Five-Star Review

Five-Star Review cover


Cloistered walls not for her, twenty-six year old dropout nun, Heather Lynn Lucas, is following her passion as an aspiring novelist. Pen name H. L. Lucas, a first novel written, having no luck finding a publisher, Satan shows up with an offer for publishing fame and fortune. Pondering Satan’s offer, Heather has her novel published as an e-book. Certain a review in the local newspaper will boost sales, she attempt to contact the prestigious book editor of the top local newspaper, Joseph Hartman.

Spurned by Hartman, who professes to hate e-books, she attends the newspaper’s annual writing conference where she hopes to enlighten the editor. Concerned he will recognize her name from previous attempts to contact him, she attends as Lillian Carol. Hartman is not the stuffed shirt she expected and she engineers a lunch meeting with him, which leads to a disastrous dinner date.

Dejected, Heather signs with Satan and insists on an out clause. But will Satan's conditions be more than she bargained for?

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Satan, the devil (Greek: diábolos—slanderer or accuser) is believed in many cultures to be the personification of evil. Whether an abstract of the individual human condition or real, Satan is in a constant struggle for human souls.

Chapter 1

Monday, March 15

Dear Author, Thanks for the opportunity to view your work, unfortunately it doesn’t work for us.
Lynn Smith, Knight Publishing

Hi, I’m Heather Lynn Lucas. Five years after bowing to a ‘follow your passion’ voice, I left the Sisters of Perpetual Mercy and, a first novel, Behind Cloistered Walls, submitted to a publisher, here we are sitting at my desk looking at the email reply you just read. What else is new except to say, optimistic (some say delusional), a second novel started, I’ve toyed with self-publishing, but am still holding out for a ‘big fish’ pub.

So you’ll know, to pay the rent, buy food, etcetera, I’m a producer of TV commercials for Golden Triangle Advertising Agency, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. H.L. Lucas my nom de plume, I just whizzed past my 25th trip around our personal star, the sun. As to my entry onto what many call “now” or more aptly, the Looney Tunes playing out daily on planet Earth, today my birthday, occasionally comes to mind Shakespeare’s soothsayer death message to Julius Caesar: “Beware the Ides of March.”

Anyway…. Shucks … the morning scooted along to 8:45, no matter how you slice it, I’ll be late for work.

I call Golden Triangle. After two rings, Ms. Lindsay answers: “It’s a golden morning in Pittsburgh, this is Golden Triangle Adverting.”

“Hi … this is Heather.”

“Heather, where are you, dear?”

I hate lies, but little white ones I decided long ago are okay if they don’t harm anybody or anything, so I say, “I’d tell you a little white one but you wouldn’t believe me.”


“Flat tire.”

“Dear me.”

She says Teddy (my boss) is in, do I want to speak to him?

“No that’s okay, be in as soon as I can get the tire changed.”

“Oh my, are you going to change it yourself?”

“Guess so.”

“Don’t you belong to Triple A?”

“No but I’ve been thinking of double A?”

Nothing from Lindsay, then, “Double A?”

“Alcoholics Anonymous, I’m on step two, hoping a higher power can restore sanity.”

“Oh, I….”

“Just joking, I’ll change the tire, be in around 10:00.”

“Well okay, I’ll advise Teddy.”

I press end, turn, take five steps and my cell phone begins its tinny rendition of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”. I look at caller ID. Yep, Teddy. I answer. “Hello, Ted.”

“’Uts up?” (That’s Pittsburghese for what’s up).

I say, “Oh, hi, I was just telling….”

“I ‘erd.” (I heard)

“I’ll be a little….”

“Whenever are yinz gowen to git rid of that whoreible piece of soreage?”

Whoreible piece of soreage! He’s referring to my beloved yellow (faded somewhat), two door, let’s say vintage (ten years new, 98,000 miles), fresh off my dad’s used car lot, a gift when I went off to college many moons ago, Volkswagen.

“Hey, Luke (for Lucas, he calls me that), ya still there?”

“Yes Ted, still here, should be in around 10:00.”

“Oakel-Doakel (okee dookee). Don’t ferget that Sears location shoot, safternoon, yinz ready fer it?”

“Of course.”

“Buy yinz lunch?” (Buy you lunch?)

Quick, think of something.

Teddy: “Yinz dere?” (You there?)

“Oh Ted, I feel guilty about being late, and I have to get ready for the Sears shoot … I think I’ll skip lunch today, maybe tomorrow.”


“Thanks, bye.”

Feeling a bit guilty for fibbing about the flat tire, thinking, it’s for a greater good—literature, the arts, posterity—somebody yawns Right, and I head for the tub (no shower, more later).


“Dear Author,
Thanks for the opportunity to view your work, unfortunately it doesn’t work for us.
Lynn Smith, Knight Publishing”

When the story begins, it’s Monday, March 15th, Heather’s 25th birthday. She’s reading [the above] rejection of her first novel, Behind Cloistered Walls, written after she left the Sisters of Perpetual Mercy...readers briefly meet Joseph Hartman, book editor/reviewer of the Pittsburgh Gazette. The stage is set for the interaction of the two main, G. L. Rockey, [presents] exceptional development of Heather’s character, capturing readers to root for her on both her writing and personal goals. Her immortal soul depended upon her success, readers learn more about Joseph, he becomes less shallow and more likable, with his interactions with Heather growing into a story that readers will quickly devour until its satisfying conclusion.

Angie Mangino is a freelance journalist and book reviewer
Angie Mangino Book Review