This week I’m re-releasing my first novel Watching the Tree Limbs as an ebook for $2.99. If you’re looking for a Southern coming-of-age mystery, spend one penny shy of three bucks and download it on your Kindle or Nook.
The free offer:
If you download in the next five days (now until Sunday, October 23, 12:00 PST), you’ll receive a free PDF of The 11 Secrets of Getting Published. Simply email my assistant at Assistant@MaryDeMuth.com once you’ve purchased Tree Limbs, and she’ll email you the PDF. We’re using the honor system here, so please be truthful! (And if you already have 11 Secrets, buying Tree Limbs gives you the permission to share one copy of 11 Secrets with a friend. Why not spread the love?)
The book retailed at $12.99, and 11 Secrets is $4.99, so this represents a savings of $14.99 for both books.
Why I wrote this book
I wrote my first novel because I needed a hero. But didn’t find one.
Many of you know my story, particularly of the childhood rape that happened so many years ago. It’s been difficult, but not impossible, to forgive those boys for what they did to me, but the hardest aspect of forgiveness has been for the adults in my life who didn’t protect me. Who didn’t bother to be a hero.
I think of Eva the chainsmoking babysitter, how she loomed above me then. Me, five. She, ancient. When I told her of the rapes, whispered that awful word into her ear, I let go of the breath I’d been holding for months. Now that an adult knows, I felt, I’ll be protected.
“I’ll tell your mom,” she lied, though I took her words as gospel truth the moment she said them.
Well, if my mom knows, then I’ll truly be safe, I thought.
The next day the boys knocked on Eva’s back door. She welcomed them in. Scooted me back out the door to spend time with them.
Unfortunately, I learned then that I had to be my own hero. I had to muster up the heroics I longed for. Which I did by sleeping away every single afternoon, away from those boys.
But I’ve often thought what my life would’ve been like had there been a hero.
What if Eva kept her wits about her the moment those boys “invited” me out. What if she thought it strange that teenage boys wanted to play with a five-year-old girl? What if my family took note of my behavior change and investigated a little further? What if those boys’ mother, who baked cookies in the other room while the boys stole parts of me, thought it strange that they spent so much time with a young girl? What if she interceded? What if my teacher, instead of reporting my change in behavior, chose to listen to me, ask questions, or send me to the school counselor? Instead, she shamed me.
I needed a hero.
Writing Watching the Tree Limbs was my way of introducing heroes to an abused girl’s life, to put flesh on them. Truth is, I didn’t have them, but as an adult I needed to create them. Zady, the Jesus-loving housekeeper who loves Mara, the girl abused. Denim who seems to discern what’s going on. Camilla, Mara’s friend, who shoulders burdens. And Mr. Winningham who is so broken his heroics are masked. This community of heroes rescues Mara. And in some ways, they rescued me.
Maybe you need a hero too.
About the book:
Watching the tree limbs keeps resilient nine-year-old Mara Weatherall from the pain of General’s daily attacks–attacks he warns her to keep secret, or else. In the small world of 1979 Burl, Texas, all Mara really has are the tree limbs, a lumbering Aunt Elma, her boyfriend Officer Gus, the bully General, and her new best friend Camilla who rhymes maddening snatches of truth. Mara needs to escape General’s advances and find out who her real parents are before those who would want to destroy her succeed. Will she recognize redemption through Zady the Jesus-loving housekeeper, Denim the clandestine town prophet, or Mr. Winningham her new guardian whose quiet rage masks even deeper secrets?
Publisher’s Weekly Review:
In this debut faith-based novel, DeMuth transports readers to the hot East Texas town that is nine-year-old Mara’s home. Amid the red dirt and pecan trees, Mara struggles to find her way through a painful and mysterious family situation. Who were her parents? Is her aunt Elma really her aunt-and does Elma really have a tumor? What will happen to her if her aunt dies? The pain in Mara’s life multiplies when she meets General, the teenage neighbor who repeatedly rapes her, threatening her life if she tells anyone. DeMuth captures the horrific situation-from Mara’s inability to keep her body from shaking to her determination to watch the tree limbs to keep her mind off of what is going on-while providing hope of redemption and healing. Her characters are expertly drawn, and encompass meanness, evil, great kindness and the confusion of generally good people who don’t know how to handle what life has given them. Christian themes are woven throughout as a natural expression of the characters and situation. Readers may be surprised at the dark subject matter, but this book will appeal to many readers both as a thoughtful, powerful reflection on a difficult topic and as a compelling story.