Miss Me?

Miss Me?

I’m back.

Did you miss me?

Yes, I know it’s been a while. I didn’t keep my promise that I was going to be posting at least once a week.

Yes, I know.

You can pencil me in for my public flogging later.

Believe it or not, I’ve been extremely busy. Yes, parental and adult responsibilities are holding the majority of my attention. And the kids now being out of school has been a bit of a damper.

But guess what?

I have been writing. A lot!

The last time I posted, I mentioned that I had a story that was just begging to be written and was pushing everything else out of my head. Many of you gave me permission to go ahead and pursue it. And I almost did.

A certain person, you may know her as wifey, gave me some serious side-eye and told me that I really need to finish something. And after much grumbling on my part, I realized she was right, as usual (but don’t tell her I said that).

So I compromised. I did take a break from what I was working on, but not for very long. I did some research (my favorite part of a new project), and completely outlined a story. This actually satiated my need to write this new story enough that I could go back and continue working on my original.

Taking that small break also benefited the former projects as well. I was able to come back to them with fresh eyes and fix a few problems that I hadn’t realized were there.

By the way, remember that massive saga I mentioned a long time ago? The one that spans many generations and multiple novels? Well, it’s materializing nicely. It’s still forming, but it seems so much more real to me now than before. In fact, I’m debating sharing a chapter from the short story I’m intending to use to introduce it. What do you think?

Remember that today is July 1. We are officially at the halfway point. I made a goal to have something completed at some point this year. I’m still on track to do that, but I also still have much to do.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have to dive back into my shame pile.

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Rabbit Holes

Rabbit Holes

I fell down a rabbit hole this last week.

It’s now a week later, and I’m just now climbing out, covered in all the things I’ve found, eyes bleary from staring at my monitor.

I don’t even know what happened.

One day I was on Facebook, and stumbled across a random post. The next thing I know, I’m googling it and digging deeper and deeper into the subject matter. And now it’s a week later. I have a brand new story in mind and so many cool ideas to work with.

For now I’m going to be a little vague, because this is something that’s still developing.

I just want to ask the other writers out there: what do you do when feel like you’ve practically been struck by lighting? The most random thing crosses your path and suddenly you have the inspiration to create something new.

Never mind what you’ve already been working on.

This new story is like a wild animal trying to claw it’s way out of you. It has to be written. And it has to be written NOW.

What do you do?

Do you drop everything and focus on it? Or do you force it back down and continue with what you’re working on?

Right now, I’m at a loss. I honestly don’t know what to do. This story has invaded my thoughts and has influenced everything that I’ve read, watched, or listened to over the past week. I’m in full-on research mode. I’m even a day late on this blog post because I’ve been too busy reading to actually take the time and come up with something to write about.

But I can’t just keep dropping my projects to jump onto something new. At this rate, I’ll never finish anything.

I need input. What should I do?

My Experiment

My Experiment

For the past five weeks, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting excerpts from an unfinished story.

You also may have noticed that I never really explained why I was doing it.

Well, it was mainly just an experiment. And, during this time, I was able to get a lot of feedback from you guys.

Back in December, I stumbled across an interview with a pair of authors named Sean Platt and David Wright. These two authors are pioneers of serialized fiction.

I know that serialized fiction has been around for a long time. Charles Dickens released much of his work as serials before publishing the finished projects as complete novels.

These two guys, however, are treating their stories as if they are seasons of television shows. For a few weeks, or months, they release weekly episodes of a story. Once the story is over, they will release the entire season as a complete novel before moving on to the next story, or season.

I don’t know why, but something about this particular interview made me stop and take notice. To me, this was an extremely cool idea. I started looking into it, and decided that I wanted to give it a try.

I found an old story that I still needed to finish, and split a portion of it into small parts to be released each week.

Over the past few weeks, I discovered some interesting things. I found out when I have something that I think is cool and want to share, it’s really hard to wait for a week between blog posts. I also found that if someone is really enjoying a story, they also don’t like to wait until the next post. They also have no problem telling you that they don’t feel like waiting.

I kinda like that feeling.

I spoke directly to a few of you and was able to surmise that by releasing larger portions, readers would feel more satisfied each week. I also learned that I need to make sure every release has a good cliffhanger at the end to make sure that people come back for more.

So, what happens now?

Do it again, of course!

I’m currently brainstorming what will be the next story to release as a serial. Once I find the perfect story, you’ll see.

In the meantime, excuse me while I dive back into my shame pile.

Show and Tell: Part Five

Show and Tell: Part Five

Maria came to.

Am I dead, she wondered as she lay on the cold concrete slab, among scattered papers, next to her car.

Not sure what to do, she lay there. From where she lay, she could see under her car. A pair of feet, on the other side of her car, was moving toward the door to the house.

Why am I not dead?

She tried to move. To yell a warning. Something. Fear held her paralyzed. All she could do was lay there and watch the feet as they walked up to the door and stood there for a moment

She noticed a small trickle of blood running from her hand onto the floor, a small pool forming around the keys that lay next to it.

The fog began to clear from her mind as the events of the last few minutes started to come back to her.

The man who had shown up in her garage had been holding a gun. He had shot her.

BLAM!

She came back to reality with a start as one of the feet on the other side of her car came back to the ground.

He was trying to kick in the door to the house!

She could see that the door had held.

The foot came off the ground again.

BLAM!

This time the door gave way.

The feet stepped inside her house.

The realization that her roommate, Dayle, was home forced her to move.

Again, she looked at her bleeding hand. Her mind struggled to put together what had happened to her.

And then it clicked.

When he had shot at her, she had raised her hand instinctively, in an attempt to protect herself. There was no way her hand could stop a bullet, yet she had moved anyway. Somehow it had worked. Raising her hand had saved her life. She had been holding her keys. The bullet had hit and ricocheted off them.

She quickly checked her body as she sat up. Wherever the bullet had bounced, it hadn’t hit her.

She sat there in silence a bit longer.

Silence.

Why was everything so quiet? Since the intruder had loudly kicked in the door there hadn’t been a single sound from the house. No screaming. No yelling. Nothing.

Staying low, Maria got to her feet. Quietly, she moved around the back of the bulbous Volkswagen. As she reached the rear bumper, she heard the front door close.

She froze.

Something was wrong. Other than the sound of the front door closing there still had been no sound from the house. She paused and listened for a moment. No one had walked by the garage door. If someone had left, they had gone in the opposite direction.

Or….

She stealthily to the edge of the door way and peeked inside.

He was still inside!

He was standing silently at the island in the kitchen with his gun raised. There was no one there. What was he doing?

She watched for a bit longer, until she saw a shadow move on the low cabinet. Someone was on the other side of the island cabinet.

It hit her.

He had pretended to leave, and was now waiting in silence. Dayle was on the other side of the cabinet hiding! She had no idea that she still wasn’t alone in the house.

Maria tried to call to her. Her voice failed her.

In horror, she watched as Dayle’s head appeared over the top of the counter. She was immediately shot and sank back out of view.

The sound of the gunshot was deafening. It echoed through the silence of the empty house.

Maria sprang into action.

Above her head was the button to activate the garage door. She slapped it with all her might. She knew the second her heard the sound of the door rising, he would come back into the garage to investigate. She had to move fast.

The door slowly moved up in it’s tracks.

Maria didn’t have time to wait for the door to open completely. She dropped, once again, to the deathly cold concrete and rolled under the still rising door. Immediately, she sprang to her feet and ran as fast as she could, yelling as loud as she could for help from anyone who could hear her.

She thought she heard footsteps behind her, but she didn’t look back. She couldn’t spare whatever forward momentum she had gained.

There were footsteps behind her. The intruder was running after her!

She had to escape!

The sound of a single gunshot erupted behind her. It was followed by the whine of the bullet as it sped past her ear. She changed direction and continued running, still screaming for help with all her might.

In the distance she heard the wails of police sirens. They were coming closer. She no longer heard the footsteps of someone running behind her.

Without stopping, Maria stole a glance over her shoulder. She was alone on a dark street. There was no one there.

The lights in the windows on the apartments were starting to come on.

Everything seemed to be should be on the street. Only one thing was out of place.

An AC/DC baseball cap laid on her driveway, just outside her garage door.

END

Show and Tell: Part Four

Show and Tell: Part Four

Dayle ran to the phone in the kitchen. She had to call for help. She needed to get the police here as quickly as possible. Hopefully they would get her and be able to help Maria. If she were still alive.

Oh God, please let Maria be OK, she thought as she reached the phone. Hands trembling uncontrollably she grabbed the phone from its resting place on the wall.

From the living room, she heard the door knob jiggle.

Oh no! She tried to dial.

9…1…

BLAM!

She jumped at the sound coming from the door. He was trying to get in! She looked at door, relieved for a second to find that there wasn’t a madman standing there, leering at her. The door had held.

It wouldn’t stand up to another blow. She could see the door jamb was cracked, almost all the way through.

She had two choices: finish dialing 911 and hope someone arrived to find her body, or hide. She couldn’t do both. The cord on the phone wasn’t very long.

Dayle dove behind the kitchen island just as….

BLAM!

From her spot behind the counter, she knew the door was open, even before she heard it swing and hit the wall next to it.

He was inside.

Dayle prayed that the telephone handset swaying slowly back and forth at the end of its cord didn’t give away her location.

Sitting on the cold linoleum floor, her back to a cabinet door, and tears of fear pouring down her face, she realized that there was no place she could go.

She held her breath and listened. She could just barely hear the sound of his feet against the carpet.

She closed her eyes as she listened closely, visualizing where he was in the living room.

The carpet scuffing sounds moved toward the hallway, stopping for a second. Then she heard them coming back toward her again.

Her heart was beating so hard, she wondered for a second if he could hear it.

The scuffing moved away again, this time toward the front door.

What was he doing?

The front door opened. Then slammed shut. Then…silence.

Dayle dared not move. She sat there in silence wondering what was going on. There was no way, that man had just come into her home, looked around quickly and left. Especially after having kicked in the door. Something wasn’t right.

She sat there and listened a bit longer, still there was no sound. She listened even harder, and yet, still couldn’t hear the scuffing sound of his feet against the carpet.

She hoped Maria was alright.

Maria!

She realized, with a start that she had to check on her. She had no idea whether Maria was alive or not. She absolutely had to get up. She’d have to call finish her call to 911, and then go out to the garage and see if her worst fears were true.

She moved to get up. Her legs rebelled. They were frozen. She couldn’t move them. Some part of her told her not to move. But she knew she couldn’t stay there forever. Gradually her mind regained control of her body. She willed her legs move.

Slowly, she moved to stand up, gripping the top of the counter as she pulled herself upward. She’d just take a peak over the counter first to make sure that everything was clear.

It wasn’t.

She found herself looking directly into the barrel of a small revolver. One chamber sat empty, it’s cargo having already been fired into her friend. Beyond it, a man stood, grinning at her, his rotten teeth bared.

“Peekaboo. I see you,” he said in a sing-song voice.

He pulled the trigger.

The bullet entered her brain just after her final thought.

Why?


 

This was fun.

He stood at the kitchen island counter, looking over it at the lifeless body now sitting on the floor. It sat propped against the opposite cabinet. A look of surprise was still frozen on her face. Her eyes were still locked onto his, almost as if she were still pleading for her life.

A grin spread across his face. It didn’t last long.

He heard a noise.

It came from the garage. He knew that sound because he had just heard it a few moments ago.

He turned and moved, gun poised, to what remained of the door to the garage.

Sure enough, the automatic garage door was halfway up. He arrived just in time to see a figure duck under the door and run.

TO BE CONCLUDED

Show and Tell: Part Three

Show and Tell: Part Three

Dayle heard the garage door open and slam shut from inside the house. She was sitting on the couch watching TV and knew what would happen next. As usual, Maria would have an arm full of papers from school, and even though she her keys out, she would struggle with the lock to come into the house. After a minute or so, she’d get frustrated and just knock. Dayle had gotten tired of this particular dance, so she had just started opening the door when Maria came home.

She got up from the couch when she heard the car door shut and moved toward to the door. Just as she reached the door she heard a loud bang. Hurriedly, she swung the door open to investigate.

All she saw was a man, grinning. In his hand, he held a small revolver. A tendril of smoke rose from the muzzle. It was pointed at something on the ground on the other side of the car.

Maria’s car. No Maria.

From where she stood, Dayle couldn’t see Maria. But she knew she was lying on the ground on the other side of her car.

Dayle slammed the door shut, locking it as quickly as she could, and ran.


 

He reached the door the house. Although he already knew what to expect he attempted to turn the door knob. Sure enough, it was locked.

He grinned to himself as he jiggled the knob, almost playfully.

This was going to be fun.

He took a step back from the door, looking at it, sizing it up. He grinned to himself as he realized that, unlike most garage doors, the hinges were on the interior side. This was going to be easier than he thought. It was just going to be a matter of kicking it in to get inside.

BLAM!

His foot smashed into the door. It didn’t fly open like he had hoped it would, but it did give. Just a little.

BLAM!

He kicked the door again. This time it did give way. It exploded open, swinging violently into the adjoining wall.

Without a word, he stepped inside.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

Show and Tell: Part Two

Show and Tell: Part Two

I have to admit that I was shocked at how many of you read the first excerpt and got back to me.

I really wasn’t expecting the outpouring of support. There were quite a few Facebook shares. Even the blog I write for, The Nerd Element, posted it on their page.

My editor, Emily, scolded me for the typos and grammar errors.

Yes, Emily, I know. I know they are there. So I’m going to remind her, and you, that what follows is an unedited first draft. Although, that probably won’t stop her.

Anyway, without further ado, I present to you Part Two of the excerpt from my untitled and shelved novel.


 

Maria was tired. Dead tired. It was just after 11:00 PM and it had been a long day. The thought of finally getting home and getting to rest was her motivation. Hopefully, her roommate, Dayle was in a good mood.

Pulling into her apartment complex, she pressed the button on her garage door opener, her mind already inside. Almost there.

The garage door slowly began its upward trek to allow her access.

Just a little bit longer and she could collapse on the couch, kick off her shoes, and try to enjoy the last few minutes of the day.

Pulling into the garage, she pressed the button. The door slowly lowered itself shut.

Gathering up her things on the passenger seat, she never saw the dark figure duck under the door and step into the garage.

The garage door closed with a thud.

Finally, having everything gathered neatly into her arms, her keys in her hand, Maria stepped out of the car and stood straight. She didn’t notice that she was no longer alone in the garage. However, it didn’t take her long to realize it.

She whirled as she closed the car door. As she completed her turn, she came face to face with the leering figure that had been standing behind her.

He began to raise his arm.

A flurry of papers dropped to the ground.


 

Opportunity presented itself.

From the shadows, he had spent the evening watching all the units in an apartment complex and wondering where he wanted to go. One looked promising. A woman had come home earlier in the evening and so far that was all the activity he had seen at the apartment.

She was alone.

He was just waiting for the lights to go out and then he would make his move.

Around 11:00 a Volkswagen Beetle puttered it’s way up the street. He sank further into the shadows, lest he be seen and his plans for the evening be ruined.

But, wait.

The Beetle slowed down as it approached him.

Shit. He’d have to move and find somewhere else to play tonight.

But a smile began to form.

The garage to the unit he had been watching began to move slowly upward. The driver sat in the car and waited for the door to open completely. From where he stood he could see the driver. She looked distracted. She hadn’t seen him.

Maybe tonight would go better than he had planned.

As the car pulled into the garage, he moved from his hiding place.

The garage door began moving downward so he moved quickly to duck underneath it.

Dammit!

As he had ducked down to get inside the garage, his cap fell off, landing outside of the garage. There was no time to grab it, since the door was nearly shut. It was fine. He’d just pick it up on his way out.

But for now, he had more important things to do.

The door closed with a thud.

He stood straight and waited, watching as his future plaything moved around in the car. Whatever she was doing in there, she needed to finish. He didn’t want to wait any longer.

The gun in the small of his back beckoned to him. He heeded its call and slowly reached behind him, feeling the handle settle snugly into his palm, almost as if they were spooning, cuddling.

Finally, she got out of the car, holding a stack of papers. Her back was to him as he stood silently appraising her.

The anticipation was killing him. He just wanted to return the favor.

She closed the door with a flourish, whirling on her foot like a dancer.

They came face to face. He could barely hold back his grin as he watched the terror spread across her face.

The gun rose to greet her, almost on its own, as the belongings she held fell to the ground.

Immediately, she began to plead for her life. “No! Please no! Don’t hurt me!”

He cocked the hammer of the gun.

She screamed.

The gun roared.

At that instant, everything seemed to move in slow motion. He watched as she threw up her hands in a futile attempt to protect herself from the doom hurtling toward her. He saw a small splash of blood as she crumpled to the ground.

For a second he just stood there, smiling, as he took it all in.

Wait, had he just seen a spark? What was that? He started to move toward her body to investigate when he heard the door to the inside of the house slam shut. It was following almost immediately by a click and the sound of footsteps running away on the other side.

He gave his victim one final look. He kicked her for good measure before moving toward the door.

TO BE CONTINUED…