Ghost of a Girl

He may be a mortician's son, but that doesn't mean he's seen a ghost. Until one night... Owen and his best friend Jacob go to the cemetery at night with ghost hunting tools to figure out the mystery.

The Good Shadows

Violet works her way into Dakota’s life and must face the secrets and Shadows buried deep within Chuckanut House and her own family’s past. Entrenched in darkness, Violet searches for light and love as she battles Shadows threatening to capture her soul.

When her life falls apart, where will she turn?

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Focused Backstory

Have you ever wondered... How to use backstory correctly? What are the ways other writers successfully incorporate backstory into their work? Do tools exist to help writers better plan stories so the backstory isn't such a problem?

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The Dark Shadows

Dakota’s arms encircle my waist as our church van chugs up the incline toward Washington Pass, away from the best weekend of my life.

I weave my fingers through his, trying not to think about how in a few hours, I’ll have to let go. I never knew having a boyfriend would be like this. When we’re close, I could burst with happiness, but when we’re apart, a fragment of me is missing.

“It’s important to find your identity in Jesus and nothing else. Not boyfriends, not money…” Beth Parker’s words from last night’s Bible study ring through my mind. How’s that supposed to work? I love Jesus. And I could stare into Dakota’s forest green eyes twenty-four hours a day and not get bored—but I guess that’s a problem.

“Your hands are small.” He presses his flat, warm palm against mine.

My fingertips end about three-quarters of an inch short of his. “They’re not that small.” I grin, studying how our hands smashed together seem perfect. The way two people’s hands were meant to fit.

The scent of burning rubber drifts into the van, and I glance past the other rows of passengers. Through the windshield, I see smoke rising from the first van in our two-vehicle caravan. 

“What’s that smell?” Naomi yells, and we get a break from her heated debate with Owen over the existence of angels. 

“Looks like a problem with the back tire,” Pastor Jack says while keeping his eyes on the curved road. We round the corner, and he brakes hard, pulling the vehicle off the paved highway.

Dakota squeezes my waist, and I giggle.

Dust rises outside the windows as we roll to a stop behind the first mud-caked van. This close, it’s easy to read the words someone wrote with their finger on the window. “Wash me pleeze!!!” 

Pastor Jack turns off the engine and blows a train whistle, and the soft sound quiets the other three rows.

“Hey guys, I’m going to help Beth with the flat tire. Don’t venture too far because this shouldn’t take long. Besides, I’d hate for you to get attacked by a mountain lion.” He strokes his chin, covered in stubble after a weekend of neglecting to shave.

“Ha ha.” Naomi lobs a grape at Pastor Jack, and he catches it in his mouth as if he predicted it was coming.

“Can’t be too careful. Reports of cougar sightings have increased recently.” He swallows and glances at the mountain peak.

We’ve been driving for approximately thirty minutes, which means we’re at the part where the road corkscrews up from the valley and leads to gorgeous mountain scenery. Gold and purple flowers scattered here and there. Patches of snow over glacial fingers. Waterfalls.

Owen leans forward and wraps his arms around the headrest. “I’ll help with the tire.” He squeezes past Naomi and slides out. As he looks back, Dakota kisses my neck. Owen’s brow furrows, and he averts his gaze, the hurt clear in his blue eyes.

“Oops.” Dakota’s low whisper tickles my ear. “He saw that one.”

“You coming?” Naomi yanks on a yellow windbreaker and fluffs her puffy, black hair.

I shake my head no. “We’ll stay here.”

She rolls her eyes and mutters, “Of course you will. There’d better not be any wild animals out there.”

Everybody leaves, and we’re left in the van stinking of dirty socks and nacho-flavored chips. It’s miraculously silent.

©2020 by Carol Alwood.

Contact Carol carol@carolalwood.com

Find Carol's books on Amazon.com.