Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday!  Share an excerpt fewer than 500 words from your family friendly book in the comments below.  Be sure to include the title and one buy link.  Then go spread the word about this post so even more people will find it.

Happy reading (and writing)!!


An Informal ArrangementClick to Buy

How could he explain it without sounding like a spiritual fraud? “I wasn’t very happy with God. I’ve struggled with what happened to me, what the rest of my life is going to be like, and whether or not I’ll ever wholly recover. Who am I if I’m not able to walk up and down stairs without assistance? Am I even a man if I can’t bathe without supervision? How can I…” His voice trailed off into silence.

“You’re human. I’d be more worried about you if you didn’t struggle with those kinds of questions.”

He bit his bottom lip before continuing. “I didn’t turn my back on God, not really. I just wasn’t happy with Him for a while and was afraid if I went to church, it would become obvious to everyone. Remember all that stuff I said about how your eternity should matter more to me than your friendship?”

“Of course.”

“I used an easy excuse — you — and told myself if you saw me as a hypocrite, it would push you further away from God. That’s not the real reason, though. The truth is, I didn’t want to face Him, and I didn’t want to face all the people who believed I was rock solid in my faith. I wasn’t ready yet, for either of those encounters.”

“But you’re ready now?”

With a steady hand this time, he reached for his mug and took a drink before answering. “Yeah, I am. I won’t lie and say I’m thrilled with the new direction my life has taken, but I’m in this for the long haul, and I’ll follow where God leads me.”

“You make it sound easy.”

His grin twisted. “Not easy, no. I need to move forward, though.”

Go Back

MOOSED OPPORTUNITIES (part of the Christian romance set Picnics and Promises)

Jan Elder
Buy Link:

Eric's dog, Apollo, yipped one last time and back-peddled toward his waiting fingers. At last.

And then the deer at the crest of the hill pawed at the crunchy snow. Her mate joined her, a splendid twelve-point buck with an impressive rack, shaking his head, twin plumes of steam streaming from his nostrils. The canine couldn’t help himself. He launched onto the frozen expanse, tiny legs propelling him like a windmill in a gale. A few feet out, the dog lost his footing on the slippery snow-covered ice. Landing on his stomach, legs all akimbo, the brownish-red missile rocketed straight for a thin spot in the ice on the other side of the stream.

With only a split second of indecision, Eric flung himself off the bank, half-skating on the ice, the breeze stinging his ears as he zipped forward. If he had any hope of catching that bundle of fur, he was going to have to slide. If a full-grown deer could make it across…

The ice creaked, but it held fast. Thankfully, he was gaining on the dog. Halfway across the river, he caught up to Apollo and grabbed his collar with his right hand. They kept sliding. They were going to make it.

Crack! The ice on the other side of the stream gave way and he plunged into the frigid water, his breath whooshing from his lungs. The animal slithered from his grasp as Eric fought to keep his head above water.

Apollo’s soft brown eyes grew impossibly large as he bobbed to the surface a few feet away. Before Eric’s frightened dog could be carried away by the loosed current, he managed to grab onto the leather collar, hauling the animal to his upper body.

Water swirled around them. He kicked his legs to bring them to shore, grateful he only had to push against the current a few more feet before he was able to stand. His sodden cold-weather clothes weighed him down, but he stumbled through the cripplingly cold water, laboring each step of the way, his boots as heavy as if he had a brick strapped to each foot.

The poor dog whimpered and Eric clutched him closer as he stumbled onto land. “It’s okay, boy. We’re safe now.”

His gaze traveled up the hill. An entire herd of deer gaped at him. “Lotta help you guys were.”

He crashed down on a log and surveyed his soaking body, chest heaving. No doubt about it, he was in a pickle.

Piece from Reality Break:

“I am not doubting her abilities, Anya. Zerron isn't a safe place.”

“Hypothetically, we have armor on and we come across a mage that can heat up said armor. Boom! We roast under the metal and our skin burns. Well, maybe not mine, but you get my point." I quicken my pace.

“I do sweetie. You're afraid of losing your powers. You keep telling yourself that you won’t be without them ever again. Am I right?” Josh puts his arm on my shoulder. “Look, I know you're easily annoyed since we got back, I get that. I know there is something wrong with me and I don’t know what that is. No matter what, we need to be ready for what Ashima and Ozma have planned. Wish you would have taken care of Ozma when you had that chance. You know that if I get that chance, I won’t hesitate. And Z might resent me, but the UPC needs to be brought down.”

“I agree that Ashima and Ozma should not be anywhere near a place like the UPC. But Zarnell is right. The UPC should be saved and placed under better management.”

Josh removes his hand from my shoulder. “No one should be able to control that sort of power. Do you even know what powers all of those portals?”
“No,” I answer.

“Powerful crystals that were harvested from now dead planets. Ozma didn't come up with the idea of teleportation through wormholes, the mages at Vane did. If anything, Vane should take over the UPC.”

“I don't think the remaining mages will let the school die out completely. Taking over a corporation won't be high on their list of priorities right now."

“I hope not.” Josh says, looking around. “We're going in the wrong direction.”

“I need to speak with Taryn.”

“Is she coming too?”

“No. In case something goes wrong on Zerron, I rather have Taryn stay here. I told her we were going to Earth today.”

“Oh but Kyle, Celestria, and I, we're the exception, right?” he sarcastically says.

“You could stay here,” I point out.

“No way.”

“We're not going after Ozma.”

I stop walking. “We are not going after Ozma."

“You're not in charge,” Josh bites back.

An excerpt from Dorian the Daring, my YA medieval adventure novel.

But today as Dorian urged Chasten up the rock-lined path, he observed that someone had been there before him. There were marks of a horse’s hooves there in the earth; fresh ones at that. Then, as Dorian rounded a corner he came face to face with a man descending. The man’s eyes and mouth opened wide in abrupt astonishment. Dorian recognized him as being one of Sir Broeman’s men, the one who stuttered.
“Good morning, Wildon,” Dorian said, feigning not to observe the man’s queer expression, which he mentally compared to that of a dog caught sucking eggs. “Fine morning, is it not?”
“Oh, y-yes. My you fri-frightened me, master Dorian, coming around those r-rocks like that.” Wildon passed a dirt-streaked hand across his sweaty face. The sweat seemed oddly out of place.
“My apologies; I did not know anyone was there,” Dorian said, beginning to pass by. Then, almost as an afterthought, and with pretended nonchalance, he added: “By the by, are you delivering a message to my father? If so, I shall be glad to take it.”
“N-no. That-that-that is, my or-orders were to speak directly to S-sir Dedric himself. G-good day to you.” And the man rode on.
“Ten to one he had something on his mind besides a mere message; else why should he start so when he saw me?” Dorian muttered to himself. “And anyway, why should he come out of his way like this? I don’t recall him being an admirer of nature.”

Returning Home
Available for pre-order!

Evan Carter stared at his girlfriend, admiring her beauty. Brenda’s pixie haircut framed her pretty face and a soft smile graced her lips. She wore charm and gentleness like a cloak, as she gracefully changed lanes. She drove his new Altima like it was made for her.
He loved that Brenda suited every aspect of his life. She was a slam dunk in the girlfriend department. He ran his fingers over the velvet box in his pocket. Tonight was the night. The restaurant staff had been informed of his plans. With their help, his proposal would be flawless.
“Should I adjust the temp?” he asked.
“I’m good, sweetie,” she smiled at him, then quickly faced forward again.
Brenda would make the best high-school coach’s wife. His students loved her and, she loved basketball as much as he did. It was so easy to be with her.
“Evan, you made the perfect choice. This car is so quiet. I can’t believe we can’t hear the outside noise.”
“I know. That’s what sold me.” He pointed up ahead. “Make a right at the light.” He hadn’t revealed their dinner location. If he didn’t pay close attention, they’d miss a turn.
“Are you sure you don’t want to tell me where we’re going?”
“I’m sure. I still think you should have let me drive. Then it would really be a surprise.”
She laughed. “Of course, it would have been better, but I’ve been itching to get behind the wheel ever since you bought it.”
“Well now—”
A black truck swerve in and out of their lane.
“Baby, slow down. Watch out for that truck!”
There was nowhere to pull over, no way to avoid the impending collision. The two-lane road had no shoulder and the truck was picking up speed.
The black truck righted itself. Before Evan could even sigh in relief, the truck corrected, ending up in their lane, headed straight for them.
They were going to collide.
Evan held his breath, clenched his eyes, and braced for impact. Brenda’s scream pierced the air, but it seemed far away. His seat belt locked tight as the car came to an abrupt stop.
A weight dropped onto his leg. Pain exploded, smoke filled his nose. His body struggled to make sense of what happened. Finally, he closed his eyes and gave in to the darkness.

TRUNK OF SCROLLS: A Family Adventure
by Darlene N. Bocek

The king spoke to another man, and as we left over my shoulder I glimpsed four scrolls being taken to the king. Our Scrolls. It stabbed my heart. When we escaped, I left them behind to save our lives. That was a fair trade. This was not.

And now, being so close yet severed from them took me to the cliff of desolation. The power of those Scrolls—their mysterious neglected power—was now lost to me. And our survival—our next breath—depended on a strength we no longer had.

“God, please help us. Please help us,” I whispered hopelessly.
Justin sniffed to stop his weeping. His tear­stained face twisted as he tried to appear brave.

We have lost our Scrolls, our freedom, our lives. “God have mercy. Kyrie Eleison,” I said, fighting back my own desperate tears. For once, he did not echo. His wide eyes stared at the hun­ dreds of soldiers in the roped­off training ground we passed—hun­ dreds of soldiers moving together as a unit at sword drills. We will die here! Justin’s panicked eyes screamed. Life was in my bones,but hope had truly fled.

Botheric took us into a larger tent, a round black wool yurt, and passed us off with brusque Gothic words to our new slave boss, Groufe. He in turn led us to the cots we would sleep in for—what would be—the next three years.

I tried not to think of all the if­only’s. If only we had stayed home.

If only we had left Antioch on horseback. And brought more money. And not lost the Scrolls.

If only I had kept a closer eye on Justin that night. If only.

If only.

If only I knew how to trust God.

These things happened for one purpose. If only I had known.

The Reluctant Debutante - a sweet, regency romance
~ Are the possibilities worth the price? ~
Available from Amazon, free on Kindle Unlimited:


Victoria was beginning to feel quite miserable. She was soaked from head to toe, most of her body immersed in the water. Her heavy skirts were feeling like lead weights as they pulled her towards the current. Her boots were slowly sinking into the sludge on the river bottom. And the gorgeous stranger was now looking at her appraisingly.

“Can you reach my hand?”

Victoria felt a shiver slither up her back at the sound of his deep voice as he leaned down for her.

Wishing there were some other way, Victoria looked at him then up and down the river once more. Unfortunately, the riverbanks had not changed in the last few minutes and there was still no way to get up the bank on her own. Turning back to the stranger, she gritted her teeth and stretched out her hand.

Bryghton was struck by the young woman’s beauty. Her remarkable eyes held so much expressive emotion. He could tell she was scared and embarrassed but she had the wit to realize she had little choice if she wished to be rescued from her precarious position. The duke knew that not too much farther downstream the river deepened considerably.

The feel of her cold little hand in his large, warm one sent a strange sensation through him, but he knew this was not the time to be distracted. Despite her slight frame, her soaking clothes were weighing her down considerably, and effort would be required to get her out. In a similar gesture to hers, he too gritted his teeth and yanked on her arm.

With a plop, and after a swift scrabble up the bank, Victoria landed on the edge of the river next to the impeccably dressed, handsome stranger. Blushing again, she offered a shy, hesitant smile as she pushed herself to a seated position.

~ Happy Reading! ~

William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins:

“Cickam, Wender and Downe was founded in 1851 by three lawyers who wanted someone else to do their work for them,” Twain said. “They decided to only accept men of great intellect, unsurpassed integrity and a firm understanding of the law. They gave that up after five years when no one fit the bill. This led them to hire any fool who could manage to open a door without hurting himself, which produced a slightly higher number of successful applicants. But there are only so many jobs and too many idiots trying to get them! It’s been my experience that people will lie, cheat and steal to get a job here. So far no one has tried killing someone to get hired, but give it time.” Twain’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t have a gun, do you?”

“No,” Will told him.

“A knife?”


“A spatula?”

A bit exasperated, Will replied, “That’s not a deadly weapon.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you met my second or fourth wife,” Twain retorted.
“Mr. Bradshaw,” Twain began, “when we advertised this job we received over seven hundred resumes. None of them were even remotely qualified. You, however, are less unqualified than the other candidates. In fact it came down to you and an organ grinder’s monkey in Florida.”

“For a job as a manager?” Will asked quizzically.

Twain nodded. “It was a close one, but the monkey refused to relocate. Now, Mr. Bradshaw, you say you have managerial experience?”

“Yes, at my first job.”

That was stretching the truth until it broke. His first job was at a petting zoo where he ‘managed’ seven guinea fowl, two foul tempered geese that attacked children on sight and a border collie. The job lasted three weeks and ended when the border collie decided dry dog food wasn’t going to be good enough anymore. Will felt very bad about what had happened to the guinea fowl, but those geese had it coming.

“Good, good,” Twain said and wrote on the resume with exaggerated strokes of his pen. “And you have no problem working outdoors?”

“No problem at all.”

That was less of a lie. His second job involved spending three months scooping road kill off highways. Will had learned how to identify many small animals native to North America during that job, provided they were two-dimensional.

“Working with people from other cultures isn’t a problem for you?” Twain asked.

“Oh no.”

“Well, everything looks good then.” Twain wrote something on the resume, smiled at Will, then crumpled the resume up and threw it in a trash can.

TRY ME, I AM JESUS: A Muslim's Journey with Christ
by Syed Ibn Syed

It was nearly nine o'clock on the night of December 24, 1990. I was seventeen years old, sitting alone in a park, contemplating the recent turn of events. My mind was racing back and forth between incidents that could potentially have a very debilitating effect on my entire family. Wave after wave of emotions crashed through my soul. I was feeling angry, upset, sad, and lost. Yes, that was the word, lost. I had no one to turn to for help. The future seemed so bleak, and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to be slipping away into oblivion. Everything was so confusing; a host of questions bombarded my mind. Why were these things happening the way they were? Ours was a very good, God-fearing family. Then why these problems? Was Allah not pleased with me? Had I failed in any of my duties toward Allah? I had tried to keep my eyes and thoughts focused on the Almighty and had striven to fulfill the requirements of Islam to the best of my knowledge. Then why had this storm brewed in my family? I cried out toward Allah, the Almighty, Most Beneficent, and Merciful, yet the heavens seemed strangely distant. As I sat deep in thought, one question superseded all others. What use is this life after all that has happened?

WITCH'S MARK (a young adult novel)
by Sarah Norkus

Dread squeezed Emily Grace’s heart in a vise as the word “witch” reverberated around the meeting house. Her worst nightmare had just materialized in the form of a teenage girl screeching and pulling at her puritan clothing as she accused Em of witchcraft. Em shook her head, her denial drowned out as more voices chanted “witch.” Her terrified gaze locked on Samantha, frozen in place next to the dais, one purple lock of hair accentuating her too pale face.

The sound of the mallet striking the table on the dais and the magistrate shouting for order, added to the chaos of the three teenage girl’s screams and the loud shouts of “witch” by the frenzied villagers. Em’s heart started to pound like a trip hammer and she nearly jumped out of her skin as a commanding voice shouted.


The room became as quiet as a tomb. A chill crawled up Em’s spine as the magistrate’s cold gaze fell on first her and then Sam. “It is our degree that these girls shall be removed to Ingersoll’s Ordinary and examined for the mark of the witch.”

In Witch’s Mark, Em, Megan, and Sam journey back in time to the Salem Witch trials, where one girl is accused of theft, two are accused as witches and heart break ensues as two girls return to their time and one is left behind.

Landry in Like (Landry's True Colors Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Clean teen fiction for ages 10 and up.

I wanted to call my friends and tell them about being on the talk show, but Mom said we had to be at the TV station super early — even before school started. She said I could text them, but I had to turn off my phone and go to bed.

“I’m waking you up at four a.m.,” she said. “You have to be there at five-thirty.”

“Can I just call Peyton and Ashanti? Please?”

“Fine, but you have five minutes and then that phone is mine and you’re in bed.”

I dialed Peyton, but her mom said she was in the shower. I told her mom about the show tomorrow and said my mom wouldn’t let me stay up any later to call Peyton back.

“How exciting! I will make sure Peyton knows, and I will be watching you tomorrow. Good luck, honey,” Mrs. Urich said.

I called Ashanti next and told her.

“Get out. Get. Out. No way. This is so exciting!”

“I’m so nervous. My stomach is already doing cartwheels. I can’t do one, but my stomach can. Seems unfair. What if I throw up before I go on? I did that right before I went on at the statewide Ingénue modeling competition in Detroit, and my mom had to give me a cough drop to cover up the smell.”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine, but… just in case, take a cough drop with you,” Ashanti said. “Good luck. You’ll be great and I’ll go set the DVR now.”

I hung up and sent a text to Vladi, India, Devon, Thalia, Tori, and Ericka, so no one would be mad and feel left out. Then I shut off my phone. Mom poked her head in the door to make sure I was in bed.

“Night, hon. Try to get some rest,” she said.

Easier said than done. I stared at my ceiling while thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong tomorrow. Seeing as the show was on in the morning, I never got to watch it, so I had no idea what the set was like — did it have super high chairs and I’d struggle to get into them? And what if it had those higher stools that were kind of tippy and my rear overshot the seat and I fell off? Or what if the prep questions got lost and the interviewer asked me random things like my feelings on nuclear war or asked me about some foreign political leader who I had never heard of before, and I appeared stupid? Why did I say I’d do this? I tried to get comfortable and it felt like I had just dozed off when I felt my mom shaking my shoulder.

“Rise and shine, TV star,” she said.