Nudge

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Nudge_lg Sandra Moran
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Bink Books
292 pp. ● 6×9
$16.95 (pb) ● $8.95 (eb)
ISBN 978-1-939562-54-8 (pb)
● 978-1-939562-55-5 (eb)

FICTION – Fantasy
FICTION – Religious

About the Book

New York advertising executive and lifelong atheist Sarah Sheppard is highly successful, in line for a partnership, and feeling on top of the world. When she’s visited by a mysterious client who offers her a job to write and market a comprehensive addition to the world’s religious texts, she thinks it’s an elaborate joke and turns him down. But God works in mysterious ways and she quickly finds she has no choice but to take the assignment.

Isolated at a remote estate in upstate New York, Sarah joins a group of scholars and theologians to compile The Addendum, but soon discovers that nothing and no one are what they appear to be. As more questions than answers mount up, Sarah has to decide whether to deny her natural skepticism or embrace that illusive idea of faith before she’s nudged onto a path of no return.

Join the discussion group What Would Sarah Sheppard Do? on Facebook where Sandra Moran and fans of Nudge post questions, observations, and new items and, of course, engage in lively discussions about Nudge and religion in general.


Praise

“Sandra Moran’s writing style is, once again, exquisite. The people who populate “Nudge” are deep, layered, multi-faceted, credible and wholly absorbing. Their interactions are both realistic and bizarre – again completely within the context of the story – if they weren’t bizarre it wouldn’t be realistic. These are characters you feel you know.” — Velvet Lounger, Curve Magazine

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“Maybe we should start drop-shipping copies of Nudge to people all around the world.

“Just in case I haven’t been clear, this is a book that I highly recommend. I’ve purchased more than one copy so that I can have it available to loan to others, while still keeping a copy for myself to read. (Yes, I do go back and read different sections.) If you haven’t had the opportunity to get your own copy, I suggest that you put it on the top of your list.” — Carleen Spry, Frivolous Views

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“What you will find, behind its really cool cover art, is a very well-crafted tale that may make you question your own beliefs and wonder if people really are who they say they are. So, what are you waiting for? Here’s a nudge: go read this book!” – Sunny, C-Spot Reviews


In the Media

Nudge: A Moment with Sandra Moran, Lesfic and Lipstick


Excerpt

SARAH SAT IN the high, uncomfortable chair and squinted up into the powerful lights that hung overhead. It seemed unreal that after so many months of scheming, planning, and anguish, she was finally here. Perspiration ran in rivulets down her back and sides, causing her blouse to cling to her skin. She had opted for a light color in the hopes that her perspiration wouldn’t show on the television but she hadn’t expected to sweat this much.

She cleared her throat. “Could I get a glass of water?” she asked hoarsely in the direction of the bank of faceless shapes she knew to be people. There was no answer although a heavy man in a plaid shirt that stretched over his substantial stomach stepped into the light and handed her a bottle of water—room temperature water.

“Thanks.” Sarah twisted off the cap and lifted the bottle to her lips, careful not to smear her lipstick.

“So, let’s go ahead and get started.” A man in a dark blue pinstripe suit slid into the chair directly across from her.

Sarah swallowed and then smiled. Finally.

“Now, I know you’re no stranger to all of this,” the man said, “but do you have any questions before we start?”

Sarah shook her head just as the man in the plaid shirt and jeans stepped forward again, peered at her sweaty forehead, and then yelled over his shoulder, “Can I get a touch-up?” He swung to face the man, studied him just as closely. “Matt, we’re ready when you are.”

“Great.” Matt Larson cleared his throat and looked at Sarah. “You ready?”

Sarah nodded despite the make-up woman dabbing powder on her forehead.

“All right,” Plaid Man said as he took several steps backward and stood next to the cameraman. “All clear.”

The woman gave Sarah’s face one last pat and then she, too, stepped back into the gloom.

“And three . . . two . . .” Plaid Man swung his finger and pointed at Matt.

“She has turned the religious world upside-down with a supplement to the world’s religious texts that she claims was dictated to her by God,” Matt began. “And not only has she produced what’s being called The Addendum, but she’s made it freely available on the Internet to anyone who wants it. She’s loved by some, reviled by many and today, she’s here in Studio 1-A to explain how she came to be chosen by God and what her Addendum means for humanity.” He turned to Sarah. “Welcome Sarah Sheppard.”

Sarah smiled confidently at the camera and then turned her body so she was facing her interviewer. “Thanks, Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

He smiled, and Sarah could tell from the look in his eyes that he was genuinely interested to hear what she had to say.

“So, Sarah, it’s been quite a year for you.”

“It has.” Sarah tried to appear outwardly calm even though she could feel her heart thumping twice its normal rate. “It’s not every day you’re called to do something like this.”

Matt Larson nodded sympathetically. “I can imagine. So, tell me about the reaction to your . . . I don’t even know for sure what to call it.”

“It’s an addendum to the world’s religious texts,” Sarah said smoothly. This was familiar territory. “For Christians, for example, it picks up where the New Testament left off and brings humanity up to speed with what the Christian God has done since the crucifixion. For other belief systems, it’s a supplement to their religious texts. And for those who don’t have a specific text, like the Buddhists, it’s a . . .” She shrugged. “It’s a message that is applicable to the human experience of belief in something greater than oneself.”

Matt nodded. He held a pen in his left hand, a sheath of papers in his right. He pointed the pen at Sarah for emphasis. “And what do you say to the people who argue that this is not rooted in any kind of basis, that you didn’t talk to God and that you’re just . . . well, I’m going to say it . . . a little crazy?”

Sarah smiled confidently as she always did when this question came up. “I say that they’re wrong. I was chosen for various reasons—which I, of course, can’t disclose—to bring the voice of an inclusive God to the people.”

“Now, when you say ‘the people,’ you’re talking about all people, right?” Matt asked. “Jews, Muslims, Hindu, Christians. Everyone.”

Sarah nodded. “Exactly. Everyone. It’s all the same God—the same power. Just different interpretations.” She glanced to where she knew Fiona would be standing next to Jim, but couldn’t see either of them.

There was silence and Sarah realized she had missed a question.

“I’m sorry?”

“I was asking about some of the claims you’ve made.” Matt glanced down at his papers. “That there is a mathematical trinity comprised of Infinity, Enumerae, and Innumerae. That Enumerae—an entity that you claim first appeared to us as Jesus—has been walking among us throughout history as some pretty amazing characters.”

Sarah smiled again. “Yes.” She crossed her legs and sat up straighter. “As I was working on this, I began to call them ‘nudges’ because each of these characters . . . people . . . historical figures . . . were designed to nudge humanity back to considering their beliefs and either reaffirming them or, in some instances, providing new avenues for worship—the creation of new religions.”

“Hmm.” Matt leaned back in his chair and nodded thoughtfully. His eyes were slightly narrowed as he appeared to consider what she had said. “I’ve read your Addendum and I have to admit I’m a little skeptical.” He paused, seemingly for effect, and then leaned suddenly forward. “So, Sarah, I have to ask . . . what proof can you offer that this actually happened—that you spoke to God repeatedly and were directed to create this document?”

Sarah had anticipated this question. It had been asked in almost every mock interview and her response, though practiced, was genuine. She shrugged slightly and shook her head in capitulation. “I have no proof—just like the men who created the Old and New Testaments had no proof they were divinely inspired.” She spread her hands widely. “It’s all based on . . . faith.” She paused. “I was an atheist when this all began. I thought belief in a higher power was for fools—something for people who were weak and needed something to lean on. A crutch.”

She looked away from Matt to the shadowy figures in the darkness of the studio and wished she could tell which ones were Fiona and Jim.

“—no longer believe that?” Matt was asking another question.

Sarah took a deep breath and returned her full attention to the interview. “No—at least, not in so many words. My experience has changed me. It’s made me see that we’re not—any of us—alone. We’re all part of something bigger than ourselves. The Addendum is proof of that and I’m honored to be the messenger.”

Sarah felt the bullet strike her chest before she heard the explosion of the discharge. It felt like being pinched, she thought distractedly. Then she felt the second and third bullets. The force of the impact threw her backwards off her chair.

“Fiona.” She reached out her hand. “Jim.”

Fiona got to her first and scooped her into her arms. Her hair fell around her face as she leaned over her, veiling Sarah, providing them with a few precious moments of privacy.

“What happened?” Sarah whispered.

“Oh, Sarah.” Fiona began to cry. “Forgive me.”