Tag Archives: literary fiction

The Bright Side of Darkness, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial! This is Lisa Burton Radio. Coming at you with one point twenty-one jigawatts of power. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Rick Meyers. “Welcome to the show, Rick.”

“Hey, Lisa. What’s up?”

“I’m great, thanks. Now Rick, my bio says you are an emancipated seventeen year old. That’s kind of unusual, how did that come to pass?”

“My folks … my dad took my mom to some fancy restaurant in Amarillo last Valentine’s Day. He’d been saving up for months so they could go. I guess he should’ve put new brakes on the car instead. They skidded off the road on their way home in the pouring rain. They were both dead in a ditch before they knew what hit ‘em. The social workers talked about foster care after that, but it ain’t easy to find a spot for a guy my age. Besides, Ed and Sharon, the twins’ folks, promised to look out for me. They’re okay, really. They sort of keep an eye on all of us—me and Mark and Tim—since we don’t have two parents like the twins do.”

“I’m so sorry, Rick. That has to be tough. How are you getting along?”

“I got the crew. Tim and Mark and the twins. We’ve grown up as tight as brothers. Bunked in the same apartment building pretty much forever. Still, there’s rent every month, and food, and the lights to keep on. And cigarettes. At least I don’t have to pay for beer. Tim’s stepdad is a professional boozer, so he gets stuff for the rest of us whenever we want it.

“I was bussing tables at this greasy little diner even before Mom and Dad died. It’s all right. I like the manager, she’s this chubby, middle-aged woman with a booming laugh and a bit of a mustache she’s always trying to get rid of with one home remedy or another. She lets me snag leftovers whenever I feel like it. But after Mom and Dad were gone, I had to get another job at a candy store. The manager there is a pain in the butt. He walks around with this pinched-up look on his face like he smells garbage, and he never takes his eyes off me, like he thinks I’m going to steal him blind. That ain’t my style.”

“Sounds like a tough life, all those odd jobs, and unpaid bills.”

“Yeah, but me and the crew, we have each other. You know, things are never that bad when somebody’s got your back.

“Not that everybody gets along all the time. Me and Tim, we have our moments. Tim likes to call the shots, all of them. But I’ve gotten to be a fairly good size in the past year, and no slouch of a fighter, and lately he hasn’t been too sure he’s ready to take me on. Mark’s kind of laid back, and Bryan’s more interested in tennis than fist fights. But Stace, he’s all mouth. It gets him in a lot of trouble.”

“Why so many fights you guys?”

“Money’s always tight. That tenses everybody up. And it’s hot enough to piss the devil off. That don’t help, either. Still, we may scrap among ourselves a little, but that all goes out the window if somebody else jacks with one of us.

“There’s this girl, Daisy. I met her at a baseball game. Our local high school team was playing the rich kids from the classy private academy across town. We kicked the crap out of ‘em, too. Anyway, Daisy was sitting on the bleachers with a big black and tan German shepherd. It turned out she’s blind. Sharp as a tack, though, there ain’t much she can’t do. And the most knockout smile you ever saw … Tim started messing with her, but I told him to lay off. Still, if someone made a move on her, Tim’d deck the loser as soon as look at him. Any of us would.

“I worry about Daisy, though. The night I met her at the baseball game, there was this fat man watching her. He didn’t get too close. At first I thought he was just a moron who’d never seen a blind chick before and couldn’t get a grip on his curiosity. But he kept eyeballing her. It made me real uneasy. Then another day, when me and Daisy were walking in a park, I saw the same fat man scoping her out as he sat on the fender of a dented green jeep. He drove off before I could ask him what the hell he was gawking at.”

“I think a blind girl would be a sitting duck for a stalker like that, unless her dog can help somehow. I hope she’s being careful.”

“That dog, Captain, watches her real close. But she has a good reason to be careful. She ran away from her foster mother in Amarillo. Her dad was in jail for breaking her leg in two places, and he just had a parole hearing. He’s got a court order to stay away from her, but he might be out on the streets now. She wasn’t about to stay in Amarillo and find out.”

“Oh, Rick, you have to tell her. She has a right to know if someone is following her.”

“Yeah, but I hate to derail our first date. I asked her to this school dance … I know, school dances aren’t usually my thing, but she’s real pretty. I never felt that way about a girl. Sharon—that’s the twins’ mom—and Mark’s grandma, they’re getting her all dressed up. I think they’re as excited about the whole show as Daisy is.”

“Soon though, right?”

“Yeah, soon. Maybe after the dance. I hate to freak her out till I know for sure if her dad is on the prowl … she might decide to leave town … but I care more about her safety than I care about myself … I just wish I had all the facts.”

“Okay, but she still has a right to know.”

“We’ll have a good time tonight. I’ll figure this all out in the morning.”

“I’m sure all of us wish you the best of luck, and that you can rise above your current circumstances. Anything else to leave with our listeners today?”

“Take care of your buddies. They’ll have your back when it counts. Knowing how to patch each other up comes in handy lots of times, not just after fights.”

“You can learn all about Rick, Daisy, and the crew in the book “The Bright Side of Darkness,” by J. E. Pinto. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I log off the air today.

“Make sure to use those sharing buttons out today. It would really help Jo Elizabeth, and Rick, out today. They’d do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa burton Radio.”


What is a family?  For Rick Myers, a despondent seventeen-year-old who has just lost his parents in a car wreck, it’s the four teenage buddies he’s grown up with in a run-down apartment building.  Fast with their fists, flip with their mouths, and loyal to a fault, the “crew” is all he has.

At least, he thinks so until he meets Daisy, an intelligent, independent, self-assured blind girl.  Her guts in a world where she’s often painfully vulnerable intrigue Rick, and her hopeful outlook inspires him to begin believing in himself.

But when the dark side of Daisy’s past catches up with her, tragedy scatters the crew and severely tests Rick’s resolve to build his promising future.  Fortunately, his life is touched by a couple with a pay-it-forward attitude, forged out of their personal struggle with grief and loss. Their support makes all the difference to Rick and eventually, through him, to the ones he holds most dear as they face their own challenges.  “The Bright Side of Darkness” is a story of redemption and the ultimate victory that comes from the determination of the human spirit.

Pick up your copy right here.

[J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.

The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.

You can catch up with Jo Elizabeth Pinto on her Facebook account.


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Going All In, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial! You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re going to steam things up a little.

What happens when congenial poker nights among a group of six friends take a turn into dark territory? Someone suggests an alternative payout. Everyone consents to the new stakes. They are all excited – but before long, repressed thoughts and even sinister emotions begin to emerge.

With me in the studio today is Katie Kelly. She and her husband, Steve, were one of three couples who participated in this fateful poker affair, and she’s here to dish all the dirt for our listeners. “Welcome to the show, Katie.”

“Thank you so much for having me, Lisa! I’m happy to be here.”

“Let’s start off with some background. Tell us about you and Steve.”

“So, Steve and I were college sweethearts – then he went on to law school and I went to grad school to become a psychotherapist. But fate had something else in mind, at least for me. I got pregnant with our oldest daughter, Jamie, and well, career took a backseat. But Steve’s got a great job in New York City with a big, important law firm and we also have another daughter, Anna. Life’s pretty sweet, I’d say. We have a nice house in New Fairfield, Connecticut. I spend most of my time keeping up the family duties and doing a little part-time teaching at the local college while Steve brings home the proverbial bacon. I’m hoping to eventually go back to finish my counseling licensure hours at some point, though. Oh, and I’m writing a self-help book, – gotta keep busy, you know. There are only so many floors to sweep and loads of laundry to wash.”

“And how long had this couples’ poker night been going on before the rules changed?”

“Well, my hubby and I hang out – maybe too much – with two other couples who live nearby. They all trudged to our house one night in the middle of a snowstorm and we ended up playing a pretty feisty game of drunk poker. We had so much fun, though, that we decided to keep it going every other weekend.

“Some nights we play at our house, but it can get so loud and inappropriate we send the girls to babysit for one of the other couple’s twin sons. That’s Erin and Marty. Erin is a doll. We’ve known each other, God, forever it seems – BFFs and we share everything. I actually never had such a close girlfriend until I met her. Marty, on the other hand, is an ass. Can I say that on the radio? – I really have no idea why they’re together. Anyway, when we’re not playing at our house we rotate – sometimes it’s at Erin and Marty’s house. And other nights we play at Scarlett and C. Thomas’s house. Boy, they’re a pair – hot as hell but neither of them is the sharpest knife in the drawer if you know what I mean. Scarlett is three Bs – busty, beautiful, and brainless. Nice alliteration, huh? and C. Thomas – well, he looks like he was just carved out of butter.

“I know it probably doesn’t sound like it, but we’re all really good friends.”

“Blackjack is my game, and I’m pretty successful at it. My computer memory lets me count the cards. Poker is new to me, so tell us, Katie, are you good at poker?”

“Poker…hmm…Texas Hold’em, actually. Yes…and no, I guess! I’m still learning, you know. Steve is really the best player hands down – beats the pants off everyone most nights. Sometimes I don’t know why we keep playing.”

“Tell us what caused the change in the stakes.”

“God. We really had fun at first. Booze, snacks, lots of laughs…But as the hubby likes to say, familiarity breeds contempt. I guess it was just too much time together and well, the game simply started getting boring. And to be honest, how many times can anyone deal with Marty’s gross, drunken bumbling – or steer clear of his accidental groping? Or worse, have to see Scarlett’s silicone-injected boobs popping out of her skin-tight tank tops? And those nipples! Not that it bothers the guys.

“So out of the blue, C. Thomas suggests we raise the stakes. Instead of getting a few bucks from the pot, why not get something more valuable? he says. A one-night sexual hall pass with anyone we choose, except our own spouses! I think we all choked on our tortilla chips – Marty probably swallowed his tongue. I mean, what C. Thomas was suggesting wasn’t anything I’d ever thought I’d do – in my entire life! Or that Steve would do, or the rest of us for that matter. A fling! A one-night stand! An extra-marital affair! Anyway, you see, C. Thomas has this empire he inherited from his dad. That includes a cute cabin on the lake. He suggested we take another player’s spouse to the cabin if we won…to do with whatever we choose. What happens there, stays there, you know. Granted, it wasn’t great odds for me. Like I said, I’m far from the best player. And I only had one real choice – C. Thomas. If I EVER had to sleep with Marty I think I’d rather poke out my eyeballs.”

“So did you?”

“Did I what?”

“You know, were you the prize or the winner at any point? Did your husband win? Who did he choose? We want some dirt here–.

“Hold that thought, we seem to have a caller today. Hello caller, you’re on the air with Lisa and Katie. Do you have a question for our guest?”

“Yes, um, hi, Lisa. And hey, Katie! Sorry, this isn’t really a question, but, well, Katie – this game thing is really bringing out the worst in everyone. I don’t know what’s going on but you’ll never believe what I found on Marty’s computer.”

“Hey, Erin. What’s the matter? Ha, ha. Remember we’re on the radio! Keep it PG – if I know Marty, it could be anything!”

“You’re right – but this is worse, I mean, worse to me. To you – Scarlett, too! Remember the day we decided we were going to GO ALL IN? You know, that day we were drunk and skinny dipping in your pool?”


“I found pictures of us! On some social media site! Who the hell could have taken them? How did they get there? Marty was working that day!”

“Oh, my God!”

“I know! I’m not sitting back anymore and taking this – or losing the games. I’ve got a plan for us to win.”

“Hey – we don’t know if the guys could be listening. I’ll call you later. I’ve got to know because I’m tired of losing, too.”

“Okay, talk to you later. Thanks, Lisa, Bye, Katie.”

“Thanks for calling, Erin.

“So back to you, Katie. Wow – so your misadventures wound up online. On the one hand, who really cares, but on the other, it could have some social and even employment fallout. I mean, Steve a prominent attorney, your college position, a self-help book. These things could be at risk. Unfortunately, we’re out of time. Do you have any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“Well, we’re really in the thick of this now, you know. And I guess we’re just going to have to see how all this plays out, pun intended. I’ll tell you, though, I’m not sure we made the right decision sometimes. Part of me thinks there could be some serious fallout, you know” Everything has consequences. But then again, we all agreed to it, so how bad could it be? It’s not like we’re talking life and death stuff here. And it’s not cheating if everyone says it’s okay, right?

“Hey, I have an idea! Maybe you can have me back on after a few more games – I’ll probably have a lot more juicy stuff to report.”

“You can read all about Katie, Erin, and the rest in the book, Going All In, by Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley & Wayne J. Keeley. I’ll post all the pertinent details on the website.

“You can help everyone out today by using those sharing buttons at the end of this post. Stephanie & Wayne would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”



A tale of three suburban couples who, during a pummeling Connecticut Nor’Easter, start up a friendly game of Texas Hold’em. The impromptu get-together leads to the institution of rousing, alcohol-driven, bi-weekly poker nights. One evening on a lark, someone suggests an alternate payout – instead of playing for pocket change, the winner may choose a different player with whom to spend the night. Before long, everyone’s Going All In.

All too quickly, friendships are strained and relationships crumble. Lies are told, truths are exposed, and feelings are hurt. In the end, can anyone bear the weight of this wanton self-indulgence? They are six fully consenting adults, and this was supposed to be just for fun. No one could possibly get hurt; after all, it was only a game. Or was it?






LULU (print book) – http://www.lulu.com/shop/stephanie-c-lyons-keeley-and-wayne-j-keeley/going-all-in/paperback/product-23349345.html


Stephanie C. Lyons-Keeley and Wayne J. Keeley

Stephanie and Wayne are award-winning writers, directors, and producers as well as bloggers, who have other “day jobs” as well. Stephanie has an MA in counseling psychology and is a psychotherapist and professor of psychology. In addition to being a four-time Emmy-nominated and two-time winning writer and producer, who also is the author of the legal thriller Mahogany Row, Wayne is a media attorney and a part-time professor of communications.

Together the married duo (who are parents to a blended brood of seven children, two dogs, and three ferrets) pen “he-said/she-said” entertainment reviews and conduct interviews on their website, Pillow Talking.

Stephanie and Wayne have combined their creative talents on myriad works for film, theatre, and TV which are in various stages of development.

Read about Stephanie and Wayne’s projects here:

Their production company, Someday Productions LLC: www.somedayprods.com; and their blog, Pillow Talking: www.somedayprods.com/talking or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, etc.


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