive library he had recently inherited. His uncle’s estate was a labyrinth of old rooms filled with dust and who knew what else. The place hadn’t been touched in years, not since his uncle had died and his mother had taken over as the last of the Hathington family. The estate had been his grandparents’ before that though he hardly remembered them at all. The sad truth was the Hathington family line was riddled with more heartache than a Shakespearean tragedy. In fact, that was just one of the reasons his heart had used to justify this particular move. He could take the heartache of back East no more. 
“You know,” the young lady in the silver dress said to Frank, and Daniel heard the spite, “I don’t want to stay all night.” She checked Daniel with a look meant to keep him quiet, and he gladly complied. “I don’t know why we’re out in the first place. It is a cold, wet, miserable night. Not to mention that church is in the morning, and…” 
“Am I to understand that we are to be serenaded with a long litany of the horrors of the night and parties in general the whole way to the Bromley’s, Bryna?” her brother asked. Then he looked over at his seat companion. “Daniel, I beg your forgiveness for thinking it wise to bring my sister along. It will do nothing for your digestion, I assure you.” 
Daniel pulled his gaze up from under his hat and smiled at her. She was, in truth, very lovely, save for the scowl etched on her face. “The truth sometimes is less favorable than we would like,” he said, bowing only slightly to her. For a moment, Frank seemed to puzzle over the statement, and then he dismissed it entirely. “So, Daniel, are you serious about building this library of yours in our fair town? It seems a huge waste of your albeit extensive resources.” 
“It is not a waste,” Daniel said, bristling. “It is a dream.” 
His gaze went to hers, challenging her to join her brother in his assessment of the plan. “And it is one I intend to see through to fruition.” 
Frank shook his head. “I’m just saying with the backing you have, you could do anything. I don’t understand why…” 
“Don’t waste too much time and energy trying to figure it out,” Daniel said with something of a smile. “Half the time I don’t even understand it myself.” 
“Well, if you ever decide to give up this foolishness, we would be glad to have you join us at Schuler’s. I’m quite certain there would be a place for a man of your vast knowledge and learning there.” 
On her side of the carriage Bryna, laughed softly and shook her head. Daniel’s attention went over to her and held. He wanted to ask who she was laughing at. However, before he got the words into his head, the carriage stopped in the expansive driveway of a brightly lit large mansion. The driveway itself was lined side-to-side with carriages and horses and three inches deep in mud. “Now, Bryna, since we’re here,” Frank said, ducking to her though Daniel could plainly hear him, “could you please at least try to act as if you know how to behave in polite society? I know how very difficult that is for you, but it would be nice to be able to enjoy an entire evening without hearing you complain about every little thing.” 
The carriage stopped completely before she could reply, and had it not meant leaving Mr. Brody to also fend for himself, Bryna would’ve waited for Frank to get out and then left without him. However, by the rapid tip-tapping on the roof and the flashes of lightning everywhere else, it was clear the skies had opened up for real. The icy rain was hardly coming in drops anymore. It was more like solid sheets one after the other after the other.
When Frank opened the door, the sleet pelted even the inside of the carriage with chilly bursts of ice-water, blown in by fierce gusts of cold wind. Each gust shook the carriage at its very foundation. 
Bryna shivered and fought not to shriek for the terror of the shaking. Knowing she was going to be a soaking wet, muddy mess by the time she got across the driveway to the door, she gathered up her skirts. So much for her hair that she hadn’t even really bothered to fix. 
Frank never so much as stopped when he got out. Instead, he proceeded post haste through the ice pellets, dodging the other carriages and slogging his way to the illumination of the front door. 
Heaving a breath because she was once again on her own as she always was with Frank around, Bryna started for the carriage door. 
“Wait,” Mr. Brody said, holding up his hand to stop her from where he still sat. She turned, half in rage and half in surrender. Before she could even ask, he angled carefully around her and disembarked. For a second she considered just staying in the carriage. It wasn’t like anyone would miss her. However, Mr. Brody was now on the ground, the ice-rain splattering across his wide-brimmed hat. 
With a sigh, Bryna pulled her wrap closer to her with one hand and her skirt with the other, preparing to brave the cold that was now flooding into the carriage. Head down, she started out; however, on the first step, her gaze caught on Mr. Brody standing there, his hand held out to her. “May I?” Perplexed by both the gesture and the soft expectation in his dark eyes, she hesitated, not knowing what he meant much less how to answer. Then, in that moment, he stepped closer, and without another word, he swept her off the step and right up into his arms. She gasped both at the action and because he felt absolutely rock-solid beneath her. He settled her only once. “Good?” he asked, his eyes mere inches from hers. Her breath locked tight in her chest. “Yes.” He wrapped her closer to him, ducked and headed through the downpour. Bryna saw no real reason to protest or to get any more wet than she already was, so she huddled into the protectiveness of his body, the feeling of which nudged to get into her consciousness, but she beat that back. She hardly knew the man...
~~~

But History shows that many did not accept or understand God's all-encompassing love. One of the most horrendous  things that occurred against God's desire to love all His children, was slavery. While most were abused out in the fields, many children were placed in the care of Black nannies and others who served as indoor slaves. In the natural way that children do, white children, born to the White Master slaveowners, came to love those inside servants just as much as they loved anybody else...

Bryna Elliott was such a child. She had never thought of those who worked in their house as slaves. She loved them and wanted to help take care of them just as they had done for many years for her and her family. But now, only Bryna and her brother was left and times were hard.

Frank Elliott had chosen not to keep the plantation going and as he became involved in the business world, he had routinely started selling the slaves that had come to him through his inheritance. One of them had been the brother and son of the family who were now the only ones left...Bryna considered them her family; Frank argued that they were slaves, paid for and owned...

The personalities of the men who were now in Bryna's life was easily and quickly identified, within the first meeting of Daniel Brody, a friend of her brother, Frank. Readers will discern that Frank apparently learned from his father--that people were possessions to provide service. Even his sister was treated this way. Even though Bryna said little, knowing that Frank could be worse and fearful that he could choose to sell another member of what she considered to be her family.

At that same time, readers will watch and grow fond of Daniel Brody for his chivalrous actions, not only because he was attracted to Bryna, but because he was a good man. Still, it was fun with Bryna not trusting men in general, and not knowing Brody at all, as she refused to favorably respond to his kindness and, yet, when she needed help, she was willing to get him involved in order to save the people she loved. Because of the storyline relationships, I'm not going to share any more, other than to say that the drama is high, the clarity of how slaves were treated is horrendous, and the lack of love that many choose not to show is extraordinarily believable, yet both heartwarming and terrible to consider, depending upon what is happening. I loved all of it and, because of my own interest in how many are unloved and treated badly ...commend Stallings for this book as one of her best, in my opinion...


Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews



USA Today Best Selling Author, Staci Stallings is a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. She has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci's stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That's what keeps Staci writing and you reading. So, sit back, grab your Kindle and something to drink, and settle in for some of the BEST stories in all of Christian Romance...