Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wicked Redemption

Maggie Webb gaped at the man who was murdering her.
     Except for the bloody gouges she’s put there with her nails, his face was flawless.  More than flawless…unmistakably beautiful.
She would die now.
Smooth, tanned skin stretched over chiseled cheekbones, a hawk-like nose, a squared clean-shaven jaw.  The rage in his eyes was beyond comprehension.  It was alive, a living, pulsing, insurmountable life force. 
She clamped her hands on his wrists but was powerless against stopping the pressure he put on her throat. Her grip left a clammy trail from his wrists to his fingers.  She couldn’t pry them loose. 
She would die now. 
The thought was surreal.  What had she accomplished with her life?  No children.  No husband.  Not even parents who spoke to her.
The ache at the base of her larynx increased, the pressure in her brain almost too much to bear.  In a desperate attempt for air, she slammed the back of her head against the base of the doorjamb, nearly knocking herself unconscious.  It accomplished nothing.  He sunk his knee deeper into her chest, and she could feel her sternum threaten to break.  She would have screamed had she the ability. 
She would die now.
Her extremities began to tense and shake, and she was vaguely conscious of the drool puddling down her chin. 
Black, demonic eyes glared down at her.  She knew him…somehow…
Beautiful.
Her vision began to blur and fade.  It was coming.  Sweet death had arrived, and she mentally willed it to hurry.
Her murderer collapsed on top of her.
The pressure stopped, and a rush of oxygen filled her lungs.  Unable to move, eyes gaping into his thick black hair that fell over her view, she breathed, then breathed again and again.
 Pushing his hair away, Maggie stared up at the ceiling, unable to believe, to think, to react.  Then she shoved him off her.  She only managed to move him part way and crawled the rest of the way.  It was like trying to break free from a Mac truck on top of her. 
     She dragged herself across the cold black and white tile.  Guttural, animal-like sounds escaped her, drove her panic to near hysteria.  Her murderer lay face down in the doorway that separated her kitchen from the tiny mudroom.  She’d barely gotten through the door when he’d attacked her.  She had no idea how he’d gotten in. 
Was he dead? 
     Gingerly, she sat up, her limbs shaking uncontrollably.  She touched her throat, winced with pain, then hoisted herself to her feet with the aid of the one of the ugly metal kitchen chairs which had come with the cottage she was renting.  
He wasn’t moving. 
Why he was unconscious was just as bewildering as why he’d attacked her in the first place.  If he’d been trying to rob her, he had to be stupid to pick her house. She owned little more than the clothes on her back. 
Maggie crept toward him, touched his arm with the tip of her nurses’ shoe.  She jumped back, expecting him to grab her, but he didn’t move.  Moments passed as she stood there staring at him, wondering what to do.  More moments passed as she worked up the nerve to touch him again.
     Grasping fistfuls of the black leather coat he wore, she rolled him over onto his back and shrieked.  Black eyes gaped, stared lifelessly toward the ceiling.
     Dead?  She had to check. 
     Standing as far away as she possibly could, she reached three shaking fingers toward his neck and placed them on his carotid artery. 
     No pulse.
     Panic caught in her throat, tripped her heart into overtime.  Calm down.  Death was nothing new to her.  Her job kept her surrounded by it. 
     What the hell was she going to do with him?
     She turned her back on him, tripped over the metal chair and fell, hitting her shoulder hard.  Ignoring the pain, she ran to the living room, found the portable phone on the sofa cushion, and picked it up.  She dialed 911 as she ran back to the kitchen.
     “911.  What is your emergency?”
     “My name is—”
     She dropped the phone.
     Her attacker was changing.  He was still unconscious, but his appearance was…different.  Chiseled features softened.  Hair that was flawlessly styled, faded from black to sand brown and grew past his shoulders right before her very eyes.  A beard more than two inches sprouted.  His good looks disappeared and were replaced by someone she’d never seen, someone she would never recognize as her attacker.
     Maggie didn’t know how much time had passed as she watched him.  His change was gradual, yet much too fast to be real. 
     Maybe it wasn’t real.  Maybe she was finally losing it. 
     She nudged him with her foot, then jumped back from the fear of expecting him to move, but he was still unconscious. Correction:  dead.
     Not dead, screamed a familiar voice in her consciousness.  You know exactly what he is. 
The dead didn’t change appearances.  The fact that he was not dead was even more unsettling than being nearly murdered.  This…thing on her floor was another one of the entities which had been coming to her since she was a child.  But this was the first time one had attacked her. 
Correction:  This was the first time one had attempted to kill her.
     She bent down, touched his hand and quickly pulled away.  He felt as real as anyone living. 
     What the hell was she going to do?
     “Hello,” came the voice from the dropped phone.  “Is anyone there?  What is your emergency?”
     She picked up the phone, gripped it in her hands.  What was she going to do?  Tell the dispatcher a paranormal phenomenon had nearly killed her?  They’d lock her up.  Again.
     “I-I’m sorry.” Her hands shook uncontrollably.  “Everything’s fine.  Wrong number.”  She hit the ‘end’ button and killed the connection.
     Still clutching the phone, she went back to the living room and staggered out the back door.  The weathered decking which surrounded the tiny little shack she now called home was cold and slimy against her bare feet.  Three hundred a month plus utilities was a steal, even though it needed a new roof and she doubted it was properly winterized.  With a rent to own option, she could fix it up as the money held out. 
     The view of North Sandy Pond was a dance of pinks and golds against a backdrop of cattails and water as calm as a cold grave.  All was quiet except for the occasional honk of the Canadian geese nesting in the marshy areas. 
     She stared off into the distance, aware of her rapid breathing and the crazed whimpers escaping her lips.  She thought she would be at peace here.  She’d thought the past was buried.  Yeah, right.  Any more stupid ideas?
     What was she going to do with him?
     She could bury him, but she didn’t own a shovel, and she doubted she’d be able to dig a hole deep enough.  Nightfall would be in an hour or so.  She could dump him in the water.  North Sandy Pond was a mile wide, if that. Cottages scattered the entire shoreline, but most were empty.  It was only the second week in May.  Most occupants hadn’t come back from their winter homes in Florida.  The Petersons, living to the right of her, wouldn’t be back until June.  Russ Jensen, neighboring in the tiny bungalow on her left however, was resided here year round.  And he was a night owl judging by the soft glow of his computer, which she noticed most every night.
     What other choice did she have?
     She went back inside, found him still unconscious, still staring up at the ceiling. Lifeless eyes had gone from black to slate blue. 
Nobody had eyes that blue.  Christ, nobody had eyes that changed color! 
Gooseflesh raised the hairs along the back of her neck.  She had to do this.
He was well over six feet tall and at least 250 pounds.  How was she going to move him?
Cautiously taking both his wrists, she pulled his arms up over his head and tried to drag him toward the back door.  He was as heavy as a corpse, which was, she supposed, what he was, if, in fact, it was possible for someone to die twice.  He didn’t budge.
     Dropping his wrists, she went to the boxes in her living room which still remained unpacked and found the little discs she’d purchased at the Dollar Store to help move her furniture.  She slid four of them under the body and tried to pull him again.  The discs were as useless as they’d been moving her sofa. 
     Disbelief settling to panic, she searched the tiny cottage.  All she found was the shower curtain she’d just paid $14.95 for.  One of the few things she’d made time to put up since moving here.
     She ripped it down, ran back to the body and fanned it out beside it.  Jumping over him, she rolled him face down on top of the curtain.  At least she couldn’t see his eyes now. 
     Hands shaking uncontrollably, she pulled him into the living room, knocking over a path of chairs and boxes as she went. 
It was nearly dark by the time she hauled the body outside and down the dock. 
You can’t do this.
What other choice did she have? 
     It’s not humane. 
     He wasn’t human.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Excerpt to Stranger In His Bed - Historical Romance

“I won’t hang for horse thievery?”
            “No.  His owner knows I have him.”
            “He’s stolen?”
            “Borrowed.”
            Angus still didn’t believe her, but he resumed combing.  Several moments passed in silence.
            He couldn’t keep quiet any longer.  “You got a husband?”
            “That’s very bold!”
            “It’s a simple question.”
            She didn’t answer right away.  Finally she said, “I’m not in a relationship.  No.”
            Angus set the comb down.  He couldn’t ignore the part of him which was glad.  Not that she’d ever have anything to do with him either.  That, he was sure of.
            “What if I bought out your indenturement?”
            “I’m not—”  She pulled the quilt higher on her neck and turned to face him.  “Why would you do that?”
            “Why not?”
            “Because.  I’m a complete stranger.”
            “No, you’re Cat Sterling, peck of trouble shown up on my doorstep.  Ever think that maybe I feel some responsibility toward you?”
            “Well, don’t.”  She frowned.  “I can take care of myself.”
            “Uh-huh, looks like it.”  He tried to hide his smile, but he was beginning to enjoy himself.  “Ever consider that I might be a gentleman?”
            “Not sitting in my bed, you’re not. Where are my clothes?”
            “Last I knew this was my bed, sweetheart.  So that would make you in my bed.”  He pointed to the trunk.  “Your clothes are in there.  Do you want me to help you dress?”
            Color was growing up her neck and into her cheeks.  “You are an incorrigible bloke.”
            And you are a cock tease, he wanted to say but held his tongue.  He couldn’t remember a time when he’d felt more alive.  There was something about her.  He never acted like this with women.  Cat brought something out in him, something that he didn’t even know existed.  And he liked it.  He liked it a whole lot.
            Reluctantly, he got up from the bed.
            “I’m not indentured.”  She leaned back against the headboard. 
            “Whatever you say, sweetheart.”
            “Where are my weapons?”
            Your weapons?”
            “You don’t believe a woman’s capable?”
            Frankly, he didn’t know what to believe.  Except that Miss Piss and Vinegar was the most arousing, disturbingly complex woman he’d ever met.            
            “They’re under your clothes.”  He left the room without telling her the whereabouts of her artillery.  He had enough problems as it was without arming her.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Down to the wire

This is my last work day and I have five days off for Christmas. I’m so excited.  Work will be exciting today.  The buzz of happiness that starts welling up in everyone.  I love this about Christmas. Love it!
I had a lot of plans for the weekend, last minute details for Christmas, running around doing that, meeting friends for coffee, etc.  However, they’re predicting quite a snowstorm Saturday so I’m putting plans on hold until perhaps Sunday.  We’ll see.  If it’s snowy, I stay inside.  I hate winter driving, hate having my feet wet (and even if I wear boots I always somehow manage to get my feet wet), hate being cold, scraping off the car, all that comes with snowiness.   So I will most likely write Saturday and finish wrapping gifts. 
I’m hoping to get a huge chunk of the second draft of my Soul Catcher  series done this weekend, along with plotting a new and potentially HUGE paranormal series, plotting book 1 anyway. 
So that’s the scoop.  If I don’t blog beforehand, and I’ll try to, have a wonderful Christmas!  Stay warm, love those close to you, and eat lots, read lots, hug lots.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lots of work done

Sunday I got up early and braved the dreaded superstores in order to finish my Christmas shopping in one trip.  I was about thirty miles from home because I basically live in the middle of nowhere.  I brought my pretty green loose leaf notebook and my laptop and stoped at a Panera Bread in the city.  It was late morning and the place was  packed.  I ordered coffee and a four cheese bagel and found a small booth in the back corner where I unpacked my notebook and laptop.
My current work in progress involves a pocket watch, an old one at that, and because I have know nothing about antique watches, I have the green notebook full of reference material; information on watch gears, manufacturers, how to take one  apart and put it back together, etc.   I spread my notebook out and sorted through my pages of scribbling and sticky notes and constructed about ten pages involving watches. 
This was probably the hardest part of the story for me, something I was really dreading, mostly because I was afraid of making a mistake where antiques are concerned.  However, this morning I read over Sunday’s writing, and I like it.  I really like it.
I think the atmosphere of Panera really helped.  The white nose of others’ conversations, people reading or working on their computers and drinking coffee.  I wish we had a place like this closer to home.  My work schedule doesn’t allow me to make this drive every week, but I can’t help but wonder how much more I’d accomplish if I could.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Big sigh of relief

I finished my Christmas shopping this weekend.  Whew...  I get stressed about what to buy people.  I worry they won't like it.  I fret over it until I can't stand it.
Yesterday I found three things that I know the hubster will love.

So I just have to enjoy the holidays.  That is the only thing left.  Only I need to get book 1 in the Soul Catcher series done before end of year.  So the next weeks will be busy.  But I'm accomplishing things, so life is good.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday goals

The week passed by before I realized that this blog post was due.  I’ve struggled to come up with a holiday topic that was both unique and interesting.  I’ve thought about the 2012 goals that I set for myself both personally and professionally, and while there were not a lot of them there was one huge goal and that was to get back to writing again. I’ve done that and am so glad I’ve struggled through.  I am actively writing again, not only writing, but I’ve completed another book this year, something I didn’t expect.  Buying our house was another big personal goal.  The move was a huge issue in my writing going out the window.  So I’m happy to be back.  Happy to be in our new home.  Little things have meant big things to me and I am very grateful.
So onward in this blog post.  The holidays are upon us, and most of us make holiday goals.  I was no different.  Some of the things I did NOT do this holiday season:
Donate time to charity.  Time? What time?  Yeah, that one didn’t even stand a chance.
Bake.  Trying to keep from laughing… yeah, most people get scared when I boil water let alone bake.
Shop at the mall.  I didn’t even go.  I made it to my local super store, was stressed out over that enough, never made it to any malls.
Read a holiday romance. I didn’t make this goal either.  I really feel bad about this one.  I wanted to try a new author or two.
See at holiday movie at the theater.  Back the mall point.  Didn’t step foot in one.

Holiday parties? Nope.  Secret Santa exchange. Na-da.  Holiday booksignings?  Shaking head.
So there you have it.  On one hand I could bow my head in shame, but one the other hand, I really didn’t feel like I missed much.  In fact, I think most of it took some of the stress away this season. 
So what are you doing this time of year?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Goals

I like to make goals for the coming year every December.  Usually after I get caught up with my holiday things that need doing, like Christmas shopping, wrapping, sending out Christmas cards, etc.  I’m pretty well on track for everything Christmas which is really wonderful and unusual being so early in December.  So today I’m turning my attention to goal setting and the things I need/want to accomplish in 2013.  I’ve just begun writing a new series, tentatively titled my Soul Catcher series.  This is a paranormal erotic series.  I want to write all three books in that group.  That’s one goal that will take me through a good portion of the year.
I also want to delve into self-publishing.  Not to say that I’m giving up my publishers.  I’m not, I just want to try a different avenue for certain new books I have on the burner.  I’m really excited about it and I’ll talk more on that later as new developments unfold.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Knee deep in work

Good morning world!  I’m up super early writing the second draft of my newest paranormal, which I’m tentatively calling “Soul Catcher”.   Not loving that title, but it’s a working title for the moment.  I will say the book is by far different from what I’ve written in the past.  Sometimes I wonder where my mind wanders off to, and with this book, I wonder if I need to get it a kid leash to tug it back to reality. LOL!
After Soul Catcher I’m diving into Charmer, my long coming carnival set historical.  I say long time coming because I’ve been writing this book on and off for about ten years.  I just wasn’t right all this time, but now I’ve finally figured out the hero’s backstory, which he’s been kind enough to share with me (finally!) and I’m looking forward to getting it down on paper/screen.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

End of Year

Yesterday, I drove to Syracuse to attend the Central New York RWA chapter meeting.  I always dread the drive into the city.  I hate driving anyway, but the trek seems so long.  I always am glad I went, though.  Yesterday was no different.  We had our annual Christmas party, where were eat wonderful food and go over our goal we made the past year so see where we are, what we’ve accomplished, and how far we need to go for the upcoming year.  It’s very motivating, and oftentimes you get to reconnect with writers you might not see all year.  So, as usual, I’m really glad I went, despite the long drive.
I finished my draft of Soul Catcher (still not sure with that title) and am hard at work into the edits.  I’m hoping to have it available by Halloween 2013 at the very, very latest.  Hopefully sooner.  I was thinking of releasing it as a novella, but I also have two short stories I could punch up in time and release the three as an anthology.   Still not sure.
I’m also editing Charmer which is a very long historical.  I’m putting a lot of effort in this one to self publish, as this book is very special to my heart.  It has a lot of my grandmother in it, her heart and soul. She was the inspiration for it so many years ago.