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Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Stars at Night~ Sherri Easley

 I had two very short weeks off at Christmas from my corporate day job as a strategic investment analyst and vowed to finish the book I started three years ago. I thought I was close a few times and rewrote the entire story line twice, but finally pushed it through.

Unlike most of you, I am not a natural writer. A storyteller? eh….maybe? I guess that remains to be seen. Although I am creative, my vocabulary and writing skills are lacking. I guess it’s a good thing my degree is in mathematics.

As Caroline Clemmons’ Hero told me on the first one when I told him it took me 40 years to write, “you might want to speed that up a bit.”

Well, Hero, I have reduced my time to three years with an improvement of 92.5% over the previous book. That’s a pretty good start.

This is only my second novel, but I have about 20 covers waiting for books to be written. Ideas are not my problem…

While I will probably never reach the level of success as most of you, nor will I ever get to do this full time, there is something extremely rewarding in being able to say “I published a book”.

Here is an excerpt from Stars at Night- It is a continuation of my first book, A Love to Call My Own, and picks up when the sister, Emma, hears a terrible secret about herself and leaves town on a Grayhound bus in 1942, rural Texas.  



Leaving her small East Texas town for the city had been a long-time dream of both her and her sister, Grace. Most nights, they sat together on the on the front porch of their ramshackle home, looking at the stars and dreaming of a better life and prosperity. A life, they knew, that could not be found in the bramble and woods and would not be attained by merely gazing at the heavens and wishing.

Their dreams required action, but with leaving, courage was in short supply. Mama would always need help with the babies and housework, and there would never be enough money.

Papa discouraged them as well by filling them with doubt and fear of the great unknown. “It’s a wild and savage place out there in the city. People will rob and kill you for a nickel.”

Today, though, the excuses evaporated into the hot autumn wind, and Emma found her courage. She never imagined the catalyst for leaving would be her overhearing a long-held family secret. A secret about her and so shocking that, even now, it was hurtful and hard to understand.

Emma had never been outside of Texas and knew nothing about Ohio, but any place was better than the wilds of White Oak bottom. She opened the tapestry bag borrowed from her aunt, Nora, and looked once again at the yellow slip of crumpled paper with the address for Uncle Teddy’s sister, Bernice.

Scooting back in her seat, she reflected. One hundred dollars, a guitar, and the clothes on my back to start a new life. The life I always dreamed of.

She pulled out the two paper sacks her aunt had packed and inventoried the contents. There was a sandwich and apple in one, and the other was full of homemade peanut butter cookies. Feeling a rush of emotions, she folded the tops back down to save them for later.

Emma stretched, then relaxed into her seat and exhaled deeply as she rested her forehead on the cool glass of her open window. Farmhouses and wooded landscape whizzed by as she stared out into the world. Shutting her eyes, she replayed the events that brought her to this point and wondered where fate would take her.


If you made it this far, I would love to know how you got better and improved your writing skills. I have taken a few online classes which have helped me with character and story development, but not necessarily with the skill of writing. I do not have a lot of time to read, but I listen to about 12 Audible books a month, in an attempt to increase my vocabulary and improve style. 

Any feedback is appreciated ;) Happy New Year!


  1. To improve your writing, write every day. It doesn't have to be a book, a blog or just writing about a topic you like works. Your skills will improve as you practice, like any other skill. Reading books with an eye to the timing, the arc stories take, and how things are worded will help. I am not sure audio books will do the same thing.

    1. Thank you for the feedback- Totally agree- There are some things I can get from videos, but I need to find a way to get more reading in.

  2. A wonderful excerpt, and I liked Hero's response to your 1st book! Stephanie's right, too--practice, practice, practice! Good luck.

    1. Liz, I do not know you, but you have to be one of the most supportive and positive people I know- thank you for always being there for all of us!

  3. It's really tough to write with a full-time job, one which required writing. I wrote short stories while I worked and raised my sons. Don't beat yourself up. You're moving forward. That's what counts. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I have that full time day job and a nearly full-time sewing/ embroidery business - I am my own worst enemy and just bought a new industrial embroidery machine in December - I need to choose my passion- i just can't let the fun ones go- and can't afford to let the day job go.

  4. Sherry, you know I'm a fan of your writing. This is truly wonderful. I am eager to read Emma's entire book. Worry less, write more! I do understand about sewing. I used to sew and it does ease tension. I like writing better than sewing, but I don't have your supply of machines and fabric. LOL

  5. I can't wait for you to read this story Caroline- I have this great editor looking over it now and then I can publish it .... oh, if you ever decide you want to sew- I have enough machines and fabric to share - so come over and we can sew together ( better yet, embroidery)


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