NaNo and a book release

Gooooooooooood morning, everyone!

It’s snowing here, which is triggering all kinds of nasty things for me (although that’s partly the return to yoga as well), but I have some great news to share so I don’t care about either.

I’ll get right to it:

NaNo was sucking hairy donkey balls. I liked the idea of the story I started out with but when it came to writing it, I just wasn’t… Well, I just wasn’t feeling it.  So I dropped it and started again  with something new. It’s more my style: violence and sex. 😉

I think this is a much better start than the one I had (which was a couple of women bickering):

Booze. Chocolate. And… Alexa Brenner let her eyes cruise the bar and spotted a few prospects. There was a table of some very muscle-bound men.  If she squinted – and she did – she could just make out some ink on the forearm of one of them. Interesting, she thought, nice ink. Looks like Charon in his boat. I like it. Definitely a prospect to complete the trifecta: Booze. Chocolate. Sex. It’s going to be a very good night.

She could use a good night. As Avatar for Isis, she rarely got a night off. She traveled from realm to realm, slipping through portals to carry out the whims and enforce the laws of her Goddess. Thank the Gods for an assignment in the monotheistic, non-magic Realm, the first in almost a decade, that allowed her a night off. It was the most boring Realm, as far as she was concerned, but it did cause her the most grief sometimes. Six billion people on the planet, three billion believed in this one God and that the planet was only six thousand years old, the other three billion believed in a multi-armed God and his family.

Why they couldn’t be more like the other eight Realms she helped police was beyond her. Five other Realms with non-shifters in them and they all accepted the fact that there was more than one God: Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Druid and that one with all the lizards they called dragons. She snickered because it still bugged the Dragon shifters in the Seventh Realm that the humans called those animals dragons. Alexa took every opportunity possible to point out that they looked almost exactly the same. Then there were the Elf and Fairy Realms, they had their own Gods. It made Empyrean, the home of all the Gods and said to be the hidden place of the purest fire, a little crowded sometimes.

And yet, she mused as she kept an eye on the tattooed muscle man with her peripheral vision, the Gods insist on calling this place a single God Realm. There are two, and subs, if you ask me. She shrugged to herself. It didn’t matter. The Dark Elves who had tried to take refuge here and spread word that magic existed no longer existed in any Realm and she had a night off. In one hundred and twenty-eight years of fighting for Isis, beginning when she was thirteen, Alexa’d managed to have a total of six nights off and a beautiful five out of six of them had been filled with debauchery. No one said men had the sole right to debauchery. A grin stretched her face.

Alexa leaned back in her chair and shifted her long, slim legs out in front of her, crossing them at the leather clad ankles. It displayed a lot of muscle and played peek-a-boo with a good amount of flesh. Her jeans were torn in numerous places, she’d managed to clean the ash off but there was little she could do about the rips, and lots of golden skin shone through. Damn the fact that Dark Elves fought with claws and then turned to dust when they died, anyway, she thought as she picked at a loose thread. The move also lengthened her torso and she impulsively stretched her arms above her head. Her leather jacket fell open and her breasts lifted along her ribcage, pulling her shirt up to display strong, toned abs. 

Pure feminine pleasure filled her as one of his buddies pointed her out and Muscle Man turned to look at her. She caught his eyes and they stared at one another for a moment.  It frustrated her that his face was shadowed and his eyes were hooded so that she, with her enhanced vision still couldn’t see well enough in this darkened bar, to tell whether he appreciated what he saw. Ah well, if he didn’t, the other sure did. She kept her eyes on him but offered the table at large a jaunty grin and a saucy wink before she gave him the once over. Her lips parted on a gasp of appreciation.

Irenaus Weber grunted. “So, it is another pretty girl.”

“You’re daft.” His second-in-command, a Dragon by the name of Damir Belakova, said. “Her skin is nearly glowing it’s so richly golden.”

“Yes,” said his Light Elf Master-at-Arms Zathlen Liondale, “she does glow. It’s almost magical.” He frowned as he read the woman’s t-shirt. “I am a little put out by her choice of top, though.” The shirt said “Dark Elves Do It Hot but I Do It Better” in bright pink sparkles on a black background.  “Perhaps she could do up that long jacket she wears; the denim would stretch nicely across her breasts.”

The fourth and final member of their team, the coms and tech expert, a Fairy named Florian Rosevine, laughed and slapped the Elf on the back. “Of course, you’re put out; she’s bragging on those assholes, your Dark side. And you’re right, her breasts would look lovely covered in denim.”

Irenaus rolled his eyes as he turned back around. “Knock it off, jackasses. She just flirted with everyone at this table. Clearly, she doesn’t discriminate. I am not interested in a woman like that.”

Damir scoffed. “She did not, boy. She only had eyes for you. What she did was show that she knew we were watching. Everything she’s done so far is for you. Go buy her a drink. It’s been a century since you’ve been laid.”

“A millennium is more like it,” Florian muttered into his ale as he leaned on the two back legs of the chair.


See? It has promise.

I’m still not entirely sure about the plot but I’ve managed to write close to 6k words in the last few days, (which has impressed Mike), so I’m happy.  

In other, more important news:


I’ve been arguing with their file inspection process for weeks over the formatting. I used one of their damn templates and still had 4 formatting issues come up repeatedly:

  1. Orientation.  It kept telling me that I had some pages at portrait orientation (as they should be) and some at landscape! I was like “what the fuck, buttercup?? That’s so obviously not true.”  I went through the book three times, one page at a time, checking the orientation.  Then I highlighted the entire document and set the thing to portrait. I noticed that the first 4 or 5 pages were the wrong size and fixed that. And yet… “Your document has two different orientations.”  *tears hair out*
  2. The gutter was too small.  Okay, so the gutter, I learned, is the part of the page that dips down into the fold/binding of the book.  It’s kind of important that you don’t have your words extend into that because then your readers can’t get read the end of each line easily and it pisses them off.  And what pissed off reader wants to read your book again?  The parameters stated that for every book 301-500 pages the gutter had to be 0.625″. So I made it 0.625″.  Word kept rounding it to 0.63 for some reason.  Eventually, after submitting for the 6th time, I simply dragged the margin tab back toward the middle a bit.  STILL wrong.
  3. Content extends into the gutter.  Which makes absolute sense if the gutter was too small.  Except it was exactly the size they told  me to make it. 
  4. And the fonts weren’t embedded – “But we embedded them for you.”  Clearly they did not because that kept coming up again and again.   …….And I just realized that they would have had to do it for every new file I uploaded. Yes, I see that. However, I read their little how-to on embedding fonts, and I read Word’s how-to, and so I embedded the fonts and LO! the next time I uploaded a changed file I got “The fonts were not embedded properly so we embedded them for you.”  

After all the attempts I finally said “fuck it, it’s close enough” (because it’s readable) and hit “Ignore and save.”  So now it’s heading towards my KDP bookshelf to publish on Kindle, too. 

So it looks like HW3: Ghosts Afire will be published by the end of the weekend!  

Can I get a “woop woop”?? 😉

I have to go now. I need to write today but firs tI have to take care of this vicious migraine that’s made sure it’s made me take three hours to write this blog. 




April Camp, Day 2

Good afternoon!

It’s time for the next installment of the Edward Gorey inspired CampNaNo

Now, even though today’s writing has reached a total of 5,509 (that’s 3,398 just today), you’re only getting part of that.   

I finished Basil right on the minimum word count and decided to keep going.  So I decided to start Clara.  I am 1,729 into it and the juicy part is just getting started.  I mean, I could tease you with part of it but what kind of person would I be, eh?

Oh… just me. 😉

“You should be!  I–” she broke off as bells rang by the front door.  “See,” she hissed. “I don’t like this guy.”  The bells were charmed to let them know when exceptional Darkness crossed the threshold.

“Shush.”  Clary turned to the newcomer.  He was dark, with thick black hair, a heavy brow and thick eyebrows that overshadowed eyes so deep and dark Clary wasn’t sure he was looking at her.  A big, hooked nose and thick lips reminded her of Eastern Europe.  “May I help you?  My assistant says you are looking for a reading.”  All around him she could see spirits that lingered.

“Da. I want you to help with this thing that makes disaster happen around me all the time.”

“What thing would that be?”

“I don’t know!” he shouted.  Crystal rattled on the shelves.  “I just know that nothing goes right.  No spells, no healing.  It started six months ago and I have been searching the world over for the one who can help.”

Clara spread her hands, palms up, as she watched the spirits at play around him like ghosts in a Casper movie.  “I am not sure what I can do.”

“Bah. You have power. I can see.  Where is your table?”  He slapped five hundred dollars down on the counter.

“I don’t know.  I have not encountered anything like you before.”   She ducked a little as two of the spirits flew at her.

“Playing hard to get?  Okay.”  He stuffed a hand in his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bill that made Brandy sigh in envy.  He peeled off another five hundred dollars.

See?  It has the potential to be a good story.  I’m not certain about the horror part just yet, which is why you’re not getting it.  What you are getting is the short and sweet, bloody Basil story.
It’s a gory, bloody slasher short.  I like it.
I’m going to watch The Voices now.  Enjoy the story and enjoy the rest of your day!

Bad Manners Don’t Pay

Basil Banks screamed.  It was high pitched and hurt the ears of the monkeys in the trees above him.  His heart, already taxed from running through the jungle, gave an erratic thump-thump before settling in the fast paced rhythm Basil’s terror had set. 

The head of his assistant Jeanie swung from the vine, her long brown hair was the rope.  Her mouth was open in the scream he assumed she died on and there were little bite marks all over her face.  Her neck was jagged, like her head had been torn from her body and part of Basil’s busy, scientific brain wondered how her hair hadn’t been torn out. 

Then he saw her eyes and understood.

The exquisite blue eyes had been pushed back into her skull, eyelids torn and mangled and claw marks extended up across her forehead.  

Basil stuffed his fist in his mouth to contain the moan of despair. He had, foolishly, hoped that if they survived together that the horror would make them a couple and he’d finally get to fuck her, like he’d been trying to for years.  He pushed past her and screamed again, a choir boy high yelp of disgust, as her head bumped his shoulder and the thick fluids dripping from her slid down his arm hot and slimy.

“Cold. It should be cold,” he muttered to himself, ignoring the fact that it was forty-three degrees centigrade and the humidity in the Amazon was at one hundred percent.  Warm water dripped down the back of his neck and he jumped forward like he had been goosed.

He tripped on a vine and sprawled across the jungle floor to come face to face with a line of leaf cutter ants.  He swore they stopped to look at him.  He pushed to his feet and stepped over the ants.  Once more, he began looking for a hiding spot.

“They won’t get me.  It’s not my fault.  Someone will save me.” Basil slapped his hand over his mouth, trying to shut himself up.  “I wish I was being chased by a tall fairy queen!”  He stopped and closed his eyes briefly to wish for just such a thing.  And then he wished to wake up in his bed at home.

He spotted a big tree with roots that almost made a cage.  It was dark and shadowed in there and he hoped he would fit between them.  He finally had to admit to himself that he wasn’t in Army shape anymore, not that he’d liked all the PT in the Army but at least he’d had a flat stomach.  Mostly.  Being a nurse at a CSH (“pronounced cash,” he said to himself as his mind went back to his first day on the job after deployment) meant he hadn’t had to work so hard at the physical. 

Basil squeezed himself between the roots and hunched down in the darkness.  He was grateful for his lack of height, for once.  At 5’7”, and scrawny and super smart, he’d always been the brunt of jokes from the jocks in his high school.  Jokes he thought would stop in the Army.  They’d gotten worse there, and he’d hardened himself against people.  He became the best there was at being a nurse and his arrogance had grown.

After the Army, he’d gone back to school and gotten his PhD in biochemistry.  He’d be the one to find the cure for cancer.  And he’d show them all that they’d been wrong not to be his friends.  His mind went back to the first day they’d come to the jungle. 

Two guides and four armed men met them on the tarmac and bundled them into jeeps.  “I thought you said there were only four of you,” the lead man said to Basil.

Basil shrugged and gave the man a hard look.  “I need these two extra,” as he gestured to the five people with him – three women and two men.  “They are specialists on insects.  I don’t need to explain myself to you.  Let’s go.”

They had set up camp and taken guided hikes, looking for the plants and insects Basil thought would hold the key to the cure.  It hadn’t taken long before small shadows started to appear in fleeting glimpses, seen by everyone.  Basil had woken up one night to find a small man, about three feet tall, rummaging through their food supplies. 

“Hey!” Basil shouted, rushing out of the tent before he could think about it.  He kicked at the creature, (no way was that a man in his eyes), and shoved him away from the food.  “Shoo!  Go on!”  He waved his hands and shouted, treating the small man like a wild animal.

The pygmy, for that’s what he was, turned to stare at Basil.  He bared his teeth and hissed. 

Basil stumbled back in fright.  The pygmy’s teeth were sharpened to points, white paint streaked his dark skin and his eyes were bottomless pits of black. 

One of the guards and a guide emerged from the tent they shared and the guide spoke urgently in a weird language of clicks and whistles.  The miniature man jerked his chin at the guide, gave Basil one last glare and left the camp and melting into the jungle night.

There were more incidents of pygmies wandering into the camp – women, children, men who were obviously warriors.  Each time, Basil screamed at them to get out, to leave the camp alone.  Then, about two weeks into their excursion, Basil picked up one of the children, holding it well away from himself to avoid the kicks and scratches aimed at his face, and threw the small boy to the edge of camp. 

The crack! of the small boy’s head hitting the tree was loud and wet; so much so that the entire camp stopped moving.  A man came running into the camp, screaming at the guides and Basil.  Whatever he said made the guide’s olive skin turn a sick yellow as he paled.  He argued but the man was adamant. 

The pygmy stared at Basil for a long moment then jerked his head forward and hissed as he made some sign with his hand.  As he turned to leave the camp, the grieving mother gathered her young son into her arms and all of the pymgies disappeared.

“What?” Basil demanded.  “What did he say?  Did he understand it was an accident?  I never meant to kill the boy.”

The guide stared at him a long time.  “He said that you will reap what you have sown.  That was the chief’s only son, after a long time trying to produce one.”

Immediately, Basil turned to everyone one else.  “Pack it up!  We leave in an hour!”

His team of scientists all objected.  They had sensitive experiments going that couldn’t be moved.  If they left then, all their time in the extreme heat would be wasted.  It would be hours before they could begin to shut everything down.  Basil, always thinking of the bottom line, relented.  He decreed they’d leave at dawn.

When dawn came, Basil had left his tent and started shouting at everyone to get up.  The guards and guides were gone.  Basil stormed around the camp, furious.  He slowly began to notice what a mess the camp was.  Experiments were trashed, clothing was everywhere and a sticky liquid coated everything.  He stumbled on the torso of his lead aid and screamed long and loud.  John was headless and missing all his limbs.

Now, huddled in the tree roots, after finding more of his team scattered in a wide radius in and around the camp, Basil had to admit that maybe he had made a mistake in throwing that child.  Maybe it was a mistake to dismiss the pygmy tribe as useless. 

The chittering of a monkey made him jump and bang his head.  The monkey started screaming and jumping up and down.   It incited others to do the same.  Basil was suddenly worried that the goddamn creatures were alerting the pygmies to his presence.  And, as if to confirm that, one of the little capuchins stuck his head into Basil’s hiding spot and grinned.

Basil paled.  The monkey’s teeth were sharpened to little points and there were markings on it that didn’t belong on a monkey.  He scrambled to free himself from his hiding spot and was subject to a number of bites.  He tried to run but was swarmed with the little creatures.  More and more of the monkeys came and clung to him.  They gripped his hair, his clothes, the tiny fingers pinched his skin to hang on to him.  They bore him to the ground just by the sheer weight of them.

They held him down and forced him to turn his head to the side.  One of them stood upright and shifted into the human form of the pygmy chief.  The shift was wet, loud and looked like it hurt.  It terrified Basil more than anything else could have because it confirmed for him that all the monkeys holding him down, pinching and tearing at him, were shifters.  It meant that a couple of the monkeys they had in captivity were probably pygmies, afraid to shift back and show themselves.

As the chief grinned a terrifying smile, Basil knew two things.

One, he had committed a terrible crime.

And two, he was about to pay for it.

His next scream was the ear splitting scream of a man in excruciating pain.  He lived through most of the tearing and ripping of his flesh.   He watched them chew and swallow bits and pieces of him.  He screamed until his voice gave out.  His eyes bulged with his pain, until one of them plucked them out.  He lived until someone bit through a major artery and he bled out.

Basil was left a wet, juicy corpse in the middle of the jungle with no one to miss him and mourn him.


Friday Fiction NaNo Edition 3

EDIT:  I have since found out that the gif below is a book called The Gashlycrumb Tinies: A Very Gorey Alphabet by Edward Gorey who, as it turns out, was quite the character.  Fascinating…  Anyhoo, I am going to email the trust company holding his copyright and ask if it’s a problem for me to use it as inspiration.  

Now we know. 😉 Have a great Saturday!


Good morning!


“Nano?? She wants to talk about NaNo?  November is months away!”

True! But Camp #1 is less than two months away and we all know me – Super Prepper Extraordinaire.

No, really, the reason I’m writing today is because I’ve been totally inspired.   

Remember that Wolfman said, “Babes, if I’m doing all the NaNos, so are you!”?  (Or something like it that means that I’m doing all the NaNos.)  Well, we decided that in April we would write Horror, a genre that neither of us have written in. Wolfman will be doing a slasher story, blood and gore and a plot stuck in there somewhere.  

I decided that I was going to do something supernatural (duh) and funny.  Comedic horror isn’t done often but it is done.  Take a look at Netflix, for example.  It’s out there and I think I can do it justice.  

I have decided to do a series of short stories based on this tumblr gif:


A friend of mine posted it to my personal Facebook page along with the message: Next years nano challange…you have a 10 months to work on it. These 26 deaths. It might be a bit macabre, no?

K’s a bit bossy. Can you tell?  😉  

He’s right though.  It’s a good idea and it’s a bit macabre.  There are reasons he is one of my favourite people.

As I was copying down each of the one-liners here – and I won’t use them in the story, I don’t want to step on copyright issues – I was inspired by a few of them.  

C is for Clara, who wasted away. (Someone is stealing her essence; recently diseased husband, who doesn’t wish to be dead)

P is for Prue, trampled flat in a brawl. (a small child abandoned by her father as he runs into the fight)

O is for Olive, run through by an awl. (killed by a machinist named Marc)

S is for Susan, who perished of fits. (a daredevil epileptic)

Titus, who flew into bits. (a soldier invaded by a demon who blows him up from the inside out after he stumbles on an ancient burial site)

V is for Victor, who is squashed under a train. (A Christine-esque [Stephen King] story)

W is for Winnie, who is encased in ice. (imprisoned in ice a milennia ago by wizards seeking to protect their lands, found, and thawed, by modern day glaciologists)

Y is for Yorick, whose head was knocked in. (A Hamlet prequel?)


Fun, eh?

So, I’m going to continue to brainstorm the alphabet.  Once I have ideas for them all I will plot them out so they have a beginning, middle and an end.  Come April 1st, I will be ready to roll out a short story a day.  

It’ll be fun!  Maybe I’ll post them here as they’re completed too.


A short cave made of ice and sand, carved by the weather.

I have a whack of pictures for you folks.  I’ve been having trouble wrapping my head around the blogs but I think I just discovered the key to it and the pictures will come flying your way.  

This particular one is something I found on the beach one day when we were wandering around after one of the storms to hit the coast.  The little cave itself is only two inches (2.5cm) tall.  I like the perspective in this photo and the contrast between sharp and blurred. It’s also kind of monotone with its shades of brown, something else I like.  

The biggest reason I took the photo though, the reason I take most of them, is because it struck my fancy, totally amused me.  

Now, I have a bunch of housework to do (yay) so I will say good-bye for now.  



Fiction Friday NaNo Edition 2

And on a Saturday; I’m aware. 😉

Winner, winner!

Winner, winner!


Fifty thousand words in 28 days!  That’s including days taken for being toxed brain dead and ill earlier this week.  I’m so pleased. 

My beta readers (alpha readers, depending on who you’re talking to) love it.  The feedback I got was great!  Like this comment from V:  “Already a junkie for this story. Please tell me you’ll finish it even if you have finished nano.”  Plus constant demands from the Val:  “now give it to me!!!!!!!!”

😀 That’s the best kind of feedback. 

I love making addicts of my readers.

Now, I get to start on my research for HW4.  That’s good, eh?

It’ll be a lot of work, for sure, but I’m looking forward to it.  I’m also hoping that the research will give me a greater idea of the plot.  

Oh!  And this:

Wolfman: First Camp is in April?

Me: Yes but I think I’ll only do one. I have hw4 to write still.

Wolfman: psml  If I’m doing triple, so are you, madame.

Me: *narrows her eyes, considers a protest, then sighs*  As you wish.

Piffle.  He’s lucky I love him.

So I’m writing horror in April. Anyone got any tips?  I’ve never done it before.  Violence and the occasional mind fuck, sure, but never horror.  

I am going to go for a walk now.  Maybe find my way to some reward chocolate.  (Since I forgot to hit ‘publish’ before I left, I can tell you now that I found some reward chocolate: A Cadbury bar called Flake.  It’s lovely.)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  



Fiction Friday (on Saturday) NaNo Edition

Good Saturday morning!

It is November and of course you know what that means!  It’s time for National Novel Writing Month.  

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a challenge for writers, long time writers and first timers alike, to write 50 thousand words in 30 days.

I spent most of September and October planning a story, developing characters and settings and my characters threw almost all of it away on the 30th of October.  Even my protagonist is no longer the protagonist, not alone anyway.

I was tearing my hair out but you know what?  Their idea seems to be working, even if, in editing, I’d probably throw a third of it out.  I’m already sailing past 13k!  Can you believe it?  I’ve had a couple days of brain-dead-ness too where I only got a few hundred words written.  

I am enjoying the stories and my Alpha readers are too.  It’s supposed to be a thriller and there’s definitely excitement in it.  But Rebecca and Ted seem to be falling for each other.  I suppose romance can develop in the midst of terror but we’ll see.

I need to get back to writing.  I’ll leave you with the prologue and first two chapters of this (ridiculously named) NaNo effort.  Keep in mind that this is first draft drivel. *laughs*

Enjoy your weekend!


PS Damn, the formatting didn’t stay.  The blank spaces are bits and pieces of the letter, redacted as they’d be in the completed book Rebecca is writing.  Here, I’ll mark them with a {} so that it’s not so odd.  I have no idea if these letters from the US Marshalls Service (WitSec in particular) happen, or like that, but since I don’t have any intention of publishing this particular book, we’ll leave it.  

Terwilliger vs Churchward



December 20, 2012

Rebecca A. Loveless

{} St {}

Springfield, {}  


Re: Case number  { }

Ms. Loveless,

We are writing to inform you that Misters {}   and   {}    are now deceased.  The department cannot disclose any information about the case at this time, however, we can inform you that any backlash from your testimony at their trial for the murder of your parents and brother is no longer a concern.

You may move on with your life now and live it in any manner you see fit.  Live it well.


Anne {}

On a personal note, Rebecca, all of us here enjoyed our service with you and we truly enjoy your books.  If we may make a suggestion, the case of Terwilliger vs Churchward is a fascinating one. A~


Thirty-two year old Rebecca Loveless tossed the letter onto her kitchen counter, scarcely able to believe what she had read.  She made a small sound, something between grief and relief.  Her dog, a Chihuahua named Wendy, raced up the small, wide-tread ladder Rebecca’s WitSec team had made for her to get to the counter.  She sniffed Rebecca’s face and licked the tears off with a small whimper.  When that didn’t make her beloved owner pay attention and get out of her funk, Wendy let out a small, sharp bark.

“Oh my God, Wendy!  We’re free!  We can do book tours now.  We can go home and see Mother and Father and Alek.”  Rebecca had never been allowed to go to their funerals, never been able to pay her respects with nothing more than candles lit in a church every week.  She scooped her dog up and danced around the kitchen, laughing while tears rolled down her face. 

She paused long enough to scoop up her cell phone and dial the woman who had become her sister.  “Buffy!  Oh my Gods!  Did Dad tell you?” 

On the other side of the call, Buffy Loveless smiled.  She remembered when Becca, two years younger, had joined their family. Buffy’s father, a WitSec agent, had taken the heartbroken, angry eight year old into their home then picked up and moved all of them – Buffy, her mother and this hard faced little waif – across the country to Springfield.   “I heard.  Mom and Dad are so happy for you.  She wants everyone for dinner tonight, to celebrate.  She promised to make lasagna and black forest cake.”

“Oh no!  Not the cake.  Please get her to let me bring it.”  Rebecca thought fast.  “Tell her I want to contribute something and my favourite cake is just the thing.”   Buffy laughed and agreed.  They hung up as Rebecca sat down on her couch.  Wendy snuggled close and Rebecca’s mind went back to the last night she had her family.

Becca and Alek were in the front room arguing over post-homework television, she wanted to watch an hour of The Rugrats and he wanted Batman The Animated Series.  He was a year older than her and they agreed on most things, except which main character was better – Tommy or Batman.  The argument stopped and the remote clattered to the coffee table when they heard the rattle of the garage door.   They ran into the kitchen, slowed to a speed shuffle when they got the “no running in the house!” glare from their mother, and ripped open the door between the kitchen and boot room, where they would wait to greet them.

They waited eagerly, words about their day wanting to spill from their lips, impatient to hear the corny joke of the day, and wanting their hugs.  To the outside world, {their friends), they were far too cool for these displays but they both loved their parents.  Their dad rushed in, dropped his briefcase and grabbed their upper arms in bruising grips as he dragged them into the kitchen.  “Mindy, quick, we have to go.  Now!”  He shoved both children towards her as car doors slammed outside and shouting started. 

Mindy shoved the children deeper into the house just as the kitchen window exploded inward and breathtaking pain spun her around.  “Fire escape plan two!  Becca, Alek, run!”  A red stain was starting to bloom on her chest near her shoulder and her arm hung uselessly.

“Mommy!  You’re hurt!”  Becca rushed toward her.

“Go!”  Mindy screamed the word as the living room window exploded too, showering glass all over the room.  She shoved them to the floor as something burned into her again, this time in her belly. 

Alek shoved his sister ahead of him to the stairs, which were by the front door.  They scrambled up them.  They’d just reached the top and thrown themselves around the top post when the door shattered and some dark shadow loomed into it. 

“James!” The voice was as dark as the shadow.  Gravelly and loud it boomed into every corner of the house. 

Becca whimpered and Alek pushed her down the hall; they had to get to the attic.  He put his mouth close to her ear. “I’m going to open it up and you’re going to run up.  Just like practice, remember?  You’re so good at it.  Throw the ladder to the ground but let’s go across the roof.  Sally’s house is close enough.  Her dad probably called the police already.”

They could hear noises downstairs.  Their mother was screaming, sounds of pain that would haunt Becca forever, and their dad was yelling something about money.  She nodded at Alek and took a deep breath as he stood up to slap the hidden button that would open the attic.  The door in the ceiling was almost invisible and she knew if they could get up and get the door closed, they’d be safe. 

It seemed to take forever to descend.  Alek pushed her into starting the climb before it was all the way on the ground.  She glanced behind her to see that he’d gotten on the ladder and pushed the button again.  It was starting to close while they scampered up and she breathed a sigh of relief.  She stood on the attic floor and reached back for her brother.  “Come on, Alek, hurry.”

He slapped her hand in his just as a big, meaty hand wrapped around his ankle.  Both children screamed in fright and she wrapped her hand around his arm and pulled.  The hand pulled back.  She braced her feet and tried as hard as she could while her brother looked at her.  Suddenly, Becca could see acceptance in his eyes.  He raised his finger to his lips in the universal symbol to be quiet then let go of her.  He slid through her hands and she jammed her fist in her mouth to keep from screaming. She whirled around and ran for the dormer window at the end of the house.

Becca threw the ladder out then scrambled up the roof, trying to be quiet.  She reached the apex then stood there in indecision.  The houses in the neighbourhood were close together, only a few feet separated one from the other.  The backyards were lengthy and she figured she’d never make it to the back gate.  She also knew that if she went to Sally’s her dad would protect her but that might get them killed too.  She had to get as far away as possible.  She ran over the roofs, jumping from one house to another until she was a block away.

Rebecca woke from her memories with a start as Wendy licked the tears from her face again.  She buried her face against the little dog’s fur.  A Chihuahua isn’t what most people would have chosen as a therapy dog, she supposed, but Wendy was perfect for her.  The dog was fiercely loyal and fiercely protective.  She was an absolute affection hound with the people she knew and loved, she was smart and had been easily trained. 

Rebecca drew a long, shuddery breath.  She’d finally a chosen a house and gotten some help.  She’d learned later that night that her entire family had been killed by the Russian mafia.  At some point, she had also learned that her father was the accountant for the mafia.  Investigations had turned up the fact that he was embezzling from the mafia and had been for some time.  The investigators speculated that he had been trying to get them out and away from the lifestyle.  They’d found fake IDs and a deed to a house in the Caymans.  For a long time, Rebecca hadn’t known how to feel.  In the end, when she had all the answers they could give her, she’d simply grieved for the family she’d lost, giving little thought to the reasons for it. 

 “It’s a turning point for us, Miss Wendy Darling, let’s make the most of it, shall we?   Starting with dinner at Grandma and Grampa’s.  You like them.”

Wendy’s entire body shook with the force of tail wagging at the sound of two of her favourite words, Grandma and Grampa.




Chapter One


From: Rebecca Loveless

Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:51 AM

To: Joe Hillman, agent extraordinaire

Subject: Book idea!


Hey Joe. 

Happy New Year!  I hope Christmas went well for you and your family.  I know Ally was really looking forward to it.  Did you end up getting her the Barbie car?

I have a great idea for a new book!  I decided that I want to write about a recent crime.  I can travel now, do interviews.  (I can also do a book tour!)  I know that The Atlas Vampire Case, The Tamud Shud Case, and Villisca Ax Murders were immensely popular, more so than most true crime books, but I want to step away from history for this next book.  Let’s call it a celebration of my newfound freedom. 

I have had dozens fans writing me suggesting cases but the one that Anne suggested, Terwilliger vs Churchward, peaks my interest the most.  I can do in person interviews, truly get inside these people’s heads instead of just making educated guesses.  You’ll find my preliminary notes attached.  What do you think?

Give my love to Jean and Ally.

Rebecca A. Loveless

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.  Stephen King


From: Joe Hillman

Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 9:46 AM

To: Rebecca Loveless

Subject: Re: Book idea!


Good morning, Becks. 

Happy New Year to you as well; here’s to a shiny new life and a lot more freedom.  Don’t abuse it! 

Ally definitely got that car, she loves it!  Jean’s parents caved in to all her begging.  That girl is lucky she’s so adorable.  Christmas was wonderful.

The book sounds like a good idea.  I do have to caution you not to get to close to the subjects though.  I know how in depth and connected you get to your research.  I looked the case up and Robert Churchward is a very dangerous man.  He’s in prison still and will be until he dies.  Don’t let him get attached to you. 

Write up the proposal and I’ll pitch it to the publisher.  I’ll have Stephen and Grace give you their answer directly, alright?

Joe Hillman

Need an agent? We are the best in the biz.  Take a look at what we can do for you at


From: Rebecca Loveless

Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:36 AM

To: Joe Hillman, agent extraordinaire

Subject: Re: Book idea!


That’s fantastic!  Thanks, Joe, you’re the best. 

I know that Robert is dangerous.  His injuries from his time in Afghanistan have left him… lacking in compassion. 

Don’t worry so much about me!  I have Wendy and I have my training.

Rebecca A. Loveless

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.  Stephen King


From: Joe Hillman

Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013  11:04

To: Rebecca A. Loveless

Subject: Re: Book idea!


I mean it, Rebecca.  BE CAREFUL.   All your training in self-defence and weapons isn’t going to do you much good against a military man with no emotions.   Maybe you shouldn’t do the book.  Or let me do the interviews with Churchward.

Joe Hillman

Need an agent? We are the best in the biz.  Take a look at what we can do for you at


From: Rebecca Loveless

Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 11:25 AM

To: Joe Hillman, agent extraordinaire

Subject: Re: Book idea!


I will, Joe, I promise.  I can handle the interviews.  After what I’ve been through, little scares me.

Rebecca A. Loveless

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.  Stephen King


From: Joe Hillman

Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 12:02 PM

To: Rebecca A. Loveless

Subject: Re:  Book idea!


That’s what scares me.

Joe Hillman

Need an agent? We are the best in the biz.  Take a look at what we can do for you at


Rebecca viewed the last email with a smile of affection and turned to the tiny dog that lounged in the bed on Rebecca’s large desk.  “He worries too much, don’t you think?”   Wendy sneezed.  Rebecca laughed and got to work on the proposal. 




Chapter Two



Rebecca received the go ahead, and a substantial advance, at the end of January and by the first of February, she was making her first contacts.  She decided to start with Ted Terwilliger’s best friend, Carlos Montalban, of Mexico’s intelligence agency, SEDENA. 

She called the intelligence office and, in Spanish, explained who she was.  “My name is Rebecca Loveless, I write true crime stories and –” she was interrupted here.

“Holy Mother Mary!  I know who you are!  I have read all of your books.  The one about the vampires was inspired!  I can’t believe you got them to reopen that case and find the killer!  That was amazing.” The woman in the reception desk gushed then switched from Spanish to English.  “Your books helped me to learn English better.”

Rebecca smiled and answered in English.  “We can speak in English if you’d prefer.”

Sí, por favor.  What can I do for you, Señorita Loveless?”

“I’m thinking about writing about Theodore Terwilliger and it is my understanding that Carlos Montalban was his best friend.  I wish to speak with him, if at all possible.”  Rebecca held her breath, waiting.  She knew that death was a sensitive subject for many and the death of a friend who was like family was hard.

Sure enough, the woman shut down, and switched back to Spanish.  “I am sorry, Señorita Loveless, but I cannot give you any information about Señor Montalban.  I will pass on your message.  If he chooses to contact you, he will do so in his own time.” 

The phone went dead and Rebecca stared at it, bemused.  “She’s right, you know,” she said to Wendy.  “He will or he won’t.  Meanwhile, I should decide whether or not to contact Mrs. Terwilliger.  That woman was right about another thing too, though she didn’t say it aloud.  People will heal in their own time.”  She stood up and Wendy popped to her own feet.  “Time for a walk, I think.”

Wendy raced down the special ramp tucked against the desk and headed for the front door.  When her human didn’t move fast enough, Wendy grabbed one of Rebecca’s shoes and started tugging it down the hall. 

Rebecca grabbed her cell phone and keys and chuckled as she turned into the hall.  “Impatient, aren’t you?” 

They weren’t more than a block away when her phone rang.  Wendy rolled her eyes and set about exploring the patch of lawn, (and garden but she wasn’t advertising that part too loudly), while Rebecca answered the phone.

“Hello, Rebecca Loveless here.”

“ Hola! ¿ Cómo esta?  This is Carlos Montalban.  I understand, Ms. Loveless, that you wish to write a book about my friend Theodore.”  His voice was deep, measured, dangerous and somewhat disapproving.

Rebecca allowed to herself that she might be imagining the last two.  She swallowed a spat of nerves anyway.  “Hello, Mr. Montalban.  I have been looking for a – No, Wendy!  You know better!” She tugged lightly on Wendy’s leash, which was attached to a body harness.  “My apologies, Mr. Montalban.  I was recently given a new lease on life, and I thought I would try something new, turn the direction of my writing just a little.”

“By picking on my friend?”  There was definitely a dangerous note this time, Rebecca was sure this time.

“Ah… no… Not exactly.  I want to tell the truth about what happened.  I know that the media twisted things.”  She stooped and scooped poop and slowly turned towards home.

“The receptionist here is very fond of your work.  I shall have to think on it.  Meanwhile, do not contact his family.  Wait for me to get back to you.”   The phone went dead, again, and she stared at it.

“Well, hasta luego to you to, Señor Montalban.”  She looked down at Wendy.  “These people are not very friendly.”  Wendy yipped.

For the next two days, Rebecca researched another case, The Eyeball Killer.  Charles Albright was very bright, multilingual and an all-round good guy…who hunted prostitutes and cut out their eyes.  On the second day, the doorbell as she was preparing dinner for herself, (enchiladas, inspired by her conversations with the people in Mexico).

Wendy raced her for the door, barking ferociously as she did so.  Rebecca didn’t shush her, letting the dog inform the visitor that there was a guard dog in the house, as she checked the electric monitor of the security system.  She saw the top of a dark head and, assuming it was a child, opened the door.  “I’m sorry, I don’t want to buy anything.”  Her voice trailed off at the end as she realized the man standing at her door was fully grown, if a Dwarf. “Oh!” Her face turned bright red.

The man grinned and offered his hand.  “I am Carlos Montalban.”

Rebecca’s jaw dropped and then she turned an even darker shade of red as she realized what she was thinking, imposing all kinds of limitations on him because of his dwarfism. 

While she sorted out her embarrassment and impressions, Carlos crouched down and made his acquaintance with Wendy.  He offered her a small bone shaped cookie treat.    Wendy sniffed it suspiciously then took it delicately between her teeth.  Carlos stood up and waited patiently. 

Rebecca automatically stepped back, allowing Carlos to come in.  She closed the door as she tried to force herself to say something.  Anything.  She looked him over.  She guessed he was just over four feet tall.  His head was large, and his forearms and thighs were short.  He was slightly bow-legged. He was handsome, with chocolate brown eyes, a strong jaw with lips just a shade on the too thin side. 

“Ms. Loveless, I am used to being stared at and if the fact that I am a highly trained spy and assassin and a dwarf with an eyepatch didn’t come as a surprise to you, I’d probably have to kill you.”  Carlos chuckled.

“I-I’m so sorry.  I’m rarely speechless nor so rude.  Please, forgive me.  I’m about to have dinner, would you like some?”  She bent down and scooped up Wendy who, having finished her treat was sniffing Carlos as high as she could reach. 

“What are you having?”  Carlos had learned quite a bit about Rebecca and he knew that she was on a strict schedule, using timers and calendars, and he knew that it was dinner time.

“Enchiladas.”  Rebecca smiled as he chuckled again.

“It sounds delightful, even the way you Americans make it.”

Rebecca gave him mock offended.  “This is an authentic recipe, thank you very much.” 

Carlos climbed on to the bar stool at her breakfast bar and settled onto it.  “I can hardly wait then.”

They had dinner together and settled in the living room with coffee.  “Why do you want to write this story, Rebecca?”

“For the same reason I write the rest of them, Carlos, justice.”

They talked for another hour or two before Carlos left.  Rebecca felt very much like she had just been grilled but, after making her sign a non-disclosure agreement of a sort, he’d given her one vital piece of information – Theodore Terwilliger was alive.

“I have discussed your proposal, and your books, with him and he agreed that you would do the story, well, justice.  However, you are to contact him before you attempt to talk to any other member of his family.  Is that perfectly clear?”

“Of course, Carlos.”  She nodded vigorously, even as she stared down her traitorous dog.  Wendy was curled up in Carlos’ lap, nearly purring with the attention he was giving her.

Now, alone, Rebecca let out a whoop that Wendy echoed.  Rebecca sat on the floor and hugged her dog.  “We get to write the story!”  It didn’t even occur to her to ask how he had acquired the proposal she’d sent to the publisher, she was just happy.  She called her sister.  “Buffy!”

“Becca!  You interrupted bedtime.”

“I’m so sorry!  I’m just so excited!  You wouldn’t believe what just happened!”

“I can tell you’re excited; you’re speaking in exclamation points.”

Rebecca chuckled.  It was a joke from their childhood.  Whenever one of the girls had gotten too excited over something, happy or angry, their parents had taken to asking them to stop speaking quite so much in exclamation points and try a period or a question mark.  “I’m sorry, I can’t help it.  I have permission from the people involved in the Terwilliger-Churchward case to pursue it as a book!”

“That’s wonderful, for you.  The rest of us will continue to worry.  Does this mean you’ll be travelling?”

Some of Rebecca’s joy dimmed.  Her sister was very good at the guilt, very good.  It could go almost unnoticed by a body, you just knew you went away from the conversation thinking about changing your mind about whatever it was you were going to do.  “Yes, it means I’ll be travelling.  I want to interview people face-to-face as much as possible.  Don’t worry so much about me, Buff, I’m not that kid you met anymore.  You know how rigorously Dad has trained us in self-defence and in making sure that we don’t get into trouble in the first place.”  She listened as her sister sighed and knew she now had an ally.

“Okay.  Just be careful.  Love you.”  One of Buffy’s five kids howled in the background, making her growl in frustration. 

Rebecca knew her sister was already looking to the screen to disconnect the call and she was unlikely to be heard but she said her good-bye anyway.  “Love you and the brat pack.”

Oh my, oh my!

{{For the love of Pete!  I totally forgot to hit publish, distracted as I was by the Canadian election results.  Here you go. *laughs*}}

 November first is in TWELVE days!

That’s right, dear readers, NaNoWriMo is coming up quick!  Don’t know what it is?  Check it out here.

I was drawn to the website this morning.  There is information I need.  I am not quite sure what it is that I need, it being 5:37 in the morning, but it’s there.  I know it is.  

I went there, I think, because I need a title and a synopsis, even a bare minimum one, from which to build a plot.

Or is it that I need a plot built in order to create a synopsis?

Either way, I found myself in my NaNoMail.  I’ve been overlooking that just a tad – there were 32 emails in there.  That’s quite a lot for such a place.  Buried in there, in the folder labeled “Pep Talks” I found a wonderfully amusing pep talk from Jim Butcher.  I haven’t read a lot of his work but I’ve come across personal essays and things like this pep talk of his before.  I quite like the man.  If ever I was to have a writing mentor, he’d be one of my top three choices.

(Of course, I’d better read his work first, eh?)

He reminded me, in this pep talk, that I’m not going to get anything done next month if I’m not writing every day now. I have been writing some.  I finished the background of my villain.  His name is Robert (always Robert, never Bob) Churchward and he is ex-military.  He’s a nasty piece of work but it’s not entirely his fault.  I will share him with you later.  

My goal over the next few days is to develop the plot, find a title (actually, that’s partly the goal for today), get all my research done, and get to the point where I can put fingers to keyboard and begin.  

Here’s hoping!

Well, actually, here’s planning.  If I look at it as a plan, act as if it’s a plan, (and isn’t it?), then it will get done.  If I look at it as a dream, it’s much less likely to.

And with that bastardized random nugget of Universe wisdom, I leave you.


P.S.  I am considering fundraising for the Office of Light and Letters again this year.  I haven’t done it for a few years and I really do think that literacy is a vital part of the world today.  Nearly everything we do is connected to the written word and I despair of the way those words are being written.  Funding to teach our children to enjoy reading and writing seems, to me, critical to ensuring their future is bright and productive.  

I haven’t decided, as yet, (and I’d better SOON), because The Boyfriend reminded me that the world is inundated with fundraisers for this and that and one more may just be the straw that breaks the camels back.  

However, this is literacy we’re talking about.  

I will let you know.  

Have a wonderful day!




Fiction Friday Week 32

I know, I know!  It’s Saturday.   Yesterday kind of got away from me (chores, moving my air conditioner out of the window…recovering from moving the air conditioner *laughs*).  However, I am here now! 

The last couple of weeks have seen a serious lack of focus that has made it difficult to complete the mini character profiles of the people in Ted’s life.  A thriller requires peripheral characters that the protagonist can rely on and, potentially, be betrayed by so I have been trying to add people to Ted’s life.  

So far, I have Carlos, whom I shared already, and I have Anthea, Ted’s mother, his sister (barely), Ted’s overseers, some ranch hands, and the people in his lab.  The last two groups are pretty much in name only though.  

Now, finally, I get to develop the villain.  *cackles*

For now, I am going to get dressed, feed my Man and get set to try to help him move today.  

I will probably end up doing more work on my computer than lifting and shifting boxes. 😉

Have a great day and for all you Canucks:

Happy Thanksgiving!  Don’t forget to count your blessings and enjoy your friends and family around you.  I, for one, am grateful for everything and everyone that allows me to keep writing and for those who love me and support me. 



Other Characters

 Mother:  Anthea Terwilliger

  • Widow of five years, lost husband to a drunk hunter
  • A rancher’s wife, involved in every aspect of the business from the very beginning, from their first mare
  • She raised Ted and 3 sisters, two younger and one older, with her husband doing almost as much of the work. Children are 45 (Clarissa), 43 (Ted), 41 (Abigail), 39 (Stephanie)
  • Ranch started small and grew as the breed’s reputation, and that of their feed, grew
  • Ranch started as 15 acres, two for living and their first small stable, 5 for pasture and ten to grow feed. It is now 500 acres at 3 sites (250, 100, 150), the original 15 is still the homestead, 400 acres is devoted to growing the best
  • They have a dozen brood mares in 3 breeds (4 per breed), two studs per breed
  • One location has a lab to help with genetics of both horses and feed
  • Involved in the lives of all her children, though she doesn’t quite understand her son
  • Youngest daughter (Stephanie) lives at home, her and her son, Trevor, who is the oldest grandchild of five grandchildren
  • Heads the state fundraising chapter for MS research, got involved when her oldest daughter was diagnosed with MS at 20


Anthea is 5’6”, trim and with definite curves.  Her hair is a steel grey and falls just past her shoulder blade.  It’s usually in a French braid so that it’s out of the way and still fits under her hat.  She has nearly flawless skin, despite decades working in the sun, it is the colour of cream.  She has brown eyes I can only describe as warm maple syrup.    Every time I’ve met her, she’s in denim and a soft shirt.  She dresses with practicality, works hard, often doing what is traditionally described as “man’s work” – riding, roping, breaking.  She toils in the fields, mucks out stalls and delivers her horses’ babies.  But she never fails to be feminine in her manner or her appearance. 


Anthea was a high school cheerleader who fell in love with the quiet boy in the 4H program.  Luke was from a small ranch.  His mother died when he was small and his father was a drunk.  They had one horse and a few sheep left when he started high school.  It was his efforts, before and after school, that kept the ranch moderately solvent.  And it was luck – a lottery ticket purchased by Anthea for his 18th birthday – that helped them purchase the ranch out from under his father.  

At 17 years old, after Luke’s father gleefully took the money and took off, Anthea married the love of her life.  Together they took stock of the ranch and took a risk, sinking almost all of the lottery winnings into improving the barn and the stock.  They laid in the best feed seed they could buy and hired an experienced hand. 

It took them years to build a reputation as the breeders of the best work horses in the U.S.  The ranch expanded along with their family. 

Arguments, screaming matches, family dinners, love, constant affection and encouragement made a family that was strong, loyal and devoted to one another.  Luke’s tragic death shook them to the core but made them tighter. 

Luke was out riding the range, checking on the fences, during hunting season.  According to the ranch hand that was with him it was over in seconds.  Second one:  Luke was astride his horse, laughing at a joke.  Second two: an arrow was protruding from his chest.  Second three: he was on the ground. 

For almost three months, Anthea had all four grown children and their families in her home.  One by one she kicked them out.  Stephanie and Trevor remained behind when Anthea discovered that Steph’s husband was abusing both.  Anthea used her not inconsiderable wealth to make sure the man was left with nothing of Steph and Trevor, including parental rights. 

Anthea is the only one in the family aware that Ted did not die in the fire.  She thinks it is cruel to let his sisters grieve for him but understands the need for secrecy. 

Horse Breeds:

Horses.xlsx  (this links to a file about various breeds of work horse like the Ardennais)


Constance “Connie” Vargas


  • Large animal veterinarian
  • Conversely, a collector of anything related to pygmy animals – art, books, statuettes when she can find them
  • Met Ted when one of his horses tore a ligament (a Type II Lesion in the Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon) and he needed a vet in a hurry
  • The ranch was still being established, the injury occurred during transport from Tennessee
  • She was insulted when he did a full background check not only of her credentials but of her (she finds out when he mentions something she thought buried in her past. What?  “well, I had to know my new vet was actually as good as you appear.”)
  • Invites her to dinner to make up for upsetting her
  • One thing leads to another
  • “That first night was… rough. It was Ted’s first time with a woman.



Curvy, apple-bottomed with generous hips, breasts and broad shoulders with a narrow waist

Near waist-length auburn hair, somewhat sharp features, long nose.  Not beautiful but prety

Half Dutch (mother), half Portuguese (father), takes after her father mainly in appearance. 

 Rayna and James Morin


Ranch overseers.   Rayna looks after the barns and ranch hands, James looks after the house and grounds around it.  They came to Ted when they learned that someone was buying up land and looking for an overseer.  They were bold enough to tell him they were a team – ranch and house – and that they were damn good. 

He asked them why they’d left their previous position – a place in Alberta – to come to Ontario.   Then he checked out their story.  (they lost their children in an accident and, knowing that their children’s memories lived with them no matter where they were, they sought a new start, trying to repair and rejuvenate their marriage)  He hired them on the spot and then checked them out, totally anti-Ted. 

Rayna is 5’11”, all lean muscle with a gentle curve in at the waist.  Long arms, long legs, far stronger than she looks.  Dark blonde hair is kept chin length for practicality.  Blue eyes, thin upper lip, full lower, strong jaw and chin.  She was raised with horses, riding before she could walk, knows everything about them.   And she knows how to handle the most chauvinistic of ranch hands.

James, never Jim, never anything but James, is 6 feet tall, green eyes, kissable mouth, strong jaw, long aquiline nose, dark hair, usually scruffy looking – always a 5 o’clock shadow, hair slightly unkempt like he’s been running his fingers through it – and yet it serves only to make him look sexy.  He is lanky.  Like his wife, he is long and lean, though not quite as muscular, long arms, long legs.   He was an executive chef and operations manager at their previous position.

Previous position:

The large ranch in the central-western Alberta butted up against the foothills of the Rockies.  The Triple Star Ranch raised and trained horses for movies.  It contained a full wild west town and a large herd of horses.  There were two main buildings – the very large barn and a very exclusive hotel.  The hotel was James’ domain.  It contained four large, well-appointed suites (bedroom, ensuite, sitting room), and two separate cottages.  Their jobs were both glamorous and extremely taxing; they loved them. 

The incident:

Their children – both boys, Thompson and Bryant, 12 and 10, totally fearless – snuck out very early one late October morning, near their mother’s birthday, saddled horses and went for a ride.  They got lost, too deep in the foothills.  Investigators speculate that the boys were on the ground, possible with reins in hand, trying to find their way back (James says they’d have been looking for tracks) when the rockslide happened.  Rocks and boulders from the size of a soccer ball to a 60s VW Bug were found around the boys’ bodies.   Thompson had a broken leg.  Horses bolted, boys couldn’t move, they froze to death overnight.   Evidence of Thompson trying to keep Bryant warm.  Two days before they were found, snowed  (show police report?)

Other Ranch hands:

Mahdi Hussein, Derek Evans (co-op student), Robert Guilfoyle, Claire Keating, Kevin Hindley, Alan Jones

Lab techs:

Dr. Doreen Barrell (Supervisor), Stephen Coons, Eric Dowling, Alishia Moore, Tami Bedford