Outtake: An Early Prelude

Long ago, I wrote the first draft of My Soul to Keep. It was a fantasy with dragons. What was I thinking? My next draft or two or three were just as far afield as the fantasy, though they were closer to a science fictional approach. Then, after many discussions with my husband and friends, I came up with the alternate world in which the story now takes place. I thought readers might enjoy a look back at some of the outtakes from those earlier drafts. So, without further ado, here’s an outtake: an early prelude to My Soul to Keep.


Outtake: An Early Prelude

A Testament for Modern Times

The New Book of Samuel

Chapter 3, verses 1-17

1. Now it came to pass, in the days after the Great War, that the children of the world did evil in the sight of the Lord.

2. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people and He delivered them into the days of darkness called the Great Depression.  He overthrew the tables of their moneymakers and money changers; and gold became as water.

3. Thieves, drunkards, and  murderers ruled the land known as America.  The American leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was assassinated; yet the people of America repented not.

4. And in these days the peoples of Europe, Russia, and Asia loved God not.  So it came to pass that there was war between Britain and the Third Reich.

5. And the wicked fell upon each other and they dwelt in the darkness of their damnation.

6. Ten times ten thousand Britons were slain in the fields and in their homes.  Their cities were destroyed, and their young men carried away into slavery.

7. And the Britons called to America for ships and weapons and men.  But the American people asked one another, “Why must our sons die over the sea in other people’s battles?”

8. So it came to pass that the American people closed their ears and would not hear the strife across the sea.  For they were sore afraid.

9. Now there arose many prophets: Father Charles Coughlin, Gerald L. K. Smith, Francis Townsend, Aimee Semple McPherson, and William Ashley Sunday.

10. But the greatest of these was born of the land called Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a man named Samuel Garret.  He was a humble and pious man whose heart was troubled by the wickedness of his people.

11. There was sent to him from God the angel, Gabriel.  And Gabriel said unto him, “Rise up and walk through the length and breadth of the land.”  And he did.

12. And he saw the sins of the people of America were very grievous and was ashamed.  And he cried out to the Lord, “Father, why hast thou forsaken us?”

13. And the angel returned unto him and said, “This nation was conceived ‘in liberty under God;’ thou hast forsaken the Father.”

14. “Open your ears that you may hear the word of God unto you:  Woe be unto this wicked and faithless generation.  In as much as ye shall repent, I will cleanse you of your iniquities.

15. “And to him who doth not repent and come to me with a broken heart and contrite spirit, I will blot out his name from the Book of Life.”

16. And it came to pass that Samuel made the people naked to their shame.  And when the people heard the words of the Lord in their synagogues, and in their temples, and in their kingdom halls, and in their churches they fell down upon their faces and begged His forgiveness.

17. So the Lord blessed the people who took Fellowship with Him.  And remembering His covenant with Noah, God sent not the waters but the angels, the Azrael, to cleanse the wicked from the face of the land.


I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the past. If you haven’t read My Soul to Keep this passage is not in the published book. The information contained in this outtake, an early prelude, still formed the background for the story world. Click on this link to learn more about the book. If you have ready My Soul to Keep, what do you think of this?

Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption.

public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

I come from a family with deep roots in conservative religion and found inspiration from fire and brimstone and redemption. Where did I find that inspiration? American Christianity has a history of periodic revivals of conservative religious fervor called the Great Awakening.

During each of these periods of Awakening, there were widespread revivals led by evangelicals The phrase “Great Awakening” refers to all the periods collectively. The term Awakening refers to the awakening of interest in religion.


Revivals were a series of religious gatherings. They lasted from three days to a week or more. Meetings would happen in the same location at the same time every day or evening. At these meetings, the evangelist preached of fire and brimstone and redemption. In the American South revivals were commonly held in tents through the summer months. In the northern states, halls and auditoriums were rented. Some areas and denominations continue to hold annual tent revivals to this day.

Thousands attended these revivals. The evangelists produced a profound sense of conviction and redemption among believers. The Fellowship in my novel, My Soul to Keep, was created with this history in mind.


Historians agree that there were three Awakenings. The First Great Awakening occurred during the 1730s and 1740s. The Second Great Awakening ran from the late eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century. The period of revival from the 1850’s to the 1900s is called the Third Great Awakening.

Up for debate is whether a Fourth Great Awakening happened during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Experts disagree. Air-conditioned megachurches and televangelism were more popular then than tent revivals.

A period of lower interest and sometimes disillusionment followed most of these Awakenings. Readers over a certain age likely remember one such period. Anyone remember Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker?


Each period had its religious leaders. Do you know who they were? Below is a list of real and fictional religious leaders. See if you can identify the real ones. Don’t look them up. Go with your best memory or guess.

Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption--The History of the Great Awakening

You can download the quiz here: The Great Awakening Quiz


The answers to the quiz can be found here: The Great Awakening Quiz Answers


How did I first become aware of the Great Awakening? Family history. Plus, I attended some tent revivals as a child. In time, my immediate family’s religious beliefs veered away from the ultra-conservative. I’ve gone a bit further away than that. But let me make it clear, I am not against any religion conservative or not. I wrote a dystopian novel about abuses of religion and government. Abuses that I fear.

So, how did you do on the quiz? Anyone get 100%? Let me know your score in the comments below.

Sneak Peek At A Work-In-Progress

There are wine tastings and cheese tastings and sneak peaks. Today, you get a sneak peek at a work-in-progress. The working title is Ian’s Trust. So without further ado, please enjoy this sneak peak

Ian’s Trust

Angry and distrustful after his parents are Taken, Ian must rely on his best friend’s help when he and his siblings hide in the Smokey Mountains. But if Ian doesn’t stop their pursuers, the Cleaners, he and his siblings face re-education or death.

• • • • • • • •

Image of an actor who looks like the character in my sneak peek at a work-in-progress

Ian Henry Hobart breathed in the odors of rank sweat, burnt coffee, and sweet ink. He loved the tiny newsroom and not just because working as a copyboy took him out of high school for half the day. This afternoon the room pulsed with twelve loud-talking men and the clack, ratchet, and ding of typewriters. Under it all the rumble of the presses downstairs sent vibrations through the floor, through Ian’s shoes, and into his bones. The Ambrose Chronicle served the community of Ambrose, Virginia and the surrounding area. The next closest city with a newspaper was Lynchburg.

“Hey, Ian.” Montgomery Jones, Ian’s best friend and the second copyboy at Ambrose Chronicle, sat on the copy bench next to him. He wore the required white shirt and red necktie, one of the latest skinny styles. Ian’s broader necktie was a hand-me-down from his older brother.

“Did I tell you that I’m going to the Shaming in Lynchburg tomorrow?” Monty laced his fingers together and put his hands behind his head, jutting his elbows out on each side. The move showed the cords of his neck, cords developed by hours of weightlifting.

“Yeah, Monty, you told me.” Ian was glad it was Monty going and not him. No one liked going to shamings, but Monty wanted to be a photographer. That meant he never turned down a chance to go on assignment with one of the paper’s two photographers.

Ian would never admit it to Monty, but sometimes he imagined himself and Monty as a reporter-photographer team for the Washington Post or Life Magazine.

“Wesley told me I could bring my camera,” Monty said. He’d talked his dad into getting him a professional Speed Graphic Press camera. “I might even get an uncredited photograph in the spread. I—”

“Boy!” The shout came from Claude Collins, the Chronicle’s feature reporter. Ian hopped off the bench and hurried to the desk in the back corner. Collins’ “office” consisted of his desk, two four-drawer filing cabinets, a bookcase, and a Royal typewriter on roll around stand. Stacks of old newspapers, two rolodexes, a six-line telephone, and a celluloid Donald Duck nodder crowded his desktop.

Collins had the phone receiver pressed to his left ear. His right hand scratched a pencil across a yellow paper pad that wobbled atop a stack of newspapers. “Uh, huh. Yeah. I got that.” Collins’ put the pencil behind his right ear. “I owe you one.” He hung up the phone and looked up. “Good, it’s you.”

Ian bit the inside of his cheek. Had Collins read the article Ian had written? “Yes, sir. What can I do for you, sir?”

“First, I told you to stop calling me sir.”

“Yes sir—I mean, Mr. Collins.”

“Don’t—aw, never mind.” Collins ran a hand through his pale blond hair, then rubbed his chin.

Ian waited.

“Look, kid—Ian, right?”

“Yes s—Mr. Collins.” He knows my name. Pop was right. Giving him an article I wrote helped.

“I read your copy—”

Ian sucked in a breath. Hope bubbled up.

“Your reporting stinks.” Collins eyes twitched downward.

All the air inside Ian whooshed out. He hates it.

“You need to learn to ask more open-ended questions, to challenge the people you interview, and go at them hard.” Collins locked eyes with Ian and turned his head slowly to the right, then the left.

Confused, all Ian could think to say was, “Yes, sir.”

Collins picked up a few pages of typewritten copy and handed it to him.

It was his story. Red ink practically covered the page with questions and corrections and comments. “Thank you, Mr. Collins,” Ian stammered. He’d figured that Collins took the article to shut up a pushy kid. But he’d read it and edited it. “I’ll rewrite this right away and get it back to you.”

“Look, kid. You got potential, but you’re green.” Collins did that head shake thing again. “Go to college. Then you’ll be ready to be a junior reporter.”

Ian swallowed his disappointment. He pressed his lips together and looked down at his shoes. “Yes sir.”

“Take this to Leland. He’s probably in the dark room, so leave it in the in-box and put the flag up.” Collins handed him a bulging 5×9 manila envelope and swiveled his chair to face the typewriter. The shrill ringing of his telephone punched through the air. Collins turned, picked up the phone, and glanced at Ian. “Well? What are you waiting for?”

“Leaving now, sir.”

Ian trotted downstairs to the basement. The clatter and thunder of the printing press filled the air with vibrations and the overpowering smell of ink. Ian circled behind the press and passed a half-dozen storage rooms and supply closets. The red “Do not disturb” light above the darkroom door was on. A wire basket attached to the door was labeled “inbox.” Below it hung an identical wire basket labeled outbox. Ian dropped the envelope into the top basket. He found the inbox flag, a three-inch wide American flag magnet, attached to the outbasket instead of on the metal plate above the inbox. A large manila envelope labeled “Dale” stuck out of the basket. I’ll save myself a trip and take that upstairs now. Dale was one of the sports reporters. The one who always chewed copy boys out about how slow they were.

Ian turned to leave and almost body slammed Collins. “I didn’t hear you coming,” Ian shouted above the thunder of the press.

Collins quirked his head and gave Ian the kind of look that said, “follow me.” He led the way into a storage room crammed full of gigantic rolls of newsprint. Closing the door behind him didn’t dim the press noises much. He led Ian to the back of the room where the noise dulled to the point conversation was possible and gave Ian a wry grin. “I don’t think you picked up on the hints I was giving you upstairs.”

Ian blinked at him. The head shaking was hints? At what—how bad a reporter I am?

“Ian, you can’t be so naivé that you think the investigation you’re doing is safe?”

Crap. Ian pulse rocketed. I thought I could trust Collins. Gotta play it safe. “I don’t understand.” He held Dale’s envelope against his chest, his arms folded over it.

Collins studied him. “I know your parents believe the Fellowship could be doing some things differently. But they, and you, are treading a dangerous line.”

Ian didn’t have proof yet, but there was something corrupt going on between the Lynchburg Fellowship Church and the Wagner Quarry. “The truth shouldn’t be dangerous.”

Collins sighed. “You’re right. But in this day and age, it is. Look, you’re good.” He gave Ian a lopsided smile. “You remind me of myself. I want to take you on as an intern.”

“Really?” Ian hadn’t dared hope.

“But you have to promise me you won’t pursue this story.”

Ian hesitated. Is this some kind of test? Ten years ago Collins didn’t give up on his story about graft in city hall. That story got reprinted by New York Times. I’m not going to take a chance. He loosened his crossed arms a bit so his right hand was hidden under his left elbow. Fingers crossed, he said, “I promise.”

• • • • • • • •

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at a work-in-progress. It’s a tiny piece of the story. I’m projecting that this will be a short novel of about 40,000 words in length. What do you think? Would you keep reading? Do you like getting a sneak peek at a work-in-progress? Or would you rather not know until you get the whole story?

If you’re interested in a sneak peek at other stories I’ve written, check out: The White Hope, Paladina, and The Repairmen.

ETA: This is a companion novel to My Soul to Keep. This story is a little more than 50,000 words. As with any sneak peek at a work-in-progress, the beginning has changed a little. Oh, and it is now titled Fellowship and available on Amazon.

Book Cover Reveal: My Soul to Keep

I’m delighted to present the book cover reveal for my debut novel, My Soul to Keep.

On sale: August 2018
Artist/Illustrator/Designer: Elizabeth Leggett
Publisher: Rocket Dog Publishing

Book Cover Reveal for Lynette M. Burrows' spine-tingling science fiction thriller, My Soul to Keep. Coming soon!


Miranda Clarke lived a charmed life…until she broke the rules.

It is 1961 and America’s a theocracy controlled by the Fellowship and its tyrannical council of eleven men. Miranda Clarke’s family is part of the ruling elite, wealthy and privileged.

Miranda wants nothing more than to stay out of the public eye, but her power-hungry mother has different plans. She forces Miranda into an engagement to an up-and-coming Fellowship member and schemes to get Miranda’s father elected President of the United States.

To escape the arranged marriage and the repressive Fellowship, Miranda makes a break for freedom. But lurid family secrets and a dead man lands her in prison. She not only must escape prison and outwit her mother’s ruthless ambitions but avoid the deadly Azrael, the Fellowship’s enforcers who Take unbelievers.

Will Miranda survive ‘outing’ the family secrets?

Told from four different perspectives, My Soul to Keep is a spine-tingling science-fiction thriller and will be available in all your favorite online bookstores.

My Soul to Keep is the first in a series about the struggle to survive repression and violence on a personal, regional, and national level.


Elizabeth Leggett Elizabeth Leggett is a Hugo award-winning illustrator whose work focuses on soulful, human moments-in-time that combine ambiguous interpretation and curiosity with realism.

Her first paying gig was painting other student’s tennis shoes in high school.  She charged $10 a single shoe and she loved it when they wanted their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name because she knew they would be back again a few weeks later!

Elizabeth has been nominated for the 2018 Chesley Award for best book cover presented by the Association of Science Fiction Artist. The winner will be announced at Worldcon xx in San Jose

Check out Elizabeth’s other art at Portico Arts Illustrations.


Lynette M. Burrows writes stories of empowerment and survival spanning space and time.

Her publishing career was nearly crushed before it started when a large regional magazine rejected her 500-word children’s story. Then, a writing instructor urged her to change one word and re-submit the story. She did and that story was published by that magazine.

Since then, her children’s stories have appeared in national magazines and an anthology. When she co-authored The White Box stories with Rob Chilson, those were the longest things she’d written to date. By the time the White Box stories appeared in Analog Science fiction Science Fact magazine, Lynette’s days of short-short fiction were over. Don’t worry, she’s not writing anything that approaches the length of Game of Thrones…yet!

Lynette lives in the land of Oz (Kansas) with her artist husband and their three rocket dogs (Yorkshire Terriers).


The live book cover reveal for My Soul to Keep occurred at ConQuesT Science Fiction Convention on Memorial Day weekend.

My Soul to Keep is currently in my copy editor’s capable hands. When she’s finished I’ll make all the necessary tweaks and send the manuscript to my proofreader. Once she’s done her magic, I’ll add the final spiff and polish. The book will be published at the end of August.

If you’d like to read more about the research and read a snippet please go to my sneak peaks and inside writing the books page.

If you don’t want to wait that long, join Burrows Insiders (see the sign-up box on the top right). You’ll get an advance copy for free with no obligation, but reviews (positive or negative) would be greatly appreciated. A written review helps the readers and the author, especially when the novel is her debut novel. *grin* Thank you in advance.

Please share your thoughts and reactions to my book cover reveal in the comments below.

Nearing The End

I am nearing THE END of this eternal re-write. This novel was first attempted years ago, that’s many, many years ago. Earlier drafts got me two different agents and almost sold twice. Yet, it didn’t sell. And it’s a heart novel, meaning it’s near and dear to my heart. Someone once called it my therapy novel. Truth? Some of it has been therapy. Not in the way implied by my critic, but it has had therapeutic moments. It’s been a slow, difficult re-write with lots of angst, tons of learning, and more than a few tears shed. But, The End is in sight. And yet—

The words come slowly to me on a good day. On bad days—words come slower than a slow snail’s slowest slog. Whew! Which situation do you think I’m in now? Yup. S-L-O-W. You’d think the words would be coming faster, wouldn’t you? And yet—

I sit at the computer and type a few words then come to a section that must be a blend of the old draft and the new one. The words drip out of my fingers and nearly dry up then, something comes along to spur me forward. This blog post, for one. I’m using it to spur me onward to the end.

I’m going to share a snippet of my dystopian story with the working title: My Soul to Keep. It’s the story of two mothers and two daughters, though primarily it’s Miranda’s story. First, a short description:

Miranda Clarke, daughter of America’s premier preacher-politician, leads a charmed life—until she breaks the rules. Haunted by family secrets and hunted by cloned assassins, Miranda must destroy the government controlled by her own family before the Angels of Death destroy her and all of democracy.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My Soul To Keep

A work-in-progress


Lynette M Burrows

Chapter One

The giant bronze statue of the angel of death loomed over Miranda Clarke’s shoulder. Was it the statue or was it the tiny flare of rebellion that made her not want to enter the Fellowship Center’s crowded foyer? The statue, Shield of Mercy, Hand of Justice, stood at the grand entrance as it had for all Miranda’s life. With Uncle Sam sheltered in her great black wings, the angel hovered over the fallen body of president-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt and pointed to the pile of ash where the assassin had stood.

“Is something wrong?” Tom, her bodyguard, came to stand too close.

What could be wrong with becoming a Guardian? She hid her fears behind her angelic-daughter-of-the-councilor smile. “I need to powder my nose.”

“They’ll be seating your family in five minutes. Tell me what you need, I’ll have someone fetch it.”

I need to not be the councilor’s daughter. “There are some things a girl must do on her own.” She dove into a sea of elbows and padded shoulders, big purses, and bigger hats. Her bodyguard followed. He always did.

Hundreds of men in sharkskin suits and women in taffeta dresses filled the foyer waiting for the auditorium doors to open. Clusters of them here and there held onto their hats, an assortment of felt, feathers, netting and ruffles, and peered up at the mural-painted dome five stories above. They reeked of aftershave lotions, cheap colognes, and forbidden cigarette smoke.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks to hubpages.com and DowntownLynchburg.com for the images. These images are part of my inspirations board on Pinterest. If you’re curious, take a look here.

I’ll be posting stories about my mentors, my process, and some of the history that inspired different scenes and themes of this book over the next few months. And of course, you’re all invited to the party when I finally type THE END!

I hope you enjoyed this taste of things to come. As always, I deeply appreciate the time you give to read and comment on this blog. Thank You!