Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Messenger

Dear KOM-ers!

We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!

Please enjoy this excerpt from “Messenger” by Liz Keller Whitehurst.

There are 2 ways to enter to win a FREE hard copy:

  1. Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
  2. Email us at KOMWriting@gmail.com with the Subject: (book title) giveaway entry

The winner will be randomly selected on 8/16/21 and announced on our website and social media. *

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While searching for a new, intriguing story among the insanely competitive media world of New York City, young journalist Alana Peterson finds Messenger, an old woman who gives life-changing messages to strangers all over the city. Alana thinks she’s found her big break with Messenger’s story, but soon realizes there is much more to Messenger than meets the eye. Through a series of mistakes, Alana bends the trajectory of the story to tragic results, only then realizing Messenger’s bigger plans.

Excerpt: Messenger and the Watchers

Messenger and Jackie stood shivering in the opening to the alley, speaking softly together. “A journalist? I don’t have to tell you, Messenger, that is not our way. We work in secret. In safety. Our work is not for everyone to know about.” Jackie was so agitated, her black, cat-eye glasses fogged up. “For our own safety!”

Messenger put her hands on her hips. “Why? Who says?”

“Look, you agreed to the rules. And you knew the rules when you signed up for this.”

“It’s easy for you to lecture me.” She pulled in closer to Jackie’s face. “You didn’t have a family, did you?”

“No. But you knew the rules. You must walk away from your life to serve. Leave everything you have.” She shook her head. “Doesn’t matter for us anymore. We’re old. What matters is this: I warned you a long time ago this girl is a terrible choice!”

“You don’t know her.”

Jackie sighed and steam poured out of her mouth. “She’s a journalist! It’s her job to uncover secrets and bring what’s hidden out into the open. Public knowledge! How can she —”

“Yes. She’s a journalist. She loves words as much as I do. She wants to write a book about the messages.”

“And you said yes? Are you stone cold crazy?” Jackie’s voice echoed through the alley.

“Shush!” Messenger warned her. “Our old ways aren’t working. They’re falling apart. That’s okay. It always happens like that. But we need something new in place to help to bring about the Clinamen. ‘Clinamen’ is what I’m calling it now. Can’t you feel it?”

“Call it whatever you want. Nobody knows when it’s going to come! It could come today. Or — it could take a hundred more years! Nobody knows. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Messenger shook her head. “Come on, Jackie. You know it’s coming soon. You feel it, too.”

“Let’s stick with the present moment, why don’t we? The Watchers know about the girl and what’s been going on with you two,” Jackie hissed through her teeth. “They know what you’re planning . . ..”

Messenger looked away, avoided Jackie’s huge eyes. “And they’re not happy. Okay, I get it. I know what I’m doing.”

“I sincerely hope you do! Does the girl suspect anything yet?”

Messenger shook her head. “No. I don’t think so. She’s having openings but she’s not ready yet. We need more time.”

“Okay, bottom line. The Watchers sent me to tell you to stop with this girl and regroup. Find somebody else. They sense danger.”

Messenger chuckled. “Tell me something I don’t already know.”

“You’re in deep. I can tell by the look on your face. What is it? Tell me.”

Messenger looked straight at Jackie, her face calm and relaxed, like they were just discussing the weather. “Nothing.”

“This plan you have is going to blow up in your face. Then where will you be? Why won’t you tell me?”

“No, Jackie. Let’s keep this on me, okay? I don’t want you to take the heat for what I choose to do. The rules I choose to break. I’m willing to take my chances.”

Jackie’s voice softened. “Protecting you is my job, isn’t it? I’m your Watcher. But I only have so much strength.”

“You’ve got everything you need and I thank you. I appreciate it.” Messenger held out her arms and Jackie embraced her. Then, Messenger gently took Jackie’s glasses off her face. Holding them as if precious, she dug out a soft corner of her cotton shirt from under the folds of her coats and cleaned the lenses. As she rubbed, the tension between them slowly subsided. She checked each lens several times before handing the glasses back.

Jackie put them on. Nodded her thanks. “You know I’ll do what I can,” she said. “But I have to ask you. Are you ready to be found?”

 

* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media. 

liz keller whitehurst
Liz Keller Whitehurst is the author of the forthcoming debut novel "Messenger"and author/creator of the serial podcast MESSENGER: A NOVEL IN 16 EPISODES which she launched in 2020. Her short stories have appeared in many literary magazines and journals including Gargoyle, The Portland Review, Five Fingers Review and Nimrod International Journal. She was a finalist in Nimrod International Journal’s Short Story Competition. Liz earned an MA in English from The University of Virginia. In addition to fiction writing, Liz has spent her professional life writing and teaching. She’s done corporate, non-profit and freelance writing and has taught English and writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Her last teaching post was co-leading a memoir writing class at the city jail. Though born in Ohio, Liz grew up in Winchester, Virginia and has lived her adult life in Richmond, Virginia. She shares her current 1891 home, located in one of Richmond’s oldest neighborhoods, with her husband. Her second-floor writing desk overlooks the James River.

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