Part 6 of Holy Fudge Nuggets - An ORA Round-Robin


The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!

The next installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Kayla Griffith. If you like what you read, be sure to check out her work.

Need to catch up?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Holy Fudge Nuggets

"No. No, no, no…" loud cracks drown Lauren's words as the sky rent itself into a violent show of colors again. Her hands fumbled for her camera as a long, shiny—

"You've got to be kidding me." Her finger convulsed on the shutter as the not-so-mesmerized part of her brain almost laughed at the absurdity. "What is it with you people and penises?" Did aliens have Freudian issues, too?

Roan let out what had to be a curse by its tone and intensity. "We have to get out of here. Stop that and drive."

The camera jerked out of her hands. "Hey!"

She whirled on him with every intention of fighting to get her precious camera back, but the fear etched into his features brought her up short.

His body rippled with tension as he looked feverishly around her Jeep. "Do you have any weapons?"

"Weapons?" Her voice rose an octave. "To fight a freaking spaceship?"

"How fast can this vehicle move?"

"Wait. Isn't that one of yours?" Lauren shoved her thumb at the bulbous cylinder hovering over the crater created by Roan's now invisible ship.

The hard set of his lips answered her before his words. "No. That is my enemy."

Goosebumps rippled over her skin as panic raced through her body, but she wrenched the key and shoved the Jeep into gear as she slammed her foot onto the accelerator. Without thinking, she whipped the Jeep around and headed back up the dark, barely there set of tire tracks that passed for a road.

"We… can't… outrun them," she yelled over the noise and constant pummeling of the backroad. Without headlights she dared not take her eyes from the trail, and the Jeep's jerking rendered the rear-view mirror useless.

She had no idea if the interstellar man-part was still following them.

Roan twisted in his seat, his eyes rivetted on the scene behind them. "We must find a populated place where we can hide."

"Populated? This is New Mexico." She yanked the wheel to the left and the Jeep climbed up onto a forestry road. The logical reporter within her came out of hiding, shoved her panicked self aside, and began to piece together a plan. "Wait. How much of a population?"

"They won't dare show themselves in the open to large groups of people. That would be a temporal act of war."

"So, we can be safe if we find a place where a naked space or time traveler, whichever you are, with glowy hands won't attract any attention?"

"Essentially, yes."

She grinned despite the danger they were still in. "I've got an idea."

After a few more turns, a forestry sign appeared marking where the dirt road intersected a two-lane paved highway.

The arrow pointing to the right read "Roswell 38 Miles." An old truck rumbled past going much faster than the posted speed limit. Lauren pulled out onto the pavement behind it, turned on her headlights and followed it down toward the dim light of the city.


Wind whipped at Roan's hair and exposed skin as they followed the rusting vehicle in front of them. Occasionally, a piece of debris or bug hit him with a loud pop. His empty stomach rumbled its displeasure at regular intervals, darkening his already black mood. The constant barrage of sensation blocked his abilities to sense where his enemy might be. For all he knew, the ship could be hovering over them undetectable in its cloaked mode.

Next to him, Lauren sat with her hands locked on the steering wheel and her eyebrows knit together, creating a small line between them while her mesmerizing eyes remained focused on the road. Though she said no words, her lips kept moving in some internal conversation. A conversation that wasn't going well, if he read her expression right.

That shouldn't have distracted him from the very real danger of his situation, but it did. Or at least she did.

He blew out a breath and looked across the horizon to the streak of pink showing clearly where the desert met the sky. They'd followed him. The crash wasn't an accident but sabotage shoving him through a rift into the wrong space and time. What about this mission was so important that the Zantherians would attempt that?

The vehicle slowed and Roan looked up to see several lights on poles and a hanging green circle that turned yellow and then red. Lauren pulled the Jeep to a stop and whirled on him like a cornered animal.

"I hate you. Really, really hate you." She punctuated each word with a poke to his chest and then turned before he could respond to reach behind her and pull up a black cloth bag. She dropped it on his lap with far more force than was necessary. "You need to hide that thing."

He felt a ridiculous urge to smile at her. "Why do you hate me, exactly?"

The red changed to green and she looked back at the road as the vehicle began moving again. "Because Mr. super-cute, touchy-feely alien guy, this is the story of the century and no one will ever believe me. Not even with the pictures."

"They can't believe you. If you tell anyone, you will be targeted for removal."

"And that's why I hate you. I have proof that space travel is real and I can't tell anyone."

"Technically, they are the same thing."

"Right. Einstein's theory of relativity. If you accidentally rip through one, the other one gets screwed up, too."

He raised an eyebrow in surprise. She was more intelligent than he'd given her credit for. "I shouldn't be here, Lauren. I need to get back to my mission and lead the Zantherians off this planet before they hurt anyone or damage the timeline."


He pointed to the sky. "The other ship. They are a race of beings resembling your species of arachnids with impenetrable armor, eight opposable thumbs, and nasty prehensile stingers."

"Spiders?" Her voice grew oddly shrill. "You're being chased by super spiders?"

"Humans are a rarity in the galaxy and are often at a physical disadvantage. The universe does not favor the soft skinned." To their right, he spotted a sign he'd been seeking. His tense muscles relaxed just a bit.

"Turn at that yellow sign," he said, pointing to the well-lit building, one of the only ones containing other humans. "They can't follow us in there. We can eat in safety while I make further plans."

Lauren looked incredulously between him and the bright, yellow arches, but she turned into the wide expanse around the building before screeching to a stop.

"Seriously?" She was almost screaming at him. "It's not enough that you're a naked guy from outer space and fly a shiny, disappearing penis, your enemy is a spider from hell, and the universe hates me because I'm squishy." She pointed up at the yellow light above them. "Now you're telling me burgers will save us?"

Roan smiled at her. "Technically, it's the French fries that can save us. The galaxy is a strange place."


About the Author

Kayla Griffith has served on the ORA Board since 2017.

The story continues in August, with author Yvonne Erwin taking the reins. Check back to see what happens!

Part 5 of Holy Fudge Nuggets - An ORA Round-Robin


The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!

The next installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Harlow Layne. If you like what you read, be sure to check out her work.

Need to catch up?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Holy Fudge Nuggets

Sniffing, I scrunched up my nose at the offending object resting across my lap. “What the hell is that smell?”

“Oh, I think my friend used it last week when she had diarrhea. Does it smell bad?” she squeaked out like a tiny mouse being chased by a cat.

“I think bad is a gross understatement.”

Opening the glove compartment, I shuffled around dozens of films rolls before I could find what I was looking for she slapped my hand away and slammed the compartment door shut. “Hey, what was that for?”

“I don’t know?” she asked back with sass. “Maybe because you were going through my shit without asking. What were you even doing?”

“Looking for something to help cleanse this stench from this retched piece of fabric. It seems like maybe a little more happened to this poor defenseless towel than you’re letting on.”

Lauren slammed on the brakes and whipped her head toward me with a look of fiery vengeance. “Maybe if it’s so offensive to you, you’d like to walk to get your stupid hamburger, fries and milkshake, and find yourself some clothes.”

“No offense, but,” I held the towel up for her to get one last glance at it before I chucked it over the side. “Now that’s been taken care of, why don’t we get this show on the road and get me some burgers.”

Her brows furrowed. “What about clothes?” Her eyes flicked down to my lap for only a second and then met my eyes with her face as red as a bright sunset.

“Oh, I thought we were going through the drive thru.” I replied back cheekily. Surely there were places where we didn’t have to get out to pick up food in her town.

“And have your clumsy ass make a mess of my baby.”

“Baby? I thought that was a term of endearment for Earthling offspring or those you’re intimate with.”

“My Jeep is my baby.” Her eyes lit up with love for her beloved vehicle. “And my baby would appreciate it if it didn’t get alien herpes on all over the seat.”

“Well, I guess if spreading my alien herpes is what’s going to happen if I’m naked then I guess I’m starting an outbreak.”

“Why do you have to be naked?”

I was unsure if I should tell her the weakness of my race, but it seems like I’ll be unable to succeed in my mission otherwise.

“I have to be naked to be in tune with the environment. Clothing dampens my senses and I can’t use my abilities.”

Startled by a shock wave of the atmosphere shattering, we looked up, eyes glazed to see a phallic object falling from the sky head first, falling into the ground.

My enemy’s ship.


About the Author

Indie Author. Romance Writer. Reader. Mom. Wife. Dog Lover.  Addicted to all things Happily Ever After and Amazon. 

Harlow Layne is an emerging author of small-town and Hollywood romance.  

Harlow wrote for years before she Luke and Alex’s story that had been swimming in her head for years.

When Harlow’s not writing you’ll find her shopping on Amazon, spending way too much time on social media, reading, or hanging out with her friends, family, and two dogs.

The story continues in July, with author Kayla Griffith taking the reins. Check back to see what happens!

Part 4 of Holy Fudge Nuggets - An ORA Round-Robin


The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!

The next installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Susan Keene. If you like what you read, be sure to check out her work.

Need to catch up?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Holy Fudge Nuggets

“Before we leave…” Lauren began to look around. No way NASA would leave an Astronaut in the middle of the desert with a billion dollar machine and not send someone to pick him up. “Is it possible for me to take a look inside your ride?”

He glanced down from his six feet something height to her five feet nothing height and said curtly. “No. Actually, I should move it before we go. I wouldn’t want someone to find it and find themselves an Magula in the morning.”

Why couldn’t she keep her eyes from wandering down? There they were again, dangling for her to see. She had broken up with Bryan two years ago. If she went without sex much longer she wondered if she could again be considered a virgin. “A-a Magula?” She couldn’t concentrate while looking at him like that. Ok, this this had to stop before she jumped this naked stranger right there and then.

She walked self-consciously toward her Jeep Wrangler. She’d left a beach towel in the back when she drove to the lake with her friends. She assured herself it would cover him nicely and fought the urge to glance back and take one more peek. Instead she looked the other way and kept walking then stopped in her tracks to stare at the completely refurbished spacecraft a football field away. Then it dawned on her. “Magula. You’re not from Earth, are you?” By now he stood beside her.

“No but if it puts your mind at ease, this is my third mission here so I’m well informed as to how things work. What I like best about your planet is gravity. It is so much easier to get projects finished when your tools aren’t floating around or on the other hand, so heavy there is no way you can use them.”

Tools. Lauren didn’t want to think of his tools! She rooted through the rear of her vehicle and pulled out a wrinkled, damp, smelly, towel from her last water excursion. She didn’t look at him when she handed him the disgusting thing, she would give him some privacy while he wrapped the nasty terry cloth around his Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson waist.

Privacy? She thought how silly it had been to look away after staring at his junk for the last… who knows how long. As she crooked her head back toward him, she noticed the aircraft had vanished. “What the hell?”

Roan must have seen the look on her face. He helped her to the front of the car and sat her in the seat. She was glad she had taken the top off for the summer.

He gently closed the door then rested one tanned muscled arm on the opened window frame and the other on the windshield. He leaned his lemon and mint scented face so close to hers she saw blue flecks dancing in his eyes and watched them turn dark as he spoke in a voice much lower than she noticed before.

“Lauren, I can’t tell you how sorry I am you were here to see my ship crash. It is important you listen to every word I have to say.

“You said nothing when I said I’d visited Earth before. It makes me think you are not taking this encounter seriously. I don’t want to tell you too much because it is human nature to let others in on events such as this.”

Lauren was so afraid she struggled to get a breath. This man was an alien! She leaned backward, he leaned forward. “I won’t tell anyone.”

Roan stepped back. “There are many mysteries in the Universe. I am one of thousands of members of the Planetary Rewind Academy. You, on Earth, are too naive to understand the gravity of our mission, or to become a part of it. We have been here many times over the centuries and have left signs. Yet Earthlings have reduced our markings and attempts to contact your inhabitants to sightseeing destinations and mere close encounters.”

Lauren knew what she said from that point on could save her or — not. She hadn’t felt threatened until that moment. “I believe this entire happenstance is fascinating. I moved here to be closer to where the majority of alien sightings have been. I swear, your secret is safe with me.”

“I’m going to trust you, Lauren. We at the PRA have many friends on different planets and star-stops. There are few on Earth. No matter how evolved we are, it’s nice to have a friendly face and someone to talk to if our mission is long term.”

“I am honored,” she answered with no more fear.

“Good.” He opened the car door with a smile. Because, the only time I can eat hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes is on Earth. I’m hungry.”

He lifted her from the seat and hugged her as if they’d been friends for years. Wow, she was actually having an encounter with an alien! The way he embraced, and moved against her told her he was more Earthling than he wanted to admit.


About the Author

Susan Keene was born in California and raised in Illinois. Now she lives on a farm in the beautiful Ozarks. She writes full time and loves every minute of it.

Her hobbies include treasure hunting with her metal detector, bike riding, reading, art,  walking and her children and grandchildren.

Susan spent the first 20 years of her career in the medical field. She likes to weave her knowledge from the hospital into her novels.

Susan is available for speaking engagements, book signings and reviews. She loves reading her children’s books to schools and teaching children to get excited about reading and writing.

She also enjoys speaking at Book Clubs and writer’s groups.

The story continues in June, with author Harlow Layne taking the reins. Check back to see what happens!

Part 3 of Holy Fudge Nuggets - An ORA Round-Robin


The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!

The next installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Barbara Bettis. If you like what you read, be sure to check out her work.

Need to catch up?

Part 1

Part 2

Holy Fudge Nuggets

Roan studied the woman—Lauren, she said her name was—gathering the camera. She brushed the debris from her hands and blew the dust from its nose—no, that had been called a lens.

Then she turned her head, hip-high to him, and her face glowed redder than Orian’s fifth moon. Looked like inhabitants of this place hadn’t become comfortable with their bodies yet.

“Why are you here?” The words seemed to clog in her throat as she rose, careful to keep her line of vision on the horizon

What would she make of his reason for suddenly appearing? She thought his cruiser was a time machine; perhaps that would serve for now. “We’ve been experimenting with time slips, and this century has many important events to examine.”

“So you popped back to study us?”

Her glance zeroed in on his face, her eyes focused, narrowed. Green eyes. The color of rare Rhrysthem crystal found in the deep heart of Zanther’s mountain range. His people had battled hard for that prize, and he’d give the last hundred years of his life to find the traitor who’d betrayed them. The traitor or his writings, here in this backward yet beautiful place. But he couldn’t tell her that.

Perhaps that’s why his mission had been compromised. The Zantherians swore to block any attempt to uncover the secret formula. And lord knew they could worm their scheming way into any surrounding. The Silent Force hangar would be no exception and that’s where his ship had been readied before his flight.

The woman tilted her head, her gaze sharpening. “I read that time machines would transport beings through time, not—” she looked at the sky “—through space.” Her expression arrested and her nostrils flared. She must have caught the sweet, floral scent of his ship’s blue metallic shell beginning to reconstruct through the blaze. The fragrance of lilacs, if he accurately recalled his readings about the planet. Thank ye Gods. He wouldn’t be stranded after all, although everything non-metal inside the craft was ashes. He’d need to gather more supplies.

Pops and crackles from his poor heliatron had become muted as the flames went about putting themselves out. In all his studies, Roan had never heard of spacecraft reacting so when entering an alien atmosphere. And this atmosphere’s oxygen level most closely resembled his own planet’s, so there was no reason for the inferno when he landed. Had to be sabotage.

The woman brushed her blond hair from her forehead, the camera in her hand scraping her cheek. Her startled look told him she’d forgotten about the thing. So had he. Damn, he’d better get his thoughts in order. He sure as hell didn’t want to have to hurt this woman, but he had to know what she had captured when he crashed.

“Let me help you with that.” He extended his hand, but she turned a shoulder.

“I’ll just slip it into my bag.” After tucking the camera away, she nodded toward the wheeled vehicle sitting on the road.

“Come with me. Better get you some clothes before we do anything else.”

Roan eyed the cloth bag in her hand. He’d have to go with her for now, until he knew no evidence of his arrival existed.

“We’ll stop at a Target for shorts and a shirt. How big are you?” Her mouth compressed, her gaze slipped down, and her cheeks once more took on the vibrant red of Orian’s flaming moon.

Lauren focused on his beautiful face. I won’t look down, I won’t look down. She swiped her fingers across her forehead, flicking away the perspiration. Oddly enough, she shivered. “Better get you some clothes before we do anything else. How big are you?”

Oh, dear lord, why had those words slipped out? How humiliating. Her gaze lost the fight and sank to his jiggly bits. Not bit-size at all. She slapped her hands against her face which burned as hot as the blazing Time Machine. Time Machine my behind. That did it. Indignation froze away the embarrassment. What game was he playing, and how stupid did he think her?

The entire reason she was in this lizard-forsaken bit of rock, sand, and heat was to find out just what kind of tests the government sanctioned. The air base lay twenty-five miles to the north, but plenty of folks nearby had reported odd lights and sounds during the past two months. Her job—track down the source and film it. Whatever ‘it’ turned out to be.

A flaming flying saucer—or cylinder or whatever—had been the last thing she’d imagined. Obviously, they were testing a new kind of aircraft. She supposed the pilot was damned lucky to be alive. The inferno that once engulfed the craft had died to

leisurely flames. She jerked her head to the side to make certain. Yep. Mesmerized, she followed the flickering light. Little flames, curling around the ship, like tongues, licking it all better, like a live thing. Never before had she understood that expression.

What a fabulous jump-page photo that would make. She looped the bag over her shoulder and pulled out the camera. Damn, it still had debris all over it from her dive into the dirt. Gently she brushed off the body with the tail of her shirt and blew on the lens.

“What are you doing?”

His voice at her back made her jump. She’d forgotten him and her embarrassment in the excitement of finding a great shot. Suddenly, like a cool brush of breath, a faint blue glow curled around her hands and into her new, thirty-five hundred dollar Hasselblad. Well, she’d gotten it second-hand, thus the good price, but it was new to her.

“Hey, stop that!” Lauren bent over the long-range lens that cost nearly as much as the rest. The glow enveloped the whole camera and when it vanished, the body, the lens, the viewfinder—sparkling!

She turned to find his chocolate-brown eyes glowing. She smiled. “Thank you. I don’t know what you used, but my camera is completely clean!”

He smiled in return, a toe-curling, scalp-tingling curving of lips that left her breathless.

“Yes,” he said. “Absolutely clean.” He laughed. “Let’s go.”


About the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.

She now lives in Missouri, where by day she's a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she's an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for--and heroes to live for.

The story continues in May, with author Susane Keene taking the reins. Check back to see what happens!

Part 2 of Holy Fudge Nuggets - An ORA Round-Robin


The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!

The next installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Bran Lindy Ayres. If you like what you read, be sure to check out their work.

To read the first part of this story, click here.

Holy Fudge Nuggets

"This is not okay. Not okay." Roan muttered to himself as he knelt to gently lay the woman on the ground. Dirt and debris had caught in her hair and clothes rendering everything a dull brown in the amber glow from the fire.

He glanced over his shoulder at the remnants of his ship. The heat from the flames had his bare skin prickling. How had he survived that? Something to ponder another time. He turned to the woman, checking her over to make certain there were no potentially dangerous injuries. Her labored breathing was punctuated by soft coughs every few breaths.

She must have aspirated some of the debris which could put her at risk for a lung infection later or suffocation right now. Normally he would have taken her to the ship and used the medikit to stabilize her. That obviously wasn’t going to happen. Have to do this is the hard way then. Still kneeling at her side he held his left hand over her face, palm above the parted lips. A moment of concentration and a soft blue glow warmed his palm. Blue wisps flowed into her open mouth. She inhaled deeply, paused then coughed forcefully. Another cough, this time specks of mud splattered across his palm. He pulled his hand away and leaned over her, watching her face. She took another deep breath and her eyelids fluttered open. It took her a moment to focus.

"Oh. You're still here."

"Aye, still here."

He watched her gaze wander away from his face and had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning at the expression that crossed her face.

"Still naked too."

"Still naked. My clothes were on the ship, which … is currently combusting."

"I can see that," her gaze finally found his face again. The laser sharp focus startled him. "Who are you?"

He got to his feet and looked around them. Aside from the burning ship there wasn't much to see. The rocky terrain reminded him of the outpost on Mars. A couple hundred yards away sat a wheeled vehicle. From the design he guessed he'd landed in the early twenty-first century. Not as far off the mark as he'd thought. About two years too late though. Dammit.

The realization struck him. He was stranded. No ship and not even a thread of clothing, never mind his instruments and weapons. He'd never had a mission go sideways so fast. Something about that explosion had him wondering if his ship had been tampered with. If that were the case, someone had tried to kill him. They wouldn't have sent a lone operative, but a whole team if his mission was that important. He knew from reading the casefile that it didn’t have any bearing on the major historical events of this time period. It didn’t even involve saving a life, just a simple case of finding out where an author had left their unpublished works in order to settle some estate issues a few hundred years later.

The rattle of rocks next to him had him glancing down at the woman. He put out an arm to help her steady herself. What could he possibly tell her? Lying seemed the best option. If he was right about the era, then first contact had yet to happen and he could possibly get away with a fabrication. But what?

"I'm a test pilot."

"A test pilot. Flying a UFO. At night. In the desert. With no clothes on."

Okay, that made it sound really stupid. He grimaced and looked away from her. This was awkward. Almost as awkward as being completely nude. Talk about feeling exposed. He drew in a breath, held it and then blurted, "It's not a UFO, it's a quantum-temporal tunneler. QTT for short."

"Hold up, Mr. Nakie-butt. Are you trying to tell me that is-was a time machine?"

"My name is Roan Ask and yes."

"Do you always time travel naked?"

"Do you generally stand around quizzing crash survivors?" He put his hands on his hips and stared down at her. Even with all the dirt clinging to her, she was nice to look at. The shrewd dark gaze didn't waiver.

"Point taken. We should get to safety."

"And so you know, I was in quantum stasis. Normally, I would have had time to get dressed after landing." There was nothing normal about this situation at all. Stranded naked with a beautiful woman in the distant past … nope definitely not normal.

"Right. You’re no Dr. Beckett then."

"I … don't follow..." Roan said.

She turned away with a soft laugh and then bent to retrieve something from the ground. He sucked in a breath seeing the antique camera. Had she photographed him? That could be a problem. A big problem.


About the Author

Growing up in rural Missouri surrounded by dense forests teeming with giants, dogwood horses, pine castles and grapevine snakes, Bran has always had a very healthy imagination. This was further inculcated by their mother, who encouraged them to read the likes of Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. Their love of fantasy and writing has never waned even as they got older, and has developed into a need to write.

They currently live in Southern Missouri with three young nerdlings and three precocious felines. When not writing, Bran can be found with their face still glued to the computer screen playing video games or reading.

The story continues in April, with author Barbara Bettis taking the reins. Check back to see what happens!

Holy Fudge Nuggets - An ORA Round-Robin


The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!

The kick-off installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Rosalie Stanton. If you like what you read, be sure to check out Ms. Stanton’s work.

Holy Fudge Nuggets

The sky’s curtain of speckled navy had vanished in the span of a blink, ushered away by an explosion of electric whites and flaming oranges. There wasn’t time for thought, so Lauren didn’t waste any—she raised her camera to her eye and began clicking at everything that moved.

Which, at the moment, was the whole damn sky.

It took a moment, through the camera lens, to find the flow of movement through the sea of color that suddenly dominated New Mexico’s air space. Like all good fire shows, this one had to have a source. Through the break in smoky clouds came a—

Lauren frowned and lowered her camera. That couldn’t be right.

“No way.” She blinked a few times, but the scene didn’t change.

Swaying in a speedy blur across the night sky, blanketed with smoke and one hell of a light show, was an honest-to-crap flying saucer.

Or flying cylinder. It was hard to be sure.

Lauren allowed herself precisely one second to gawk before her inner journalist kicked into gear. The camera flew back where it belonged, a series of clicks providing a familiar cadence to unfamiliar chaos. The lens supplied what the naked eye could not, and years of training made following the—yep, that’s a UFO—flying saucer-or-cylinder’s progress much easier. Her journalist’s instinct did the work for her, guiding the camera’s nose as though it was sentient.

Which was how she captured the shot of a century—no, make that a millennia—when the alien ship collided with terra firma. The resulting quake threw her legs out from under her, but she fell with her finger still clicking. A storm of dirt and dust exploded into the air, and before she could close her eyes, every possible crevice in her small, vulnerable body was filled with flooded with flying grime. Tainted air stole down her throat, flooded her nose, and fell in blanketed layers across every inch of her skin. She immediately began hacking, which had the unfortunate effect of dragging more dust down her throat, but eventually the dirt thinned and sweet-tasting oxygen tickled her taste-buds.

“Are you all right?”

Okay. Now she was hearing things. Lauren coughed again, her chest burning with exertion. She blinked and rubbed her eyes, then blinked some more. A blurry collage of shapeless colors winked in front of her before beginning to harden. And then she was certain she was hallucinating.

Because standing before her against a fiery backdrop, was a man.

A handsome man.

A handsome naked man.

Lauren blinked again. “I’m dead, aren’t I?”

The naked man took a step forward, which had the lovely added benefit of jiggling his naked bits. Which were nice to look at, if not a little strange, given the context.

“Are you all right?” Mr. Birthday Suit asked again, kneeling so his eyes—which were a nice, warm brown—were level with hers.

Lauren shook her head, but that was the wrong decision. The world titled sideways and threatened to black out. She managed to stave off the dark, but only just. She knew she was seconds from losing her grip on consciousness, but the reporter in her wasn’t ready to go down without a fight.

She had some questions that damn well needed to be answered.

“You have a nice penis.”

And apparently, the part of her brain connected to her tongue had been blasted away in the spacecraft’s crash. That wasn’t what she’d meant to say, but her mouth couldn’t work itself around the right words.

The man tilted his head, studying her. He looked for all the world like his genitals were often the source of praise. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Also not what she meant to say. Lauren’s brow furrowed. “I usually don’t see a guy’s penis until date five or six. This is a new experience for me.”

“I am not wearing clothes,” the man said helpfully.

“Oh.” Lauren’s mind screamed something she couldn’t follow. It wasn’t that she was unaccustomed to people overstating the obvious—she worked with the media, so it was a regular part of everyday interactions—but the white noise in her head had grown louder, pushing all thoughts, penis-related or otherwise, out of reach.

She was about to pass out. In the dessert with a lost nudist.

Jesus Christ, could this day get any weirder?

Lauren shook her head—mistake—and looked again to her new friend, whose brow was furrowed, those nice brown eyes filled with concern. He was speaking slowly, but she couldn’t make out the words.

She placed a hand on his chest, concentrating. Ooh, sculpty. She needed to say something—anything, because passing out with a naked alien outside a wrecked flying saucer was not normal, and though she felt no fear at the moment, a part of her knew that was because she wasn’t aware enough. But if she passed out, she’d be at this guy’s mercy. And that would be a much scarier thought when she had control of her faculties.

Lauren managed to pluck words out of the back of her head. She could only hope they were the right ones. “Stop,” she said. “Hammer time.”

And with that, the world went black.

About the Author

Rosalie Stanton is an award-winning author of steamy paranormal and contemporary romance. A lifelong enthusiast of larger than life characters, Rosalie enjoys building worlds filled with strong heroes and heroines of all backgrounds.

Rosalie lives in Missouri with her husband and their dog, Luna. At an early age, she discovered a talent for creating worlds, which evolved into a love of words and storytelling. Rosalie graduated with a degree in English. As the granddaughter of an evangelical minister, Rosalie applied herself equally in school in the creative writing and religious studies departments, which had an interesting impact on her writing. When her attention is not engaged in writing or editing, she enjoys spending time with close friends and family.

The story continues in March, with author Bran Ayres taking the reins. Check back to see what happens!

MARCH MINI WORKSHOP: Cover Design & The Self Publishing Revolution


Cover Design & The Self Publishing Revolution

Thinking of exploring the world of self-publishing? There’s a lot to navigate! So, are you ready to start? In this fact-based workshop, we will share knowledge and offer new insights about self-publishing – all the ups and downs and in-betweens!

Kimberly Killion is the CEO/Art Director of The Killion Group. They represent 2,000+ clients, publishing houses and agencies in the publishing world. She has nearly 25 years of experience in design and communications. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Certificate in Web Design, and she is an ACE (An Adobe Certified Expert). In addition to the paperwork, she also taught Graphic/Web Design for over a decade. Kimberly is also a RITA® nominated, award-winning author who is traditionally published as well as indie-published.


Jennifer Jakes has been with The Killion Group since 2011. She spent her early days formatting for eBooks and now handles all formatting and uploading for authors. When not formatting, Jennifer runs the Editing Dept. for The Killion Group. Aside from being the Chief Operations Officer, her other skill (or quirk) is writing Back Cover Copy for clients. She assists at Photoshoots with costumes and hair & makeup on models. Jennifer was not only an RWA Golden Heart nominee, she was also voted Best Romance of 2011. Her second book was a finalist in the 2012 International Digital Awards. She is traditionally published as well as indie-published.


WHEN: MARCH 2, 2019, 12:30 P.M.







For ORA Members: Our business meeting will be held at 11 AM.


November Meeting

Ozarks Romance Authors is proud to present speaker Tracy Garrett to our November meeting. The topic: HACK YOUR OWN SYSTEM - Break the writing “rules” to make it your own.

From the moment we started writing, someone has a “rule” you have to follow—all those do’s and do not’s that promise a smooth road to publication. We’ll look at some of those so-called rules and why they really don’t matter.

Shop Tracy Garrett’s books on Amazon!

Please join us, November 3rd at The Library Center on South Campbell at 11:00.

About Our Speaker


Award-winning, multi-published author Tracy Garrett has always loved to disappear into the pages of a book. An accomplished musician, Tracy merged her need for creativity, love of history, and passion for reading when she began writing western historical romance.

First published in 2007, Tracy joined Prairie Rose Publications in its inaugural anthology in 2013 and looks forward to continuing their successful partnership. She is a regular blogger on the Prairie Rose Publications and Western Fictioneers blogs.

Tracy is an active member of Romance Writers of America and has served on the organization’s Board of Directors and several national committees.

In addition to her writing, Tracy is a part-time secretary and serves as the Choir Director and Coordinator of Worship and Music for her church. She is the Assistant Conductor for The Greater Lake Area Chorale, in which she also sings. She performs as a flutist and vocalist in concerts around the area and the country, and enjoys Cowboy Action Shooting as a member of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS).  As “Ozark Belle” she has been privileged to develop cherished friendships with others who share her love of the Old West.

Tracy resides in Missouri with her husband and their fuzzy “kid,” Wrigley.

October Meeting


Ozarks Romance Authors is proud to present speaker and long time member Terry McDermid, some know her as Tessa, to our October meeting. She will teach us how to once again "Fall in Love with Your Writing!"

Terry says, "With the start of a new season, it's a great time to evaluate where you are in your writing process. This interactive workshop will help with time management, organizing ideas, and remembering why you started writing in the first place."

Shop Terry McDermid’s books on Amazon!

Please join us, October 6th at The Library Center on South Campbell at 11:00, to help welcome in the new Board of Directors and enjoy this great speaker.


September Write-In


For many writers, finding the time to write is half the battle. We find it easy to prioritize everything above getting in our daily word count.

This is why ORA has embraced the write-in. A Saturday morning just for its members to sit down in a quiet place and try to channel the spirit of Alexander Hamilton so that we, too, can write like we're running out of time.

Yes, friends. We're going to be in the room where it happens.

"It", in this case, being "writing"

"It", in this case, being "writing"


September's meeting (Saturday, September 15, 10am - 3pm) will take place at incoming ORA Board Secretary Kayla Griffith's house. Unlike the other write-ins we schedule during the year, this one will be limited to members only. So anyone interested in joining ORA, check back in for details about our October meeting, when we officially begin the fiscal year and swear in the new board!

If you're a member of Ozarks Romance Authors and would like to participate in the write-in, email Holly Atkinson for details. 

Venue Changes


Hello, and welcome to a new year at ORA!

We are excited to announce that starting at our February meeting, ORA will be meeting at the Library Center, located at 4653 S Campbell Ave. Join us on February 3, 2018 to learn some of the exciting events we have coming up, including the year's scheduled book signings at Springfield's First Friday Artwalk.

Our speaker on Saturday is Christopher Johnson, a videomaker at American National. Join us at 9:30 for Critique and stay for the program. We'll see you there!

October Meeting - Writing is the Painting of the Voice!


Candy SimonsonVice President and Newsletter Editor of Springfield Writers Guild, has served the Guild as past Treasurer and Director-at-Large. Candy writes Christian fiction/family drama and mystery. Her award-winning short stories and essays have been published in five anthologies, and almost 400 articles have appeared in national print and online magazines. Her Young Adult family drama trilogy: Love’s Journey Home (2013), Love Looks Back (2015), and Love’s Amazing Grace (2015), and anthology of 26-sentence flash fiction stories, A Quick Read, can be found on In 2017, she published Thoughts for Evening Time, A Devotional  and co-authored a children’s story coloring book with original art, All Beautiful Creatures. Now retired from a career in technology training, she lives in Strafford, Missouri, with her husband, Tim.

Click to learn more!

Click to learn more!

Candy will be presenting a writing program. Don't miss it!

ORA meets on the first Saturday of the month, hosting guest speakers who offer information about numerous facets of the industry. Our presenters include published authors, acquiring editors and agents, self-publishing gurus, special-interest experts, marketing specialists, and more.

Our presenting speaker will begin his or her presentation at 12:30 p.m., following our social hour at 11:30 a.m., and our critique group at 9:30 a.m. Meetings are typically hosted at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, located at 397 E Central Street. Meetings include the speaker’s presentation, news and discussion regarding upcoming literary events and opportunities, and conclude with door prizes.

Anyone interested in ORA is welcome to attend up to three meetings for free. Afterward, annual membership is only $25.

Bad Decisions by Yvonne Erwin

A human being is a deciding human being – psychologist and philosopher Victor Frankl.

Not long ago, I was introduced to a new thought when someone said, “Without a Moment of Decision, this is just an anecdote.” In other words, the reader felt no real tension in the piece she was reading. This Moment of Decision idea seemed interesting to me so I decided to research it a little bit, and I want to share what I found with you.

As humans, we want to make the best decision on whatever it is we’re considering doing. However, our characters don’t get that luxury.  Our characters shouldn’t act as though they’ve had three weeks to consider their options in any given scene. The decision made in the heat of the moment isn’t the same as one made with weeks to consider. In fact, bad decisions often make the best stories.  Bad decisions will ratchet up the tension factor in your story, and keep your reader engrossed with the story line. How is he going to get out of THIS, THIS TIME?

How do we cause our characters to make bad decisions?

  1. Let them be impulsive. Let them jump in before thinking it through.
  2. Have them make decisions under pressure. A ticking clock is a reliable way to raise stakes and increase tension.
  3. Let he/she assume they know it all.  This can be particularly satisfying because the fall when reality trips them up will be particularly devastating.
  4. Don’t make a Plan B. An overconfident protagonist will get into more and more trouble as the world falls to pieces and starts snowballing. Make sure the worst can happen and make them dig their way out.

You want tension in your story, and you want the tension to mount. Otherwise, it is a slide show, like a resume. You want to keep your reader reading, so, blow it all up if you have to, but raise the stakes in your work and it will be more interesting and satisfying to your reader.

About Yvonne Erwin

Yvonne Erwin

Yvonne Erwin

Yvonne Erwin is a contemporary women's fiction writer, living in Springfield, Missouri. Her passions include reading, writing, gardening, cooking, traveling and experiencing new adventures. She seldom goes very far without her camera, which she's nicknamed her "mini-me."

Currently, Yvonne is serving as President of the Springfield Writers' Guild, a chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, and is a member of Ozarks Romance Authors. In 2012, Yvonne won second place in the prose-fiction category in the 19th Annual Springfield Writers' Contest Literacy Contest.

Yvonne's first novel, "The Discovery of Joy," was released February 2, 2015, in the women's fiction category. Her second novel, "The Sisters of Madelaine Street," was released September 27, 2016.

May Meeting

Join us on May 6 for our monthly meeting, featuring speaker Terrie Wolf, an agent who will be joining us via Skype.

Critique will be held from 9:30-11:30. This is open to anyone, whether you have something for critique or simply want to listen/learn/partake. 

About Our Speaker

Terrie Wolf has traveled the world in search of good stories and great books. As a member of the international media, an award-winning journalist and promotions specialist, Terrie has learned what it takes to write well, get accepted and develop notoriety; not necessarily in that order! She is happiest when given the opportunity to pitch softly, edit gently and market fiercely. Terrie joined AKA in September of 2009 as the Foreign Rights Specialist in addition to her other talents. Wolf Literary Services and Anita Kushen and Associates merged in October 2009.

Terrie mastered her skills in the literary world from inside the offices of several large companies, which include CBS, NBC, and Hobson's Press. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University, Creative Writing at NYU and Journalism at CU-Denver.

Terrie's credits include the EMMY, Queen's Service Award (UK), La Voz y Papel (Spain), and Young Journalist of the Year.

Terrie represents the books we share; the books which make us grow. Fiction: Inspirational (Things of Faith), Multi-Cultural, Women’s, Children’s (all), Romance (all), and Westerns. Non-fiction: Culinary/Cookbooks, Humor, Memoir, Religion, Music and Nature.” (Link)

ORA meets on the first Saturday of the month, hosting guest speakers who offer information about numerous facets of the industry. Our presenters include published authors, acquiring editors and agents, self-publishing gurus, special-interest experts, marketing specialists, and more.

Our presenting speaker will begin his or her presentation at 12:30 p.m., following our social hour at 11:30 a.m., and our critique group at 9:30 a.m. Meetings are typically hosted at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, located at 397 E Central Street. Meetings include the speaker’s presentation, news and discussion regarding upcoming literary events and opportunities, and conclude with door prizes.

Anyone interested in ORA is welcome to attend up to three meetings for free. Afterward, annual membership is only $25.

April Meeting - Everything and a Few Things You Wish You Never Learned About POV

Join us Saturday, April 1 as Kathleen Garnsey presents: ing and a Few Things You Wish You Never Learned About POV.


About Our Speaker

Born in Michigan, raised and married in California, Kathleen is now a twenty-nine year resident of Missouri. She currently lives in Ozark and stays busy with her husband of forty-nine years, her son, daughter-in-law, and three fantastic grandchildren.

Writing is Kathleen's passion, which she became serious about in 1987 when she joined Ozarks Romance Authors. Always a fan of sci-fi and romance, she loves combining the two elements into stories of passion and adventure in another time and place. She has written five futuristic romances which are available, or soon to be available on Amazon. Look for her past titles: Warrior's LinkHawk's RedemptionFalcon's Quest and Secret of the Kiah. She just completed The Alluring Traveler which will soon be released.

About ORA's Monthly Meetings

ORA meets on the first Saturday of the month, hosting guest speakers who offer information about numerous facets of the industry. Our presenters include published authors, acquiring editors and agents, self-publishing gurus, special-interest experts, marketing specialists, and more.

Meetings begin at 11:30 a.m., following our critique group at 9:30 a.m., and are typically hosted at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, located at 397 E Central Street. Meetings include the speaker’s presentation, news and discussion regarding upcoming literary events and opportunities, and conclude with door prizes.

Anyone interested in ORA is welcome to attend up to three meetings for free. Afterward, annual membership is only $25.

Guest Author: Tabitha Fizer

Tabitha Fizer, a student currently enrolled in English III Honors, approached Ozarks Romance Authors and asked if we would like to publish the short story she wrote for class. The answer, obviously, was yes. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to nurture the young voices that will become tomorrow's authors.

With this in mind, we invite you to enjoy Tabitha's story, A LOVE TO LAST A LIFETIME.


A Love To Last A Lifetime

By: Tabitha Fizer

“Who is that?”

“That’s my brother, why? Do you like him?”

“Eww, no. I just didn’t know you had a brother. I thought it was your boyfriend or something.”


It was the end of seventh grade year when I was heading home from school that I received a call. A call from my best friend.


“Hey, do you wanna come stay the night tonight, I have things planned for us to do?” Adilynn asked.

“Uhm, I’ll have to ask my parents but I don’t see why I won’t be able to.”

“Alright, just let me know.”

I honestly just didn’t want to stay the night, but I didn’t want to tell her. I don’t ever get to see her because we have no classes together, but I went ahead and asked my parents…. Well, that didn’t go as plan. They actually said yes. Now, I really don’t have a choice but to go.

*3 Hours Later*

We have to carry in groceries for her mom… wow, they have a lot of groceries, but she has a lot of kids. I just keep thinking to myself, “what did you do to yourself? You’re in for a treat.” I just have to tell myself that the sooner we get to go to bed, the sooner I get to leave, that’s awful, I know, but c'mon now. Have you ever met her family? Jeez.

We sit down to eat dinner when some guy just walks through her door. He’s good-looking oh my. I think it’s her boyfriend but I’m not gonna say anything yet. It’s too early to ask her stuff like that, especially when he just walked through the door. He walked in like it was his house or something. He talks to these people like he knows them or something. How have I never met him?

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s my brother, why? Do you like him?” Adilynn asked as she looks baffled.

“Eww no. I just didn’t know you had a brother. I thought it was your boyfriend or something.”

Right, that’s just where I wanted that conversation to go. That explains why he walked in like it was his house and talks to these people like he knows them. I didn’t want her to say that it was her brother.. I found him extremely attractive.. But, I have to shut this down immediately. This could end up very badly. In fact, I already know it will. It’s my best friend’s brother. That’s enough right there. That’s enough to end our friendship, and everything else I have with this family.

* 4 Days Later *

I saw him today, looking more superior than he was before. He’s just something that truly is ample.  I want to give him my number but I’m too anxious. I don’t want to tell her that I think I like him. Gosh, that sounded so daft. What if I’m actually falling for her brother?

I sat down in the cafeteria waiting for Adilynn to get here, when I see her brother sit down right across from me. I know I’m blushing, but I can’t help it. Brody kept staring at me but I didn’t want to tell him to stop. I kinda admired being the center of attention for once but I can’t keep getting used to this. He’s going to end up breaking me at the end of this, and I’m not giving any care in the world because I like him. Oh goodness, this is exactly what mom told me not to do. “Paige, don’t get your heart broken from someone who is going to be in your life for a long time because of his sister. It’s not going to be fair to you,” I can still hear her telling me.

Maybe mom is right. She’s always right. No matter how many times I tell myself she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, she does. She’s watching out for her baby girl and I just keep taking it for granted. I know one day that I’m going to regret not telling my mom that I love her, even when she’s being unshakable. I’m going to regret ever yelling at her, rolling my eyes at her, and just never wanting to be home with her anymore. She’s annoying all the time when she thinks she’s right. She’ll always be my lifelong best friend.

I walk to class thinking about Brody when I noticed I now have a class with Adilynn because she switched rotations. I was beyond glad that she was in there with me. I think she’s finally the friend that understands m. Now it’s time to tell Adilynn how I’m feeling because this isn’t okay. I have to tell her that I like her brother and that I’m sorry.

“Hey Adilynn, can I talk to you about a few things?”

“Yeah, why couldn’t you?”

“I just don’t want to talk to you and bother you if you have things to be doing.”

“Paige, stop procrastinating and tell me.”

Wow, I didn’t even realize I was procrastinating. My mind is just trotting. What could possibly go wrong? She could tell me she hates me. She could tell me to never talk to her again, or better yet, to get rid of these feelings I have because I will ruin everything. Now I just don’t want to tell her. I have myself over thinking about the negative side of things and I can’t help it. That’s what everyone does, right? Wrong. Nobody over thinks like I do. I cry all the time. I’m such a big baby. Goodness, maybe I shouldn’t tell her and let it just work itself out.

“Listen, Adilynn, I’m falling for Brody. I never wanted to. I had no intentions of falling in love with him. I thought he was your boyfriend so I didn’t want to fall for him. Ever since that night, my mind has been racing about him. I’ve been thinking about having a future with him, and just being his best “girl” friend. Even though I don’t know him like you do, he seems like a phenomenal person. I don’t want to get head over heels if it’s just gonna get shut down now. I feel like he’s something I’m willing to work for. My heart fills up with butterflies whenever I see him and you saw me this morning when he sat across from me. I was blushing like crazy.”

“I don’t know what to say Paige. I don’t want you getting hurt because I know what he’s capable of. It’s not good. He’s my brother and yeah, he’s a great guy but he’s not sophisticated yet. He doesn’t know what he wants. He’s still figuring it out. But, do whatever you feel is right and I’ll try and support you through it.” Adilynn said.

Wow, that went better than planned. I can’t believe that God actually blessed me with this human being for a friend… Although it’s only been a few months of being friends, she actually gets me. She truly understands me. I still just can’t believe it.

Later that night, as I’m sitting on my bed doing homework, I get this mysterious text.
“Hey beautiful.” I don’t know if I should be distressed. I haven’t gave a guy my number in so long and I still have all of their numbers in my phone, so maybe it’s a really close family friend? I don’t know but I don’t want to be rude and not text back.

“Hi? Do I know who you are?” I replied.

“Well, I kinda hope so. I see you everyday with that huge smile of yours. It’s Brody, Paige.”

OH MY GOODNESS!!! He actually has my number. I should be upset with Adilynn for giving my number out without even asking, so I call her. “Hey, did you give Brody my number?” She was really indecisive so I’m just gonna say that she didn’t and maybe her boyfriend gave Brody my number. He’s one of my best friends, so maybe. “No, I didn’t give Brody your number. I can barely remember it myself. Why?” Adilynn asked. I shouldn’t have to explain myself, I think she knows. She knows how much I wanted this moment to happen. “Oh, it’s nothing. He just texted me and it was random. I just wanted to know if you gave him my number but maybe it was Ryker. I’m sorry.” I hung up instantaneously. 

She didn’t sound okay. I was only thinking of myself and totally ignored the fact that she wasn’t. I never think of anybody else when I’m thrilled and actually show emotion. Maybe I should call her back, but maybe I need to give her some space. I’ll just text her, actually.

“Hey, I didn’t even realize that you sounded off today, is something bothering you that I can try and help with? Even if you need me to just listen. Please tell me what’s going on.” I sent it.

“Hey Paige, I’m not okay. I’m at my breaking point for right now. Everytime I try and talk to somebody, they don’t care. I just don’t understand my life. I’m in the worst possible position for me to concentrate on school. I don’t know if I’m ready for myself to open up about it. My family are the only people who know. I just want a friend to actually stick with me for once and let me be the best person I can.”

Okay, wow. I finally come to realize that everyone eventually gives up on her. I thought she was going to tell me what’s going on but I’ll take that answer. I don’t understand why Adilynn feels like she doesn’t have anybody that she can talk too. I’m always here for her, even if I’m not always at my best place, I will be that friend she needs in life. What if she honestly needs me and I’m just not showing her that I’m going to be that friend?

“Listen, Adilynn, I’m going to be that friend that shows you who I am as a person. I’m going to be one of those people who are down to listen about anything, even if I’m not in a good place, I’ll always try and help you out. You’re honestly a great person but you need to stop feeling this way. Talk to me, and tell me how you feel.

“Paige, you can’t tell anybody. My relationship with Jeremiah is so depleting. I believe I sincerely do love him even though he’s abusive. I know that I’m just 13, but I love this guy. He’s the only person that’s met my family and hasn’t walked away. He knows my deepest, darkest secrets. Please don’t tell anybody, not even my mom. Jeremiah is a great guy, but not for a serious relationship right now. I believe that once he figures out what he’s doing, that he won’t do it again. He knows I get scared when he starts swinging. I can’t tell my mom because he’s the only close thing I have. There’s also something else I need to talk to someone about, but it’s not the right time.”

“I’m really glad I was the person you told that to, Adilynn. I know you love Jeremiah, but is that really the relationship you want to be in? Do you want to look back and remember him as the guy who beat you? If you was to have his kid, did you want to tell your kid that their dad is the guy who physically beat you? You’re my best friend Adilynn and just reading that text broke my heart. It’s only been about a year and a half of being friends but that’s a little absurd. I’ve never met this guy, but I’m going to take your word about him being a good guy, but now that I know that, I will never picture him the same. Just know that whenever you’re ready to talk about the other thing, that I’ll be there. I’m going to go to bed.” I replied, that was it for me.

Truth is, I’m not really going to bed but I need to get away from that topic. I need to sleep or listen to music. I don’t understand her sometimes. She’s my best friend but how could she let someone do that to her?

Brody is fantastic. My heart still beats whenever I see him but now I need to ask Ryker if he’s giving my number away because that’s not cool. Ryker is Adilynn’s boyfriend and Brody’s best friend. If he would have asked to give him my number, it’d be a whole different story but he just got my number out of the blue.

“Ryker, please stop giving my number away. You can’t just do that without permission. Because of you, Brody now has my number, so thank you. Goodnight.

*Six Hours Later*

It’s seriously like three in the morning and my phone is going crazy. Who could that possibly be? Brody. That’s who it is. He’s being all sweet and everything but he needs to go to bed. I have to be up in three hours and everybody knows what I’m like when I don’t get enough sleep for the day.

Now that it’s six, I don’t want to get up. I’m just having a really rough month and the only thing that’s motivating me is Brody. Brody is ALWAYS on my mind anymore and I don’t know why. I’ve never actually got to know him like I usually do with other people. I just have my heart set for him. What’s the worst that could go wrong?

I walk into the school and head straight for the cafeteria, hoping Adilynn is already here. When I get there, Ryker told me that Adilynn won’t be at school today but Brody will. I didn’t care that Brody was going to be there, he’s irrelevant right now.  Although I’m berserk about this kid, I didn’t care at this point, at least until school is over.


School is now over and as I’m walking to the bus, Brody pulls me to the side.

“Uh, hi Brody. What’s wrong?” I said. “Nothing Paige, nothing is wrong. I just want to talk to you about something. I know you got my texts last night because you’ve been avoiding me all day today. I know how you feel about me, Adilynn told me. You’re something memorable Paige. Maybe we can go to the movies or something and then go to dinner and talk.” I didn’t know what to think. Was he really asking me to go to the movies?

“Okay Brody, I’m in. When are we going?”

 “How about Friday? Is that okay?” He asked. “Yeah, that’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow, I’m going to go now.” I said as I bolted away.

Wow. Did I really just say that? What am I doing? I’m already messing things up. As I walk to the bus, I look back to see if he’s still watching me walk away. Yeah, he sure was. He looked so sad and with today, I didn’t seem to care at all, but now that I walked away, I feel horrendous.  I should probably talk to him, but I need to go home. My mind is racing, goodness I’m such a bad person. Why would anybody want to go on a date with me?


Today is the day that I go on my date with Brody and I’m starting to get knots in my stomach. Good knots though. I can get through school and make it until tonight, I’m just jumping off the walls, I’m so excited but yet so scared. This could go wrong in so many ways, but I’m just going to wing it.

When I get to school, Adilynn is waiting for me. She has the sad eyes, that could kill a heart in an instant. I don’t know if I should walk away from this moment or go see what’s wrong.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I asked.

“Hey, I’m finally ready to talk about it, maybe not here though. It’s kind of personal.”

“Okay, is there somewhere else you want to talk?”
“Follow me. Okay, so a few weeks ago, my mom was diagnosed with stage 2 thyroid cancer, and it’s hitting a big place in my life. I know Brody hasn’t said anything to you but it’s true. I’ve been really down about it, so I’m sorry.”

“Adilynn, it’s okay. I understand. Maybe I should tell Brody not tonight so you can all be home with your mom. I love you, okay?”

“Paige, don’t even think about canceling on Brody. This has been all he talks about. He wants you right now. He’s strong-willed to get you, so don’t cancel. We can be with my mom another time.”

Maybe I’m over-reacting, but this sounds so bad. I don’t want to go on this date anymore. He’s going through so much and he’s just trying to stay away from it. Poor Brody. I can’t ditch him, after all, he is the guy I’ve been chasing for so long. *Look down at phone*. Oh my goodness, Paige. What are you doing?! It’s 5:30 and Brody is coming to get me in thirty minutes, and I haven’t gotten anywhere with getting ready.

*Thirty Minutes Later*

Brody is here to pick me up and my heart is filled with butterflies. This date is going to be so good that we’re going to have another one, I have confidence. So, turns out we are going to Olive Garden and we are going to the movies. I don’t like Olive Garden at all, but I have to suck it up for the sake of this date. We go and see The House At The End Of The Street and he actually grabbed my hand. I honestly think I’m falling in love with Brody and it’s going to be hard to tell Adilynn.

*One Year Later*

It’s the last day of my eighth grade year and I’m coming to realization that I graduate eighth grade tonight. Everything went by so fast. I went through middle school faster than I thought. I just blinked and here I am, graduating the eighth grade, leaving middle school behind me.

The time is here. It’s time to graduate the eighth grade with my best friend. I’ve always wanted to graduate with my best friend, but better yet, my crush that I’ve went on a date with. They both walk behind me when we get our names called, which is cool I guess. We all get our middle school diplomas as we walk across the floor, everyone cheering for us. I’ve never been so happy in my life that now, I’m definitely looking forward to my high school years.

Well, now that we’ve graduated, I have a date, tonight. I’m already dressed up so we just go straight from graduation. It’s our time, now or never. As we are on the way to this secret place, Brody reaches across the car just to hold my hand. Now, I’ve definitely got the butterflies in my stomach. The kind that people just don’t understand. I’m so young, that nobody believes me but sometimes, they kill the inside of me because they get to happy and flutter away.

*Two Years Later*

We’re sophomores now. It’s crazy to think that in these short periods of times, people so close to us could be our priority. Brody is more than certainly, my priority. I’ve never felt so happy before. I’m more excited and happy now than I was when I found out that I was going to be a big sister… to a little brother. You should have been there for that day.

Adilynn and I have plans to get our nails done for our formal dance in a week. I can’t ask Brody because it just doesn’t feel right, right now anyways. Brody and I haven’t been in the best situation for us to be perfectly fine at a formal dance. I just don’t understand how things have gotten like this. He’s so great, that I’m actually about to throw everything away. I don’t know what else to do. How could he do this to everything we had? To me?

It’s time for the formal and things with Brody and I have gotten so worse that now, we aren’t even speaking. I really wanted this formal to be him and I but instead here I am, going with Adilynn. This wasn’t the plan at all, we made a plan for it to be Brody and I but I can forget about Brody. He ruined everything.

*One Year Later*

It’s now my junior year of high school and Brody and I haven’t spoken in a while but I genuinely love him. He’s the one person anybody can count on and his whole personality can light up a room. He’s truly something special. Brody is my best friend and just a great person. Brody has that smile that lights up the room, his big brown/green eyes are so bright. His hair is so beautiful. He’s the one person I will always have a love of a lifetime with. If you get the opportunity to meet someone like him, don’t let them go. They are truly special, and will love you unconditionally even when you feel like you can’t be loved. Throughout this journey growing up, I’ve figured out that some people are worth fighting for.

March Meeting - Are We Having Fun(damentals) Yet?

Join us Saturday, March 4 as Allison Merritt presents: Are We Having Fun(damentals) Yet?

About Our Speaker

A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal, contemporary, and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. It's not unusual to find her lurking in graveyards, wandering historical sites, or listening to ghost stories.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.

About ORA's Monthly Meetings

ORA meets on the first Saturday of the month, hosting guest speakers who offer information about numerous facets of the industry. Our presenters include published authors, acquiring editors and agents, self-publishing gurus, special-interest experts, marketing specialists, and more.

Meetings begin at 11:30 a.m., following our critique group at 9:30 a.m., and are typically hosted at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, located at 397 E Central Street. Meetings include the speaker’s presentation, news and discussion regarding upcoming literary events and opportunities, and conclude with door prizes.

Anyone interested in ORA is welcome to attend up to three meetings for free. Afterward, annual membership is only $25.

The March meeting at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library will be held UPSTAIRS rather than in the basement.

What Are Your Characters Doing?



Okay, you are writing a fantastic story and you have fifty-seven characters in your book. My question is, “What purpose do they serve?” You may think this a silly question, but if you put a character in a book, they had better have a specific job to fulfill. If they do not—delete them!

You know the purpose of your hero and heroine, but it is time to examine your secondary characters. Of course, your protagonists do not live in a world all by themselves, they interact with others. The characters you add must contribute something to move the plot forward. You do not need to give every secondary character a name, especially if they have no purpose. Example, the waiter, the butler, the maid, etc. The exception is if the waiter, the butler or the maid play a part, like planting a clue, killing someone, stealing something, or adding poison to a drink, then name them since you will talk about them later.



Definition of Characterization


Characterization is the act of creating and describing characters in literature. Characterization includes both descriptions of a character’s physical attributes as well as the character’s personality. The way that characters act, think and speak can be presented to the reader either by direct or indirect characterization. Direct characterization is when the author tells the reader what the character is like, while indirect characterization is showing the reader through the character’s thoughts, words, and deeds. Note:  Showing is always better than telling.

You never want to be criticized for having stock characters, flat characters, characters with no dimensions, poorly drawn characters, and so on. Your characters must be believable, people your reader can identify with. That means they are either like that person, or have seen people who act in that manner. Saying that a book’s characters are unbelievable is one of the worst criticisms that can be made in this day in age. Authors use characterization to flesh out their characters, show the characters’ motivations, and make the reader have empathy with the characters.


If you are writing a book with a murderer or a real bad guy, think about having a few scenes with the villain/murder’s point of view. Depending on the length of your book, hold it to about three, and keep the scenes short. The most important point is if you are in the villain’s OIVthe hero/heroine cannot be in the scene—only the bad guy. If the protagonists are there, the scene belongs to one of them and you cannot use another POV.

Use your protagonists’ POV to show the reader everything in the story. It is through the hero/heroine that all the other characters come alive since it is their POV that makes the difference. They will tell/show the reader who the other characters are, what they look like, and what they are doing. The reader will learn everything from the protagonists.

Go through your manuscript and examine your characters and what they are doing. Secondary characters can add a lot to a story, just do not let them take over! There are times a side-kick, or a best friend are so dynamic they try to become the star of the story. If that is the case, give them their own book because this one belongs to someone else! 

Some of TV's favorite break-out characters (as examples)


Kathleen Garnsey - Member since 1988

February Meeting - Microsoft Word Workshop

Join us for our first official meeting of the year as Sharon Kizziah-Holmes (founder/owner of Paperback Press) walks us through a  Microsoft Word Workshop. Learn the industry standard manuscript setup for easy editing, submitting to agents & publishers.

About Our Speaker

In her own words...

My interest in writing novels came in 1991 when a friend suggested we write a book together. I took her up on it. I joined writing groups, including ORA, and a whole new world opened up for me. I’m still a member of many of those groups and absolutely love writing, editing, publishing and doing writing workshops.

I live in the beautiful Ozarks with my husband our Cocker Spaniel, Dude. I have a wonderful, supportive family and many great friends. My life is blessed.

Sharon Kizziah-Holmes , our February speaker

Sharon Kizziah-Holmes, our February speaker

!!!!! IMPORTANT !!!!!

The February meeting will take place at the McAlisters at Battlefield and Kansas Expressway. Critique will be held at the McDonald's across from Hy-Vee at the normal time of 9 a.m. March meetings will resume at Midtown Carnegie Branch Library.

November Meeting: NaNoWriMo and Everything You Want to Know About Scrivner

November is a lot of things to many people: family get-together, holiday shopping, and travels. For writers, it's all those things and then some. November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo poses the following challenge: can you complete your manuscript within 30 days?

That might seem ambitious, but the daily goal is a little more attainable: 1,667 words to get to 50k by November 30.

Well, we say attainable, but 1,667 words, for many, is a struggle on many days. And even if you are accustomed to getting out this many words or more on writing days, the rush to your daily word count has a way of seeming a little steeper as the month progresses.

Thankfully, there are writing aids available, which is going to be the subject of this November's meeting.

Kayla Griffith is an artist, teacher, aspiring author and lover of all things techy. She builds websites, professionally creates graphic art, and enjoys playing in the digital world. Kayla has used several (dozens) of online writing tools and apps and Scrivner is one of her favorites because of its flexibility and organization. Scrivner has been a key player each time she’s won NaNoWriMo and an even bigger player as she wrestled those 50,000 words into a viable novel. She has also used it to help others get their manuscripts ready for e-book publishing.

Kayla Griffith, ORA's November Speaker

Kayla Griffith, ORA's November Speaker

Meetings begin at 11:30 a.m., following our critique group at 9:00 a.m., and are typically hosted at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, located at 397 E Central Street. Meetings include the speaker’s presentation, news and discussion regarding upcoming literary events and opportunities, and conclude with door prizes.

Anyone interested in ORA is welcome to attend up to three meetings for free. Afterward, annual membership is only $25.

Interested? Let us know if you're coming!