Author Spotlight: Janice Ross


Jumping Ship


Book Description


The year was nineteen seventy-five. Barren couple, Pearl and Edward Riley stumbled upon a newborn baby girl. Her cries could only be heard by a true mother, which Pearl immediately became. Bundled up with their new child, they discovered a parcel of artifacts and a scribbled note that read: Sakkara. Pregnant seamstress, Petrina Dugal, became a runaway at the age of twenty-six. She ran away from a brutish husband, Roger, and a well-loved South American home in Georgetown, Guyana; at the heart of her rebellion – an enigmatic lover named Michael Chen. Pet and Mikey, as they became affectionately known, allowed love to blossom in front of her police officer husband and an intrusive community. Were they not aware of the dangers? Or did the pursuit of love trump obligations?


Sakkara Riley grew up with two loving parents – adoptive parents to be exact. She never knew the circumstances surrounding her discovery, until the age of sixteen. She embarks on a journey.


Jumping Ship is an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series. There are 7 planned books – representing each of the islands that Sakkara will visit along the way.







A baby… her baby… their baby?

Pearl sobbed at first, unable to speak just then. For every bawl the abandoned child provided, the woman cosigned. Hers was not from loneliness―not any longer. Hers was not from uncertainty―life had instantly provided surety. Each second reinvigorated her existence. She wanted to live again. Wanted to smile again. Wanted to breathe again. Wanted to hope again.

And she did.

“We have a baby,” she crowed. Tears streamed down red cheeks. It had been ages, but the shine had returned. Blushed cheek naturally glistened as never before. Of the few onlookers to walk by, no one appeared eager to mind the couple’s dealings. Peering from side to side, she reiterated in a softer voice, “We have a baby, Ed.” Pearl spun the little treasure, allowing her husband to see their gift from God.

The knitted wrap began to float away, out of her grip. But to the child she held for dear life. The crying briefly subsided. She glared into wide, glossy grayish-blue orbs. 

A large piece of paper was pinned to the front of her clothing.

“What’s that?” Ed cranked out.

Pearl was fixated on the tender, pale brown baby that was cooing in her direction. Just a slight bit of the baby’s profile had initially escaped her casing. As Pearl unraveled more, she marked every inch of her belated birthday present.

“Pearl?” Edward keenly took in what was transforming before them. He reached up and ran his fingers through his crown once more. Tugged at the lobe of his left ear. Careened down the side of his face. The pressure was on.

When his wife didn’t automatically respond, he shifted closer. Slowly, then quicker paced.

“Pearl? Dear? What’s that?”

Edward’s lengthy finger extended and drew attention to an off-white document. Its edges were jagged.

Pearl examined it briefly before exhaling deeply.

“It must be her name: S-A-K-K-A-R-A.”


“No. I think our baby’s name is Sakkara.”

“Sakkara,” they sang in harmony.

As daylight drifted out of sight more and more, the urgency that once filled their pace also fled. This child changed everything. They felt safe and secure, even in the darkness. There was now a mandate on their lives, a chance at true happiness and satisfaction. Peace had surely become their newest friend. God would not bless them now, only to torture them right afterwards. This moment was meant to be. There was no need to rush any longer. The Rileys were right where they wanted to be. No thoughts were given to whom the baby’s parents were and if they were missing the little angel. For that moment, all that mattered was that Edward, Pearl, and Sakkara were now a family.


* * * * *


Book Trailer:



Janice Ross was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the USA in 1980. Although her citizenship certificate now reads the United States of America, she considers herself a citizen of the world. Sure she has not physically been around the world and back, but she’s travelled in her mind and dreams.

Janice is an author. She enjoys writing about social issues and personal experiences. Janice’s debut release was entitled Damaged Girls. She uses the three books in that series to detail the effects of different forms of abuse, discussing issues that are known to be taboo. Her next release, Jumping Ship, is a dedication to her country of birth and an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series – due out in 2014. It’s poised to be a colorful and emotional experience of life, love and family. As of present, she is also a contributor to a short story collection – Just Between Us, Inspiring Stories by Women. And lastly, Loving Nate is a novella about the realities of losing one’s self to love.

Janice enjoys reading. And is drawn to stories with distinct characters that she can love or hate, characters she can form alliances with or characters that she can swear off and despise. She is also weak for a good cultural tale, preferably in the form of historical fiction. Janice loves to be taken off guard by clever language and settings.

Janice is also a devout supporter and promoter of other authors through social media. She hosts a weekly show, Cultural Cocktails, on the largest social radio network, Blog Talk Radio.


You can connect with Janice on


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Mrs. McGrumpy Butt

We all have those days when just one tiny little thing throws our whole decent mood out the window. Well that happened to me yesterday. My oldest was complaining about having to go to the grocery store with me and his brother and sister. 

“Dad is at work. I can’t leave you home by yourself. You have to come with me.”

As soon as we walk into the store he asks me how long it will take, then proceeds to ask me every couple of minutes. About halfway through our shopping expedition I stop and look at him.

“If you keep asking me, I’ll make sure we are here for another hour.” Well that put a stop to his questioning.

After spending a small fortune on groceries, that might only last a week, we head out to the car. The kids hop on in and leave me to put the groceries in the trunk. Not cool, but I don’t say anything…until I was finally able to get in the car and head home.

“When we get home you all need to shower for school tomorrow, but before you do that, I expect you to help me carry the groceries inside, especially since none of you helped me put them in the car. Got it?”

The journey home was a quiet one. The kids knew I was mad. They all helped carry the groceries inside. My daughter went to take a shower and the boys went back to their room. I told them to pick their dirty clothes up from the floor and to pick up their toys. As my oldest brought his laundry through the kitchen to put in the utility room he mumbled something about me being mean.

I snapped. I had been trying my best not to, but it couldn’t be helped. After that there was a long conversation about the give and take in our relationship, and how all the kids needed to start helping me out more around the house.

I kissed them all goodnight and told them that I loved them. This morning I apologized to my oldest for losing my cool, and he apologized for pulling attitude with me. It’s a happy ending.

There is one that is grumpier than I though, and that’s…yep, you guessed it, Grumpy Cat. This post is for my kids. They love Grumpy Cat memes so I’m posting some of their favorite ones. Sit back and enjoy =)






Author Spotlight – Bette Stevens



ABOUT THE BOOK: Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is a prequel to the author’s upcoming debut novel.

As a baby boomer that grew up in an average middle-class family in America during the 1950s and 1960s, poverty was not something I had to dwell on or even think about as a child or as a teen. As an adult, I learned what living in poverty was like from friends and acquaintances that grew up in this invisible (to me) world―one where being poor was an accepted part of life for those who lived it. I became intrigued by some of their stories. ~ Bette A. Stevens


“It’s 1955 and we’re entering scene 2. So hop off your bike…

(That’s right—the one you hopped on in scene 1 and pedaled for three miles to get here.)

Get ready to head into Stark’s General store with nine-year-old Shawn Daniels and his younger brother Willie.”


PURE TRASH (scene 2)

Brakes, bike tires and a cloud of dust announced our arrival in the gravelly sand covering Stark’s parking lot. I was feeling like David right after he conquered the giant Goliath. That’s when I looked up and spotted Mr. Wentworth pointing over at Willie and me from his brand-spankin’ new 1955 Ford pickup. That red truck shined just like the candied apples Mum made for us kids in the fall. I could hear his deep-throated laugh as he stared at us from across the lot.

“There’s Eddy Daniels’s boys, regular chips off the old block,” I heard him telling Tom Matthews, the town barber.

As the men laughed and talked, Mr. Wentworth’s steel-like eyes never lost sight of Willie and me.

Sometimes I hated coming to town. Like I hated going to school. Folks like the Wentworths always made me feel like a nobody. The minute I’d spot them, I could feel my breath stop. My hands, my teeth and my stomach all got sucked in together. I wanted to throw up. I hated that feeling.

Thinking about those people made me sick. Folks like that always got a big kick out of making fun of Eddy Daniels’s kids.

Mr. Wentworth hollered over to me. “Hey boy! Your pop too poor to buy you a real basket for that bike? He sure had plenty of cash for beer last night.”

I hated it.

When he said that, I couldn’t help but think about how Mum had bawled her eyes out when Dad brought home that brand-spankin’ new Zenith TV. She said that if he’d had money to buy a television, he’d better find the money to start fixin’ up the house. I hated them fighting, too.

Mr. Wentworth’s eyes glared straight through me. He grinned like he knew how it made me feel.

I forced my eyes to look at the ground in front of my shoes, while the men joked and laughed. My hands clenched and unclenched. I pretended not to hear them. Willie was still looking straight at them with an open-mouthed grin. I could tell he was ready to holler right back at them. Willie was a talker. Mum calls him “The Social Bugger.”

Carefully, I unhooked my basket, shot a quick glance at Willie and whispered, “Hush. You just grab your bottles and follow me.”

We headed straight for the twelve wooden steps leading up to Stark’s General Store.

Mr. Stark himself was behind the counter today. I always liked to see him. He was smiling back as if he was glad to see us, too. Empty bottles and all. Most of the clerks hated to see empties. They’d roll their eyes and shake their heads as if to say, “Not you two, again.” But not Mr. Stark. He was a different sort. His silver and black speckled hair had waves that curled around his face. His haircut sort of fit right in with his smile. Bright blue eyes sparkled and danced inside those wire-framed spectacles that looked way too small for his big round face.

“Hi, boys! Looks like you two young’uns are in for some extra treats with all those empty bottles.” Mr. Stark smiled at Willie and me as he counted them up. “Forty-eight cents,” he said, reaching into the cash drawer for the four dimes and eight pennies that he pressed into my hand as he winked and smiled.

I was sure that Mr. Stark knew I’d divide the money between us. The other clerks would have tossed a quarter, two dimes and three pennies right down on the counter. But not Mr. Stark. He closed my fingers around the coins with his huge hand. It felt like a big friendly hug. I knew why I liked him a lot.

“Thank you, sir!” I smiled back at Mr. Stark and then down at Willie. Willie and me headed straight back out the door. We sat on the steps and began our storefront ritual. We had all the time in the world today. We were as free as the birds and the bees. We had our bikes and plenty of money to boot.

“What a day, Willie! We’ve got enough for ice cream, some soda pop and probably a bunch of penny candies, too,” I said. Then I handed Willie his share.

“Dang it, Shawn. You mean I get to hold on to my own money today?” Willie shook his head and quizzed me as I handed him his share of the cash.

“You sure do, Willie. I think you’re getting big enough now to do some figurin’ on your own. Just give a holler if you need any help.”

We grinned at each other. It was like we were sharing one of the world’s best kept secrets. Then, we marched right back up over those twelve steps and headed straight inside Stark’s to pick out our loot.

I sure wasn’t in any kind of a hurry. Stark’s carried just about everything anybody could think of. I liked to wander around and look over the fishing gear. Today I had plenty of time to check out lots of other neat stuff, too. I knew Willie would head straight for the ice cream freezer.

I headed around the store to get a peek at all the stuff I’d never had time to take a real close look at before. Sporting goods. I loved to go fishin’. The glass case came nearly up to my shoulders and ran the length of the back wall, except for the space where a clerk could get in behind. The bottom shelves held knives of different shapes and every size you could imagine. Some of the knives were simple, others downright fancy. There were smooth leather covers and holders for those blades that likely cost more money than I’d ever see at one time. On the next shelf were handguns. One was so small it looked just like a cap gun and there were lots of other pistols. Rifles and shotguns, too. There were even fancy leather holsters just like the ones Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and all the cowboys wore on TV and in the movies.

On the back wall above the glass case hung bows and arrows, and gun racks filled with rifles and shotguns. There were jackets, vests, fishing gear and even bags to carry your trout back home in. Best of all were the fishing poles. How I longed for a real pole. One with a spinning reel and some store-bought hooks. Oh sure, I’d still use worms. They worked real good. Didn’t need all those fancy doo-dads made with feathers to get fish to bite. Didn’t need a store-bought pole either. But, oh, how I wanted one. “Someday, I’ll have me one just like that,” I told myself, spellbound by the shiny green pole and black reel that hung high over the glass counter. Someday.

“Yes. Someday, I think I’ll get me a store, just like Mr. Stark’s. I’ll work at the counter every Saturday when all the kids come in,” I thought dreamily, smiling up at that perfect, shiny green pole.

“Hey, Shawn, whatcha get?” Willie hollered right after he rammed his shoulder up against my arm.

I jumped out of my daydream and shook my head. Then, I turned around to meet Willie’s ear-to-ear grin.

“You owe Mr. Stark five cents for my Good ‘n Plenties, Shawn. I already opened ’em up. Can’t put ’em back on the shelf now.”

Willie’s hands were full. One held his soda pop and a small brown bag that I knew was chock full of his favorite candies. The other held his ice cream. Willie was more than ready to devour it all right on the spot.

“I’ll take care of it, Willie,” I said. “I’ll meet you out front in a couple minutes. I’ve got to get my stuff and settle up with Mr. Stark.”

Sure, Willie spent more than his twenty-four cents, but that was OK. Willie loved his sweets.

Willie sat on the step licking the sticky remains from his lips and fingers by the time I’d finished up inside. The only thing left of that ice cream was an empty wooden stick. His face said it all. When it came to ice cream, chocolate was Willie’s favorite.

“Hey, Shawn, what we gonna do when we leave Starks’s? Whatcha say we stop over to the school playground before we head back home? Can we? Can we, please?”

Willie’s endless words only stopped every now and then so he could pop a cherry-coated Tootsie Pop onto the tip of his tongue and snatch it in for a lick or two.

“You promised we’d have all day, Shawn. I want to swing right over top of those bars and then hang upside down on the tip top of the jungle gym. I ain’t s’posed to do that at recess, Shawn. This might be the only chance I got. Please?”

“We’ll see, Willie,” I told him as I licked the last smooth bite of ice cream from my stick.

I still had money in my pocket. “Come on, Willie. Let’s go back inside and get a soda pop. We can share an Orange Crush out here, turn in our empty and grab some more candy before we head out.”

Willie’s eyes lit up like fire crackers.


“So long, Shawn and Willie. Now, don’t you boys eat all of those sweets at once,” Mr. Stark said as he smiled as we turned in our bottle and headed out the door cramming licorice sticks and bubble gum into our pockets. “See you boys at church tomorrow morning.”

“See ya tomorrow, Mr. Stark,” I called back and smiled.

“Can we head over to the playground, Shawn? Right now? Please, please, purty please?” Willie begged.

I finally said, “Sure, Willie, let’s go!


Find Bette’s books at

You can find out more about Bette’s perspective on poverty and prejudice in her guest post on author MCV Egan’s blog: