Monday, May 2, 2016

"The Art of Not Breathing"

Sarah Alexander lives in London with her husband, two chickens and an imaginary cat called H.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Art of Not Breathing, her first novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
COLIN: What did one tide say to the other tide?

CELIA: I don’t know, what did one tide say to the other?

COLIN: Nothing, it just waved.
Page 69 of The Art of Not Breathing falls on one of the chapter breaks which give space to a series of ocean jokes. The jokes included at these breaks are from Eddie’s joke book and the pages feature other characters telling the jokes to each other. They are a way of keeping Eddie at the forefront of the story as well as pointing to each character’s own story. This particular joke perfectly captures the mood of the book because it’s about not communicating – the issue at the heart of the novel. Each character deals very privately with their loss, to the point of not ever talking about their pain, or much else. They have become bystanders in each other’s lives.

The joke also hints at the watery theme of the book – the ocean is what has torn the Main family apart – it represents fear, loss and the unknown – but it’s also what brings them back together. Elsie, the teenage protagonist in the book discovers the beauty of the undersea world and, through it, starts to live again. Throughout the story, Elsie remembers Eddie’s jokes and they are a part of him that she can hang on to.
Visit Sarah Alexander's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"New Charity Blues"

Camille Griep lives just north of Seattle with her partner, Adam, and their dog Dutch(ess). Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Southern California to attend Claremont McKenna College, graduating with a dual degree in Biology and Literature.

She has since sold short fiction and creative nonfiction to dozens of online and print magazines. She is the editor of Easy Street and is a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. Letters to Zell is her first novel.

Griep applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, New Charity Blues, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I choose my words carefully. “I want to understand the Blessing. But I want to understand, even before that, if the Spirit really ... I mean, why we didn’t get sick.”

Almost in unison the three of them shove their sleeves up. A faint blue dot pulses on the insides of their biceps. “This.”

“But I don’t have that,” I say.

Cas reaches for my arm. “May I?” I nod. She rolls up my sleeve and runs her thumb up the inside of my arm. It feels like normal pressure until she hits a spot that feels as if she’s gouging me with an icicle.

“Ouch!” I yank my arm out of her reach. But when I do, lo and behold, there is the same faint blue dot. “What did you do to me?”

“I didn’t do anything. You’ve always had it. It was the inoculation the Bishop gave when he first got here. Maybe you don’t remember. There was bird flu or something, and most of us took it.”

Nausea settles over me. “My mom didn’t.”

“I’m sorry,” Cas says. I wish she’d stop being sorry.

I heave my thoughts back to now. “How come it wasn’t glowing before?”

Len snorts. “Maybe you should’ve scrubbed a little harder in the shower this morning.”
New Charity Blues is a post-pandemic re-imagining of the Trojan War set in a contemporary American west. Cressyda (Syd) Turner has returned to her isolated hometown of New Charity under the guise of settling her late father’s affairs, but, quietly, she plots to open the town’s reservoir that will allow water to flow into the hydroelectric plant that powers Syd’s beloved City.

But even the best-laid revenge plots are rarely simple. On page 69, after an awkward dinner party, Syd convenes with her childhood best friends. The discomfort of the oddly formal evening follows them outdoors. Syd is at once beloved and outsider, friend and enemy. She carefully tries to explain that she is not only there to understand her father’s death, which has left her with only one living relative, but why her hometown has changed in so many ways.

When her friends point out the inoculation scars on their arms, glowing blue thanks to a large, magical ward of protection on the reservoir itself, Syd receives one of the first pieces of a puzzle that will reveal itself throughout the story. She’d barely noticed the scar in the City, but now that she’s near the ward, she too, sees and feels the influence of magic, of things being not what they seem.

This scene is a standoff of sorts, as well as a capitulation. Syd desperately wants and needs the help of her friends. They want to help, but need her to be careful, not just for her sake, but for theirs, as well. In this vignette we see trepidation, reticence, and caution, but we also see respect, love, and kindness between people whose friendship supersedes fear.

In this way, the scene is a perfect sample of New Charity Blues. It is a story of characters weighing all they have against all they’ve lost in the face of increasingly insurmountable odds, ever hopeful of a bright future together.
Visit Camille Griep's website.

The Page 69 Test: Letters to Zell.

Coffee with a Canine: Camille Griep and Dutchess Marie Siefker-Griep.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Design for Dying"

Renee Patrick is the pseudonym of married authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan. Rosemarie is a research administrator and a poet. Vince is a screenwriter and a journalist. Both native New Yorkers, they currently live in Seattle, Washington.

They applied the Page 69 Test to their new novel, Design for Dying, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Time to test Edith Head’s advice. I let my tan sweater hang over the matching knit skirt, cinching it with a narrow belt. In my own biased opinion, I looked pretty good. But my ego demanded unsolicited compliments. Any more than the usual number – zero – and I’d declare victory.
“Pardon me,” I said. “Are you done with that paper?”

“I could be, for a smile.”

Despite the ungodly hour I gave him his money’s worth, teeth included at no extra charge.

“Take it and maybe I’ll see you again sometime.” He winked, which I credited to Edith’s fashion tip.
It’s uncanny how page 69 cuts right to the heart of the dynamic that animates Design for Dying, our mystery novel set during the Golden Age of Hollywood. By this point our unlikely detectives have met. Lillian Frost, once-aspiring actress turned sensible shopgirl, recognizes that the gown worn by her murdered former roommate was wardrobe stolen from Paramount Pictures. Lillian’s eye for detail impresses Edith Head, who runs the studio’s costume department in all but name and fears a scandal will jeopardize her hard-won position.

Naturally, they become a sleuthing duo, with Edith as armchair detective and Lillian as leg woman. Those roles are mirrored in their personal relationship. Edith sees in Lillian a smart, resourceful younger woman who has taken some steps on her own but doesn’t yet know which way to go. Lillian immediately views Edith as a role model, an independent spirit blazing her own trail.

How else would a costume designer begin the mentoring process than through clothes? Edith offers Lillian a simple tip to better showcase her appearance. Lillian not only puts it into practice but allows it to work a modest transformation, the good Catholic girl flirting with a stranger on the streetcar to acquire his newspaper – which, unbeknownst to her, contains a valuable piece of information. It’s on page 69 that Lillian truly becomes Edith’s student, embracing the teacher’s oft-quoted lesson: “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
Visit Renee Patrick's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Counting Thyme"

Melanie Conklin is a writer, reader, and life-long lover of books and those who create them. She lives in South Orange, New Jersey with her husband and two small maniacs, who are thankfully booklovers, too. Conklin spent a decade as a product designer and approaches her writing with the same three-dimensional thinking and fastidious attention to detail.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Counting Thyme, her debut middle grade novel, and reported the following:
Counting Thyme is the story of a girl named Thyme, whose family moves across the country for her little brother’s cancer treatment. On page 69 [inset; click to enlarge], Thyme is coming home to their apartment in New York City after Val’s first day of treatment. It’s an apprehensive moment because Thyme’s parents haven’t been very forthcoming about what will actually happen to Val. Thyme has looked up lots of information on her own, because that’s the kind of eleven-year-old girl she is…but there is so much fear bottled up inside of her: fear of the side effects of Val’s treatment (which can be intensely painful), fear of what this process is doing to her mother, fear of the unknown future. In many ways, Thyme tries to put off this future by clinging to her past. She wants to go back home. She’s focused on that goal, and is spending a lot of her time on a plan to escape. But in this scene, you see her choose. Even though she’s scared, she opens the door.
Visit Melanie Conklin's website, Twitter perch, and watch the Counting Thyme book trailer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"The Last Boy and Girl in the World"

Siobhan Vivian is the author of the young adult novel The List, as well as Not That Kind of Girl, Same Difference, and A Little Friendly Advice, and the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Jenny Han. A former editor for Alloy Entertainment, she received her MFA in creative writing at the New School.

Vivian applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Last Boy and Girl in the World, and reported the following:
From page 69:
The DJ put on a fast song. I wanted to sit and wait for Jesse to notice that I’d come back, but that would have been lame. It would be better if he saw me having a blast out on the dance floor. So I said to my friends, “Come on. Let’s get some blisters.”

Elise stood right up with me, but Morgan scrunched up her face. “Maybe in another song or—”

I grabbed her hand and dragged her out to the center of the basketball court.

After a few songs, if it was still raining, I had no idea. I was too busy dancing. Elise mostly swayed to the beat, but Morgan and I used to dance in her basement when we were little, and we had a few routine moves down pat that I eventually forced her into doing with me. I’d always been jealous that she got to take real-deal dance lessons, but she let me wear her costumes, and she’d teach me the moves she learned and it ended up feeling like I’d taken the classes too. We’d even put on performances for her grandmother.

As much as I was there in the moment, every time a song ended, I’d wonder if Jesse would come find me. When he didn’t, I’d think about going to grab him. Could I be that brave?
I’m lucky! I think page 69 of The Last Boy and Girl in the World perfectly highlights the two main relationships that my main character, Keeley, is concerned with throughout the novel. Firstly, there’s Morgan, her best friend forever. They’ve been experiencing some growing pains to date, but haven’t quite addressed them head on. And secondly, there’s Jesse Ford, the love of Keeley’s life. He’s never paid her much attention before, but now there’s a chance he might be interested in her. This scene takes place during the Spring Formal, during the start of a major storm that will wreck havoc on the town.
Visit Siobhan Vivian's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Murder at the 42nd Street Library"

Con Lehane is a mystery writer who lives outside Washington, DC. He's published three crime novels featuring New York City bartender Brian McNulty. Over the years, he has worked as a college professor, a union organizer, a labor journalist, and has tended bar at two dozen or so drinking establishments.

Lehane applied the Page 69 Test to Murder at the 42nd Street Library, the first novel in a new series featuring Raymond Ambler, curator of the 42nd Street Library’s (fictional) crime fiction collection, and reported the following:
From page 69:
When McNulty got a break, Ambler explained the situation.

McNulty gave Benny the lawyer’s contact information. “He’s gonna quote you a big number.”

McNulty said. “He likes to think of himself as high-priced. You tell him I sent you and to see me about the bill. He’ll curse a lot, but he’ll do it.”

Poor Benny, his eyes tearing, his expression helpless, grateful, and befuddled, could barely speak. Ambler left him outside the bar on the corner calling the lawyer on his cell phone.
When he got back to his desk he called Mike Cosgrove.

“You’ve scared my friend Benny half to death,” he said as soon as he heard “Cosgrove” at the other end of the line.

“That’s not something I can talk to you about.”

“He’s a suspect? You’re going to arrest him?”

“You’re not hearing what I said?” It took a few seconds for Ambler to understand that his friend was embarrassed because he couldn’t talk openly and angry because he was embarrassed.

“I know. You have a job to do. Maybe it’s not even you. Still, let me tell you this. I don’t know about the Donnelly woman. But I can tell you for sure Benny isn’t a guy who comes up on someone from behind. If you spent—”

“Ray, please. … I can’t talk about this. But I do have some information on the girl you asked about.”

Ten minutes later, Ambler got off the phone and sat staring in front of him. What Cosgrove told him about Emily Yates hit close to home.
This is the end of chapter six of Murder at the 42nd Street Library. Looking at the page in isolation, there’s a lot readers wouldn't know. They’d get that Benny was a suspect, since it’s a mystery, probably a suspect in a murder. They could get that Cosgrove is a cop, since he’s in a position to make Benny a suspect and might arrest him. But who the hell is McNulty, what’s Ambler got to do with anything, and why is he upset by what Cosgrove has told him about Emily Yates?

Ray Ambler is my main guy in this series. He’s the curator of the (fictional) crime fiction collection at the New York Public Library’s flagship, the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, recently christened the Schwarzman Building but known to New Yorkers as the 42nd Library, based on its location at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. More important, he has something of a track record as crime solver, grudgingly acknowledged by his friend and sometimes adversary, Mike Cosgrove, a NYPD homicide detective. McNulty is the bartender at the Library Tavern, the joint where the library staff often stop off for beer after work. McNulty is actually the hero of my earlier series, The Bartender Brian McNulty Mysteries, that I’ve kept on in the new series.

The situation they’re dealing with is an unsolved murder at the library, where there are plenty of suspects in addition to Benny, and an uneasy sense that the first murder might not be the last. Emily Yates, of the disturbing news, is the missing daughter of a mystery novelist, Nelson Yates, whose donation of his papers to the library, seems to have set off the events that led to the murder Benny is suspected of. To put all of this together, one would definitely need to read more than page 69.
Visit Con Lehane's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Con Lehane & Lola.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Laura Williams McCaffrey is author of Marked, Water Shaper, and Alia Waking. She is on faculty at Solstice, an MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College, and lives in Vermont with her family. She applied the Page 69 Test to Marked and reported the following:
From page 69:
“‘Kay.” His eyes searched her, but she couldn’t tell for what. “After you left, I noticed the address you gave. The Waterhouses used to own the farm next to your ma and da’s place?”

“Y-yes, s-sir,” Lyla stammered.

“Were you and Gillis Waterhouse friends?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good friends?”

“When we were little, sir. They moved to Digger Street when we were eleven. We haven’t been close friends in a long while.”

“So you haven’t talked much to him in the last few years.”

“No, sir.”

“Great. That’s great. So could you start running around together again if you wanted to?” Officer Riverton asked in a rush.

“I don’t understand, sir,” Lyla said, though she suspected she did.
By page 69, Lyla has been caught by the peace officers, her world’s version of police, in the shadow market, her world’s version of a blackmarket. She’s been marked on the wrist, tattooed as a criminal. This means she’s lost any chance of winning a patron who might send her to university. She’ll be forever stuck working long hours at jobs she hates, earning barely enough to survive.

In this section, the peace officer who marked her has called her back to the prison, and he’s suggested there might be a way she can earn the mark off. He’s questioning her about her beloved childhood friend, Gillis Waterhouse, from whom she’s estranged. Gill has left home, and she knows he’s working for Red Fist, a group of dangerous criminals. A group the peace officers very much want to capture and defeat.

Lyla can already tell that earning her off mark might involve something difficult, perhaps dangerous and troubling. But what choice does she have?
Visit Laura Williams McCaffrey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"War Hawk"

James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers that have been translated into more than forty languages. In addition to his New York Times bestselling collaborations with Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy, Grant Blackwood is the author of three novels featuring Briggs Tanner. A U.S. Navy veteran, Blackwood spent three years as an operations specialist and a pilot rescue swimmer.

Rollins applied the Page 69 Test to their new novel, War Hawk, and reported the following:
From page 69:
After a couple more drinks with Frank Ballenger at the bar, Tucker headed back to his motel. It had rained while he had been chatting with Frank, leaving the night air muggy and smelling of warm asphalt. Kane sat on the passenger seat, his muzzle resting on the doorframe of the open window.

Tucker sped west away from the traffic of the city, then turned south along the edge of the massive swamp that backed up to his motel. His headlights swept over cypress branches gauzed in Spanish moss. Unseen insects ticked against his windshield.

Suddenly the SUV’s radio blared to life, startling him, making him swerve slightly on the lonely road “…Evening, folks, you’re listenin’ to WTKI, Huntsville talk radio…

Scowling, Tucker turned off the radio. As he did so, the engine sputtered, the dashboard lights flickered, and the vehicle began to slow.


Kane’s head pivoted toward him. The shepherd let out a whine of complaint.

“Hey, it’s not me.”

The radio came on again, then went silent. The windshield wipers began to flap.

What the hell

Tucker steered the SUV onto the shoulder—and just in time. With a double cough, the engine died.

He sighed and patted Kane’s flank. “Buddy, it’s finally happened. We’re being abducted by aliens.”
As a veterinarian, I’ve always loved folding animals into my stories, whether it be an orphaned jaguar cub bonded to its caretaker or a search-and-rescue shepherd who proves that retirement has not dulled its sharp nose.

In my latest thriller, War Hawk, a military working dog named Kane and his Army Ranger handler, Tucker Wayne, are on the road together, striving to escape demons of their past—until that same past comes crashing down upon their doorstep. A former girlfriend, desperate and scared, arrives with a young boy in tow. The pair is being hunted by shadowy forces and seeks the unique skills of this ranger and his four-legged companion to survive.

The first clues to the shocking truth lead Tucker and Kane to the Alabama swamps, where the two begin to discover the scope of the dangers ahead, a threat that will test both their skills and their deep bond.
Visit the official James Rollins website and Grant Blackwood's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"The Other Widow"

Susan Crawford grew up in Miami, Florida, where she spent her childhood adoring her older sister, reading mysteries in a hammock strung between two Banyan trees, and collecting lizards, baby skunks and other odd, exotic creatures.

She later moved to New York City and then to Boston before settling in Atlanta to raise three amazing daughters and to teach in various adult education settings. A member of The Atlanta Writers Club and The Village Writers, Crawford works for the Department of Technical and Adult Education and is a member of her local planning commission. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and a trio of rescue cats, where she enjoys reading books, writing books, rainy days, and spending time with the people she loves.

Crawford applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Other Widow, and reported the following:
From page 69:
She leans against the kitchen counter near the window. Her eyes blur out of focus at a backyard strewn with branches, brown and dead, like skeletons across the snow. Sometimes she hears Joe’s voice, feels him, like a buzzing underneath her skin. A background noise, like trains near the apartment she and Samuel had downtown when they first lived together. They were such a constant sound that almost right away she’d stopped hearing them. She only noticed late at night when they stopped running. She heard the absence of the trains, the silence, and Dorrie wonders if that’s what will happen when she stops hearing Joe.
On page 69 of The Other Widow, Dorrie, Joe’s girlfriend, and so the other widow, is reflecting on feeling the presence of her dead lover, knowing it won’t last forever. Although the book is a suspense, although Dorrie is in danger and struggling to stay one step ahead of her pursuer while she figures out what exactly is going on and who exactly is after her, she is also grieving. Unlike Joe’s real widow, she must hide her feelings. She doesn’t have the luxury of grief. We see glimpses of it in moments like the one depicted on page 69.
Visit Susan Crawford's website.

Writers Read: Susan Crawford (March 2015).

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 18, 2016

"A Drop of Night"

Stefan Bachmann is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Peculiar and its acclaimed sequel, The Whatnot. He was born in Colorado, spent most of his childhood in Switzerland, and is now studying modern music at the Zürich University of the Arts. When he’s not writing, he can be found traveling to someplace chilly, or holed up beneath his college in the dimly lit labyrinth of practice rooms, which may have inspired the subterranean scenes in his new novel, A Drop of Night.

Bachmann applied the Page 69 Test to A Drop of Night and reported the following:
From page 69:
Dorf clears his throat. "Your parents have all been informed of your safe arrival. We will be keeping them updated and will have a complete folder prepared and sent to them before your return. Once the media embargo is over, they'll know as much as everyone. I think they'll be quite pleased with what you are capable of."

I hate how he talks. Like we're not even real people. Like we're a row of dumbbells with painted faces, supposed to nod and smile at his performance.

"The palace," Will says He's fiddling with the silverware, straightening it on the starched linen napkin. "It must have taken decades to build. Versailles took fifty years. How could they have kept something so large a secret?"

Dorf smiles. "They couldn't. At least, not entirely. There were reports of a great undertaking in Pérrone, and certainly local rumors, but many historians thought it was simply another tall tale fabricated by Paris revolutionaries. Slander was rampant against the aristocracy. An underground palace as large as the Sun King's court but buried a hundred feet below ground was probably too ridiculous and excessive a luxury to even consider."
A Drop of Night is a YA thriller about a group of American teens who are given the opportunity to explore a mysterious underground palace built during the French Revolution. It's my first attempt at YA, and also my first attempt writing something not overtly fantasy (though it's still a little fantasy-ish, what with secret underground palaces and such) and it ended up this wild, weird, sci-fi historical horror mash-up about an angry girl named Anouk and her attempt to survive what's in the depths. The modern day scenes are spliced with historical scenes of the wealthy aristocrats who fled to the palace during the Revolution. It took many drafts to sort out.

On page 69 the kids have just arrived at the chateau that now stands above the site of the fabled buried palace. They're being briefed by their chaperone, Professor Dorf, and are beginning to become suspicious that maybe this trip will be dangerous, and maybe something bad is down there, even now, two hundred years later.
Learn more about the book and author at Stefan Bachmann's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Peculiar.

The Page 69 Test: The Peculiar.

The Page 69 Test: The Whatnot.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 16, 2016

"Brilliant Beacons"

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling author of the award-winning Fur, Fortune, and Empire; Leviathan, which was chosen by the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe as a best book of the year; and When America First Met China.

Dolin applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Soon after the Argand lamp was introduced, Europeans began pairing the lamps with parabolic reflectors, creating lighthouse lights that were far more effective than those that had come before. The reflectors were typically made of metal clad in a thick layer of silver that was polished to a mirrorlike finish to increase its reflectivity. In a few instances a thick plano-convex glass lens—flat on one side, convex on the other—was placed in front of the lamp in an attempt to magnify the light beam and make it stronger, but this addition was soon discarded when it was discovered that rather than magnify the light, it made it worse.
Europeans had long used coal, wood, candles, as well as oil lamps to light their lighthouses, but in the 1780s a major leap in lighthouse illumination took place. It began with the work of the Swiss-born physicist Aimé Argand. In 1782, while living in France, he developed a new type of oil lamp. Instead of a single, solid wick it used a hollow circular wick placed between two thin concentric brass tubes. This arrangement increased the amount of oxygen reaching the lighted wick by forcing air to flow up through the inside of the inner tube, as well as over the outside of the outer tube—more oxygen made for more efficient combustion, less smoke, and a brighter light. The wick could be raised and lowered by turning a knob, and oil was fed by gravity to the wick through a pipe connected to a reservoir.

Page 69 of Brilliant Beacons (half of which is taken up by an illustration) is in chapter 3, titled “Lights of a New Nation,” which follows the evolution of lighthouses from the end of the American Revolution up through the end of the War of 1812. One element of that chapter is the creation of the Argand lamp, and how it revolutionized lighthouse lighting.

Although this snippet from page 69 is quite interesting, I don’t feel it captures the incredible drama of Brilliant Beacons, nor does it give the reader a good sense of the numerous fascinating stories that the book contains. Simply put, Brilliant Beacons, a work rich in maritime lore and brimming with original historical detail, is the most comprehensive history of American lighthouses ever written, telling the story of America through the prism of its beloved coastal sentinels. Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America’s lighthouse system, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation’s hardscrabble coastlines. It includes a memorable cast of characters including the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country’s efforts to adopt the revolutionary “Fresnel Lens,” and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, ruthless egg collectors, and most importantly, the light-keepers themselves. Once you read Brilliant Beacons you will literally see lighthouses in a whole new light.
Learn more about the book and author at Eric Jay Dolin's website.

The Page 99 Test: Fur, Fortune, and Empire.

The Page 99 Test: When America First Met China.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the bestselling novels Roses and Tumbleweeds.

Meacham applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Titans, and reported the following:
Like many authors, I like to introduce my books with a quote. The one I chose for Titans has been credited to Albert Einstein, but in deference to the doubt of that attribution, it is cited as “an old saying.” It reads: Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous. And so the reader has now been alerted to the probability of Fate having a hand in the story. In the prologue, twins are parted at birth. The boy remains with his parents. The girl is given away. What are the chances that these two will reunite in later years? Please forget any expectation of the pair meeting, being attracted to each other, and disaster following. That’s been done (and done and done). Besides that story line is rather sick, and this author does not do sick. I’m not giving anything away when I confide that indeed they do meet, but “Oh dear!” when they do. The following excerpt will give you some idea.
Neal looked down the long table in the Trail Head and wondered how in the bloody hell it had happened that his worst nightmare had come to life and sat at his table as a dinner guest. The world was an infinite place. Damn, Texas was as big as a country! How was it possible that in all the space in the universe, the child he’d adopted and raised as his own would be dining with her father and twin brother at the same table in her home without any of them having a clue to the other’s identity? What force had collected and driven them into this one chute? He could not shake the gut-emptying feeling that a divine power had herded them here today.
So with that, I leave you with the hope you’ll want to follow the trail in Titans to see where it leads.
Visit Leila Meacham's website.

The Page 69 Test: Roses.

--Marshal Zeringue