Yes or No Launch

It’s 3:09 a.m. on Sunday, the last day of spring break. The last night I can stay up late like this. I dread going back to the school, back to the students who don’t want to learn, and back to a life where I can’t work on books all day. But it is what it is.

I’m really writing this to thank the readers who bought a copy of my novel Yes or No during its first week of life. The launch isn’t something that will finance my life, but it is, by far, the best book launch I’ve done so far.

Most surprising has been the sales of paperback copies through Draft2Digital. If you’re an independent author and you haven’t looked into D2D, I highly recommend “going wide.” My Amazon Kindle Unlimited page reads were never all that great and I’m loving D2D. One of the best things is the universal book link, which I’ll share in a minute. My goal here is to convince more of you to buy Yes or No.

Without further ado, here’s the last chunk of Chapter 1 . . .

“What do you want from me?” Daniel asked.

“They told me you were gruff and could be rude,” Alicia answered, holding his gaze, not allowing him to look away. There was a steel in her demeanor he hadn’t expected to find. “I’ve learned that hard shells usually are built around something very … fragile,” she said, and Daniel knew she had almost said “soft” instead.

“Your experience?” Daniel inquired.

“I’m a social worker,” she said. “I mostly work with teenagers. They’ve been neglected, abused, abandoned, and they turn tough, but underneath, they are hungry for the love they’ve never felt.”

Daniel couldn’t contain his laughter. He put both his hands palm down on the table and threw his head back as he roared with it . The room around them became silent and all eyes turned toward them. Daniel didn’t know how long he would have laughed if Alicia hadn’t reached over and put one of her hands over his. His laughter choked off and died in his throat. He lowered his head and looked at her.

“Neglected, abused, and abandoned?” he asked. “Hungry for love? Is that me? Am I hungry for love? Are you a whore? Are we going back to my room for a fuck? I’ll need one of those little blue pills.”

She never released his eyes as he spoke. Her face gave away nothing of what was going on inside her head. Her hand rested on top of his, without pressure, without condemnation. It angered Daniel, but he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of shaking it off. He could not, however, hold her gaze and he looked away to see that the residents were returning to their boring activities.

“Are you done?” Alicia asked.

He didn’t answer.

Her hand lifted off his, the warmth taken away suddenly. She shuffled her stack of material, moved the blue binder, opened a manilla file folder and held it up, studying the top page in a way that prevented Daniel from seeing it. She looked over the folder at him, then slid a single piece of paper out, placed it facedown on the table, and slid it across to him, her hand still on it.

“Look at this, please,” she said, and withdrew her hand.
Daniel flipped the page over, not knowing what to expect other than some bullshit. What he saw, though, made his eyes widen and his mouth go dry. It was a portrait of a young woman, a girl, really, a high school senior picture from the 1980s. The girl was thin, with dark eyes and teased-out blonde hair. He knew it was blonde despite the photocopy  being in black and white. He knew that hair. That smile. She’d had her top braces taken off the day before that picture was made so she wouldn’t feel self-conscious smiling for her senior portrait.

“Do you know her?” Alicia asked.

“Penny,” Daniel said. He tried to say it, but there was no sound in his voice. His breath hitched. Oxygen flowed into him from the tubes. He told himself there was no fragility at his core. He was not soft. The sun … the sun was in his eyes again and that’s why they were watering. “Penny Armstrong,” he said in a raspy whisper very unlike any of Clint Eastwood’s dialogue.

“I’m her daughter,” Alicia said. “I’m your daughter, Daniel.”

Yes or No is available in e-book and print pretty much anywhere you’d care to buy it. Here’s where that universal book link comes in. Just click here and select your favorite online store! The audiobook is in production and will be here soon. I hope you’ll give the book a read (or listen) and leave a review.

Speaking of reviews, the novel got its first one today. The reviewer gave it five stars and said, in part, “Well worth a read, and I hope the author continues to write such thought-provoking works.”

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