Tagged: book


Pointing finger 2

I just have to say it – I appreciate every reader that finds his or her way to our blog. Thank you – you are the best, hands down.

Speaking of hands, do you like yours? I like mine’s. I wash my hands a lot, even when they are clean.

Have you ever thought how different your life would be without hands?  Let’s write a fifty words or less story living without hands. Write with abandonment. It’s your story, and I’m interested in reading your piece of flash fiction. Here’s my fifty words or less story from the soon to be released book, “BLOWN AWAY.” Afterwards, leave your fifty words or less story in the comment box, along with a good hand-slapping high five.


 My family, except my mother, woke one morning and found our hands missing. My father lost his job as a pianist; my sister lost her hand modeling job, and me, my life as a pro bowler, gone.

     Frustrated, we blamed Mom.

    “Hey!” She screamed, “Don’t go pointing fingers at me.”

If you loved this story, make sure to check out the soon-to-be-released book, “Blown Away.” And by the way, check out this funny video, A Short Story About Hands, by Casey Donahue. It’s the best…hands down.

This is How You Update a Book Cover

It was time for a transformation.

Along with our general sprucing up around the ole’ Packed House Publications corner, we’ve decided to update one of our most special books with a spanking-new book cover.

Dusty Remains is an awesome collection of 300 words or less stories, but unfortunately, a year ago, with the innocence of new kids on the block, we unintentionally gave Dusty Remains a textbook-looking book cover.

dusty remainsYeah, we can do better than this…

And, we came up with this.

Dusty Remains

Yeah, this is a little embarrassing. We eventually figured out a crazy skull head being pierced to death with a screw bit from the heavens doesn’t exactly convey heartfelt stories like Dusty Remains has. It just looks…gothic, and pretty weird.

So, we contacted another artist, Anil Saxena, (thanks Anil!), and made this:

 Dusty Remains_022115

Looks pretty great, doesn’t it? It actually represents the whole “fragile as dust” theme in the book, and has a more eye-grabbing effect than the last tries.

So, how did we do? Leave a comment below on what you think of the new cover!

And, as a complimentary gift for our guests, here is the first story from “Dusty Remains.”


She stands there alone, by the gate, with her usual big smile. She smiles even more when he approaches. There by the gate they talk. She shyly tilts her head downward. He knows she’s reluctant, but even so he holds out his hand.

      She steps around him, he cuts off her exit. Like a game she’s played so many times, she tries to dart around him; unable to do so, she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.

     Once again he holds out his hand. She lets her soft hand fall into the cradle of his majestic one.

     They walk away, the sun on their backs, the gate disappearing with each step.

     She pauses, so does he. He looks at her, then nods his head. “It’s okay.” His gentle tone, so reassuring.

     A few steps from the corner, she pauses once more. Now he wipes the tears from her eyes.

     “How did you know my birthday was today?” Her faint voice is strained under the weight of her tears.

     “I know everything about you, Sara. I’m a magician.” His eyes lock on hers.

      “Is that how you found out I like ponies?”


      “And you will keep your promise to let me ride my pony every day?”

      “Of course.”

      “And my mom won’t stop you?”

      “Your mom won’t stop me. I promise.”

      “What’s my pony’s name?”

      “Whatever you want it to be.”

      “Is my pony a boy or a girl?”

      “Why, it’s a girl, just like I promised you yesterday.”

      “Where is she?”

      “Right around this corner.”

      Sara’s face lights up. She skips with delight and anticipation.


      “Ma’am, we’ll find her, trust me.” Nancy’s eyes drown in tears.

      A stiff wind blew through the window. Whoooooo! Out went the five candles.

Get “Dusty Remains” today, at Amazon, Google Play, or Kobo Books. Also available on iTunes.

Don’t Eat the Marshmallows… Yet!

Imagine. You’re invited to an extravagant party. When you arrive, you and a party of eleven strangers are escorted to a gorgeous, lavish table with an enormous silver bowl filled with twelve white envelopes. Your curiosity is piqued when the host reveals that inside each envelope is five thousand dollars.

Suddenly, the host is called away for an important phone call. Before leaving the room, he informs that each of you can have one of the envelopes. But if you can wait until he returns, he will double what is inside the envelope. “For those who can’t wait,” he says, “take an envelope and feel free to leave. And thank you for coming.”

Under an unknown watch, the wait begins. One hour – two impatient guests retrieve their prize and quickly leave.

Two hours – four more guests hastily scoop up their gifts and head for the door.

Six hours – two tapping their fingers on table, look around the room, reach into the bowl, take their envelopes and leave.

Ten hours – murmurs of “how long do we have to wait. I’m tired. I’m hungry. This is dumb. Why would he invite us and not even feed us.” Two more exit.

The eleventh hour. You look over and smile at the only remaining guest across from you-just you and him. Standing up, looking around, he tips his hat, reaches into the bowl, wags the envelope and waves goodbye.

The sun is coming up, beaming through the stunning picture windows. You glance at your watch. It’s been twelve hours since you walked into the room. Tired, discouraged, you think about reaching for the last envelope. But you resist.

Over your shoulder, out of the corner of your eye, you see a figure. The host walks up. He smiles. He hands you twelve white envelopes, one for you and one for every guest that left early. His chauffer drives you home – it was worth the wait. Now imagine this same scenario with a bunch of third graders. Instead of white envelopes, the prize is a big bowl of marshmallows, your child’s favorite. Could he delay the urge to eat? He might if he reads Don’t Eat the Marshmallows… Yet!  

For this Good Friday, my son and I read this story. Encouraging him to be more like the last guy – delaying gratification. I want him to understand you can reap bountiful rewards in life if you can delay personal gratification. Is it hard? Sure! Is it worth it?  Definitely. I shared with him Dave Ramsey’s motto, “IF YOU WILL LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE, LATER YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE.” And he will, if he learns to eat the marshmallows, but just not yet.

I invite you to tell us your GOOD FRIDAY story; in the meantime, help yourself.