by Renda Dodge

Lying in bed, I could still smell the rural town I grew up in. The manure stench of the country combined with fresh-cut grass layered over car exhaust and fresh rain, and I wanted to forget.
When I was a girl, I would listen to frogs, insects and a silence that made my ears ring, but it had turned to car horns, screeching tires and drunks walking home at closing time. I lived in Seattle’s gray for eleven years, but it had never quite become home. I tried not to think of the place I ran from, the life that existed so many years before, and focused my thoughts on the noise of the city filtering through the cracked window.
The thin red lines of the alarm clock illuminated the corners of my bedroom, waiting to usher in the start of another day. I searched for patterns in the shadows painted across my ceiling and tried to will my body into a few more minutes of sleep. I had not slept through the night for as long as I could remember, and my nocturnal routine helped feign a semblance of normality. Renda Belle Dodge grew up in the Pacific Northwest as part of a typical, fractured family, and she currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Writing has always been a part of her life, and she began telling and illustrating stories when she was a child. Renda’s style is bold and strives to capture the ongoing struggle for identity in contemporary America. Inked is her first novel.

Renda facilitates several groups for writer’s fellowship, support and feedback. She runs one-day workshops on novel plotting and speed drafting. For the past seven years she has been involved in National Novel Writing Month, and for the past four has been a Municipal Liaison working with and encouraging writers of all ages and skill sets. She is also a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association.
Tori Liddell has struggled through her twenties suffering from undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. She documents her radical lifestyle changes and shifting identity through the colorful tattoos covering her body. After years spent disconnecting from family and widening the rift created by her absence, Tori returns to small-town Oregon to help facilitate the care of her mother, recently diagnosed with AIDS. At her homecoming, she faces her own mortality, the inevitable loss of her mother and the interests of an  enigmatic  neighbor. Tori also confronts the realization that things and people are not always the way she remembers as she searches for the meaning of home in the rubble of her past.
Inked is a window into the life of a woman trying to overcome herself, her choices and a psychological affliction etched under her skin.
Continue reading the first chapter for FREE on Renda’s website!

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