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The Crazy Bunch: Ch. 1 Excerpt

My feet pound against the grass, taking me farther away from my pursuers. Around me I can hear the panting breaths of my siblings. I do a quick head count; eight. Plus me makes nine.

        Yeah; nine. Nine kids—siblings really. Though not blood related, except the twins. Yep, no parents, no school, no responsibilities, and most of all; no bedtimes. Sounds great, right?

        Sure, the whole no parental supervision thing is kinda great sometimes—I’m not gonna lie. No nagging adults always hanging over us; that’s for sure. But we don’t exactly fit in. Not only are we orphans, uneducated, and living together in a big house in the middle of nowhere, but we have superpowers.

        I know what you’re thinking. No, my brothers are not Superman or Iron Man, (though Cameron the two-year-old can get a little Hulkish sometimes). And I’m certainly no Wonder Woman. No, we’re just regular kids with a little sprinkle of extra and a whole pound of unusual added to the mix.

        Like most kids, we get into trouble. It seems to follow us sometimes. I can’t tell if it’s because of the no parents thing, or the superpower thing. Either way, we seem to have a knack for getting into sticky situations—and I’m not talking about the time Emma spilled apple juice all over the kitchen floor.

        No, I’m talking about situations like right now. The nine of us are sprinting down a long grassy field, pursued by two men in a truck. I glance back. Oh, and there’s also a dog in the back. Can’t forget him; he’s barking his freaking head off.

        We reach a barbed wire fence and I hold the barbs up for my siblings to pass under. Once they’re through, I take one more look back at the crazy dude with the shotgun and the mongrel dog before shimmying under myself.

        “Sam, come on!” Bruce, my eleven-year-old brother shouts over his shoulder.

        I pull myself out from under the fence and scramble to my feet. I start to take a step, but my leg gets yanked out from under me and I fall in the dirt. Spitting out grass, I mutter, “Shoot,” before pulling myself up onto my elbows and rolling over onto my back to look at what caught my foot.

        My jeans are caught in the wire. I give it a tug, and my jeans rip, the barbed tooth of the wire digging into my flesh. I grit my teeth against the sudden pain. I quickly reach down and untangle myself, then sprint after my siblings, fully aware of the distance the farmer is gaining on us.

        As I run up beside Haley, she says, “I am not healing you for that considering this was your stupid idea.”

        “Fine,” I say back, listening to that monster of a dog’s crazy bark, “I’ll take care of it myself.”

        “And how do you plan to do that? You cut it on rusty barbed wire. It’s gonna get infected,” Haley says smugly. Well, as smug as you can be when running for your life.

        “Tigers have antiseptic saliva,” Rocky puts in.

        “See?” I say to Haley, “Listen to the smart one.”

        “I’m not listening to the smart one because the smart one said we had a sixty percent chance of succeeding at this,” Haley says, still refusing to look at either of us.

        “Sixteen! I said sixteen percent!” Rocky defends hotly.

        “Sam?” Bryn pants, completely ignoring our bickering, “How’re we gonna get away from these guys?”

        Right. About that.

        “I have a plan,” I say.

        I totally don’t have a plan. But I’m the leader. I have to keep up appearances.

        “Would you mind sharing that with us?” Rocky says irritably. She’s a year younger than Haley and a whole lot smarter. Shoot, she’s smarter than all of us. Why am I the one making the plans again?

        Oh yeah; ‘cause I’m the oldest. Right.

        “Head for the woods,” I tell them. Immediately, we veer off the main road and crash into the woods as a group.

        “Bryn, we could use some help,” I shout to her. Bryn can speak to animals. She’s twins with Bruce; who has fire power, (oh, and FYI, he’s also got some digestive issues so unless I keep us stocked up on Gas-X, he’ll blow the whole house up. Literally.).

        “I told you not to go near his corn,” Haley says, running closer to me. Her power is healing. But she also has an unhealthy attraction to knives. Watch out for her. “Farmers are very protective of their corn.”

        I roll my eyes, just as a herd of horses gallops up to us. I count heads as each of us older ones lifts the younger ones onto their horses. One, two, three, four, five, six…seven. We’re missing one.

        “Where’s Alice?” I question.

        “Right here,” the six-year-old girl says, appearing by my side. She has the power of invisibility. Creepy, right?

        “Okay, stinker,” I say, lifting Cameron onto his horse. Cameron is indestructible. He can’t get hurt—not physically. I envy him, especially considering I’ve still got warm blood oozing down my leg. He also turns into a red monster when he gets mad. Talk about pitching a fit.

        I turn to Emma once he’s situated. Emma is eight. She can control water. She often has to extinguish Bruce when he gets too excited. Emma punches me in the stomach, and while I’m bending over clutching my midsection, she scrambles onto my back and climbs onto her horse. It was a love punch. Trust me.

        After I recover, I turn to Lizzie. She’s a year younger than Emma. Her power is really creepy. She can control minds if she’s staring into a person’s eyes. So basically, never look her in the eye. Bad idea. She’s also the only one without a horse.

        “Be a white one, Sam,” Lizzie says in that cute little girl voice. Sometimes even her voice is mind-controlling.

        “Okay,” I reply with a smile. Then I morph into a tall, white horse. Oh, yeah. That’s my superpower. I can shape-shift. Only into animals though. I kneel down so Lizzie can get on my back, then stand again. At a command from Bryn, we’re off—headed back home.

        We may not be related, but we’re closer than I ever thought we’d be. This is my family. We call ourselves The Crazy Bunch (fitting, right?). And we’re not to be messed with.


Written by S. G. Glasgow

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A final Goodbye

Then he went and cheapened the moment of our final goodbye.

That was when I decided I had long outgrown him. That any remaining tears would have been wasted. And suddenly, I didn’t care anymore. It didn’t hurt. Not even a little bit.

In fact, I felt relief. I took a big, deep breath and turned away from what had been my life to look at what my life had yet to become.

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God has given me the gift of love. The gift of seeing the good in every person. He gave me this gift so I can love Him and share this love with others.

This gift makes relationships deeper, stronger, and more wholesome. My heart has the ability, thanks to God, to give and give and give. I am blessed with the ability and inclination to care deeply about those around me.

Just as the Father cares deeply for me in a unique way, He gives me the gift to yearn to love and care for others just as He loves and cares for me.

Jesus the Son opened his heart for all people. He did not limit his love and vulnerability to those who followed him and were nice and appreciative of him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Jn 3:16

God the Father loved us, each individually and unique, so much that he gave us his dearly beloved Son, so that we may share in the eternal love of the trinity.

Jesus the Christ loved us so much that he willingly died on the cross to save us from our sins, and give us the means to participate fully in the unity and love of the holy trinity.

Jesus loved and cared for each person individually. He knows and loves each of us in a unique way. He loves us so much, in fact, that he willingly endured his passion and death on the cross to fulfill the Father’s plan of our salvation, that we may join the Father and the Son in Heaven, united by the Holy Spirit.

God so loved the world that he willingly opened his heart to us, to everyone, whether or not we deserve it. In opening his heart to love and care for us, he was made vulnerable to suffering and the affects of our sins.

Through Jesus Christ, this suffering (his passion) is redeeming.

God calls me to open my heart, fully exposing myself to love and hate alike, so that I may participate in the love and death of our savior.

In opening myself to love and be loved, I also open myself to hurt. But Jesus calls me to endure this suffering like He did with his passion and death on the cross.

I have the privilege to carry my cross out of love for God and for the world alongside Jesus.

I may not understand or see God’s plan in me, especially during times of suffering, but through Jesus He gives me the strength and hope to fulfill his plan for me, so that I may love and be loved just as the Father loved the Son and as the Son loved the whole world that He died for our sins so that we may participate in the divine and eternal love of the Holy Trinity.

Chrome Mountain: Book Review

Chrome Mountain immediately throws the reader into thrilling action that never lets up. With rogue biker gangs, dangerous scientific innovations, and nationalist terrorists set on destroying the liberty and freedom of America, this sci-fi novel gives new meaning to the phrase “ride or die.”

    Sonya McCall flees from her shady past and murderous ex-boyfriend to begin her life anew under God’s merciful gaze. In an attempt to wipe the red from her ledger, Sonya teams up with Trey Radisson—inventor wanted by terrorists for his valuable intellect—to help him stop the Chrome Falcons from ruining life as they know it.

    I had never heard of Chrome Mountain but as a fan of science fiction, I instantly grabbed it. This book has the potential to be great, but I cannot in good conscience give it full stars. The overall vocabulary used was sub-par. I frequently found myself cringing and putting the book aside to recover.

    Such phrases that inspired these adverse reactions included the word “orbs” in place of ‘eyes.’ The overall reaction of readers everywhere to the word “orbs” in place of ‘eyes’ can only be described as revulsion. No one thinks of eyes as orbs, nor is there a need to replace the word “eyes” with a different one. I admit I heaved a deep, irritated sigh each time the word was used.

    Along with the overuse of the word “orbs,” there were a few other instances that I highlighted as clunky and unnecessary. Page 211 contained the odd verb choice, “Sonya’s eyeballs wiggled.” Firstly, I congratulate Ben Schneider on refraining from using the word “orbs” yet again. However, the verb “wiggled” seems out of place here when used with a noun like “eyeballs.” I confess I do not know how one wiggles their eyeballs.

    I also found myself objecting to the word “environs,” which was used quite frequently. I believe that synonyms like environment or surroundings would have worked better. Despite all these examples I have already listed, none infuriated me so much as page 267’s “Two flawless globes of flesh swayed a little beneath her swimsuit top…” I do not possess the words to describe how angry and disgusted this sentence made me feel. This is by far the worst description of breasts I have ever encountered. If Schneider edits nothing else of this book, the description here needs his utmost attention.

    Now, despite the problems I found in the actual words of the book, the storyline I still quite enjoyed. Where the author lacked in vocabulary and descriptions of the female body, he made up for in action scenes. Epic car chases took place during the course of Chrome Mountain. The description of these awesome pursuits with incredible destruction left in their wake played out in my mind as clear as a movie reel.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the characters as well. They were perfectly fleshed out. In creating Sonya’s character, there was potential in making her a stone-hearted biker chick with no consideration for anyone but herself. A character type often overused, in my opinion. But the Sonya McCall I read about was nothing like that. She was warm-hearted and ready to risk her life to help a nerdy stranger on the run at the drop of a hat.

    This action-packed novel would have received only a single star from me if the characters and action scenes did not continuously engage me in the story. However, because of the clunky word choice and plain disturbing descriptions at times, I can only give Chrome Mountain 2 out of 4 stars.