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Literary Las Vegas: Toni K. Pacini

Las Vegas writer Toni K. Pacini’s “Alabama Blue: A Southern Gothic Memoir” takes readers on a wild ride beginning beneath the tattered wings of a neglectful mother. “I always had to stay awake when Momma drank to make sure she didn’t drop a lit cigarette when she nodded off; it was a survival thing,” Pacini said. It was a full-time job dodging death long enough to have a shot at a life. “There might be safe moments, but there were few safe days.”

Pacini is the founder of the Sin City Writer’s Group, and served as a treasurer and conference coordinator for the Henderson Writers’ Group. At 60, she returned to college to pursue a creative writing degree. When she’s not writing poetry, she’s at work on a second memoir she plans to call, “Senior Cinderella.” Visit toni-k-pacini.com.


He kicked and pounded. Each time his big fist hit home the glass windowpanes would rattle and threaten to shatter. Then a huge knife came through the glass, the biggest knife I had ever seen. I know now that it was a machete; then, I just saw a damned big knife. Realizing hiding and being quiet would not save us, Momma shoved me out the back door and screamed, “Run!”

She didn’t have to tell me twice. I ran like a scalded cat. I crawled through bushes, slipping and sliding in mud, and scrambled up the front steps to a neighbor’s house. Panting and wheezing I sat in a chair peering out into the dark night while our neighbor went up the street to the only house on the block that had a phone and called the police. Waiting to find out if Momma had survived was the worst of it. Unable to stop trembling, I felt like I might shake apart, and the lady of the house would just sweep the pieces up into a dustpan and toss them out into the yard.

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