Monday, March 11, 2013



Alan Oakes is a Graduation Coach and Counselor at a Texas High School.  He is a featured writer for Green Building and Design magazine and a contributor to other magazines including Texas Architect and New American Luxury.  In the past, he served as Associate Pastor of Saint Austin Catholic Church and Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at UCLA.

Alan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts degree from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the author, feel free to go to his website.

My Favorite Scene to Write:  Between Micah and Amos
by Alan Oakes

Ashleigh and her mother, Jo Lynn, go at it a lot in Between Micah and Amos.  Their complex relationship drives the story.
There is a point in the book, where Ashleigh stays out late with her boyfriend Billy and doesn’t tell her mother.  When she returns home, her mother is waiting for her on the half-finished porch next to her boyfriend Casey’s filthy trailer.  It’s late at night and there Jo Lynn is -- sitting on the sun-faded plastic chair, knocking back a bottle of Jack and smoking a cigarette, anxious as hell.  
Right away Jo Lynn tears into Ashleigh for not calling.  She tells Ashleigh that a social worker from Child Protective Services came by that afternoon.  Jo Lynn is panicked:  She’s worried about getting tossed into jail.  She’s worried that her boyfriend Casey will kick them out and they have nowhere to go.  
You see these two sides to Jo Lynn – on the one hand she is this imperious mother ready to throttle her daughter and then almost in the next breath she is completely vulnerable and frightened, like a child.  
At the end of the scene, Jo Lynn is so overcome -- it is Ashleigh who takes over the role of mother, putting Jo Lynn to bed.  

“I work hard you know, tryin’ to keep this family to-
gether. To put a roof over your head and food on the table 
and you don’t even pay me the common decency to call me 
and tell me where you’re at!” 

“You broke my phone,” Ashleigh said. 

“You whore!” Jo Lynn stood up and started to swing her 
hand, which contained the glass of Jack, at her daughter’s 
face, only to stop herself. She wildly looked into her daugh-
ter’s eyes. 

“That’s what you want me to do! Take a swing at you so 
that I can go to jail. That’s what you want!” 

“No, Momma,” Ashleigh feebly protested. 

“I bet it was Darrel who called Child Protective Services. 
That’s what Casey thinks. He’s pissed that Casey beat the crap 
out of him,” Jo Lynn said, continuing to cry. 

Ashleigh liked this train of thought—anything to deflect 
her mother’s rage away from her. 

“I bet that’s what happened, Momma,” Ashleigh encour-
aged. Instinctively, Ashleigh reached her arms out and hugged 
her mother. 

“This whole world is against me,” Jo Lynn said as she 
clung to her daughter. “You try to do right an’ they just kick 
you in the face.” 

“Calm down, Momma,” Ashleigh said gently. “Calm 

“God as my witness, I won’t let them beat me,” Jo Lynn 
said as she clung to Ashleigh. “Not now, not ever… I won’t 
let them beat me…” 

Ashleigh held her mother tightly and looked out onto the 
piles of junk that surrounded the lot. The Oldsmobile was 

“Where’s Casey?” Ashleigh asked. 

“Who the hell knows? He was so pissed off when he left.” 

Jo Lynn began to sob again. “What if he comes back and 
says we have to go? What am I gonna do?” 

Jo Lynn started to cry deeply. 

“Let’s get you inside, Momma. Let’s get you to bed.” 

Ashleigh guided her mother to the back bedroom of the 
trailer and put her on the bed. Ashleigh did the best she could 
un-wadding the sheets and putting them over her mother, 
tucking her in. Suddenly, Jo Lynn grabbed her daughter’s 
arm. Her eyes opened. “You can’t leave me, Ashleigh. Prom-
ise me, you’ll never leave me.” 

Ashleigh looked at her mother’s desperate eyes. “No, 
Mama, I’ll never leave you; close your eyes. I’ll never leave 

Soon Jo Lynn was asleep, snoring heavily. Ashleigh left 
the tiny bedroom, closed its accordion door and headed past 
the kitchenette to the living room section of the trailer.

By Alan Oakes


Like a flash, the discharge from the gun lit up the inside of the dimly lit, filthy trailer Ashleigh called home. Ashleigh sat curled up on the stained pink carpet next to the pull-out bed in the living area where she slept.  The victim lay dead, slumped against the wall of the trailer.  Ashleigh looked at the motionless body.  She was petrified.

Meet Ashleigh Mae, a seventeen year old high school senior living in the small town of Micah, Texas.  Her boyfriend Billy calls her a wild child.  Her momma is always telling her she makes bad choices.  No matter what, no one really understands her.

Ashleigh dreams of a life with Billy.  Their love is true, she thinks. When her mother forces them to leave Micah in the middle of the night and move in with her momma’s old boyfriend Casey, on the outskirts of a town called Amos, Ashleigh’s life is torn apart.

This is her fight to get it back….

“So you’re rich?” Ashleigh asked. 

“I wouldn’t say that,” Manuel answered. 

“I would!” Ashleigh laughed. 

“Lean forward,” she said to him impulsively. 

“What?” Manuel asked, surprised.
“Just do it,” Ashleigh said. 

Manuel leaned forward and Ashleigh came behind him and began to massage his neck and back. 

“That feels good...” he said soothingly with his eyes closed. 

“You are such a hottie!” Ashleigh remarked as she kneaded the muscles of his back. 

Manuel turned toward Ashleigh, looked into her eyes, and kissed her softly. She felt tingly as he caressed her body. She could feel his excitement as he continued to kiss her. But just as soon as they started, Manuel turned and stood up. He then dove into the cold water. He swam up next to the rock where they both were lying. Ashleigh looked at him, surprised. 

“I’m sorry,” Manuel said, trying to catch his breath. “I made a promise that I wouldn’t make love until I was married.” 

Ashleigh stared at Manuel with her eyebrows raised. 

“Holy crap! You’re serious?” Ashleigh asked. 

“Yeah,” Manuel said and laughed. 

“So you’re still a virgin?” 
“Yeah…” Manuel said. He looked at Ashleigh’s astonished face. “It’s not like I’m a vampire or something.” 

“It would be hot if you were!” Ashleigh joked. She stood up herself and then dove into the water. She swam up to where he was standing up to his chest in the pool. Ashleigh wrapped her legs and arms around Manuel and started passionately kissing him.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Unknown said...

Good Morning! Thank you so much for hosting! It is Spring Break right now at the school I work at -- I am spending the day over at my Toyota dealership dealing with a recall -- oh, the sexy life of an author! Feel free to chat me up!

Anas said...

Oh well, I hope you have nice weather at least, we have a lot of snow and a second winter*sigh*

Moonsurfer123 (at)gmail(dot)com

Lyra L7 said...

Did your students read your book?


Andra Lyn said...

Oh yeah...what do your students (or kids if you've got em) feel when you write about stuff like sex, abuse, etc??

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

Hope said...

What do you think about digital publishing?


Lana A said...

Who would you like to play your hero and heroine, should your book be picked for a movie?


emmarocks said...

Great excerpt, thank you for sharing!


Unknown said...

What do you like best about Manuel?


Unknown said...

Wow - so many great questions. For Andra Lynn -- It was difficult trying to present the story in a way that was honest, but not too explicit. My first pass on the book had a more blunt edge to it, but I tempered the work. Our school library contains books like Precious, Crank, and Keith Richards's autobiography - to name a few - so that put the work in perspective. I also put an author's caution at the beginning where I wanted to warn folks that these topics would be discussed, even it is ultimately a story of hope - please don't read if your are uncomfortable. No students or adults have commented thus far that the work crossed a line. We shall see.

Unknown said...

Digital Publishing - I love that it is kind of the Wild West out there in the publishing world right now. I think digital and self publishing allow many more voices to be heard that otherwise wouldn't. I do think there is something special about books, though. (Witness under my bed, which is loaded with them!) I wonder to if someone will kick out the cosmic plug one day and we will have zapped away all these great stories -- not to mention digital photos! One of my favorite things as a kid was looking at grandma and grandpa's old photo albums - I hope digital memories won't get lost - same with words.

Unknown said...

For Lydia - Manuel is so compassionate, almost to a fault. He is a rescuer sort of personality and he really hooks onto Ashleigh - and his mother freaks out! Manuel has a sweet innocence to him. He's hard working and kind of silly at times too. Will Ashleigh fall for him or will she go back to Billy? And what is love for Ashleigh anyway - does she yet know what it really is?

Unknown said...

For Lyra (I love that handle by the way - it reminds me of one of my heroes, Michelle Kwan - because she skated to Lyra Angelica - but I digress - lol!) (This is also for Andra Lyn, btw) The book is in our library and I have a book or two on the shelf in my office waiting room. Some students are reading it now - it will be fun to get their feedback. I know for sure the students LOVE to have me help them with their research papers because they know I'm a published author, lol!

Unknown said...

Lana -- Oh, I so want to make this into a film! Did you know when I first conceived to the story a couple of years ago, that I first thought of it as a screenplay. I have had two directors already look at it and the both commented on its cinematic quality. I think it would be great to do the movie with fresh new local talent from Texas - young people who haven't gone all Hollywood. What do you think? Any actors you would suggest? It is hard because 17 is a strange year - if you cast too old, you loose the realness of it.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone of the nice comments and questions. Anas - we had very nice weather today - After I got back from the car dealership, I decided to put in a new flower bed. Looks nice! Hope you are warm and cozy!

Ami said...

Hm yes, I see the difficulty to cast for someone that age, but I think some new fresh faces would be great as well, but then again, popular teenactors would get the movie a broader audience.

shadowrunner 1987ATgmailDOTcom

Mary Preston said...

I can see this as a movie. The casting would be all important.


Teena in Toronto said...

I enjoyed this book :)