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truth1The Truth She Knew is now available on Amazon for pre-order! Just click here while it’s on sale. If you’re interested in reading the early reviews on Goodreads, click here. I have to admit the reviews have been overwhelming and humbling.

Since the book hasn’t been released yet, and a preview isn’t available, I wanted to share the first few pages. I know I always like to preview before ordering. I worked with an amazing editor from HarperCollins, and she will also be editing book 2 in the series which I just finished the rough draft yesterday.

This series is contemporary fiction and new adult. It’s 17+ due to language, sex, and some violence.

Copyright © 2016 by J.A. Owenby

Chapter 1

Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me. She reminded me of this on a consistent basis, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t change her mind. Finally, I had to make a choice: her or me.

My heels clicked against the cold tile floor of the hospital and my heart fluttered as I searched the room numbers.

I rubbed my clammy hands against my jeans as I saw the ladies’ restroom and hurried toward it. I needed a minute before I reached her room. I pushed the door open and scanned the bathroom for anyone else. It was empty.

My purse landed with a thud on the bathroom counter. I turned the cold water on, splashed it on my cheeks, and wiped my face with a paper towel.

“Breathe,” I muttered. “She can’t hurt you anymore. You’re grown.”

My pep talk wasn’t working. Fear was gnawing at my stomach.

I reached into my bag, grabbed my powder compact, and touched up my makeup. My green eyes shone brighter against the redness left from my tears. I ran a brush through my long, blond hair and dabbed a hint of gloss on my lips, more out of habit than need.

“Let’s do this, Lacey. Suck it up,” I said to my reflection. I released a slow, deep breath and headed out of the restroom and down the hall toward the ICU.

My hand trembled as I approached her room and reached for the door handle. I didn’t know what to expect. What would it be like, seeing her after all this time?

The door opened and closed behind me without a sound. I pulled the curtain aside and tried to comprehend what was in front of me.

The room was silent except for the rhythmic whoosh of the breathing machine. The ventilator had left its mark on Mama’s face, and her upper lip was swollen and bruised.

As I pulled the chair closer to her and sat down, I half-expected her eyes to flutter open and her lips to whisper what a bitch I was. But she lay still.

My goodbyes had been said years ago, but this was different; this was final. There were no more second chances, or third. None, ever again.

I stood up and paced around the tiny room. I should have been holding her hand and begging her to wake up so we could forgive each other, but I couldn’t. It didn’t matter how many years we’d been apart—every time I thought about her I remembered how she had cost me everything. And not once did she ever utter the words I’m sorry. In her mind, it had all been my fault.

I leaned against the wall and tucked a piece of hair behind my ear. In spite of my resistance, tears pooled in my eyes.

“Are you happy now?” My voice quivered and only the sound of the ventilator responded to my question.

It amazed me how I could love her and hate her at the same time. I knew I was supposed to love and honor my parents, but how could I when she had almost cost me my life?

My mind raced with dark memories and then I realized that for the first time in my life I was minutes away from being free. Relief washed over me as the tears flowed down my cheeks. I pushed the memories away. With freedom just around the corner, I needed to say what I felt even if it was locked away deep in my heart.

I approached Mama and brushed her thin, brown hair away from her forehead. I stared at her, her image burning into every part of my mind. Her eyes were closed with no movement and there was no response to my touch. She’d already left—her body only remained breathing due to the machines.

“I’ve missed you, Mama,” I whispered. “As much as I hate you, I love you more. I wish things had been different. I wanted you to love me so badly. Maybe now you finally will.”

I kissed her forehead and stepped back, wondering if death would finish the job quickly. Knowing Mama, she would hold on as long as she could to capture everyone’s attention for her grand finale. The doctor thought it wouldn’t take any longer than a few hours for her body to stop breathing on its own. I hoped it would happen sooner.

I left Mama’s room and walked down the hall to the ICU waiting room. My older sister Krissy, the golden child, was leaning against the wall as she stared out the window.

“Krissy,” I said as I approached her.

She turned toward me, her eyes rimmed with redness. We stared at each other for a few moments, and then I nodded.

“Lacey, are you sure? You don’t need any more time?” Krissy asked.

“I’m sure.”

She pushed herself off the wall, wiped her eyes, and turned away to find the doctor. It was time to disconnect the machine.

With my goodbyes said, I walked toward the exit to the hospital. I burst through the sliding doors and came to a quick stop as the fragrance of the spring rain filled my nose. The walkway was lined with bright green grass and an abundance of red and pink tulips. The last drops of rain slid off the tree leaves as I breathed it all in. It was breathtaking.

I was finally free.

Thank you all for your support!

Until Next Time…

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I think it was Bill Cosby who said children give you brain damage. Now that my kids are out of the house, other things give me brain damage. In fact, I’m so exhausted after an amazing conference I attended I kept saying Drain Bamage instead.

With that short rambling, I”m going to recommend an excellent read that you can take one short chapter at a time. The beauty of this book is that it applies to writing, to life, to your business, your job, your relatiThe Way You Doonships and every other area of your life.

Here it is:

“The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything” by Suzanne Evans. It reached #5 on the New York Times Bestseller list the first week. I hope you check it out whether you own a business or not, because in reality, our writing is our business.

Until Next Time…

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I’m straying from my normal post today. On Monday, July 30th I’m celebrating my 7 year anniversary. If someone had told me  years ago that I’d meet the man of my dreams, I would have laughed in their face, but I did meet him.

Let me share a bit of my story. I’m like everyone else, and have experienced the ups and downs of life and relationships.

In 1998, I took my 2 small children, loaded them in a U-haul, and made a trek with a friend, 2000 miles away from everything I’d ever known. Why? Because in 1995, I’d married a monster. He verbally, mentally and physically abused my children and myself. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house unescorted. If I had a phone call, he’d jerk the phone out of the wall. He sold my children’s toys for drug money, he couldn’t keep a job, yet this was all my fault, and I went to extremes to keep him happy.

One evening, he snapped. My son was five at the time, and when my now ex husband almost broke my son’s hand, I jumped out of my chair and yelled at him. I knew what the consequences would be. I thought. I sent my son to his bedroom, knowing he would be safe for a moment as my ex husband’s anger turned towards me. He screamed and yelled, while searching for the gun. He threatened to kill me and the kids. He promised that if I ever left, he’d hunt me down and kill us. I believed him.

That night was my breaking point. I’d lived with this for three years. Any time I question if God is real, or if he is still there, I remember his protection and moving us to safety. The entire time my ex-husband was ranting and searching for the gun, I had  a quiet peace inside me. I know God was there.

My ex never found the gun, and the next morning, by a miracle, I had permission to drive myself to work, and the kids to daycare without him. It was the first time in months I left the house without him.

I didn’t go back. We ran, and hid for three years. And he did hold true to his promise, he called and tormented my friends, threatened them, and used any means to find us. He never did.

After some time, I continued to find myself in abusive relationships. They weren’t as extreme, but I continued to go through hell and drag my poor kids with me. I remember sitting on the patio, my heart-broken, and I made up my mind, at that moment, that I refused to participate in another relationship that wasn’t good for us. Period. I’d been a single mom for 8 years already, and if it meant I was a single mom the rest of my life, so be it. I decided I was finished with crap relationships.

That was the moment that my life changed. When I stopped searching for someone to save me, to make me feel better about myself, to support us, that’s when God moved.

I met my husband a few months later. The first thing I noticed about him was his inner strength, and wow did he have a story behind him. I had an immediate respect for him. As we began talking a few times a week, I shared my experience with him,and he never blinked. It didn’t matter to him. He was just glad that we were safe.

Not long after, we married, and seven years later, I’d do it all again. For the first time in our lives, my kids and I were treated well. My children had several years to experience how they should treat a woman, and be treated by a man. My husband is an honorable man. When he gives his word, he means it. He cooks, cleans, shares all the household duties with me, takes the kids where they need to go and anything else we need to get done. I have a partner. And not one time, not once in seven years, has my husband ever spoken a mean word to me, not even when we’re irritated at each other. He tells me I’m beautiful, he encourages me in everything I do, and truly loves me unconditionally. When I’d hoped for a good man in our lives, I never dreamed I’d get more than I’d asked for.

So, to my husband…I love you with all my heart. You are my rock, my safety and my strength. You have given me the best seven years of my life. Thank you for choosing me and loving me. Happy Anniversary.

Until Next Time…

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Do you remember the moviePay It Forward” with Kevin Spacey? The basis of the movie revolved around a school project where Haley Joel Osment thought a good deed should be passed on to another person instead of repaid. I’ve always loved that movie, its profound.

I have found in my life during difficult times an opportunity will present itself. One opened and we took it. My daughter knows a family that has fallen on very difficult times. They weren’t able to purchase anything for back to school. No shoes, no shirts, no school supplies. It broke my heart, and even while I’m in the middle of a work transition myself my husband and I knew we needed to help, so we did.

I was a bit nervous about approaching the mom. I didn’t know how she would interpret our kindness, but as I met her the other morning tears spilled from her eyes. She mentioned that somehow she would pay us back.

“No, please just pass along the blessing to someone else who needs it. That’s all we ask,” I said.

“Pay it forward,” she replied.

I have no doubt in my mind that she will do just that.

I can’t tell you what it felt like watching my daughter help her friend pick out clothes. I almost cried.

Can you imagine what a different world we would live in today if people adopted this philosophy? Just one-act can cause a domino effect, but it’s our choice. What will your choice be?

Until Next Time…

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As a writer I tend to observe people. The other day in Costco I witnessed an interesting situation with a mother and her toddler. As toddlers tend to do the young man expressed his feelings with his mother, raised his small voice and shouted “no” at her. I watched her reaction, she remained calm and simply said:

“You don’t yell at mommy, what do you say?”

The toddler stared at her, his lip out and proceeded to yell “no” again. She responded the same way. I stood behind them and waited for the line to clear as I continued to watch. After another minute we moved outside and the mother parked her cart. She stood her young man up, made sure she had his attention and repeated herself one more time. To my surprise her son looked at her and said, “I’m sorry mommy,” and hugged her. She said, “Thank you, I forgive you for yelling.” She picked him up and kissed him as he snuggled into her arms.

I stood there watching with shock at how she’d handled the situation and was teaching her son that yes, he can express his feelings, but there is an appropriate way to do it. I didn’t get the impression that she was correcting him for what he said, but how he spoke to her.

I can’t say I’d had the wisdom or energy as a single parent to implement this. I to often see children throwing huge tantrums in public, screaming at their mother’s and calling them names. It’s a difficult age to deal with, but I left the store impressed and with a nugget of wisdom.

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I’m pondering one of my male characters. Let me know what your thoughts are. Here’s general information about him, then tell me A,B, or C. If you have another idea, please comment.

Connor Stafford is a ladies man, but what made him this way? What’s his real story? What drives his behavior? He’s handsome and rich, a southern gentleman full of charisma. Here are a few things I’ve considered:

A) Connor inherited 1/2 of his money when his grandfather died and if married by the age of 28 will inherit the other half. He just hasn’t found the right woman that he can trust with his money or his heart.

B) Connor’s father left his mother and four sisters when he was young and shattered his image of a perfect family. He vowed he’d never marry.

C) Connor has lost the two men in his life that  meant the most to him, his father and grandfather. He’s tired of losing people he loves and opts for shallow relationships instead.

I’m definitely considering other options. The above are possible, but I’m open to ideas.

Thanks for taking a moment to help me!

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The Help” is written from three separate points of view, Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter. Set in Jackson Mississippi in 1962 it deals with the racism still thriving in those times. Miss Skeeter decides she wants to write a book from the maids perspective of what it’s like to raise white children, work for white families, yet be shunned and disgraced due to the color of their skin.

Each character adds a unique flavor to the story. No pun intended and if you’ve read the book you will understand what “Two Slice Hilly” means. What a surprise, but it’s not revealed until later in the book. By that time you are so emotionally invested in the characters you are gagging and cheering at the same time.

This story is very well written. I enjoyed the writing style and how the book was laid out with several chapters for each person beginning with Aibileen, then Minny following with Miss Skeeter. Miss Hilly, who I often wanted to smack, was the main antagonist as far as characters, but the overall evil was the attitude and thought process towards other human beings. The book contained lots of cliffhangers that had me flipping pages wondering where each persons story would pick back up. The pace was beautiful and kept you wanting more.

“The Help”  was unique in one large way to me. It emotionally engaged me. I don’t mean I rooted and cheered for the characters, which I did, but I can’t recall a book ever making me laugh out loud one minute and tears in my eyes the next. It reached inside me, and pushed a multitude of buttons.

If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. I give it 5 stars!! I hope the movie can live up to the books standards.

Until Next Time…

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