#52weeks52stories “Frozen in Time, Part III”

Frozen in Time banner


#52weeks52stories: Week 47

Word prompt: smack

Word count – 724

Reading time – 2 mins, 14 secs


Frozen in Time, Part III


Luci Gwynn yammered on about sanity napkins and belts as Petra huddled in the sofa’s corner clutching a hot water bottle against her stomach.

Neither of them heard Vance enter.

“What’s wrong with her?”

Startled, Luci looked up at her husband then smiled toward her daughter.

“My little girl’s growing up and entering womanhood.”

“Damn. Now I’ve got to keep an eye on her little hot ass, so she doesn’t go whoring around like the rest of the women in your family.”

Luci’s mouth gaped open in surprise and outrage, but she never got to respond.

Propelled forward by hate, disgust, and a new influx of hormones, Petra pounced on her father, hitting, biting, and scratching in a frenzy of rage.

Caught off-guard and stunned at first, Vance swept his arms down his body, knocking Petra to the floor.

She rose to her knees, panting like an animal ready to attack again, but Vance backed away looking at his hands and arms and feeling his face.

Undeterred, Petra tried to advance on him, but Luci wrapped her arms around her from behind, holding her back.

Vance left the room without a word, the only sound being the opening and closing of the front door.

Loosening her grip, Luci spun her daughter around. “What is wrong with you?”

Still shaking while hostility and loathing coursed through her, Petra was defiant.

“I hate him.”

“But what if he doesn’t come back?”


Luci’s anger grew to match her daughter’s.

“Good? What’s good about it? What about me, Petra?”

The teen sneered. “No more beatings and bruises.”

She knew the slap was coming and didn’t flinch.

Horrified by her own actions, Luci yanked her arm back, clutching her hands to her chest.

“Petra, baby, I’m so sorry.”

Petra back away, her sneer replaced by a smile, then giggles.

Luci reached out for her daughter, but Petra stepped back farther. Her giggles grew to roaring laughter.

“Petra… -”

Wrapping her arms around her stomach, Petra doubled over and tried to speak through gasps for air.

“This… is great. Daddy gives you a black eye for… something as dumb as wearing the wrong dress… and you take it. But you have no problem slapping me for standing up to the big bully.”

“Petra, baby… you don’t understand -”

“Shut up! Don’t say that! Don’t tell me I don’t understand.”

Her laughter abated, Petra rose to her full height.

“Me, Arnold and Leonard have tried to understand our entire lives. We sneak into each other’s rooms and cry together. We’ve been to the library, digging through books on domestic violence because we can’t tell anybody. We can’t ask for help, because we’ll be separated, and Arnie and Len are all I have. So, we decided you put up with daddy to protect us.” She scoffed. “But now I know we were wrong, mama. We’ve always been wrong. It’s about you, only you.”

“No, you’re wrong, baby. I do it for you and your brothers.”

“None of us should have ever been born. This isn‘t a family, it‘s a prison camp.”

“Don’t say that! You kids are everything to me.”

She hung her head in shame.

“Yes, your father hits me, but he’s never hit you. He’s never hurt any of you.”

“Hurt me? Did you see him, mama? I’m his daughter… a thirteen-year-old girl. He didn’t hit me—he didn’t fight back, and not because he’s some noble father. That was fear in his eyes. He’s not used to being challenged. Not used to anyone fighting back. You should try it sometime.”

Luci’s face crumpled at the truth of her daughter’s words.

“But you know what, mama? You don‘t have to use fists to hurt someone.”

Her words were heavy and toneless, and her body sagged, the emotional burden taking its toll.

Repeating her father’s movements, Petra backed toward the doorway.

“But he can’t hurt me anymore, mama. And he’ll never hurt me again.”

Reaching the doorway, Petra glared at the woman who’d given her life.

“And neither will you.”


Ignoring Luci, she turned and left the room, not stopping until she reached the sanctuary of her bedroom.

Petra Gwynn remembered that day, not for the onset of her periods and the first step toward adulthood, but as the day both her parents no longer mattered to her.



To be continued



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “Frozen in Time, Part II”

Frozen in Time banner


#52weeks52stories: Week 46

Word prompt: smack

Word count – 414

Reading time – 1 mins, 43 secs


Frozen in Time, Part II


Vance Gwynn was a mountain of a man who used his bulk to intimidate his wife, Luci.

When his size and words failed, he pummeled her plus-size body with his massive fists.

Luci not only took the beatings, but she’d also always apologize and promise to be a better wife.

She shielded and protected him from law enforcement and concerned neighbors and praised him to their three children.

To no avail.

By the time Petra was eight, she had a deep, soul-wrenching hatred for her father, as did her two older brothers, Arnold and Leonard.

Vance saved the physical abuse for Luci, visiting verbal and psychological tirades on his children instead.

Regardless of how much they grew, the Gwynn children only received new school clothes every other year. Their ill-fitting apparel made Petra and her brothers the targets of abuse and bullying at school. The thrift store items Luci bought to bolster their wardrobe only worsened their plight.

Birthdays and Christmas weren’t recognized, and Vance’s practice of destroying any gifts sent by extended family ceased the flow of gifts… and communication.

The siblings grew closer, bound by their misery, their confusion about their mother’s complacency, and their intense hatred for their father.

At the end of his last year in junior high, Leonard received an engraved plaque for maintaining a perfect 4.0-grade point average—the only one in the district at the junior high level. He was on-track to receive multiple scholarships for college.

He beamed with pride when he presented the award to his mother that evening. Leonard refused to allow her blatant indifference to steal his joy.

Vance took care of that.

Snatching the plaque from Luci’s hands, he banged it against the kitchen sink then dropped it in the trash.

“Stop acting like a girl. It’s just a hunk of wood and means nothing. You’ll still end up cleaning hubcaps down at Remington Car Wash… you and your brother. That’s all you’re good for.”

Standing at just under six-feet-tall, Leonard was bigger than most of the boys in his ninth-grade class, but he was almost a hundred pounds smaller than his father.

Still, his murderous glare that followed Vance as he sauntered from the kitchen both scared and excited Petra.

She didn’t want her brother to get hurt, but had he grabbed a knife from the butcher block and ran after their father, she wouldn’t have stopped him.

Just as she couldn’t stop herself two weeks later.


To be continued



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “Frozen in Time”

Frozen in Time banner


It’s week 52 and the last post of 2018!

It’s been quite a writing year for me. I didn’t publish the books I’d planned but I’m good with that because the year was a giant leap forward in finding my writing voice.

Challenges like #52weeks52stories coaxed forced me out of my comfort zone and I haven’t looked back.

My last post is a serial in six parts that I have to complete and post by 11:59 PM Monday.

This should be fun!

Have a great Sunday!


#52weeks52stories: Week 52

Word prompt: smack

Word count – 429

Reading time – 1 mins, 42 secs


Frozen in Time, Part 1


“Please don’t come here again.”

The battered woman trailing police to the front door turned and whispered in a hard voice, “You don’t understand. This was my fault. I shouldn’t have pushed Elliott about coats for the kids.”

Petra Gwynn smirked. “You remind your husband your three children are wearing nylon jackets in freezing temps and he has the right to smack you around?”

Sonia Milan glanced over her shoulder at the cops standing next to their squad cars.

“Elliott’s been through a lot. He lost his mom at a young age… lost friends while serving in the middle-east and got an injury that ended his military career. He has to be handled a certain way.”

“Bullshit! He’s not the first person to lose someone or get injured in combat. Those are excuses, Sonia.” She turned her neighbor toward the hallway mirror. “Look at your face. That’s not how you treat someone you love.”

Sonia’s temper flared, and she whirled around to face her neighbor.

“Don’t you dare judge my husband. You have no idea what it’s like for him. Keep your opinions to yourself and mind your own damn business.”

Petra clenched her fists hanging at her sides.

The freakin’ nerve!

She approached Sonia until their noses were almost touching.

“That’s exactly what I was doing until you banged on my door. You cried out for my help. You begged me to call the police.”

She brushed past her clueless neighbor and stood by the open front door.

“And you are leaving my home… now.”

Kowtowed, Sonia turned for the front door.

Petra thrust her arm out blocking the woman’s path.

“He needs help, Sonia, before something even worse happens. But if you don’t care about yourself or somehow feel you deserve to be his punching bag, think of your children. They see everything and forget nothing. And it’s doing more damage than you can ever imagine.”

Sonia’s jaws tightened, and she pushed past Petra, storming down the walkway.

Closing the door, Petra sagged against it as the anger dissipated from her body.

I shouldn’t have lost my temper. Sonia needs understanding, not my contempt. Elliott has beaten her down so low, she believes she’s to blame for his shortcomings.

Petra slid to the floor, remembering the look of terror in her neighbor’s eyes when she’d first answered the door.

It was the same look she’d seen in her own mother’s eyes for most of her life.

To be continued



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve” – Barry Manilow

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  new.”


On the day before New Year’s Eve, it seems quite fitting to include this old favorite.

Recorded by Barry Manilow in 1977 for his Barry Manilow Live album, It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve has been a holiday standard for over forty years.

A Top 40 hit, Manilow performed It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve live at midnight on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve numerous times.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve

by Barry Manilow
Songwriters: Barry Manilow and Marty Panzer
Don’t look so sad
It’s not so bad you know
It’s just another night
That’s all it is, it’s not the first
It’s not the worst you know
We’ve come through all the rest
We’ll get through this
We’ve made mistakes
But we’ve made good friends too
Remember all the nights we spent with them?
And all our plans
Who says they can’t come true?
Tonight’s another chance to start again
It’s just another New Year’s Eve
Another night like all the rest
It’s just another New Year’s Eve
Let’s make it the best
It’s just another New Year’s Eve
It’s just another Auld Lang Syne
But when we’re through this New Year
You’ll see, will be
Just fine
We’re not alone, we’ve got the world you know
And it won’t let us down, just wait and see
And we’ll grow old, but think how wise we’ll grow
There’s more you know, it’s only New Year’s Eve
It’s just another New Year’s Eve
Another night like all the rest
It’s just another New Year’s Eve
Let’s make it the best
It’s just another New Year’s Eve
It’s just another Auld Lang Syne
But when we’re through this New Year, you’ll see, will be
Just fine

Spend some time with a good book!

All Author Christmas

In the Best Interest of the Child

That day forever changed Olivia’s life.

Severely injured in an accident that forever changed her life, 10-year-old Olivia becomes another faceless, under-served child in foster care. With no time to mourn or grieve, the young girl is easy prey for uncaring social workers and ambivalent foster families.

Olivia quickly learns to hold her tongue and mask her emotions. Even when exposed to neglect, bullying, and assault, no one seems to care. Holding fast to the teachings of her late father, Olivia ages out of the system broken, but no longer a victim.

Now a successful child advocate attorney, Olivia is a passionate voice for children. However, a routine case assignment by the court plunges Olivia back into the trauma of her childhood. If she doesn’t face her demons, a child will be sent into foster care.

Foster care for her young client is not an option. But Olivia’s emotional scars run even deeper than she realized. Reconciling with her past means Olivia must confront the one woman she blames for her battered soul.

A woman who has no idea who Olivia is.

NOTE: This book is intended for mature readers – 18+.

What Readers are saying…

Each page left you wanting to read more to find out what would happen next.” -Kotrish W., Amazon review

I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction or contemporary fiction.” -Kathy G., Amazon review

“I can’t wait to read the next installment, and I highly recommend this book to everyone.” -A.C.M., Amazon review


All other retailersbooks2read.com/BestInterest


Free, a Novella

Lenore Porter’s life had not gone as she planned.

The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed.

The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her.

But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares, severe family dysfunction and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness.

With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.

~ Buy Links ~


Add to Goodreads

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU


Google Play


Barnes & Noble



#52weeks52stories “The Christmas Gift”

The Christmas Gift banner


“I last posted during week 44 and it’s week 51, which means I have six entries to post.”

One down, five to go! 😉


#52weeks52stories: Week 45

Word prompt: journal

Word count – 281

Reading time – 1 mins, 10 secs


“Wake up, sleepyhead! It’s Christmas!”

Gordie Williams bolted upright.

Aw, man. I overslept.

He rolled out of bed, brushing past his older brother.

Not slowing down at the top of the stairs, Gordie took them two at a time.

He raced into the family room and dropped at the foot of the Christmas tree, his eyes searching the piles of boxes and gift bags.

Finding the box with the Tompkins Fine Writing Essentials label-tape, the twelve-year-old’s heart leapt into his throat.

Gordie lifted the box with reverence and leaned back against the sofa.

Removing the top, his fingers caressed the faux leather journals. His lips twitched at the corners as he picked up one of the balanced pens.

No more one-subject notebooks. No more of his father’s cast-off legal pads with the scant few pages left, or dried-up pens from the 99-Cent Store left too long on the shelf.

Gordie fanned the pages of the matching undated planner wondering which story he should write first—the epic pirate adventure or the one about the magician’s son with low self-esteem.

He jumped when his mom knelt next to him, sliding her arm around his shoulder.

“Merry Christmas, baby.”

“Thanks, mom. Merry Christmas.”

Celeste Williams kissed her youngest son’s forehead.

“Mr. Lawrence is a great English teacher, Gordie, but never let anyone tell you your imagination is too broad or unbelievable.”

She reached out, touching the gift box.

“Write your stories, baby. Your way.”

Gordie dropped the writing tools and pulled his mother into a tight hug. It muffled his reply as he buried his face into her neck to hide the tears forming.

“I will, momma. I will.”

And he did.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Where Are You, Christmas?” – Faith Hill

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  season.”


In the spirit of the season, I have to go with Christmas songs!

In the 2000 live-action movie,  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Cindy Lou Who sings the song Christmas, Why Can’t I find You? co-written by James Horner, Will Jennings and Mariah Carey.

They wrote a longer version of the song called Where Are You, Christmas?

The song was originally recorded by Carey, but because of a legal case with her ex-husband Tommy Mottola, it could not be released, so it was re-recorded and released by Faith Hill. A video was released featuring Hill singing from the Grinch’s mountaintop home, interspersed with clips from the film.

It’s been an annual Christmas favorite of my family ever since!


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Where Are You, Christmas?

by Faith Hill
Songwriters: James Horner, Will Jennings and Mariah Carey
Oh, hmm
Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can’t I hear music play
My world is changing
I’m rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I’m not the same one
See what the time’s done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
Oh, I feel you Christmas
I know I’ve found you
You never fade away, oh
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

#52weeks52stories “One Last Christmas”

One Last Christmas banner


Did I disappear or WHAT?

I knew participating in NaNoWriMo AND moving at the same time would be daunting… and I was right. I finished NaNo ahead of time and am all moved in and settled… and had a full-blown Fibro flare-up!

But I didn’t grab my blankie and Kindle and veg out in the recliner this time. Life has stolen a lot of writing time from me in 2018 and I wasn’t losing anymore. But fibro-fog only allowed me so much concentration and sacrifices had to be made.

Sorry #52weeks52stories challenge.

I last posted during week 44 and it’s week 51, which means I have six entries to post.

And I will… before 2018 takes its final bow. 😉


#52weeks52stories: Week 51

Word prompt: inherited

Word count – 930

Reading time – 2 mins, 9 secs


Myrna Simmons didn’t need to look at a calendar. She knew she was coming to the end of the six months her doctor had given her. Nothing more could be done for the heart condition she’d inherited.

She glanced around at each smiling face seated at the extended dining room table. Four generations of the Simmons family traded barbs and quips between mouthfuls of Christmas dinner.

The stings returned to her chest and she clenched the fist hidden in her lap. Myrna sipped her water to hide the pain in her face.

Please, not now, not today.

She’d prayed to see the new year, not for herself, but so Christmas wouldn’t be a time of sadness for the family she was leaving behind.

She glanced at the empty chair at the other end of the table. She lost her Jimmy two years ago when his diabetes refused to be controlled any longer. Her children couldn’t bear for anyone to sit in Pawpaw’s chair during family dinners.

Would they leave her chair empty too at the next family dinner?

She pushed such maudlin thoughts from her mind. A future without her in it was what had made her older sister, Bernice, so angry.

Plagued by the congenital heart condition from an early age, Bernice had undergone two major operations before she reached junior high school.

Dale and Lorna Spooner treated their oldest child as if she were fragile. Lorna’s own battle with the condition didn’t show up until Myrna was a kindergartner and considered mild in comparison to most.

Rebelling in her late teens, Bernice eloped and married Barry parks and gave birth to three sons in five years.

Her doctors threw up their hands in frustration and their parents were mortified. Dale and Lorna spent most of those early years pleading with Bernice to be reasonable and safe and slow down.

Myrna secretly cheered her sister’s bravado. She watched Bernice do all the things with her boys she’d been sheltered from

When Jimmy proposed to Myrna, Bernice was at her side planning the wedding and as her matron of honor.

The year after Bernice’s youngest started high school, he came home one day to find his mother unconscious on the living room floor.

Her time had run out.

No amount of surgery or medication could bolster her exhausted heart.

Anger radiated from Bernice as she’d sat in her wheelchair. Family and friends buzzed around her piling their plates high with cake and ice cream to celebrate her forty-second birthday.

But Bernice could only focus on what was being stolen from her… what she’d miss—college and high school graduations, military promotions, weddings… and grandchildren.

When she didn’t wake from a sound night’s sleep fourteen months later, it was almost a comfort to her family.

Her acidic comments and toxic behavior had worn down even the steadfast and loyal Barry.

Wincing, Myrna clenched her hidden fist again.

Schooling her features, she excused herself from the table to retrieve the powerful pain pills which were supposed to make her agony bearable.

She closed her bedroom door and slumped against it, her breathing now rapid and shallow.

Myrna knew she needed the oxygen hidden away in the back of her closet.

“Please, God, not today. Give me the rest of today. I’ll use the oxygen tomorrow. I’ll tell them tomorrow. Just… let me have Christmas, please.”

Stumbling into the bathroom on shaky legs, Myrna opened the pill bottle and swallowed two without water.

She hung her head, willing her pulse to slow down.

Raising her head, she stared at her reflection… and smiled.

Her iron-gray twists fell to her shoulders, lining a caramel-kissed face almost wrinkle-free. Despite her pain, walnut-brown eyes stared back at her not distressed but content.

She looked good for her seventy-seven years of life and knew she was a blessed woman.

Myrna had lived longer than any member of her family cursed with the dreaded heart condition, hers not appearing and becoming troublesome until her fifty-fourth birthday.

Neither her grandfather or sister made it to their fiftieth year… and she’d had more than fifty years with Jimmy before she lost him.

Their five children had added thirteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren to the family.

And she’d been there for it all.

The stings in her chest eased and Myrna said a silent prayer of thanks.

Returning to the dining room, she stood in the doorway, taking in her family.

Her oldest daughter, Lois, looked on with pride as her oldest daughter, BreAnna, fed her three-month-old daughter, Malina.

Fraternal teenage twins, Archie and Andi, fought over the last dinner rolls, while her oldest child, Kirk, argued about computers and something called gigs with his brother-in-law, Grover.

He caught her eye and winked.

Myrna smiled.

She understood Bernice’s anger now.

Moments like this were to be enjoyed and cherished, not missed.

She returned to her chair.

“Ready for dessert, Granny?”

Myrna looked at her twelve-year-old granddaughter squeezed her hand. Alison was the spitting image of Myrna’s daughter-in-law, Gale.

Except for the eyes. She had Jimmy’s soft velvet-brown eyes.

“Yes, baby, I am. Bring on the cobbler and ice cream.”

Everyone at the table cheered. Alison ran to the dessert table, followed by her cousins.

No one could have dessert before Granny.

Myrna relaxed back in her chair, enjoying the melee surrounding the peach cobbler.

This would be her last Christmas. Her traitorous heart would see to that.

But despite its weak walls, leaky valves and inability to function correctly, Myrna was grateful her heart had always been full of love.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Three Times a Lady” – Commodores

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  girl(s).”


Staying with the adult form of the theme so I can post this great classic from 1978!

Three Times a Lady, from the Commodores‘ sixth album Natural High, topped the Billboard Hot 100, R&B Singles chart and Adult Contemporary chart. It also topped the U.K. Singles chart for 5 weeks.

The song was written by Lionel Richie after being inspired by a comment his father said to his mother.


    • This was a breakthrough song for the Commodores and for Lionel Richie as a songwriter. It crossed over to pop, easy listening and even country formats.
    • The Commodores were more of a funk band before their massive success with sentimental love songs like Three Times a Lady.
    •  In the UK, this was #1 for five weeks. It was the biggest UK hit for Motown Records.
    • This was the first #1 hit Lionel Richie wrote, but far from his last: he wrote songs that were #1 US hits in each of the next seven years, giving him the record for most consecutive #1s by a songwriter who was never a Beatle (Paul McCartney wrote songs that went to #1 1964-1971).

The video is a live performance from The Midnight Special.


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Three Times a Lady

by the Commodores
Songwriter: Lionel Richie
Thanks for the times that you’ve given me
The memories are all in my mind
And now that we’ve come to the end of our rainbow
There’s something I must say out loud

You’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you

Yes, you’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you

You shared my dreams
My joys
My pains
You made my life worth living for
And if I had to live my life over again, dear
I’d spend each and every moment with you

You’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you

Yes, you’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you

When we are together
The moments I cherish
With every beat of my heart
To touch you
To hold you
To feel you
To need you
There’s nothing to keep us apart

You’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you

You’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you

Yes, you’re once
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you