Identity Crisis Among Veterans

Another insightful post on identity! 😉

Finding Purpose

In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity. — Erik Erikson

Erickson’s concept of identity crisis has been generally associated with adolescents trying out various identities as they find their place in the world. Before my research on veterans in transition to civilian life, I never even considered the fact that many veterans experience an identity crisis, leading to a difficult transition.

Growing up, Remembrance Day ceremonies shaped my idea of veterans as a particular symbol of national pride. Perhaps I assumed they all held strong identities based on this national reverence. Little did I realize, this image was an idealized sacred nationalism that is often irrelevant or forgotten when it comes to everyday matters in civilian life.

One of our nation’s most revered roles is simultaneously one of the nation’s most forgotten and misunderstood. This is a huge…

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Friday Roundup – 11th August

Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

1.  Melinda Clayton at Indies Unlimited tells us of the importance of categories and keywords:

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2017/07/18/the-importance-of-categories-and-keywords-for-your-books-on-kdp/

2.  Jennifer Scott, guest writer on Nicholas C. Rossis’ blog, gives 8 tips to create the perfect writer’s resume:

https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/8-tips-to-create-the-perfect-writers-resume/

3.  Janice Wald at Mostly Blogging gives the 4 worst blogging mistakes:

http://www.mostlyblogging.com/worst-blogging-mistakes/

4.  Peter Adewumi writes of how to induce a spike in your blog stats:

https://adewumipeterblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/how-to-induce-a-spike-in-your-blog-stat/

5.  Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer gives advice on finding your first 10,000 readers:

https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2017/06/find-first-10000-readers/

6.  Cynthia Hilston on A Writer’s Path tells of the benefits of joining a writer’s group:

The Benefits of Joining a Writers Group

7.  Derek Haines on Just Publishing Advice reminds us that publishing is not just Amazon KDP and Kindle:

https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/self-publishing-is-not-just-amazon-kdp-and-kindle/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JustPublishing+%28Just+Publishing%29

8.  Capital Nerd tells us how to get ARCs:

https://mccullum001.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/how-to-get-arcs-a-step-by-step-guide/

9.  Jason B. Ladd, guest author at The Creative Penn, gives advice on how to get book reviews:

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/07/29/how-to-get-book-reviews-as-an-unknown-author/

10. …

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Fiction with a Touch of Truth and a Lot of Love


Free, a Novella full cover


When I began writing Free, a Novella in early spring of 2016, it was supposed to be a 3-4 installment short story with Lenore Porter remembering the breakdown of her marriage as she finalizes the sale of her home.

Honestly, it was writing practice.

I was working on my debut novel, In the Best Interest of the Child and kept stalling out and hitting walls. So, Free was supposed to be a little pseudo-flash fiction to keep me writing.

I posted the second installment and had already began the ending of Lenore’s story, when on April 8, 2016, my mister went into renal failure. His kidneys could not be saved and everything changed from that day forward… the addition of hemodialysis, his employment status, his diet, his daily medication regimen… and my stress level.

As I sat in hospital rooms, dialysis units, and doctor’s offices over the next few weeks, Lenore Porter’s story changed too. Best Interest was still my focus, but Lenore would not be ignored.

I continued to post installments of varying lengths on my author page, but the once-a-week postings died a quick death. I moved the release date of Best Interest twice and attempted to push Lenore’s story to the back burner.

The mister’s fistula implant was a problem from the beginning, making dialysis difficult. By the time we’d made all the rounds for MRIs, ultrasounds and vascular procedures and found some semblance of normalcy, it was Halloween. Best Interest was published and I was exhausted. And… Lennie Porter was standing in the corner giving me the duckface.

I didn’t have much of a current word count for Free, but what I did have was sixty-one pages of notes!

As I organized and typed up the notes, the story continued to change.

It was clear by the time I had a working MS, oldest son Duncan Porter would need counseling to get past his issues with his absent father to avoid lasting emotional trauma.

As a character-driven writer, I generally sketch out characters before adding them to any story.

That wasn’t necessary this time.

While Free, a Novella is a work of fiction, the characters of psychologist James Richie and his wife/receptionist, Alice, are not fictional characters.

James ‘Pas’ Richie was my mentor, father-confessor, co-conspirator in epic pranks, and at one time, my boss. He and Alice were like family and can be seen as often in my family photo albums as my mother.

Pas Mom and Alice

James ‘Pas’ Richie on the left, Alice Richie on the right, and my mom, Helen, in the center. It’s obvious by his expression that Pas was quite a character.

In Free, Pas, is a retired minister with a successful practice in clinical psychology specializing in treating men and boys.

In real life, Pas was a minister for the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. However, he didn’t receive the call to the ministry until well after his fiftieth birthday and put aside his career and degree in chemistry to enter the seminary.

It wasn’t long after Pas received his appointment to a Battle Creek church the community considered him “the city’s pastor.” (This was about the same time I gave him the nickname ‘Pas.’)

You didn’t have to attend his church… or any church… for Pas to lend a helping hand. Many who regularly attended other churches would find their way to his office when needing to talk.

And he would listen.

I don’t know if Pas solved any of their problems.

But I do know they left with a smile and a, “Thank you, pastor.”

He’d always respond with a hug and his trademark, “Peace & Blessings!”

Like Lenore Porter’s parents, Burt and Linda Kelimore, Pas and Alice were together over fifty years.

And the banter was epic!

In addition to his pastoral duties, Pas was the executive director of a local community outreach ministry, and Alice was a regular volunteer.

The days when Alice came in were the best days!

Staff would all suddenly find reasons to be near Pas’ office for another episode of what I dubbed “The Pas and Alice Show!”

Their banter was amazing, rocket fast… and hilarious.

Of course, Alice always won, but Pas wasn’t about let her have the last word and would always end with something like, “You’re adorable! I’m taking you to lunch!”

Over the years, through trials and tribulations in both our families, the Richie banter was an anchor for us all—as long as we could still laugh, everything would be okay–and their marriage was the model for couples newly married or married for decades.

After almost ten years, life broke up our small family circle, taking us in different directions, but the Richies and I stayed in regular—my children would say constant—contact.

Plans were put in motion for them to visit Arizona after Pas retired, which he did in January 2015. After a short search, Pas and Alice relocated to a small town in central Georgia which put them close to their three children and grandchildren.

Pas became ill while he and Alice were getting settled with what was first believed to be an upper respiratory infection.

It wasn’t.

The next year would see Pas hospitalized… and in a coma for several months.

But being the incredible man he was, James Richie came out of the coma, moved to a rehab center and learned to walk and talk again. He was discharged and went home to regain his driving privileges. He even went back to swimming three times a week.

Pas and Alice

Even a coma couldn’t keep Pas down for long.

Pas and Alice took a vacation to visit their children, and attended several social events, including one held by my family in Georgia.

I was encouraged. Alice said he still had a long road ahead of him to regain his strength, but they would get to Arizona.

Things in Arizona weren’t going as well.

Dialysis was still difficult for the mister and his blood pressure stayed at stroke levels despite several daily medications.

Alice called one evening and knew by my tone of voice something was wrong. We talked quite a while. I ended the call with a promise to call her in a couple of days after the mister saw a vascular surgeon.

Of course, she told Pas.

He called early the next morning.

Though the mass found at the base of his throat was benign, he still wasn’t strong enough for surgery to remove it. And it caused other problems. His voice was raw raspy and it hurt me to hear him speak. I tried to rush him off the phone. But Pas wasn’t having it.

He called to pray with me and the mister… and he did.

It was the last time I talked to him. Ten days later, he was gone… June 14, 2016.

Loss is a part of life and we all experience it. I’d already lost my father and a brother, but when Alice called me with the news, something inside me broke.

Suffice it to say, I managed to keep it together enough to take care of the mister, but I lost the fight with depression and spiraled for over three months.

This is why the release date for Best Interest was delayed… twice.

This is also why (and how) Pas and Alice became part of Free.

It took another four months to complete Free. Not because it’s long, in-depth or complicated. It was simply very emotional.

And it was cathartic.

I didn’t tell my family I’d added a bit of real life to Free until it was completed, and I still didn’t allow them to read it. I published it on May 30th and immediately began the formatting for print.

I received the proofs a week later. I signed a copy, stuck a note inside and sent it to Alice Richie.

I hadn’t told her what I’d done either. I was a little nervous with it being the first anniversary of Pas’ passing, but pushed it to the back of my mind and tried to concentrate on writing.

I was caught off guard a couple of weeks later when I answered my phone without looking at the caller ID… something I never do.

It was Alice…laughing… and crying, and screaming, “Girl, you nailed us!”

I laughed with her, and did some crying of my own when she said, “Richie would love it. And he would be so proud of you.”

It wasn’t an instant cure-all, but for the first time in a year, thinking of my dear friend didn’t cause me pain. Alice’s words were the best review I’ll ever receive for Free… and that’s enough for me.

Pas and Fle

Memorial Day Weekend 2012 at the Richie home in Cassopolis, Michigan. It was our last time together. I moved to Arizona two weeks later.

So, if by chance you read Free, just remember James and Alice Richie aren’t fictional characters and their dialogue isn’t scripted or contrived. Their words were real, spoken in another time when life was a little easier and less burdensome.

Peace & Blessings.

This was one of Pas’ favorite songs.


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

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When Should You Redo a Book?

Vania Margene Rheault

I was listening to a podcast today–I know, shocker. I listen to them all the time, and it sure makes scooping the kitty litter a little more tolerable.

Anyway, so the two hosts went through their usual, what are you working on, what are you working on?  And the male host (I won’t say who it was or what podcast this was) said, I’m going to redo my first book. New cover, new title, redo some of the plot, the whole thing. And the other host was like, oh, that’s great, blah blah blah.

I don’t know what I was doing then. Cleaning my bathroom? Sweeping the kitchen? But I was like, wait, what?

Rereleasing a book isn’t a new concept to anyone. Traditionally published authors (or their houses) do it all the time, especially for old books. You know it when you’re reading and someone lights up in a…

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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise #ExcerptReveal


In this short excerpt, Lenore Porter is reading a letter from her beloved Aunt Diane who recently passed away.


In every area of your life, you always stood out. You never tried to be the center of attention or sought the limelight, but it found you! It always found you! Your beautiful inner light shone like a beacon drawing people to you. You were never a vain or prideful child, but your dignity and grace were evident long before you reached your adult years. Why are you allowing this man to dim your light?

And you are allowing it, Lennie. I don’t for one minute believe that Ranard controls or dominates you in any way. He’s more like an unruly child acting out and you’re the tolerant, long-suffering parent.

That’s not what marriage is about, Lennie.

I’ve watched you both when you weren’t looking. I’ve never seen him hold your hand, or kiss or caress your cheek. I’ve never heard him compliment you, or say anything positive about you. But I held out hope. You have a reason for everything you do, so I knew there was a reason you married that man. But was it love, Lennie?

As your third anniversary fast approaches, you’ve already been married longer than Conrad and me. But we had so much joy and laughter, Lennie. We were disappointed I didn’t get pregnant before he shipped out, but it didn’t dampen our happiness one bit.

Where is your joy, Lennie? What makes you happy? It has to be more than your children because they will grow up and leave for their own life journeys. I speak from experience even though I wasn’t blessed to be a mother. I shared my sister’s heartache and anxiety when you left.

I also shared my concerns about you with her after our vacation. I was both relieved and saddened to find out she understood and felt the same way. Relieved because I now had someone to talk to about it – I couldn’t talk to you, Lennie. I knew you’d be angry and I didn’t want to lose you – and I was also sad because if Linda saw the same problems, they were real and not the overactive imagination of a nosy old woman.

I’ve always known you would be my heir. I almost told you on a couple of occasions, but I knew you’d insist that I sell everything and donate the money to some organization saving whales, or hamsters, or gophers… or whatever is all the rage at the moment. But no, I want you to have what was mine. It gives me peace to know I can do this one last thing for you and the children.

However, I am not done. I’m sure you’re fit to be tied by now. Clutching this letter with both hands, beads of perspiration forming on your forehead as you think about digging up my body to tell me about my bossy self.

My sweet Lennie Penny.

I hope you are sitting down because if you are angry with me now, by the time you finish this letter, you WILL dig up my body!


Free_full cover

“Free, a Novella”

Author: Felicia Denise

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: May 30, 2017


Synopsis

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 and 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.

99¢!

Amazon US  http://bit.ly/LindenLane

Amazon UK  http://bit.ly/LindenLaneUK

Amazon CA  http://bit.ly/LindenLaneCA

Amazon AU  http://bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads   http://bit.ly/FreeANovella

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5 Things Bloggers Should Remember When Hosting Book Tours #MondayBlog


5 Things Bloggers Should Remember banner


In my last two #MondayBlog posts, I posted five things book promotion services and authors should remember when planning/running book tours. The week – it’s bloggers’ turn.

Regardless of where you post—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or an Internet blog—you’re a blogger. When you join book tours… you’re a tour host. Authors can write books and services can plan tours, but without motivated tour hosts to help get the word out… nothing happens… it doesn’t work!

Bloggers host tour events for a variety of reasons, including the love of books and reading, supporting authors, and blog content.

Five things bloggers should remember are:

  1. Know what you’re signing up for. What type of tour is it? Is it DIY or will HTML be provided? Is it just a promo post? Is reviewing an option or mandatory? Is sharing the post expected?  If you are not sure- ASK QUESTIONS before signing up.
  2. If you sign up – be proactive! Add the event to your calendar. Set a reminder alert. Start a draft copy with the date of the tour. Do not just sign up and forget about the event. Problems arise with authors and services… and the blogger is the last to know. Be prepared.
  3. Publicize! Authors and services blog about upcoming tours and include the info in newsletters – bloggers should too! Promotional posts only work when they are seen. Some bloggers do post calendars, but publicizing could be as simple as a post at the beginning of the week on upcoming events for that week. You’re not just promoting the tour, author, or service, you’re promoting YOU!
  4. If reviewing, only review books you are interested in! Reviews are only beneficial when reviews are posted, but some of the worst reviews have been written by tour hosts who had no interest in the promoted book… and said so in their review! Reading diverse books and/or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone are two things everyone should try, but a review tour is not the time to start. Do not be badgered by services or lured by contests, giveaways, or simply a free book.
  5. Tag your posts and Moderate your comments. When hosting a tour, bloggers should strongly consider tagging the author or the service… or both! It’s the quickest, easiest way to guide them to your post, and hopefully, they will leave comments. Acknowledge commenters on your blog post! Even when they leave questions for the author, like their comment and thank them for stopping by. You are a tour host… so be open, amiable, and approachable. This will encourage visitors to return and enjoy your site content even when you’re not hosting a tour.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to book tours. There is experience… and some have more than others, but no two tours are the same—even if they’re for the same author.

However, even experience is worthless if there isn’t real communication among all team members, and yes, it is a team. All team members are equally important and should be treated as such. Forget the ‘form letter’ emails and plastic posts in Facebook groups.

Authors + promotion services + bloggers collaborating and working together will always lead to a successful book promotion. If communication fails… so will the event.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Garrison Keillor!


Garrison Keillor

Gary EdwardGarrisonKeillor (born August 7, 1942) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, voice actor, and radio personality. He is best known as the creator of the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion (called Garrison Keillor’s Radio Show in some international syndication), which he hosted from 1974 to 2016. Keillor created the fictional Minnesota town Lake Wobegon, the setting of many of his books, including Lake Wobegon Days and Leaving Home: A Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories. Other creations include Guy Noir, a detective voiced by Keillor who appeared in A Prairie Home Companion comic skits.


QUOTES:

“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.”

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”

“God writes a lot of comedy… the trouble is, he’s stuck with so many bad actors who don’t know how to play funny.”

 

From Wikipedia

Happy Birthday, Alfred Tennyson!


Tennyson photo

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.

Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as Break, Break, Break, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Tears, Idle Tears, and Crossing the Bar. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and student at Trinity College, Cambridge, after he died of a stroke at the age of 22. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, Ulysses, and Tithonus. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success. A number of phrases from Tennyson’s work have become commonplaces of the English language, including “Nature, red in tooth and claw” (In Memoriam A.H.H.), “‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all”, “Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die”, “My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure”, “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, “Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers”, and “The old order changeth, yielding place to new”. He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.


QUOTE:

“I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.”

 

From Wikipedia and Britannica

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It’s Time


It's Time banner

52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 31
In book 1 of In the Best Interest of the Child, child advocate attorney, Olivia Chandler, finally admits she can no longer hide from the childhood trauma which took her father, incapacitated her mother and landed Olivia in foster care. In the upcoming book 2, Family Matters, Olivia takes hesitant steps toward mental wellness. This is a short, unedited excerpt.

It wasn’t too late to back out.

After the emotional upheaval Olivia Chandler experienced while handling the Averest case, re-entering counseling seemed like a sound idea. Olivia knew she had avoided her personal demons for far too long. Sorting through her issues with the past and laying them to rest was the only way she could move on to a future which was hers for the taking.

A future with Bruce.

However, now as the elevator neared the tenth floor of the Monarch Mental Health Center, Olivia wasn’t so sure.

What would she gain from talking about the period in her life where she suffered the most? Why had she promised Bruce she would do this? They could be happy together without her going through this.

The whisper-quiet, stainless steel doors parted and the conflicted attorney knew what she had to do.

Olivia stepped out of the lift and looked around for suite numbers. After a quick glance at the floor directory, she headed for suite 1055.

The familiar anxiety buzzing behind her ears reminded Olivia why she would not back out of counseling.

She was tired.

Even without the Rena Averest case… and Bruce Bellamy entering her life, Olivia Chandler always knew there would be a day of reckoning, and a battle for her soul and sanity.

Until a few short weeks ago, it was a battle Olivia expected to lose.

Olivia gave herself a last-minute pep talk as she entered suite 1055.

It’s time, Chandler. No more excuses. You promised Bellamy you would do this, but this is for you and no one else.

The center of the room held two black love-seats and a large, flat screen television. A tunnel slide sat in the corner on the right side of the room between a wall of books and a wall of cubbies filled with toys. Two round tables covered with puzzles sat in the opposite corner.

Waiting was sometimes a necessary annoyance, but Leo and Diane Payton had given considerable thought to their clients’ time when decorating this room. Olivia was impressed.

Walking up to the reception window, Olivia saw a middle-aged woman approach from the other side of the counter.

“Olivia Chandler?”

Olivia recognized the warm voice from her first phone call. “Yes. Marilyn?”

“Tis’ I!

The women shared a laugh and shook hands.

“Good to meet you, at last, Ms. Chandler.”

“No, no! It’s Olivia… please.”

Okay, Olivia. I must commend you on completing your online questionnaire. I realize some of the questions can be exhausting, but I’ve never seen one as complete as yours in the seventeen years I’ve been here.”

Olivia averted her eyes while fiddling with her earring. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad, Marilyn.”

“Trust me, it’s a good thing.”

Nodding once, Olivia watched as Marilyn reached for a file folder.

“I’ve printed everything out, Olivia. I just need your signature in a few places and we’re all set.”

Minutes later, consent papers signed, Olivia sat on the black leather love seat listening to the host of a cooking show rave about the flavor of beer can chicken.

Beads of sweat inched down Olivia’s back.

A hum buzzed behind her left ear and grew in intensity until it caused Olivia physical pain.

She crossed and uncrossed her legs at the ankle while tugging on the hem of her skirt.

The warm, metallic taste of bile tickled the back of Olivia’s throat and she glanced around the waiting room. Seeing a restroom sign perched high on a door in the corner of the children’s play area, Olivia judged the distance from her seat.

Annoyed with herself, she swallowed, determined to fight off the anxiety and nausea.

What is it with you, Chandler? Sitting here getting all worked up and trying to find reasons to run out the door when you need this! You need to rid yourself of this dark baggage. Leaving now will only keep you rooted in the same spot you’ve been in since — …

“Stop that.”

Startled and embarrassed, Olivia looked in the direction the voice came from.

A Rubenesque African American woman stood near the reception counter, a file in one hand and a knowing smirk on her face. She approached Olivia.

“Excuse me? Stop what?”

“Stop trying to talk yourself into leaving… or staying.”

Stunned she was so well read by a stranger, Olivia faltered.

“D-Does this happen to everyone on their first visit?”

Stopping in front of Olivia, the woman smiled and shook her head.

“It happens to anyone doing something they’re not sure they want to do.”

She extended her hand. “I’m Diane Payton.”

Olivia rose and shook Diane’s hand.

“Nice to meet you, Diane. Olivia Chandler. Does it ever happen to you?”

Gesturing for Olivia to follow her, Diane Payton responded.

“Of course! Every single time we take our children to an amusement park, or the zoo, or the skating rink.”

Olivia followed Diane down a long hallway.

“I ask myself, “Do you want to be trapped with your children and thousands of rude strangers all day?”

Two closed doors stood at the end of the hallway. Diane opened the door to the right and motioned for Olivia to enter first.

“What do you decide, Diane?”

The therapist entered and closed the door behind her.

“Oh, no way do I want to be in any of those situations! But at the end of the day in the van when I’m tired and sweaty and my feet hurt, I look over at my husband, happy and relaxed driving us home. I look in the back seats at our tribe already sleeping like the dead after having a great day,” she shrugged, “and I think I was crazy for not wanting to come, and look forward to making more memories with my family.”

Diane tilted her head toward conversational chairs across the room.

“C’mon, Olivia. Let’s talk.”

The buzzing in her ears had stopped and bile no longer tried to claw its way out of her stomach. But as Olivia Chandler crossed the room, her steps were slow and weighted, part of her mind still rebelling against being in Diane Payton’s office.

And it was that part of her mind Olivia pushed back against and took a seat.

©Felicia Denise 2017