Mercy

“Mercy is required.”

-The Good Shepherd: Volume One of the Werewolf Warden Series by D. Marie Prokop.

RELEASES ON HALLOWEEN!

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Leona Schaeffer is more. More than a seventeen-year-old girl. More than a lonely orphan.

She’s a Werewolf Warden. Inheriting an ancient strength and an ancient burden.

Summoned to the frantic streets of Gilded Age Boston, Leona must enter a world as unfamiliar as it is wondrous. A world of danger, populated by sheep in need of a shepherd.

Without the benefit of a mentor, Leona struggles to continue the noble legacy of her parents: Help the weak. Protect the innocent. Exact mercy. Maintain the peace.

Sadly, not everybody wants peace.

Despite the burden of her heritage, Leona is headstrong and pure-hearted. But can she resist the forces threatening to tear apart everything and everyone she cares about? Death, failure, heartache, responsibility, and family trouble conspire to tarnish Leona’s good intentions.

Mercy is required.

 


 

It is all for the bright!

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People For Lunch


  Alyssa doesn’t eat lunch.  Instead, she uses the time to show off her latest shopping spree finds or text voraciously.  One text by Alyssa could ruin you socially for the rest of your high school career—and maybe your life.  You could say Alyssa ate people for lunch.

On The Outward Appearance by D. Marie Prokop

 


It is all for the bright!

New subscribers to my newsletter get a free ebook copy of Tigress!

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The Shorter Things Collection

My newest release is an anthology of poems, flash fiction, and short stories I wrote over the last few years that do not fit so comfortably into the Young Adult genre. It’s for everyone, especially those who find it hard to read a whole novel. Sometimes short is all you have time for. I apologize in advance though; just because these pieces are short doesn’t mean they’re all sweet. The genres span from haiku to horror, and many in between. Get your ebook copy today.

I’d like to share with you my favorite poem in the collection, Color In Circles.

I felt bold. Bold. Bold as a box of bright crayons on gray recycled paper.

A rectangular page ripped from a Cinderella coloring book,

That utility box of Crayolas, ten predictable shades

Blue, Yellow, Red, Purple, Green, Brown, Orange, Pink, Black, and White

Primary to primal.

A rainbowed Decalogue stains the cheap pages

To color Cinderella in her temporary magical dress

Losing. Losing. Losing her damn glass slipper.

Graffiti without boundaries,

Void of trained aesthetics, haphazard, fearless.

A picture to reflect the stunted artist

Not for public display. The ten shades reveal a blushing testament.

What is to be done with this? This. This rendering by a frantic child?

Paint over it. Disguise the disgrace.

Slather over the mistakes with black ooze and let it dry.

Etch out a design. No, scratch out a warning—

Don’t. Don’t. Don’t waltz with strangers, Prince Charmings, narcissists.

Toss the testament in the trash with the glass slippers.

Abandon it. The mockery, the etched remnant.

Find a fresh page of thick bleached parchment.

New. New. New from a coloring book for grown-ups.

Purchase the jumbo box of crayons—ninety-six shades, nearly one-hundred hues.

Remember. Remember. Remember sitting at the table, one summer in the early‘80s.

“Use circles,” mom instructed, making bold impressions, not feeble scribbles.

Shades of blossoming pinks filled the empty space between lines.

Sunrise-tinged flowers of carnation, salmon, and fuschia.

Take the new page.

Grasp the renewed legacy.

Create. Create. Create again and again and again.

Capture the shades between bold and afraid.

Keep coloring.

Use circles.

There is no end.

 


 

It is all for the bright!

New subscribers to my newsletter get a free ebook copy of Tigress!

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Someone Like Bill

Critique. It’s not everyone’s favorite thing, right? But as a writer, critique groups are necessary for me, a good hurt. Of course, not every circle of writers is a good mix or a constructive influence. I don’t know the secret formula for finding the perfect critique group. Somehow I’ve been super lucky. I attend three amazing groups that suit my location, my genres, my commitment, and my skill level. They accept my writing for what it is, yet challenge me to do better without insulting my ineptitude. Sure, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Critique hurts sometimes, no matter what. And we still debate the common trivialities: the Oxford comma, clichés, and the ever-popular-bad-apple, adverbs.

Today a writer in my critique group lost his battle with cancer.

William Barnes wrote historical fiction. His latest work-in-progress dealt with the sordid history of the Texas Rangers. Before I continue, I must confess—I’m a Yankee. When we arrived at the “Western Expansion” portion of our U.S. History books in high school, our teacher skipped it, claiming this part of U.S. history wasn’t important, as it contained dubious facts and silly folktales. In contrast, my children took two Texas history classes before graduating from elementary school, which I considered suspiciously xenophobic. Bill read his work-in-progress at critique group and shot bullets through my prejudice. In his native Texan drawl, he read his excerpt aloud, a complex tale with Rangers hunting down Mexican-heritage citizens while those in Congress debated boundaries and laws. Conflict, complexity, humor, and action surrounded the historical facts of his story and I was surprisingly intrigued. Funny how a brilliantly scripted “silly folktale” can change minds, huh?   

But I gained more than a new respect for Texas history from Bill. That same night, I shared my piece with the group, a flash fiction horror story. Bill liked it so much he emailed me later and volunteered to beta-read anything I had. I sent him a YA fantasy short story. He sincerely loved it and detailed the reasons. When I lack confidence in my writing abilities, it helps to recall Bill’s words. A Texas grandfather and longtime-writer of historical fiction went out of his way to encourage me, a YA speculative fiction writer.

Though cancer stole Bill from the world, his encouraging words live on. They lend me confidence on days of doubt. Before he passed, I had the precious opportunity to thank Bill for his encouragement. I imagine him riding into heaven on a wild mustang.

Critique is important. Facing tough criticism molds us into better writers. But there’s a flip side. Encouragement also makes us better. If there’s someone like Bill in your critique group, thank them today.

 


It is all for the bright!

New subscribers to my newsletter get a free ebook copy of Tigress!

41tyaXyWayL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

People For Lunch


  Alyssa doesn’t eat lunch.  Instead, she uses the time to show off her latest shopping spree finds or text voraciously.  One text by Alyssa could ruin you socially for the rest of your high school career—and maybe your life.  You could say Alyssa ate people for lunch.

On The Outward Appearance by D. Marie Prokop

 


It is all for the bright!

New subscribers to my newsletter get a free ebook copy of Tigress!

41tyaXyWayL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_