Stalk me elsewhere

Monday, February 25, 2013

Barbara meets Nathaniel

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Thanks again for taking the time to pay me a little visit. I hope to return the favor, dropping by occasionally, as I can. I won’t bore you with the details; however, work continues to weigh down upon me. I worked another weekend. My wife and I have managed to steal time together, but both work and the writing lifestyle are doing its level best to rob time that should be spent with family. If you don’t hear from me, that’s where I am – with family. Hopefully things will calm down soon.

While I sort things out, over the next few weeks I plan to simply “Let the Music Do the Talking.” I hope Aerosmith will forgive me borrowing that line. What follows is a small portion from my debut novel, Dance on Fire. It is available at for .99. In the piece, our hero, the vampire Nathaniel has just saved a woman’s children from the villain vampire in our story…

“Peace to you,” Nathaniel softly greeted the woman as she came to.

He leaned only so close to her, using the darkness of the room as a veil, as he did not wish to frighten her further, he being yet another stranger inside her home.

She recoiled, pushing herself away from him, sliding back along the carpet. Nathaniel made no effort to follow.

“Who are you?” she demanded to know. She was still much too groggy, and not in any shape whatsoever to be making demands. They both knew it. She closed her eyes suddenly and winced. She brought a hand up to her head.

“Oh,” she grimaced in agony as a sharp pain seemed to take hold of her.

“I happened to be near when I heard your screaming,” he began with a tender voice. “So I...”

“Oh, my God! My babies!” She made a futile attempt to get to her feet.

“Take care!” he said, suddenly out of the darkness and upon her. He took her by the shoulders and pushed her gently back where she lay, careful not to touch her bare skin. “Your children are fine. Nothing at all has happened to them.”

“Swear it!” Barbara surprised him by suddenly demanding.

Nathaniel surprised himself by answering. “I swear it.” He uttered the words without thinking about them first.

In the silence that followed, he found himself contemplating how strange it had been to act in such a way. He wondered why he was still present in the woman’s house.

“Where are they?” she asked, a bit calmer. Nathaniel could feel the woman’s muscles beginning to loosen below his fingers.

“They are safe in their beds, and sleeping.”

“Sleeping?” she asked, incredulously. “How could they be sleeping?” She started to tense a bit. “Just how long have I been out?”

“Not very long. I do not know the exact time, however.”

“What happened to the...the man who attacked me?” She winced again, but seemed to become more lucid.

“I frightened...” The beast, he caught himself about to say. There was no need to go into that with the woman. “I frightened him away just after he had gained entry.”

The woman attempted once again to sit up. She paid dearly for it.

“Ow,” she cried out.

“You are in no condition to stand,” Nathaniel told her. “Please, relax.”

Nathaniel took his hands away from her now. As he did so, he found himself pleased. She seemed to take no notice of his releasing her, just as she had apparently not realized how long he had been holding her down when she had attempted to stand. Could it be that he’d gained her trust in so short a time without even trying to do so?

He watched her for a moment. He was sure she was unable to see much more than his outline, not that she was even attempting to discern it. Her eyes were closed while she dealt with her circumstance. The woman was quite lovely, he determined. This, of course, was not the most optimal time for judging physical beauty. She was disheveled in appearance, both in hair and dress. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying. He detected a trace of blood upon her lower lip, and menstrual bleeding as well, although very faint. Her last day, he surmised.

Yet, Nathaniel could see the woman that she was, beyond this terrible trial. He found himself strangely pleased that he had been able to stop Vincent from shedding blood (at least in this house). Not that Vincent would go to his vile rest tonight on an empty stomach, but he would acquire no blood here. Whether he had desired to kill them all or to simply destroy the mother’s life forever, he was certainly capable of anything. It was a fact that Nathaniel knew all too well, and wished not to think about. He had a great many instances or horrors and degradations safely locked away in the vault that was memory. A vault that recently began to show cracks.

“I must go,” he said softly. A part of him wondered whether she had heard at all. Had she fallen unconscious again? No, there was movement, however slight. Though her eyes remained closed, he continued. “If you must, I will gladly present your babies to you. I assure you, however, that they are well, so you may wish to reconsider.” Barbara could only moan by way of acknowledgement.

“It is settled then.”

Slowly, careful not to touch her exposed flesh, Nathaniel leaned close and swept the woman off of the carpeted floor. In no shape to either argue or attempt to fight him off, she could only interrogate him with the meekest of voices. “Where are you taking me?”

“Momentarily, you shall find yourself in your bed.”

No sooner spoken and it was so. He softly set her down upon it and turned to go.

“Wait,” she whispered after him, as if sensing that she was suddenly alone.

Her eyes fluttered open. He caught her grimace because it seemed even that slight movement hurt.

“I’m Barbara. Who are you?”

“Please, rest,” he said from the darkness of the entryway.

 He could have said nothing. He should have said nothing. He could have ignored the woman and simply vanished from her life and the lives of her family forever. Before he could contemplate anything, Nathaniel found himself shuffling back to her.

Conflicting feelings began to emerge. It felt like ghosts—things about him that had long since died and were thought forgotten. He could still turn now and be away from here; away from this house, from this meager room, this woman, this…

However, something was delaying him from doing so. Whatever it was, it was very strong. Was this some feeling of servitude? He knew of customs in the world where the individuals rescued from death or crisis who felt indebted to their rescuer spent their entire existence repaying the life gained. Why then did he feel some perverted twist upon the old tradition? Why did the rescuer suddenly feel as if he had to dedicate himself to serve the rescued?

He found his feet and started to leave. For good this time, although even then he knew he would be back.

“Wait,” Barbara called out to him. There was returning strength there, but it would not endure. “My husband will want to meet you.”

“I cannot,” Nathaniel quietly responded.

“He'll want to thank you,” she continued as if she hadn't heard his reply. “I want to thank you.”

“You already have.” He cocked one ear. Someone was approaching the front of the house with rushed footfalls. What had taken place tonight had aroused interest, of course. In any event, it was finally time for him to leave.

“I am Nathaniel. I cannot stay. Please, tell no one of what has transpired here tonight.”

“What?” Barbara questioned. “How can I keep this a secret? Why would I want to do that?”

“Please,” he began, but said nothing else. Too much had been said already; too much had been done.

I miss you guys. We’ll talk soon.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Long Weekend

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. As always, I really appreciate you dropping by. I hope you and yours are well. For those keeping track at home I have finally begun to feel better. It’s been nearly three weeks since my allergy shot and it seems to have finally kicked in. Trust me when I tell you that it is no longer irritating to hang around with me. The constant clearing of the throat got on everybody’s nerves. And that was the least of my issues. In any event, I’m better.

It is Sunday night as I type this and I am enjoying the heck out of the long President’s Day Weekend after having worked the past two Saturdays. We just had my parents over for a bar-b-que which was nice. My dad came over early and he and I watched Skyfall together. Are you guys Bond fans? Did you enjoy the newest film? You have seen it, right? If not, come on over. We’ve got the whole Blu-ray Theater System now. Seriously, it very well might be the best Bond ever.

Speaking of films, my wife and I watched the new Soderbergh film, Side Effects. If you can get through the first half which deals with the main character’s depression, played very well by Rooney Mara - then you will enjoy the payoff at the end. The film was worth seeing, but I doubt I see it again. The beginning was just too depressing. Have you seen it? What did you think?

As you probably already know I haven’t been hanging about the social networks as often as I used to. That is due to the workload of the day job as well as my attempt to focus on my writing. I’m going over my WIP at the moment one last time before handing it off to beta readers. Sometime next month it will go to the editor. I’m really looking forward to having a paranormal novel this time around, especially one with romance. I haven’t abandoned my horror roots or anything. I just believe the market is huge there, and I think I’ve got something to add to the discussion, as it were. I shared a teaser last week, and promise to reveal further teasers in time.

For those of you who get a long weekend, enjoy it. I plan to spend Monday morning working on my manuscript before catching up on blogging. For those of you who are simply beginning a new week, I hope it’s a good one. Hopefully our paths will cross at least once.
We’ll talk soon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stop the World, I Just Want to Write

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I thank you so much for the well-wishes as I’ve dealt with my allergy flare-up. Your encouragement really helped. Thankfully, this has been a pretty mild case this year. I feel good and haven’t missed any work, although I sound terrible on occasion, constantly clearing my throat or choking on the dreaded post-nasal drip. I’m making all of the sound effects as I type this to you, but thought I would leave out the graphic details – unlike last week. *grins*

Speaking of the dreaded day job, I hope you’ll forgive my colorful language, but it’s been kicking my ass. The hours are a solid 11 now of triage-like conditions. You wouldn’t have thought that possible with processing and packaging raisins, but it’s true (And I certainly mean no disrespect for those in the medical community). On top of the hustle and bustle, there are lots of Saturdays sprinkled in for good measure.

Anyway, I didn’t come here to talk about the day job. Believe me! It’s the last frigging thing I want to talk about. All I will tell you is I can no longer function on 20% power when I get home, especially as the week nears its end. My inbox is full of blog posts, Facebook or Goodreads Event invitations, etc. I’m just so exhausted now that all I can do is sort through them daily, process the ones that need immediate attention and then hope to deal with the rest on the weekend. What weekend there is, of course! My cough has kept me off the treadmill as well – something I’m not very happy about.

I have managed to continue work on my newest WIP. I have completed another draft and I like where it stands. I’m starting an edit now as I prepare to hand it off to betas. I am still looking for a beta or two, if anyone might be available. Speaking of that, I’ll leave you now with another teaser from the forthcoming paranormal, Ghosts:

We were up early that next day and were already in the tiny breakfast nook area of the hotel when Anne Bircher came walking in and rocked my already fragile world. Ray saw her first.

“Holy shit!” he exclaimed, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

I looked over my shoulder in the general direction of Ray’s gaze and suddenly lost my appetite. Neither one of us said another word. She stood five foot six in her brown heels and green skirt and matching blouse. A long gold necklace hung at the middle of her chest. She sported a short hairdo which perfectly accentuated her face and neck. It framed her well, as if the lovely woman needed any further framing, but we stared at her as if she were the only woman left in the world.

She was the spitting image of Angie.

Ray turned to me, but offered no words. I saw him struggle, and simply touched his arm with my hand. I was engaged in my own struggle. Not only did I no longer feel like eating, but no longer felt like visiting Salinas, California, either. It was uncanny what I felt then. It was as if someone had just ripped off an enormous scab which I had taken great pains in maintaining, which I suppose was true. I saw Ray lift his right hand into the air and wave her over.

“Hello,” she said as she approached our table and I blinked hard when it was Angie’s voice which greeted me.

“Miss Bircher, is it?” Ray asked, half standing.

“Yes,” she answered.

“Good to meet you,” he said. I vaguely saw him extend his hand across the table. I just stared at my plate. “I’m Ray and this is my brother Paul. Please have a seat.” There was a tiny, well-manicured hand in my space then. I took it, gave it the customary shake, but hardly made eye contact with her. And I certainly didn’t stand up. I merely pretended that my half-finished plate of brunch was the greatest food in the world and that I hadn’t eaten in days.

“It’s great meeting you both on such short notice and on a Sunday,” the woman said. “This really works out for me and my schedule. I hope this has worked out for you both as well. I would hate to think that I twisted your arms somehow.” She seemed genuinely sweet, but I was having a terrible time hearing the woman Anne was and not the ghost that was Angie.

“No,” Ray said, taking a sip of his coffee and then setting it back down. “Both of us were free. We came up yesterday and spent the day on the coast.”

“Fantastic,” she said. “Very good.” She produced a thin briefcase that she had carried in and set it down upon the table. “I have paperwork here that we will need to get started, but otherwise everything is ready for us to head over and have a look at the property.” The paperwork had highlighted places where Ray and I were to sign. Lots of them.

“Excuse me,” I asked her, only briefly looking up at her. I couldn’t yet take more than bite-sized portions of her face. “I’m still a bit confused by this whole thing. I don’t even remember this Flora woman, and yet I’m now part owner of her home.”

“That’s right,” Anne replied. “I have a photo of her, if that’ll help.”

She pulled a photo she had clipped to a folder and passed it over. I drank what little remained of my coffee and looked at the face that I didn’t recognize. She had grey hair with streaks of the dark hair that once had been. Whether black or brown, I couldn’t tell. She was unsmiling and serious, as if life had mistreated her. I passed the photo to Ray.

“Everything’s all here and everything has been taken care of,” Anne continued. “You owe no monies and there are funds to cover future taxes, repairs, etc. All that remains is for me to show you the property and hand you the keys, basically. Neither of you may remember your Aunt Flora, but she remembered you.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Ray asked. We signed everything and then headed on our way. 

That wasn’t very scary, was it? See, I’m not all about the horror. ;) I offered you this peek into my WIP in order to demonstrate the relationships that will be developed in and amongst the very literal ghosts that I have for you. There most definitely are scares, but there are sweet moments, too. Now that I have whetted your appetite, I guess I’d better get back to the editing, huh?

If my writing does interest you, you can have the two e-books in my crossover vampire series for $4 bucks.

We’ll talk soon.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Missing in Action

...drip, drip, drip...

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. For those of you who may have wondered whether I was still alive, I can assure you that...I'm not really sure myself, but will let you know. *laughs, then coughs*

As you can see from the above picture, my computer isn't plugged in. Okay, it obviously is now because I'm typing this note Sunday morning after I took that photo; however, I can promise you that it absolutely has stood idle since Tuesday evening. I'm not sure whether that is a modern record for me or not.

...drip, drip, drip...

I believe Tuesday was the last time I climbed aboard my treadmill as well. As you can see it isn't plugged in either. *sigh* Thankfully, I have managed to lose much of the weight I gained during December - for those of you keeping track at home. *grins* I suppose not feeling well will help knock off another pound or two, huh?

A week ago I did some pruning around my house. As you can see from the pile of branches that have yet to be cut up, I haven't gotten back to finish that job. At least the pruning work is done. This part of it can wait.

...drip, drip, drip...

So what's happened, you ask? Although the terrible flu season which swept through the East and Midwest parts of the United States has finally arrived here on the West coast, it appears that I am simply suffering through my allergies. I called the doctor's office last Monday after work, when it had become fairly clear that my allergies had arrived, activating my post nasal drip. Unfortunately, the aforementioned flu season was overwhelming their office and causing me a delay with the needle in the hip. Tuesday morning I will have to sneak away from the day job to finally get that shot. It won't be an immediate thing, but I should slowly begin to feel better.

So, as you can see from the staged photo I have mostly been sitting on the couch and watching television and movies. Nothing too spectacular. I did finally watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and thought it was enjoyable and worth the hype. But other than that I have simply been getting my rest and taking it easy. I haven't missed any work, although it is a miserable business when one must remain near a tissue box and a trashcan  - or a sink - at all times. Yes, as ugly as it is to describe, I wish the constant dripping I have been teasing you with in this post was a dead body hanging overhead. At least then I would feel better. I don't know about the dead guy...

Horror writers, right? *grins*

...drip, drip, drip, deep cough... *grimaces*

I've gotta' run. We'll talk soon.