Saturday, February 8, 2020

Australia Burns (The Wild Rose Press Charity Anthology) Vol. 2, featuring Barbara Bettis' "The Number"

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

As I stated in my post on Feb. 5 at this link, where there is an excerpt from Vol. 1 of the anthology,
I am proud to announce that the generous folks at The Wild Rose Press...from authors to editors to the owners...have compiled a three-volume anthology to raise money to help the poor folks in Australia. The authors (48, I believe!) donated a short story and the staff busted their buns to get them ready for publication in a matter of weeks.

I will be hosting an official post when the books are released (February 14, 2020), but I wanted to share excerpts from some of the short stories I was privileged to read. I will post over the next few days and I ask that you help spread the word. 

Ideally, purchasing directly from The Wild Rose Press will garner the most money for the fund, since there will not be the cut that goes to AMZ, but unfortunately, the shipping is fairly steep unless several copies are being purchased.

Australia Burns, Volume 2

The following story is featured in Volume 2

The Number 
Barbara Bettis

(That phone number. The same number. Again.)
This all had to be a mistake. A ridiculous misunderstanding. She’d misinterpreted a silly phone number. Jerry would laugh and say it was just like her. He’d tell her not to worry, perhaps go to the salon.
She had a haircut three days ago. He hadn’t noticed.
The phone bill lay on the table and she pulled it around to study it once more.
The area code—from St. Louis, she thought. A suburb, perhaps.
Her hands trembled as she raised the cup to her mouth. A drop slipped from the edge onto her fresh white top. For once she didn’t leap to her feet, dash off to change, and put the stain to soak.
Instead her mind worried at unfamiliar doubts like a kitten with a ribbon. There must be a logical explanation like always before when a number reappeared several times over months. Such was the insurance business, Jerry told her, again and again. Some claims took forever to settle.
By ten thirty a.m., the trembling stopped. By eleven a.m., rebellion clicked in. Caroline rose, rinsed the cup, placed it in the dishwasher, then walked to the living room. She took a deep breath, caught her bottom lip between her teeth, grabbed the phone, and punched in—1-555…. Three rings, four….
“Jerry, sweetie.” The soft voice was bright and cheerful. “I thought you were working near St. Louis this week.”

Amazon link
The Wild Rose Press link


Author's links:


  1. Oh what a great tantalizer! Looking forward to reading this, along with all the other great stories in this series.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Hywela! Thanks for taking the time to read it.

  2. What a great teaser! Can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Isn't it striking? Somebody's in trouble, lol. Thanks for visiting, Tena!

  3. Great excerpt, Barb! This anthology--and how quickly it was put together--says a lot about our publisher and our sister and brother Roses. Looking forward to reading the stories!

    1. I know you'll enjoy them, Judith. And kudos to everyone involved!

  4. That excerpt caught me straightaway. And I love your blog. I wish I could learn to write a blog like this. I think I need a class. Anyway, thank you for sharing, Barb.

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Melody. I'm slowly working on a presentation. Stay tuned...

  5. Such a worthwhile project! I didn't have a short story ready for the book, but I'm promoting it as much as I can. Be sure to buy a copy!

    1. That's okay, Ilona. We are all helping in whatever way we can. Thank you for all of your efforts!