Posted in Health

“Side Effects” the Movie that inspired this Post on Human Drug Testing

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m taking a break from discussing teen issues today and talking about a movie I saw. I went to see “Side Effects” a couple of weeks ago. It was a great movie with an awesome twist toward the end. I enjoyed it and the movie started me thinking about the new drugs that deal with psychological issues that are available on the market today.

Now, I’ve never taken a drug for depression or anxiety so I have no first-hand knowledge of what some of these drugs can do. But this movie raised some concerns for me. I asked the question, how do we know what the side effects of these drugs are? How do we test for them?

So, of course, I did some research and this is what I found:  A new drug has to go through three phases of testing before it is considered safe for the market and all drugs have to be approved by the FDA.

Phase One: This is where the drug is tested on animals. After the company does this type of testing they must fill out a “New Drug Application.”  This application is then reviewed by the FDA and a local Institutional Review Board. If the application is approved, the review board (made up of scientists and non-scientists in hospitals and research institutions) moves forward and sets up a clinical trial protocol. This protocol describes the type of people who can participate in the human testing of the drug.  The people tested in this stage are healthy humans and they are paid for their participation. The emphasis in this stage is safety. Researchers are looking for any negative effects the drug has on healthy individuals. If no major health concerns appear they move on to Phase Two. The number of participants for this phase range from twenty to eighty people.

Phase Two: This is the phase where they test the effectiveness of a drug while still keeping an eye on safety. They want to see if the drug actually works on the conditions or diseases it’s designed to help. The number of participants for this phase range between a few dozen to about three hundred.  If there is evidence that there is a positive effect from the drug the researchers move on to Phase Three.

Phase Three:  In this phase they gather more information on effectiveness and safety; testing the drug on different populations and different dosages. They also combine the test drug with other medications to see if there’s any negative reaction. The number of people tested in this phase range from several hundred to three thousand.

After this phase the sponsor of the new drug must fill out a New Drug Application. This is the formal step needed to seek approval from the FDA to market any drug in the United States.  If approved that Clinical Trials are set up and these trials are what take so long. They can take several years to complete. For more information on the New Drug Review Process please click this link.

It takes several years for a drug to appear on the market. As I researched this I grew concerned.  Who are these companies testing the drugs on?

Since these companies are paying individuals to be human guinea pigs there isn’t any criteria to become a test subject. Therefore, I concluded that the test subjects are usually the poor or uneducated or young people who need the money, like college students.

What happens when drug testing goes horribly wrong? As parents we need to teach our young people to value their health and not take it for granted. I know that drug testing is essential and I don’t fault modern medicine for finding new cures, but testing a new drug can be very dangerous for the volunteers. The risks are too great in my opinion. So, what are we to do?

I have an answer. 🙂 But you knew I would didn’t you?  Where can we find human volunteers? My answer is why don’t we look for volunteers in our prison system? We’ve got a number of individuals who are either serving life sentences or on death row. They would be benefiting society and drug companies wouldn’t have to pay them. Maybe that would also bring the cost of the drugs down, which could ultimately bring down insurance rates for health insurance. Hmmm….makes you think doesn’t it?

One may argue that prisoners don’t fit the criteria of a healthy individual. Well…that is a point but my response to this arguement is…most prisoners eat better than our poor and uneducated. Sadly…they are probably healthier than many of our current volunteers.

Is it considered cruel and unusual punishment? I think not…because it is on a volunteer basis. In my opinion, doctors would be able to monitor the subjects in a controlled environment, which would make monitoring the side effects of the drug easier and more accurate. 🙂 This would protect our college bound youngsters, the poor, and uneducated who have done nothing against society.

What do you think? I know this sounds a little extreme…but then you’d have to see the movie to understand my concerns.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on my opinions. 🙂 Do you think this would be feasible?

***I want to thank for some of the information provided in this post.

Posted in Uncategorized

Who’s really running the Show?


Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. I wrote this post as a guest post for another blog, but I liked the story so I thought I’d share it with all of you.  Most of you know that my two books made it to the bestseller’s list in January and I was ecstatic! It was a great start to the New Year.

I had arrived! I made it! I’m in control of my destiny. I thought this way for the first week of January as I worked and slaved to finish the third novel in the Super Spies series. Then it slowly dawned on me…who was really in charge…

My cat. That’s right, my cat Lilly. She was a stray that wandered into our garage one cold November evening. My husband told me she was there. “She must have smelled the chicken on the grill,” he said with a nonchalant shrug.

I wandered down the stairs to get a look at her. She ambled out from under the car…all big eyes and tiny meow.  A little Tiger kitty.

“We can’t leave her in the garage!” I exclaimed horrified. I picked her up and rushed her into the house where we promptly fed her and doted on her.

We had to keep her segregated from the other cats because they weren’t as excited about a kitten as the rest of the family.  So, Lilly, I promptly named her, has her own room. She gets to hang out with the rest of the family in our bonus room. We bought her a kitty condo along with her own litter box and food dishes. The other cats can no longer come in the bonus room unless they can get along with Lilly. One cat has been able to do that and the other one sits outside our makeshift gate stalking her. Angry that she’s left out. I don’t blame her, I’d be angry too, but she’s got to learn to get along with Lilly, this is non-negotiable.

Lilly has become part of the family. The boys rush home from school to play with her. She’s that cute. Even then…I didn’t realize that she’d taken over our lives.

It wasn’t until after Christmas break when the boys went back to school and I wanted to work that I realized who was really running the show. I’d sit down at my computer…ready to pound away at the keys when Lilly would jump up on my desk and demand attention.

I’d stroke her soft, little ears and then put her down on the floor. She’d wander away only to return minutes later, demanding more attention. She’d sit in front of the monitor and give me that plaintive meow that she has. I would pet her and again put her down on the floor. This would go on until, exasperated, I’d give up and move to the couch. She’d follow me with that soft step that cats have and climb on my lap.

Where I’d pet her until she felt she’d had enough and would move to the other end of the couch where she would clean herself and give me smug looks. Then…and only then…could I work.  This has been the morning routine ever since the boys started school.  

I realize now that I’m not in charge. Lilly is running the show. When we’re watching TV and she wants attention, she’ll sit in front of it, blocking everyone’s view until someone moves her…and she gets the attention she wants.

Isn’t she smart? Getting everyone to work around her and operate their lives according to her terms. We didn’t even know we’d been manipulated. Wow!  I need to take lessons from my cat. 🙂

Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Brenda Maxfield as she introduces her Debut Novel!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today. I’ve got Brenda Maxfield another Astraea Press author and all around great gal here today. Her debut novel, “The Lance Temptation”, has just been released and we’ve got her main character Emili answering some questions for us.  Take it away Emili!

Interview with Emili Jones, the main character of The Lance Temptation:

Give us a few brief facts about yourself.

My name is Emili Jones. I’m sixteen years old and a sophomore at Bates Academy.

Is Bates a private school?

Yes. I’ve gone there forever. All my friends are there.

Who’s your best friend?

Right now, my best friend is Farah Menins. She’s gorgeous and all the guys like her.

And how about you? Are you popular with the guys?

Not so much. I figured if I hung out with Farah, it might help me get more popular.

Did it work?

I managed to snag one guy all on my own. His name is Marc and he’s really nice. You know, a sweet guy. But there’s this new guy at school named Lance, and I start sweating the minute I look at him. He’s fine. But I don’t think he’d ever look twice at me.

What’s your favorite thing to do?

I make perfume. It can get kind of spendy though.

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Is it okay if I don’t really answer that? It’s embarrassing and I’m still mad at myself. I will say this—it had to do with Marc.

What do you wish you could do over?

Wow. There are a couple major things. I dumped my friend Jeannie, and sometimes I regret it. Especially because of the reason why I dumped her. The other thing is the same as the last question you asked. It’s about Marc.

What’s hardest about being a teen in today’s world?

The pressure on you to be hot and smart and beautiful and popular. It’s impossible. Who could live up to that? Well, maybe Farah.  But the pressure makes you do stupid things. Even when you try not to be an idiot, you end up doing things you know you shouldn’t.

What are your future plans?

Hmmm, I’m only a sophomore so I’m not sure. I want to graduate from Bates and go to university. I’m worried, though, because something’s going on with my dad.  He has some big announcement, and I can tell by the look on his face I’m not going to like it.

I hope the announcement isn’t too awful. It was nice talking with you today, Emili. All of us can read about your story in The Lance Temptation, correct.

Yep. Thanks for talking with me. It was nice to be here.

Below are the cover, blurb and an excerpt from Brenda’s book:

LanceTemptation_500x750Sophomore Emili Jones has had it with being a boring, straight-A student. Itching for excitement, she sees plenty of it in classmate Farah Menin’s life of frequent dates and edgy adventure. Hoping the popularity will rub off, Emili latches onto Farah and manipulates herself into best friend status. The connection helps her land the hot new guy, Lance Jankins, but there’s a catch. Now a pawn in Farah’s dating games, Emili is on a crash course to betrayal. Will she realize it in time to save herself?

Excerpt from The Lance Temptation (Book One of The Edgemont Collection):

Farah carried her tray with its plate of green beans as if it were the royal jewels. She sashayed toward our regular table in the corner of the cafeteria, her hips lightly brushing the backs of the entire high school football team who’d already grabbed the table in the nearest the food. The catcalls began immediately.

“Hot stuff,” one player yelled, and then whistled.

With practiced innocence, Farah paused, and turned to face the guys. She rolled her green eyes and shook her head, feigning annoyance. A smile played on her lips. Then she fluttered her thick lashes and continued on, skirting her way to our table in the back.

Oh yeah, she’s a master at everything I’m not. All Farah has to do is show up and the boys follow, frolicking like puppies around a bone. So, shameful as it sounds—I made it my business to become her friend, even if it meant dropping everyone in my tight circle. I was done being the boring, straight A girl. I wanted the hot guys to drool around me for once, and I figured the connection couldn’t hurt.

Watch and learn, Farah had said. Right.

I stood with my tuna sandwich stuffed inside my crumpled lunch sack, sighed heavily and followed her, trying not to let my shoes clack out my progress. Nobody’s eyes followed my every move.

Well, there’s a surprise.

I slid onto the bench across from her. It was Monday—the only day Farah’s halfway civilized because she’s tired from the weekend—and we were eating lunch together as usual.

Farah opened her milk carton, and took a drink. She tipped her head, letting her thick red hair cascade down her back. The loose curls nearly touched her waist. Farah’s well aware how flat-out gorgeous she is, and she quickly glanced around to see who might be watching.

The table of girls to the side of us stared at her. When they spotted me looking at them, they huddled together in one big gossip head. Farah saw them laughing, pointing, and whispering. Her expression hardened. “What a bunch of wannabe’s.”

“They’re jealous,” I said.

Farah leaned across the end of our table toward them. “Talk about me all you want, you sad groupies.”

Their heads jerked apart and each one of them glared at her. Farah scowled, and then turned her attention back to me.

I heard a yelp behind me, and someone hollered, “You’re disgusting!” A burst of raucous laughter filled the air. I could see Farah watching the whole scene over my shoulder. Wide-eyed, she jumped from her seat and flew to a table of freshmen girls. I swirled around to observe. Farah lunged across their strewn trays and stuck her face against a shocked girl’s nose. “Leave her alone! Do it again, and you’ll deal with me.”

Her harsh voice echoed across the cafeteria. The freshmen girls were shocked into silence, but their lips fairly curled into snarls.

A choked sniffle came from a girl cowering at the end of the table. Macaroni was splattered all over her uniform. Farah stood up to her full height, her cheeks blotched red. She regarded the sniveling girl. “You okay?”

There was no answer.

“Want help cleaning up?”

The girl shook her head, picked up a napkin, and started wiping at her shirt.

Farah squared her shoulders and returned to our table. I stared at her. “What was that?”

“Bullies. I hate them. And where are the lunch monitors, anyway?” She picked up her fork and took a bite of green beans.

“You know, sometimes you’re actually nice.”

Farah grimaced. “Don’t let it get around.”

I laughed and picked up my sandwich. Right then a tender feeling of protectiveness toward Farah washed over me.

And that’s when he descended upon our table. The New Guy. The one I’d secretly been panting after since he transferred to our school two weeks earlier.

Here are the buylinks for Brenda’s book:


Barnes and Noble:

Now here’s a little bit about Brenda herself:

Maxfield (2)Brenda Maxfield loves writing novels for young adults. She explores teens’ heartaches and triumphs—and always with a bit of romance thrown in to complicate matters. Brenda is a high school teacher and spends most of her waking hours with teens. She loves hearing their views on love and life, and is honored to be part of their lives.

Brenda has lived in Honduras, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica. Presently, she lives in Indiana with her husband. They have two adult children and are grandparents to one precious little guy, special delivery from Africa.

When not writing or teaching, Brenda can be found at her lake cabin with a book in her hand and her dog Lucy on her lap. If you’re looking for good, clean teen reads, check out Brenda’s books! She loves getting to know her readers better, so stop by and say hello at:

You can find Brenda at these Social Media Sites:





Thanks for stopping by Brenda and your story definitely sounds intriguing! I’ve got it on my TBR pile!

Posted in Uncategorized

Valentine Day Ramblings

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s that day when you do something special for the ones you love.  As I write this post, I think back on all the Valentine’s Days in my past. I remember in High School we used to buy roses from the student council and give them to that special someone.  It was something we looked forward to on a cold, snowy day.

Now, I enjoy getting a card from my hubby and I enjoy giving him one. But the real joy I feel is when I go to my kids’ Valentine’s parties. They are so excited!  And I remember the feeling I got when I was a youngster and I would go to my school party. Beforehand, I carefully selected the perfect Valentine for each friend and signed my name on the back. I carried them to school with an air of anticipation, excited to give as well as receive.

As I think about all of this, memories of my childhood parade through my brain. I remember playing kick the can with the neighborhood kids until it was too dark to see. I grew up in a small town and there was no fear of abductions or strangers walking in the dark. Everyone knew everyone else.

I smile as I think about where my “kick the can” friends are now.  Some still live in the same small town and others have scattered to the four corners of the Earth. I wonder what they’re doing now. And I hope their lives are everything they hoped they would be.

As I dwell on these thoughts, I wish for those simpler times when we didn’t have to lock our doors at night. Now, I won’t let my kids run around the neighborhood in the dark without me or my hubby being there.

I loved growing up in a small town until my teens when I found the familiarity all too oppressive. Everyone knew everyone else’s business. I felt suffocated and had the itch to leave.  I did leave and moved to a bigger city and I’m glad I did. I’ve experienced more things and accomplished more things than I would have if I had stayed.

I look at my kids and I hope that I’m creating happy memories for them. I want them to look back on their lives with joy and contentment. I know they’ll have struggles like we all do, but I hope they’re few and far between. 🙂 I hope they have a lot of good “kick the can” memories like I do.

Who would’ve thought that Valentine’s Day would’ve sparked a trip down memory lane? Thanks for stopping by and if you’d like to share some of your own “kick the can” moments, feel free to do so! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Uncategorized

Jessie Andersen talks about juggling Motherhood and Writing

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Jessie Andersen as a guest today and she’s sharing her thoughts on the juggle all of us mother’s do–whether it’s juggling writing or a full time job with motherhood. Take it away Jessie!

I had to laugh when I emailed Lisa recently to ask her to remind me the topic of the post. You see, my little 14 month old is sick. She’s been crying, whining, wriggling, screaming, snotting and coughing for two days. I’m working on little sleep and little patience. So, Lisa graciously emailed me back and said, “We discussed the topic of juggling motherhood with writing.” HA! If that’s not irony, I don’t know what is.

So, here it is in a nutshell: my family comes first. I try to set aside time to write at least an hour a day, but the Little Bug won’t let me sit at the computer until she’s sleeping. Well, unless I want a bunch of “kskdfhio” put into the middle of my WIP. She likes the space bar and the ‘page down’ button too, so I find myself typing in the middle of a previous paragraph if I try to do anything with her awake. In the morning, I get the older two kids off to school with the help of my awesome hubby and then The Bug and I hang out. We play in the living room, and every once in a while I try to clean something, but it’s futile when I have a 14 month old going behind me messing up whatever I clean. Folding laundry… that’d be nice if The Bug didn’t climb on my piles and pull the neatly folded clothes into a big heaping mess again.

So waiting for bed time is the perfect solution except that nap time is limited. So I have to be fast and efficient. I’m neither, which is why it takes me so long to pump out a manuscript. Oh well. In the long run, The Bug is more important than my writing career any day.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I could write in the evenings, but when the older kiddos get home from school, it’s homework, cub scouts, gymnastics, and guitar lessons. Not to mention, we do need to eat, and eating together as a family is an important tradition in the Andersen household. I cook nearly every night, and we sit down together, asking our kids how their day went. This means that all writing oriented stuff must stop by 3:30.

There are weekends. But with my kids in school, we keep weekends open. I won’t do work on Sunday. That’s our day of worship and family, and Saturdays are usually filled with baking, crafts or whatever else we can’t fit in during the week. So, if you really look at it, I have only 5-10 hours a week to do anything writing related.

But I’m not complaining. God has blessed my writing, and I’m privileged to be able to raise my little one from home and still have something that I can call ‘mine’. In the end, I may not be remembered for being a famous author or even a good author, but I will be remembered for being a good mom. That’s the most important job there is. 


You’re so right Jessie! If you get a chance, check out Jessie’s book! It’s on my TBR pile that’s for sure! 


At What Cost


During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.

While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.



Posted in promotion

Tag You’re It!

Hello Everyone! I’ve been tagged by Su Williams to post an excerpt from my book and then challenge 7 other authors to do the same.  Her blog is here:    So you, our followers and viewers could catch a glimpse of our work! So here you go!  This is from the first book in the Super Spies series, “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”. It’s an excerpt and I’d love to read your comments. 🙂

In this excerpt the lead characters are walking along a creek:  🙂

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750

Walking along the bank, the girls came to the large willow tree and
quickly claimed it as their secret hiding place. Creeping beneath the pliable
branches, Sarah sighed, happy to be out of the sun. Jackie sat down on the
ground and started playing in the soil with a stick. Sarah and Lacey plopped
down next to her.
“Okay, Lacey why don’t you start,” Jackie said.
“Okay…Jackie, truth or dare?”
“I guess…truth.”
“Oh, you big chicken,” Lacey whined, a disappointed pout on her face.
“I’m not chicken. I just think you’ll give me a wimpy dare,” Jackie said
thrusting her nose in the air. “So, truth.”
“Okay, would you ever French kiss a boy?”
“Oh, what a lame question,” Sarah grumbled. “I can tell this is the first
time you’ve played this game.”
Lacey shrugged. “So what if it is? Just answer the question, Jackie.”
“Boy, you can tell you’re only fourteen,” Sarah said with a superior air.
“Ooooh, you’re a whole year older.” Lacey rolled her eyes. “Okay, Jack,
answer the question.”
“All right,” Jackie studied the toe of her shoe for a moment. “It
“On what?”
“On whether or not he chewed tobacco.” Jackie nodded. “Yeah, if he
chewed tobacco, no way…but if he didn’t then I’d think about it.”
“What a lame question.” Sarah gazed at Lacey and raised her right
eyebrow, and smirked. This was her infamous ‘are you brain dead?’ look.
“Be nice, it is her first time,” Jackie said, smacking Sarah on the arm.
“Whatever.” Sarah rolled her eyes.
“Sarah, truth or dare?” Jackie asked, a mischievous smirk playing on her
“Dare.” Sarah pulled her hair behind her ears and she sat up tall.
“Okay,” Jackie laughed. “You have to go up on the Cat Lady’s porch and
ring her doorbell.”
“Who’s the Cat Lady?” Lacey asked as she pulled on the grass growing
beneath her and tossed it in the air.
“She’s a witch.” Jackie whispered the words as if the mere mention of the
woman would conjure her up.
“Holy Cow!” Lacey chortled. “You’re history now!”
“No way,” Sarah scoffed.
“Way.” Lacey threw a handful of grass at her sister.
“Well?” Jackie asked. “Are you going to do it, or wimp out?”
“I’ll do it.”
“Are you sure?” Jackie wheedled. “You know, she’s a witch.”
“Yeah,” Lacey piped up, relishing the teasing. “I bet she casts evil
“You remember what I told you about Mrs. Farnsworth, don’t you?”
Jackie continued.
“Knock it off.” Sarah crossed her arms over her chest. “I know you’re
just trying to freak me out.”
“What happened to Mrs. Farnsworth?” Lacey asked, taking the bait.
Jackie deepened her voice. “It was a long time ago.”
“I’m not going to listen to this.” Sarah stood and brushed the dirt off her
“What? Are you scared?” Jackie teased.
“No, I’m not scared,” Sarah said as she glared at Jackie. “But this is the
hardest dare in the history of this game.”
“Yeah, it is,” Jackie snickered. “Are you up to the challenge, girlfriend?”
“Yep, let’s go.” Sarah turned, and began walking out from under the
green canopy. The willow branches stroked her face and arms as she moved
through them.
Lacey and Jackie stood and followed her.
Sarah squinted and shaded her eyes against the sun as she waited for the
other girls to catch up.
“So, what did happen to Mrs. Farnsworth?” Lacey persisted.
“She used to live next to the Cat Lady. They were always fighting over
something,” Jackie began.
“So what,” Lacey shrugged. “A lot of neighbors argue.”
“Let me finish,” Jackie scolded. “Anyway, the biggest feud they had was
over the Cat Lady’s apple tree. Every year it dropped a ton of apples in Mrs.
Farnsworth’s yard. They made a huge mess.”
“I bet Mrs. Farnsworth was totally ticked,” Sarah said.
“Yeah, it bothered her so much, one day when the Cat Lady wasn’t
home, she hired someone to cut down her tree.”
“Oh, I bet the Cat Lady was so-o mad.” Lacey frowned and twirled her
hair around her finger.
“She sure was.” Jackie nodded. “The story goes, the Cat Lady was so
angry she cast a spell on Mrs. Farnsworth. She got some mysterious illness and
died a week later.”
“I don’t know if I believe that story.” Sarah shot Jackie a skeptical look.
“It’s true,” she insisted. “She died with huge warts all over her face and
“Oooh, so-o gross.” Lacey grimaced and subconsciously wiped her
hands on her shirt.
“Yeah, it was. They were oozing yellow pus.”
Lacey gagged. “Gross! She had some horrible disease, the kind you get
from an evil spell.”
“Did you actually see the warts?” Sarah’s upper lip quivered with
suppressed laughter.
“Then how do you know it’s true?”
“I just do,” Jackie asserted. “They were green and oozing yellow pus.”
Sarah hooted with laughter. “Come on, Jack. You don’t believe that, do
Jackie glared at Sarah. “Yes, I do. Everything I’ve told you is true.
Remember what I told you about Gus Baker?”
“Yeah, I remember, but I don’t know if I believe that, either.” Sarah gave
her the raised eyebrow smirk she usually gave her sister.
“Stop looking at me like that!”
“Come on. You don’t believe those stories, do you?”
“Do you have any evidence they’re not true?”
“No, I don’t,” Sarah admitted. “But we don’t have any evidence that
they are true, either.”
“You mean Mrs. Farnsworth’s wart-covered body isn’t enough for you?”
Jackie demanded. “What about Gus Baker?”
Sarah sighed and shook her head.
“So tell me about Gus Baker,” Lacey said.
“Not now,” Sarah interrupted. “We’re here.”
The girls stopped and Sarah noticed the sun vanished behind a cloud.
Suddenly, the atmosphere around the house changed. Without the sun, it
appeared dark and foreboding. Sarah stood across the street and stared at the Cat
Lady’s place, looking for signs of ominous danger.
The house sat hunkered down as if it were poised to spring like a cat
stalking a mouse. Sarah shuddered at the thought of going up on the porch and
she chewed on her thumbnail.
Looking behind her, Sarah studied the church facing the Cat Lady’s
home. It was a strong structure built of huge stones. She could tell it was as old
as the town itself and its presence made her feel safe. Motioning for Jackie and
Lacey to follow her, she moved from the sidewalk to the huge oak tree growing
on the church’s lawn. The girls hid behind it, peeking out at the witch’s home.
“Are you still going to do it?” Jackie teased.
“Do you think she’s inside?” Lacey asked wide-eyed.
Sarah smirked at her. “Where else would she be? I hear she never leaves
her house.”
“Be nice.” Jackie smacked Sarah’s arm.
“What are you waiting for? Are you afraid of the witch?” Lacey asked as
she stared at the house.
“She’s not a witch. She’s just a freak, that’s all.”
“Well, then what are you waiting for?” Jackie snickered.
“I just want to make sure the coast is clear.”
“Hey, you guys, look at all the cats,” Lacey whispered. She pointed at
the clusters of felines lolling about on the porch and walking in the yard. “There
has to be at least twenty of them.”
“Yeah, that’s why she’s called the Cat Lady.” Sarah rolled her eyes and
then felt the sting from Jackie’s slap.
“Do you think she put a spell on those cats?” Lacey asked with an
innocent expression, twirling her hair with her finger.
“Could be,” Sarah snickered. “Or maybe she just…you know…gives
them food.”
“Knock it off, Sarah.” Lacey glared at her sister. “What’s her real name,
anyway? I’m sure she hasn’t gone by Cat Lady her whole life.”
“Mrs. Fedewa,” Jackie said, as she stared at the infamous house.
“Okay, I’m going for it. I’ll meet you back here.”
“Cool beans,” Jackie said.
“Cool beans? Is this town still in the nineties?” Sarah teased.
“Shut up.” Jackie smacked her arm again.
“This is physical abuse.” Sarah rubbed her arm, trying to appear injured.
Jackie laughed. “Be thankful, I like hanging out with you.”
“All I have to do is ring her doorbell, right?” Sarah poked her head out
from behind the tree. She noticed the tomato pulp still clinging to the siding and
peered up and down the street for the notorious Wykowski boys.
“That’s right,” Jackie chuckled.
Sarah took a deep breath and sprinted across the street. She stopped at
the porch stairs. A group of cats were sunning themselves on the steps. They
meowed at her as if they were hungry. Jumping when one of them rubbed
against her legs, she bent down and stroked its back, never taking her eyes off of
the house.
Sarah petted the cat, while she worked up the courage to climb the stairs.
She heard the loud purr of the contented feline and it eased her anxiety. All of a
sudden, she felt a hand squeeze her arm. Her heart leapt in her chest and she let
out a yelp.
Turning, she spied Jackie. “I almost peed my pants!”
Jackie giggled.
“What are you doing here?” Sarah muttered and gave Jackie the evil eye.
“I couldn’t stay behind the tree and miss all the action.”
Sarah glanced around and pointed to some overgrown bushes in front of
the porch. “You can hide over there.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah spied her sister running toward them
and stifled a groan.
“I didn’t want to stand by myself,” Lacey whimpered, slightly out of
breath. She tugged nervously on the hem of her T-shirt as she eyed the house.
Sarah groaned and her shoulders slumped as if she carried a heavy
burden. She sighed and pointed at the bushes again. “You hide over there with
Jackie and be quiet.”
Sarah waited until the other girls were out of sight, and then climbed the
stairs. Stopping when she reached the porch, Sarah took some deep breaths
before stepping onto the sagging stoop. Walking gingerly, she hoped the porch
would support her. Her stomach clenched when it groaned. She took another
step and then another, the porch complaining with every footfall. Halfway across
the stoop, she heard the girls behind the bushes.
“She’s almost to the door,” Lacey said in a low voice.
Sarah bit her lip, stifling the disapproving remark dancing on the tip of
her tongue. Instead, she turned and glared at the bushes, willing its occupants to
shut up. She made eye contact with Jackie, who quickly ducked behind the
shrubs, pulling Lacey with her.
What in the world is she doing?” Lacey asked.
“Shhh,” Jackie responded.

Sarah shook her head and continued her journey. She felt Jackie and
Lacey watching her as she crept toward the door. Reaching the entryway, she
was surprised to find the storm door wide open. The only barrier between the
Cat Lady and the rest of the world was a flimsy screen door hanging askew on
its hinges.
Alarm bells rang in Sarah’s head. This has got to be out of character for
someone who never leaves her home. She turned back and whispered to the other
girls. “Hey!”
Jackie poked her head out. “What?”
“The storm door’s open.”
“So what do I do?”
“Duh, ring the doorbell.”
Sarah shrugged and pushed the doorbell. It let out an irritating buzz and
she had the feeling it had been broken long ago and never fixed. She dashed
down the stairs. The cats scattered, alarmed by the sudden activity. Reaching the
shrubs, Sarah hid with her sister and Jackie.
Gasping for breath, Sarah waited for a reaction from the old woman. Her
heart pummeled her ribs and she pressed her hand to her chest to calm it.
After a few minutes, Sarah started to pace. “Well, nothing’s happened.”
She peeked out from behind the shrub and saw the screen door hanging ajar. “I
bet she’s not even home. I’m going to try again.”
Jackie shrugged. “Be careful, remember she’s a witch.”
Sarah shook her head, and then peered out from behind the shrubs. Once
again, she climbed the stairs. She was braver this time and it didn’t take her as
long to make it to the door.
She looked inside, her heart lurching in her chest. She tiptoed to the
picture window and peered through it. Gasping, she ran back to the entryway.
Pulling it open, she lunged inside.
Sarah stared, unable to tear herself away. Shock ran through her body
like an electrical current as she eyed the scene before her. The crumpled form of
the Cat Lady lay on the living room floor, just inside the door. No life flickered in
the old woman’s staring eyes. Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream and her
hands were up around her head as if she were warding off blows. Turning away
from the Cat Lady’s body, Sarah gagged as the coppery scent of blood assaulted
her. There was blood splattered everywhere, on the wall, on the carpet and
under the Cat Lady’s body.
Suddenly, Sarah’s throat constricted and she gasped for breath. Fearing
she would faint, she stumbled back out the door and collided with Jackie and
Lacey on the porch.

Here are the buylinks if your interested for both of my books in the Super Spies series!

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750


Barnes and Noble:





TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750


Barnes and Noble:





Here are the links to the other authors who are participating! So stop by and check out their work!

J. F. Jenkins