40 Books that Inspired Me to Write

1. Laurie Halse Anderson ~ Speak

2. Jean De Brunhoff ~ The Story of Babar

3. Judy Bloom ~ Junie B. Jones series

4. Natalie Babbitt ~ Tuck Everlasting

5. Virginia Lee Burton ~ The Little House

6. Eleanor Coerr ~ Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes

7. Janell Cannon ~ Stellaluna

8. Janell Cannon ~ Verdi

9. Stephen Chbosky ~ The Perks of Being a Wallflower

10. Suzanne Collins ~ The Hunger Games series

11. Daphne du Maurier ~ Rebecca

12. Michael Dorris ~ A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

13. Roald Dahl ~ Boy

14. Roald Dahl ~ Matilda

15. Roald Dahl ~ The BFG

16. Roald Dahl ~ The Witches

17. Don Freeman ~ Corduroy

18. F. Scott Fitzgerald ~ The Great Gatsby

19. Gillian Flynn ~ Gone Girl

20. John Green ~ Looking for Alaska

21. Homer ~ The Odyssey

22. Khaled Hosseini ~ The Kite Runner

23. Ezra Jack Keats ~ The Snowy Day

24. John Knowles ~ A Separate Peace

25. Harper Lee ~ To Kill a Mockingbird

26. Lois Lowry ~ The Giver

27. Stephenie Meyer ~ Twilight series

28. Naomi Shihab Nye ~ Sitti’s Secrets

29. Scott O’Dell ~ Island of the Blue Dolphins

30. Audrey Penn ~ The Kissing Hand

31. J.K. Rowling ~ Harry Potter series

32. Gary Soto ~ Too Many Tamales

33. Louis Sachar ~ Holes

34. Shel Silverstein ~ The Giving Tree

35. R.L. Stine ~ Beach House

36. R.L. Stine ~ Dead End

37. R.L. Stine ~ The Boyfriend

38. Charles Tazwell ~ Littlest Angel

39. Scott Westerfeld ~ Uglies series

40. Jacqueline Wilson ~ Vicky Angel

Excerpt from Chapter 16 of “Pleading Hearts”

Welcome, readers! Thank you for visiting my website. For those of you reading my first blog post, I would like to share with you an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters of “Pleading Hearts”. Enjoy!

Trust & Mistakes


On November 1, Anna’s birthday had come at last. Anna’s mother took her out for birthday brunch with Margaret. Afterward, Anna, Margaret, Bonnie, and Kourtney decorated the apartment for the party. Bonnie decided to dress as Queen Elizabeth I. Her layered red and white gown dragged behind her as she scurried through the apartment to put the finishing touches on the Halloween/birthday decorations. Her long string of pearls plopped into the punch bowl as she leaned over the appetizer table to try to hang the birthday banner. Margaret was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and was delicately icing the homemade birthday cake. Kourtney was fixating on her reflection in her bedroom mirror, applying highlighter to her cheeks. She was dressed as a sexy cheetah.

     “Ryan will be here any minute and my face is a mess!” she exclaimed.

     “Kourtney, you look amazing,” Anna told her. “Don’t stress. Have a drink!”

     Anna handed her a glass of spiked Halloween punch.

     “You’re the best!” Kourtney exclaimed. “And you look gorgeous!”

     They stood in Kourtney’s mirror, admiring their costumes. Anna wore a long white dress that fell gracefully down her slender figure. The gold snake cuff around her left arm complemented her elegant gold snake headpiece and dangling gold earrings. Margaret had applied generous coats of shimmery blue and gold shadow and thick black liner to Anna’s eyes, mirroring the Egyptian queen’s illustrious cat-eye.

     “Let’s get some music going!” Kourtney exclaimed. “People are going to start showing up soon.”

     They walked out into the hall where Bonnie was still struggling to hang the banner.

     “Let me help you with that,” Anna told her as Kourtney turned on the music.

     Justin could walk through the door any minute. Anna’s stomach was in knots.

     “Let’s get you a drink, Anna,” Kourtney said, motioning for Margaret to grab the bottle of Tequila from the counter. Margaret poured four shots and together they raised their glasses.

     “To Anna’s birthday!” Kourtney exclaimed. They clinked their glasses and downed their shots. A moment later, they heard pounding at the door. Anna rushed to answer it. Brett was towering over her dressed as Elvis with a guitar in one hand and loudspeakers in the other. Behind him was Justin holding a large pumpkin keg.

     “Are we coming in or what?” Brett asked impatiently. Justin shot Anna an apologetic glance as Anna let them pass. Justin was dressed as the mighty Zeus, ruler of the Greek Gods. His white toga hung over one broad shoulder, exposing his godly chest and gleaming olive skin. He wore a gold leaf crown on his head and gold cuffs on his wrists. To Anna’s surprise, their costumes paired nicely.

     “Happy birthday,” he said, putting down the keg and pulling her in for a lasting hug. Chad and Eric strolled in behind Justin. Chad was dressed as Hermes, the Greek messenger God. His frail, pale figure in the same white toga wasn’t quite as pleasing to the eye, but Anna was happy to see him.

     “Hey Chad!” she greeted him, giving him a hug hello.

     Eric was dressed as Wario, the hefty arch-rival of Nintendo’s Mario. He walked by without a word, heading straight over to Brett who had unplugged Kourtney’s music and was setting up his own on the loudspeakers. Anna stood by the door a moment longer, wondering whether Justin’s girlfriend would make an appearance. But Justin hadn’t brought her.

     Bonnie dimmed the lights.

     “You have to try some of this beer,” Justin said, leading Anna over to where he had set up the keg. She could barely hear him over the music. Kelsey arrived next. She was dressed as a sexy devil. Right behind her was Drew Harrington clad as a firefighter. They were both in red, and Anna wondered if they had come together. Her thoughts were interrupted by a giant Winnie the Pooh walking through the door.

     “Who is that?” Anna blurted, prompting Justin to turn. The mysterious Winnie the Pooh waved at her from across the room. After a momentary struggle with the zipper of the body suit, the bear head came off, revealing Brad Livingston. He walked over to Anna and Justin.

     “Happy birthday, Anna,” he said sweetly, giving her a Pooh bear hug.

     “Thanks, Winnie,” she winked.

     Next came the Charlottes scantily dressed as the Plastics from “Mean Girls”. Charlotte was Regina George, clad in a long blond wig. Charlie was Gretchen Wieners and had curled her hair to look the part. Lola, of course, was Karen Smith. The Charlottes walked in with their noses in the air, followed by a mix of 2-and-3L’s Anna didn’t recognize. As she scanned the crowd, Anna wondered where Tyler was. A moment later, he texted her.

Tyler Dowling: Hey so sorry but I’m sick and won’t be able to make it tonight. Hope you have a happy birthday

     Anna had been looking forward to seeing Tyler. She was disappointed he couldn’t make it. Then she spotted Nick Horton dressed as Freddie Mercury from Queen and her smile was back. He wished her happy birthday and then disappeared in hot pursuit of a 3L dressed as a sexy police officer. Alexa Longford was the last to arrive. She had come without her boyfriend and was dressed as a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Brett accidentally spilled his red solo cup on his guitar when he saw her. Her long, flowing hair was loosely curled and studded with crystals. She wore a white feather halo and matching set of wings to complement her white lingerie of silk and lace. Within seconds, a crowd of boys led by Brett had flocked over to her. Kelsey was noticeably irritated that of the two costumes with wings, Alexa’s fared more favorably with the boys.

     Everywhere Anna turned, classmates were asking her to take shots with them. Anna even did shots with the Charlottes (minus Lola, aka Karen Smith, who was already puking in Bonnie’s bathroom). Anna was surrounded by friends, classmates, and people she hardly knew or didn’t know at all. It was the best birthday/Halloween ever!  After a while, the room began to spin. Anna felt hands on her waist from behind. She turned to see Justin scooting his way through the crowd to stand next to her.

For more, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Pleading-Hearts-inspired-historic-tragedy-ebook-dp-B08BY5WYD8/dp/B08BY5WYD8/ref=mt_other?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

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