Hello, everyone. I've got some good news. The Sinner in Mississippi is now available for pre-order!
Historical Fiction, Inspirational Romance.
This book releases May 1, 2020.
You can pre-order here:
Enjoy a snippet.
The date was July thirteenth, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-six—the day I turned seventeen. There’d be no party, and I’d get no wish. If I did wish, it would be to spend my morning in a good bed, wrapped in clean, crisp-white sheets while the smell of breakfast cooking enticed me out of a lazy slumber. But my reality consisted of a horrible crick in my neck while surrounded by the scent of stale hay and a stomach so empty it forgot how to protest the point.
If my prayers had worked, I wouldn’t be spending my birthday as a stowaway in the loft of our old, rickety barn. Nonetheless, a stowaway I had become, so I decided to leave the job of talking to God to other girls and stared at a spiderweb instead. The intricate woven threads, delicate and glistening within the fractured beams of the sun, stretched perfectly between the rafters above me. My current accommodations were thanks to Daddy Bruce, Danny Joe, and a handful of their friends who had come home loud and rowdy the night before. But I was grateful for their noisy warning. It allowed me time to sneak out my bedroom window, under cover of darkness.
As I’d tiptoed across the yard, I listened to them argue ’bout who was man enough to hold their own in a fight, and when the sounds of a tussle broke out, it became apparent they’d been on a binge. By the time I got to the back of the barn, the sounds of fighting were louder. I wasn’t happy to leave my bed, ’cause even though the moon bounced out from beneath the cloud cover, giving off moments of muted light, I knew the inside of the barn would be darker than a tomb. Although, what did that matter? Neither the darkness nor the boogeyman had anything on my daddy when he’d been boozing. No. The best thing for me was to stay out of sight—unless I wanted to taste the leather of Daddy’s belt.
When one of Danny Joe’s friends staggered around the side of the barn, undid his fly, turned on his unsteady heel, and started to relieve himself on the corner of the empty tool shed, I’d gently pushed one of the loose wall planks aside and wiggled myself through, glad when the moon decided to make its reappearance. The rays shone brightly through the open loft door from above, giving a heavenly spotlight to the makeshift stepladder.
Trying to be as quiet as possible, though I doubted I could ever make as much of a ruckus as was going on outside, I’d climbed to the loft and settled in, making myself at home. Eventually, I heard nothing but the sounds of the night and drifted off to other places.
The faraway hum of a tractor roused me, followed by the morning sun kissing my cheeks with its warm caress of the day to come.
Bone tired, I rubbed my blurry eyes with the heels of my palms and considered my aches and pains. For an instant, I’d almost forgotten my night’s lodgings, but they once again became all too clear when my eyelids fluttered open and I focused past the dazzling web overhead, noticing the barn swallows. They had made a nest in the peak of the roof, closest to the loft door.
The birds flew in and out, making their morning chatter, causing the sound to echo off the walls.
Holding my hand in front of my face, I spread my fingers wide to study the nest from different angles. I’d close one eye and watch the illusion of the nest shift, then switch and close the other eye to see it move again between my fingers, content with my little picture show.
As the light in the barn changed, the dust particles glittered and skipped on air.
My body jerked at the sound of Daddy Bruce bellowing my name.
“Where the damnation are ya, girl? Don’t ya know it’s hotter than hellfire out here! I need ya to get your skinny little backside on over to Harlow’s and fetch your brother and me some cold beer!”
I sighed. Times were hard for everyone, but likely they were even harder for my family. Daddy Bruce had always been a stubborn, self-centered, tyrant of a man, but after Mama died, he’d become more of a bully, and many called him a “no-account drunk.”
“Mississippi! Don’t make me come-a-huntin’ ya, girl!”
No reason to try to hide. He would eventually find me, and it was better to face the music sooner than later.
“I’m coming!” I stood and scurried down the ladder.
The barn doors flew open with a bang, the commotion snapping my head in that direction.
Daddy Bruce stood there, shirtless, the sun shining on his broad, bare shoulders, sweat trickling down his face.
Lord only knew the last time Daddy had a good shave.
Slowly, he strummed his dirty hand along the black suspenders holding up his baggy trousers. “Well… Don’t ya look a sight?” He cleared his throat and spat out something nasty. “Pluck that hay from your hair and straighten yourself up before ya go to town. Don’t want Harlow to think you’re trash, do ya?”
That would be a wasted effort. Everybody in our small parish, except for a few, believed I was trash, suspecting I gave favors to men in exchange for things my family and I needed to survive. Many times I’d heard some of the good churchgoing women whisper as I passed. “There’s nothin’ but a sinner in that there, Mississippi.”
I’ve often wondered ’bout the verse in the Bible Mama used to quote, particularly when those same churchgoing women would prattle on regarding some poor soul in need of saving. “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.”
But who was I to argue the point? Perhaps there was a sinner inside me, but if so, it would be of my daddy’s making, driven by my need to eat and his desire to drink.
Welcome to my blog!