On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for July, 2019

Release Day: Fallen Angel Salvage

Fallen Angel Final Cover Front

He ruined her life once; will he do it again?

The rest of the story, from the author of Tatia’s Tattoo.

Tatia and Jesse have a perfect life in Chicago. Her testimony put Eric in prison in Texas twenty years ago. How could anything go wrong?

A mysterious envelope invades their home with news of a trafficker’s parole, and a handwritten note asks the ominous question: Is Joy as brave as her mother?

An old black van. A missing child. Tatia and Jesse race through the city streets with a band of bikers while Johnny and Jade dig through the dark web and Detectives Nelson and Martin pound on doors.

Will it be enough? Or will Joy become another statistic?

P R E F A C E

THE LETTER

Thursday – 3:00 pm

Tatia stepped out the back door and stood quietly for a moment, watching her two children play tag in the small back yard. She smiled as Joy slowly jogged between the swing set and the sandbox with her younger brother in hot pursuit. Daniel lunged toward her, but she swerved at the last moment causing him to belly flop onto the soft grass.

“I almost got you,” he pouted.

Joy leaned over him and gloated, “You missed me by a mile, short stuff.”

He grinned up at her, touched her arm, and rolled away from her under the swing set. “Tag, you’re it!” he shouted in triumph.

Tatia laughed at the stunned look on Joy’s face and clapped her hands. “Nice move, Daniel! Now, recess is over, and we have a reading lesson to complete before we quit for the day. Dust yourselves off and get the mail on your way in.”

“I’ll get it,” yelled Joy as she took off for the front of the house.

“No!” wailed Daniel. “I won! I get to get it.”

“Okay, I guess you’re right,” said Joy, slowing down to let him catch up. Then, she tapped him on the shoulder. “But now you’re it!”

Tatia shook her head and went back into the house as the two tagged and shouted all the way to the mailbox. Joy must have been in a charitable mood, because a few moments later the front door slammed open and Daniel strutted into the living room with several envelopes clutched in his fist. He presented the mail to his mom as if he were handing her a dozen roses, and then headed to the refrigerator for a bottle of water.

“Joy, did you see that old van across the street?” he asked his sister. “It must have been about a hundred years old.”

“I didn’t see any old van, and I wouldn’t care if I did,” said Joy, her charitable mood long gone.

“Well, you should. The driver was staring at you.”

“There wasn’t a van and there wasn’t a driver! You need glasses!”

“That’s enough, you two,” said Tatia, hoping to restore some peace. “What kind of van was it?” she asked Daniel.

“I’m not sure, Mommy. I’ll go check.” He knelt on the couch and peered out the window as Tatia looked over his shoulder. “It’s gone now,” he said with a shrug.

“Good! Now we can talk about something important,” said Joy. “Like birthday cards! Mommy, did I get any more today?”

Tatia dismissed the uneasy feeling that tried to insinuate itself into her mind, and made a mental note to talk with Jesse about the van later. Right now, she had an almost-nine-year-old girl dancing from foot to foot, waiting for her to sort the mail. It was two days before Joy’s birthday, and she had received more mail in the last week than she had in the previous nine years. She loved the emails and ecards her mom and dad shared with her, but she loved the cards that came in the mail even more. They felt more like they belonged just to her. Tatia flipped through the small stack of envelopes and handed two of them to her daughter.

“It looks like there’s one from Alicia at school and another one from Grandma and Grandpa G. How many is that from them anyway?”

“Seven! One every day for a whole week! What about that one? Is it for me?” she asked pointing to the plain white envelope Tatia was staring at curiously.

“No, it’s addressed to me, and it doesn’t have a return address or a stamp.”

“Probably a bill,” said Joy, and she took her cards to the couch to read them.

Tatia opened the envelope and pulled out a single sheet of notebook paper. On it was taped a small article from the Cameron Morning Telegraph dated the previous Sunday.

Cameron, TX. After serving twenty years of three concurrent sentences for murder, aggravated statutory sexual assault, and human trafficking, Eric Hall was paroled from the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville this week. His conviction was the first of several that resulted from the testimony of a very brave young woman, later identified as Tatia Robins in her book, Groomed for the Streets. These convictions freed Cameron from the human trafficking trade that had plagued our city for years.

Below the article was a short, hand-written message:

I wonder if Joy is as brave as her mother.

Buy at Amazon | B & N

Ebook available soon.

Blessisngs,

Linda

Kitty Meets a Fan | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 30, 2019:

Greta GarboKitty is not a celebrity who seeks the spotlight. She is more like Greta Garbo, the Swedish-American movie star of the 1920’s and 30’s who is famous for the line, I want to be alone. Unlike some family pets who never meet a stranger, Kitty hides under the bed when visitors come, and even though she tries to sneak outside occasionally, she seems to prefer watching life go by from behind a pane of glass. However, the rules and regulations of society don’t favor the sensitivities of the recluse, and this week she had to go out into the world.

When she makes it outside, Kitty seems to be a prime target for fleas and other insects that make a furry feline itch. Even when she stays indoors, the pests seem to make it inside, possibly hitching a ride on jeans or shoes. Regardless of how they get there, Kitty is very aware of their presence, and so are we when she chooses to scratch in the middle of the bed at 3:00 am or when she evicts the little varmints into the couch or the carpet. (more…)

Sunday Dinner |by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 23, 2019:

mad hatter tea partyOn Sundays, David and I usually go home after church and have a light lunch, usually leftovers, but this week Don and Carol asked David if we wanted to go out to eat with them. It sounded like fun to me, so when we pulled out of the parking lot, he turned right instead of left. Everyone must have had the same idea, because the parking lot at Sidekicks was so full we had to park at the flower shop. Don and Carol were already seated at a table for four, but Paul had joined them. When Carol saw us, she said, “Oh, David said he wasn’t sure.” Then, she nodded at the empty table for six behind her, and everybody shifted. It was a little like the tea party scene from Alice in Wonderland  – “clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down.” (more…)

Happy Book Birthday to Tatia’s Tattoo | by Linda Brendle

Final_Tatia's Tattoo Cover trim size    Fallen Angel Final Cover Front

One year ago today, my first novel was released. Tatia’s Tattoo was a work of love inspired by the shocking knowledge that child sex trafficking takes place, not just in foreign countries and large metropolitan areas, but in small towns like the one where I live. This year I have been working on the second phase of Tatia’s story, and Fallen Angel Salvage is now available for preorder.

Tatia’s Tattoo

As a successful D.C. lawyer, Tatia’s mission in life is to destroy the sex trafficking trade in small-town America. She knows where to find it. She’s been there.

With only apathetic foster parents to protect her, she fell prey to the local pimp. Trapped in the sordid underbelly of a small Texas town, she survived by sheer will. Her friendship with her fellow victim Cindy was the only light of humanity in the darkness until she saw a familiar face. Would Mrs. G, a mama bear of an attorney, still think she had strength and potential? Would Jesse, the young Christian tattoo artist and biker, still look at her with a twinkle in his eyes? Or would they both see only the mark of shame Eric had etched onto her forearm?

Buy now in Paperback ($12.95) or Ebook ($2.99)

Fallen Angel Salvage

He ruined her life once; will he do it again?

The rest of the story, from the author of Tatia’s Tattoo.

Tatia and Jesse have a perfect life in Chicago. Her testimony put Eric in prison in Texas twenty years ago. How could anything go wrong?

A mysterious envelope invades their home with news of a trafficker’s parole, and a handwritten note asks the ominous question: Is Joy as brave as her mother?

An old black van. A missing child. Tatia and Jesse race through the city streets with a band of bikers while Johnny and Jade dig through the dark web and Detectives Nelson and Martin pound on doors.

Will it be enough? Or will Joy become another statistic?

Release date is July 30. Preorder now in Paperback (Ebook available soon)

Blessings,

Linda

 

Earn This | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 16, 2019:

The crowdLake County Neighbors hosted their 10th Annual Veteran’s Thank You Luncheon on Tuesday of last week at Lake Fork Baptist Church. It’s one of David’s and my favorite summer events for several reasons – the food is plentiful and delicious, it’s a great time to visit with friends, and the patriotic programs and speakers are enjoyable.

This year did not disappoint. The plate of barbecued brisket and sausage, potato salad, and beans was more than I could handle, so I sent home a taste of the brisket to my neighbors’ dog Floppy – and David was more than happy to finish my peach cobbler. The fellowship was even better with at least twenty friends from the Senior Center in attendance. The highlight of the day, however, was the guest speaker – Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West. (more…)

Boys and Their Toys | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 9, 2019:

BreakfastOn the first Saturday of every month, the House of Prayer on FM 515 serves a great breakfast in their Family Life Center beginning at 9:00 am. There is a donation jar to help cover expenses, but other than that, that is no charge, and the event is open to the public. The turnout is usually pretty small, but the event is very popular with a number of the Senior Center regulars. The members of the church are gracious hosts and good cooks, and it’s another opportunity to visit with friends.

We met Bill and Susan a year or so ago when they began attending Believers’ Baptist Emory weather mapChurch. They lived about thirty minutes away but were planning to relocate to Emory once they found the right property. While they attended Sunday Morning Worship regularly, they didn’t get too involved in the community until recently when they found the perfect location. Now they live in their RV while they supervise the building of their new home. The wet weather has slowed progress to a crawl, so they have free time to explore what Emory has to offer.

mopar imageSince Bill and Susan had already found a church home, David’s first recommendation was the Senior Center. They began coming for lunch a few weeks ago, and like most of us, they have found it an enjoyable place to take a midday break and catch up on the local gossip. It’s also a good place to learn more about people you previously only saw in their Sunday best. The first thing David noticed was that Bill has almost as large an assortment of Mopar T-shirts as David has of Harley shirts. (more…)

Dream big – but not too big | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 2, 2019:

Dog tailsThis is a tale of two dogs – pun intended – and a tale of dreams. Both of the dogs live in my neighborhood, and both are dreamers. Culture encourages dreams – the bigger, the better. Whatever you can conceive, you can achieve. Just do it! One of the dogs in this tale has really big dreams while the other one is more conservative. One is happy, and one is not.

The first dog lives about a mile from us, and we pass his house on the way out to the dream bighighway. He’s a cute little thing – black with a white mask over one eye – but I don’t know his name. He’s pretty well trained, staying in his yard or at least close to it without need of a fence or leash. He does, however, have a thing for cars. When he first moved into the area, I worried that he was going to get run over. As a car approached, he would go to the edge of the road at the corner of his yard. He would stare at the car until it was a few feet away, then he’d wheel around and run as hard as he could until he was several yards past the other corner of his yard. (more…)

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