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:

CREATESPACE FINALLY ACCEPTED GHOSTS AFIRE! 

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. 

Muah!

 

Advertisements

NaNo and Costumes and Shifters, Oh my!

Good morning!

It is November first and you know what that means!  

It’s NaNoWriMo time!

I will be giving it a go again this year.  I have the time and the support and I think I have the health (although the sleeping thing is still an issue), so completion shouldn’t be a problem.  

I have decided to retell something by Shakespeare: As You Like It.  

I am doing a modern twist, I am also taking it from brothers to sisters and setting it in Canada. This is the tentative plot so far:

Two Sisters, the younger takes over the other’s place in a large corporation(? A baking company maybe? Gourmet cupcakes with bakeries in cities all over the country) by cheating her sister out of her place

The older starts her own business in another country, taking with her loyal employees, leaving behind her son who is attached to the company he helped his mom and aunt build after they took it (a single bakery) over from his mother’s mother.

To the younger’s company comes two more sisters – one super bitchy, a cheater, mistreats her sister, uses her sister as a slave, takes all the credit; the other is super sweet, incredibly talented, knows exactly what her sister is, loves her anyway.

Both seem to be really capable of filling the position, the son holds a knock out competition between the two sisters, and another, and discovers that the younger is much talented. After the elder is taken out when her cupcakes flop early, she tells the remaining competition to do “whatever” it takes to take her sister down.

Son falls for youngest sister when she wins. Older sister ingratiates herself with his aunt.

Aunt gives him an ultimatum – get rid of the girl or get banished.  When he refuses, she sends him to his mother.

Younger sister is fired b/c of older sister, leaves with small severance b/c son makes his aunt do it, wins a lottery on the same day, changes her appearance and her name, and moves to another city  in the country over to open up a bakery, doing full sized cakes & wedding cakes but non-traditional (carved, shaped, creative), hires 3 people (all female, one of whom is gay) to help her with the shop  Keeps seeing her name on flyers, hearing bits of song lyrics on the radio in commercial with her name in it.

Finally, reads one of the flyers closely, discovers it’s a band with the son as lead singer, realizes she’d inadvertently moved to same city.  Disguises self, takes three employees, who have become closest friends with all the long hours they work, to see the band play.  Manages to become friends with the band, intending to get son to talk about how he feels about her. 

Decides to set band members up with her employees, esp lead guitarist with gay woman. Guitarist falls for her instead.

Older sister shows up in town looking for her. They reconcile when elder reveals that she’s had a change in attitude when a brush with cancer made her realize what a cunt she’s been. Younger takes her to see band. Elder immediately falls for drummer. Love at first sight. 

Pushes youngest to reveal herself to son after his mother is at one of the shows and sits at the table talking to them and reveals his feelings for her. Mother says “I got ordained to marry my two best friends together. I’d marry Son and Younger tomorrow if only he could find her and she felt the same way he does.”

Younger makes gay guitarist promise to date gay employee if she can’t have her alternate persona then reveals herself to son. They are happily reunited and only wait enough time for a cake to be made before getting married.

Son’s aunt gives back the business after getting into Scientology and everyone moves back to the old city to resume the company, leaving youngest’s bakery in the hands of her employees as part of the larger company

It’s one of The Bard’s comedies, so we’ll have to see how funny I can make it.  

We have the following characters:

Characters Involved                                                                                  Settings

Sister One – generation one                                                   Two cities

Sister Two – generation one Cicely                                      Two companies

Son of sister two  Eastyn                                                        Bar with live band

Sister One – generation two –  Honor

Sister Two – generation two (Sprinkles Cupcakes) Temperance

Competition

Three bakery people (one gay, all female)

Three band members

Only two of whom are developed. 

Basically, this is nearly a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writing job.  Should be fun!  I hope y’all are looking forward to it.  I may post the daily pages in my blog this year.  Maybe not.  If you are interested in being put on the mailing list for it, leave me your email in the comments section.  It will come from my yahoo email.  

 

I also wanted to talk about the MS Bike fundraiser.  TODAY IS THE DAY!  Today official fundraising begins!  And you can help us out by searching for us on our teampage (and yes, I need to update our little blog) http://mssoc.convio.net/goto/thelongshotriders and clicking on one of our names to donate, or you can just click on our personal pages here:  http://mssoc.convio.net/goto/longshotriderJenn and http://mssoc.convio.net/site/TR/BikeTour/OntarioDivision?px=2927321&pg=personal&fr_id=6523  (hmmm… I need to get him to personalize his page a bit, eh?).

Thank you in advance of any help you find it in your hearts to give us, and a warning:  This is not the only request I will make! At some point, I will be finding out the legalities of offering prizes for the highest donations.  We are looking to raise $3000 together.  It’s not a lot, in the grand scheme of things, but it is a pile for two people to try to gather on their own.  So far, we have  about $115.  I have $65 in cash on my desk, waiting for me to be able to continue personal donations so I can put it up (sales from A Year in the Life of S. Claus).  And I will be donating $250 more of my own money, in bits and pieces.  

 

Two more bits of business:  First, the costumes, second, the Scaredy Cat anthology.

This past weekend was the London Comic Con.  And we had a lot of fun.  

We only managed to get there on Sunday this year but we spent the entire day there. We saw a lot of costumes, and a lot of vendors. The best cosplay we saw were these guys:

cof

They had it down perfectly, from the Yip yip yip to the phone ringing and the movements.

Mike (on the far right) tried to get them to break character but they refused.  They were absolutely perfect.  

As you can see, Mike was dressed as a Templar knight.  

He is wearing chainmail.  You can see the sleeve of it on his sword arm.  He made it of tempered steel, though the shirt has a copper body, in part. 

People, when you see a Templar Knight, don’t assume he’s a Monty Python character.  We must have been asked that more than a dozen times.  

The funniest questions came when I had to pee, though.  

Outside the bathroom doors, there was a standing of red and white fabric, hiding the washrooms from the  vendors next to them.  Mike took up a stance next to the fabric then just stood there, very still.    People started questioning whether he was part of the display, a statue put there.  So Girlkid, being who she is, started taking selfies with him…

IMG_20181029_105348_426

Which was just funny as hell.  

One guy decided to come up and exam Mike, got in his face looking him all over.  Mike didn’t move.  He said later that he really wanted to start following him around though.  

Girlkid was a character from Supernatural, sorry, but I can’t remember which one.  She was just a little disappointed in herself because she couldn’t do the heavy eye makeup the character does because she was having a problem with her eyes and makeup would have been counter-productive.  

rpt

I think we both looked pretty good.

And I was Mina Harker, from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.   I wanted to go as someone recognizable this year and I managed it.  I was recognized several times, even if you could see it as “oh, she’s that character from that movie with Sean Connery. What was it called…?” lol  

Someone did call me out by name, startled me badly since he did it from just behind me. *laughs*  I was pleased though.  And I found out where to get the comics the movie was bas on, too.

Mike got his picture taken several times and asked dozens of questions about his chainmail and the sword he was carrying (a hand-and-a-half polypropylene one by Cold Steel. I have  single hand one by them). 

Then he was invited to walk in the Oxford Ren Fair’s Christmas Parade and we were invited to attend their Elizabethan masquerade ball.  That’s pretty cool, eh?

The other outstanding thing that happened was this:

received_187575812152398

That’s right!  Girlkid met Julian Richings! He plays Death in Supernatural and he’s been in Man of STeel, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Urban Legend. X-Men: The Last Stand, Orphan Black, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: The End of the End, just to name a few. 

Mr. Richings is a grand fellow.  What a lovely man. We had a wonderful time talking to him.  He made his Q&A personal and cozy. 

It was a really good day, overall.  

Looking forward to New Year’s Eve.  

 

Now, the Scaredy Cat Anthology and then I need to get some writing done. 

The entire book, all ten stories by nine fabulous authors is now on EBOOK FOR JUST NINETY-NINE CENTS!  ($1.30 in Canada)

That’s write…er…right… you can get all of the cat shifter stories, from the likes of Josette Reuel, S.E. Isaac, Me, Romarin Demetri, Crystal St Clair, A.M. Cosgrove, Adalaine Rose, Edward Blackwood, and Laura Stapleton.

One hundred per cent of each sale is going to Wounded Warrrior Project.

You can get it here:

Amazon Global link: https://getBook.at/AG2-CaSCAntho

If you still prefer it in print, you can get it here: Amazon US Print: http://a.co/5npm9pV

That’s it from me today, folks, have a great day!  I’m going to take the dog out, feed her, then get to starting As You Ice It.  

 

Yeah…that’s a bad title…

😉

Muah!

 

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!
Muah!

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!

camp_logo-290f133f1af2562198f3a75b662feb03

“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:

tumblr_nx82elstqv1sscqwxo1_400

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.  

Muah!

 

It’s That Time of Year…

…when good feelings abound.

…when family gets together.

…when food is made in abundance.

…when gaily wrapped boxes and funky or cute bags full of goodies appear.

…when depression becomes it’s strongest.

…when the poor feel their empty wallets more keenly.

…when people acquire debt they can ill afford. 

Yule

Yule.  A Google find.

To me, the Yule season is about family.  It’s about showing the love you have for the people in your life.  It’s about gratitude come to life; gratitude that is shown in the hugs, the kisses, the food and warm drinks shared.  

It’s about showing the Gods, (whatever you call them – God, Yahweh, Allah, Isis, the Oak King), your gratitude for your life.  Regardless of your beliefs, this time of year shines with family and love. 

It’s about remembering why we’re here and why we do what we do.  

I have spent some time reflecting on my own family, my obligations, my needs and my hopes and dreams.  There are some things I’d like to change, others I’d like to give sharper focus to.  

Next week, we’ll talk about changes for 2016 and plans for the future.  

This weekend, I’m going to take some pictures with the new GorillaPod Action Tripod my daughter got me!  This is the only time I wish the water was on the east side of me, so I could take night pictures of the full moon on the lake.  It’s the first one on Christmas in 38 years and there won’t be another until 2034.  It’s worth spending some time looking at it, I think.  

But then, I love the moon. 😉

I hope that your holidays see you blessed with love and light, regardless of where you are or your financial station or your health.  Remember, take some time to ease the stress in your belly.  Breathe, enjoy having your family around you.

Muah

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!  

Muah!

 

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!

Muah!

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

Prologue

 

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.

Sincerely,

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!

TvsC

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 HillmanandMaattravers.com

 

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 HillmanandMaattravers.com

 

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       HillmanandMaattravers.com

 

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.”