Thank you for participating in the Christmas in July competition. Currently, I seek representation for DISOBEDIENCE, a YA historical fiction set in 1915. It is complete at 64,000 words.
Preacher Docket's Rules of Piety:
#1. No Kissing
#2. No Lying
#3. No Missing Sabbath Worship . . .
#29. No Speaking Evil
#30. No Gun Fighting
In Docketville, the Rules are ironclad, but 17-year-old Dillan Burnes plans on breaking every one of them.
Growing up the son of an outsider in a remote Arizona communal town is stifling for Dillan. He aches for the freedom to make his own decisions, especially about who his future bride will be. Upon discovering that Preacher Docket—the town's fanatical leader—is a murderer, Dillan and his sickly brother are forced from their home by a posse intent on killing them to hide the truth.
The siblings survive both dehydration and starvation during a difficult trek across the wilderness only to be tragically separated once they arrive in Phoenix. On his own in the city, Dillan is hounded by the memory of loved ones left behind. He must find the courage to return to his despised hometown, or let a murderer run free, his father languish in jail, and his 'girl' slip away.
A comparable book in the market would be THE CHOSEN ONE by Carol Lynch Williams.
I have a bachelor's degree in journalism and have worked as a freelance writer for twenty years. During that time, I edited books for New York Times best-selling author Dr. Neil Solomon, and I published a self-help book on stress management with Leatherwood Press in Sandy, Utah. Currently, I’m a member of SCBWI, the League of Utah Writers, and Writers Cubed. I’m also a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp hosted at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.
Ever since Ruth Ivins tackled Clyde Hampton during a game of Red Rover in grammar school, I’ve wanted to kiss her. Truth is, Ruth happens to be the prettiest girl in Docketville. Clyde, on the other hand, is as nasty and ugly as an angry rattler. If I saw him getting eaten by a cougar in the hills above town, I’d sit down, get comfortable, and watch the show.
I know that’s not something a good Bible-believing boy would do, but neither is waiting in a stable for a kiss. I can hardly sit still—scared Ruth will come and worried that she won’t. My breath comes out short and fast, like it does after chasing cattle all afternoon. A horse fly lands on my neck and takes a bite. I wish she’d hurry.
The door creaks, and I nearly fall off the bale of hay I’m sitting on. Could it be? My best friend Frank said Ruth wanted to come, but I didn’t believe him. I stand up, my tongue as parched as jerky, certain I won’t be much good at this romance stuff. I’m nearly seventeen but as pure as a spring ewe.
“Dillan?” Ruth whispers. She doesn’t see me in the corner, which is a good thing cause my jaw is hanging wide open. I likely look as stupid as a treed squirrel.
She spies me by the pitchforks and shovels. I wish she’d smile but her face is all business. Her skirt drags hay from the floor with it as she walks. I lean my shoulder into the weathered wall planks and fold my arms so she can’t see them shaking.
“Frank said you wanted to see me.”
Ruth’s yellow hair is braided in back and her hands are as red as a rooster’s comb. She’s come from washing dishes at Preacher Docket’s Hotel and Diner. That’s been her family’s community job for years. They’re lucky—my family has charge of the swine, and nothing unhinges Preacher Docket like a dirty pig pen. Well, nothing except for one of his flock breaking the Rules.
“That’s all Frank said?” I ask. “Nothing else?”
The last of the evening sun dips below the stable’s window, and her face fades slightly into the shadows.
“That’s it,” she says.
Confused, I gawk at her like a chicken does before the ax.
“Listen, Dillan, what’s going on? I got myself a mess of pots to finish up before Preacher Docket gets back from his trip to Riverdale.”
“Frank didn’t mention . . . anything ’bout . . . .” My words dry up. Frank’s been playing me for a fool, claiming Ruth was sweet on me.
She inches close enough to see that her mouth is upturned in a slightly wicked smile. “Why Dillan, I think you’re blushing. Makes me think you might of lured me here to take advantage of me.”
Ruth’s hot breath is on my neck. I don’t dare swallow, afraid I might choke on the air that’s as thick as mush around me. Outside a dog barks something fierce.
“I’d never do that.” Drops of sweat cover my forehead.
She puts her hand on the front pocket of my denim overalls, the one right over my chest. My heart’s likely to jump right out of it.
“Oh, I do remember now,” she says, “Frank may have said something about a kiss.”