Sample Chapter

Four

Jake rolled into his drive and climbed wearily from his car.  Even though it was his day off, it had been a long one.  Parts of it, though, had been entertaining.  He was especially fond of the times he lit Jill’s fire.  No shrinking violet there, he thought.  He didn’t know why that pleased him.  It just did, and he was too tired to think about it.

What he wanted now was a little ESPN and a little peace and quiet, although seeing his mother move about in the kitchen he doubted he’d get much of that.

“Did you eat?”

“Yeah.  Mary Lee made her famous barbeque and took it over to the new neighbor’s.”  He wished he could have bit his tongue off.

“Is that where you’ve been?  What’s she like?  Is she married?  C’mon.  Give up the details.”

Jake sighed.  Better to answer her, he thought, than have her hound him hairless.

“That’s where I’ve been.  She’s divorced, has two kids who are appealing as hell in spite of their ornery mother and she’s planning on turning the place into a riding camp among other things.”

There, he thought, hopefully that would keep his mother off his back for a while.

He was wrong.

“I think I’ll bake a pie and take it over first thing in the morning.”

“Ma. . . .”  Jake said and then snapped his mouth shut.  It would do him very little good to try to discourage his mother.

“Never mind.  You’re gonna do what you’re gonna do.”  He stalked into the living room and flipped on ESPN.  He hoped his mother would leave him alone.

His hopes died as she followed him into the room.

“You know Jake, you are always comparing the women you meet with your ex-wife.  Not all women are like Rhonda.  She was a real piece of work.  Greed, lazy and a natural born liar are her trademarks.  Now you’ve got another one, just like her after your hide.  I would hate to see you alone, but I’d hate it more if you teamed up with that nasty Steffi Brandt.”

“Ma, Rhonda is part of my past.  I’d like to leave her there.  As far as seeing Steffi.  . .  we’ve gone out a few times, but there’s nothing there, so don’t worry.  We’re friends.’

Helen Logan snorted at her son.  “If you believe that, you’re just stupid.  I’m gonna go make that pie and check out our new neighbor.”

“Ma!  What on earth would I do with another woman in my life,” he walked over and kissed the top of her head.  “I have you to drive me nuts.  Now, I’m going to sit here, watch some sports, and then head off to bed.  Zach elected me to give him a hand over at the new neighbor’s.”

Helen patted his cheek and headed for the kitchen.  As she rolled out her pie dough, a small smile played around her lips.

She thought tomorrow would be rather interesting.

The storm woke Jill.  She reached for her phone and flipped it on, checking the time.  Great!  Three in the damn morning!

Thunder rolled and lightening sizzled outside her window.  She decided it would be wise to check the house, make sure all is secure.

Climbing out of bed, she snagged her robe from the back of a chair and securing the belt, made her way into her sitting room.

Her cell phone buzzed and she checked the display, a grimace of distaste flashing across her face.

“What do you want and how did you get this number?” she barked into the phone.

“Heard you got yourself a real nice house and some big plans,” Noah slurred.  “You owe me, Jillian.  You owe me big.  You give me twenty grand and I’ll forget your number and the fact you have my daughters.”

Jill laughed into the phone.  “Threats, Noah?  I don’t owe you a blessed thing and if you actually believe I’m going to give you money on the hope you forget about us, then you are delusional.”

“Your pal the judge made damn sure I didn’t get a dime, Jillian.  I went through a lot to get that money.  Earned every penny and you’re gonna give it to me.”  Jill caught the danger in his voice.

“You earned it?”  Her own voice became deadly quiet.  Had Noah started that fire?  Was he responsible?

Noah said nothing for several seconds and she thought she lost the call until his laughter rang harshly in her ear.

“I earned it putting up with you and those two squalling brats.  You sucked as a wife, Jillian.  Always whining about money.  You hoarded it.  Never wanted me to have any fun.  Oh yeah, Jillian.  You owe me and I’ll be around to collect.  Don’t disappoint me.”

“Sure, you do that, Noah and I’ll have your ass tossed in the slammer so fast your head will spin!  Get this and remember it!  I don’t owe you anything!  I’m not afraid of you!  Don’t call here again!  Don’t contact the girls!  Just stay away or you will greatly wish you had!”

He was still sputtering as she terminated the call.

She realized that her words were true.  She didn’t fear him.

Sighing, she got to her feet, intending to check on her daughters.

The storm raging outside was nothing compared to the storm raging within her.

Worrying her thumbnail, she walked into her daughters’ room, wanting to be sure the storm didn’t disturb them.

Charlie raised his head, gave a half-hearted thump with his tail, and snuggled back on his paws.

Jill was relieved to see the girls sound asleep, Bree snuggled into her blankets in her usual curled up position and Megan sprawled all over her bed.

Jill tucked the blankets around Megan and wandered back to her room in search of some aspirin.  That call from Noah upset her more than she cared to admit.

She would, of course tell Marcus about the phone call, but it worried her.  How did he know these things?

She found some aspirin and dry swallowed them, and then snuggled into her bed.

The storm thrilled her.  It was cozy in her nest of pillows with the plump quilt cradling her.  The knowledge that her own walls surrounded her thrilled her even more than the storm.

The rain beat tiny fists against the windows while thunder rolled and lightening sizzled.  The wind, tore at the doors with such ferocity, Jill raised her head and looked, expecting to see them blow open.

Lightening flashed and she bolted upright in bed.  Her stomach clenched and fear raced up her spine with clammy hoofs.

Standing at her doors was the figure of a man.  A slightly built man.  Every inch of the man threw out rage.

In the glare of lightening, she could see his hands clenched at his sides, his legs spread wide, and his feet planted as if to do battle.

“Not Noah,” she whispered.  “Too short, to slight to be Noah.”  She didn’t know why that calmed her, but it did.

She bolted from her bed, racing toward the door wanting to check the bolt, but in the next lightening flash, she could see the man was gone.

Terrified now, she ran into her daughters’ room and checked the doors.  She did the same, checking on her guests.

Marcus and Devin, alerted by her running feet emerged from their rooms.  Jill, almost colliding into them let out a small scream.

“My God!  You two scared the life out of me!”

Marcus looked bemused.  “May we ask why you’re tearing from room to room like a crazy woman?”

Jill took their hands and led them further down the hall, not wanting to risk the children hearing her.

“I was almost asleep,” she whispered.  “It sounded like the wind was going to tear the doors off leading from the verandah into my room.  I raised my head and in the lightening, I could see a man standing at the door.”  Jill took a deep breath.  ”It wasn’t Noah.  He called.  Noah called earlier.  I was going to tell you in the morning.  This wasn’t Noah.  He was too short, too slight.”

Marcus and Devin exchanged glances.  Jill wasn’t exactly a fanciful woman.

“I didn’t imagine this.  He was standing out there!  I know what I saw!”

Marcus patted her shoulder.  “I believe you, sweetie.  Calm down.  We’ll discuss this in the morning.  Vinia and I will be staying over until Monday.  I mean to get to the courthouse and file the necessary papers.  I am curious about one thing.  How did Noah get this number?  Would one of the girls have given it to him?”

Jill shook her head.  “They won’t speak to him.  I’d know.  Bree may not tell me, but Megan would spill the beans.”           Marcus sighed.  “I’ll get his number from you tomorrow.  I’ll have someone run his number and find out who he’s been talking to.”  He hugged Jill tight.  “We’ll get to the bottom of this, but for tonight, let’s try to get a little more sleep.”

Devin patted her cheek on his way back to his room.  “Try not to worry, kiddo.  Dad will get to the bottom of this, but I think you should consider getting an alarm system in here.  Just to be on the safe side.  Ya know?”

Jill waited until the two men returned to their rooms and then did a last sweep through the house.

Knowing everything was secure; Jill returned to her room and fell into a fitful sleep dreaming of Noah chasing her and the girls, a large blade flashing.

Advertisements

HOW HARD IS IT?

How hard can it be?  You just sit and make stuff up and write it down, right?

How many times have we heard that…or variations of the same?

They just don’t get it.  They don’t understand the hours of research that can and often times will go into a project.  They don’t understand the search for the right word or phrase.  They have no understanding how difficult it can be to paint pictures with words AND they don’t understand the re-writing and editing process.

Non-writers don’t get it.  Should we be angry about their lack of understanding?  Well, no.  It’s not their fault.  Maybe the most they have ever written was that theme in grade school…so they, the non-writers, forget how difficult it was to write a theme of perhaps, 100 words or so.

So, when a non-writer asks, “How hard is it?”  Grit your teeth…take a deep breath and pray for patience so you won’t choke the ever lovin’ snot out of the questioner.  Smile and say…”Harder than you think.”

Don’t elaborate.  They won’t get it.

Stay Calm…Happy Writing and Happy Reading!

K

BLOGS

Okay..I admit it.  I’m still new to this blogging stuff, but I’m beginning to see how important it is.

Writers love to share our ideas.  It’s the reason we became writers.  Blogging, on the other hand is a whole different animal.

So, this is what I think about blogging.

First…don’t blog just to blog.  You’ll lose any credibility you may have.

Second…try to keep them short.  Folks don’t have a whole lot of time to spare to read long blogs…BUT the exception would be interviews.  If you have an interview or choose to re-blog an interview…that’s wonderful and a great way to get your own ideas across.

Third…slow and steady is best.  All of us would love to have tons of folks follow our blogs…and I believe it will come a little at a time.  So, be patient.  All good things comes to those who wait.

Fourth…and maybe this is the most important…have fun with it.  If it gets to be a drag and is no longer fun it’s going to reflect on your content.

These are my thoughts, anyway.

Sooooo….Happy Blogging, Happy Writing and Happy Reading.

SUPPORT

No one understands a writer more than another writer.  Civilians, I suppose we could call them, don’t get it.

They don’t understand our being absorbed in a work in progress.  They can’t understand why we pull out our notebooks at inopportune times and make quick notes.  They can’t understand the frustration we exhibit when a phrase or word won’t come.  They can’t understand our elation when the writing goes well…and for sure they don’t get our excitement when the story is told and that new novel or novella or short story is released for others to enjoy.

Writers understand it all.  We understand the groans we let loose when we look at a manuscript and see all those pesky little x’s we put in place of a work or phrase that didn’t come to us right away.  We understand the need for re-writes and good editing and finding that perfect cover.  We understand the need for promotions and marketing and all the rest.

So, with all of that said…it’s important to find good writing groups.  Those groups who will allow us to share not just our work, but the work of other authors/writers.

Sure, we’re in competition.  Competition is good.  But!  We’re not cutthroat people, either.

So…find those groups…share your pages, and like other author’s pages.

I myself have a list of books on my Christmas wish list from other authors.  Not all write in the same genre as myself…but we, as writers need to stretch ourselves and step outside of our comfort zone.

So, support our fellow writers.  Follow or like or whatever their tweets, Face Book pages, Amazon and Good Reads pages.  It doesn’t take that long, but you’ll be amazed at just how wide your world will open up.

Happy Reading; Happy Writing!

K

Book Covers

I’m sure we’ve all heard the old chestnut, “Never judge a book by it’s cover.”  While that is true for almost everything, it simply isn’t true when it comes to books.

What is true is this.  Readers are going to judge our work by our covers.  They have to be catchy, maybe a little kitchy, but they absolutely have to draw the reader in.

A slick cover is essential and it frightens me sometimes when I see that writers are going to make their own.  That only works if you know what you are doing.

Look.  This isn’t rocket science.  A writer is a writer…a cover designer is a cover designer…and rarely will the twain meet.

Leave it to the pros, kids.  It will cost little in comparison to what would be lost with an ill-designed book cover.

Anyway…this is my thought on this.

Happy Writing and Happy Reading.

EDITORS

Editors are a necessary evil.  Without them, I would hate to think what our written works would be like.

That said, let’s take a moment and think just why they are necessary.  Well, we’ve written our novel/novella.  It’s great!  We’ve had some kick-ass ideas and got them down on paper.

Then comes the next process.  The dreaded re-write.  Let’s face it.  After the sixth, seventh or eighth re-write, our brains our leaking out of our eyes and we’re thinking, “If I have to do this one more time, I’m gonna puke.”

Guess what!  This is where a good editor comes in.  Why?  Well, because we’ve been living with this manuscript for months.  We’re going to miss small errors, but a good editor is going to spot them and call you on it.

Then, there’s the part where we know where the story is going, but a good editor won’t.  He/she is going to spot inconsistencies and call us on it.

A good editor will be able to make suggestions, making sure it’s still your voice.

So, a good editor is essential and yes, they can be expensive, but they are necessary.

We, who are indie authors have to ensure our work is the very best it can be.  We’re breaking new ground and getting rid of prejudices every time we pen a new work.  More importantly, though…we owe it to our readers to give them the very best work we can.

So, yeah.  Dig in.  Find a good editor.  Don’t be shy to ask for references.  We’re hiring them, after all.

Happy Reading Happy Writing.

Improving

When I wrote my first book, I thought I knew everything.  Boy, was I wrong.  I look at that book now and think, yeah, it’s okay, but not that fantastic.  I’m grateful my readers didn’t run screaming.

I studied after that, learned more and wrote a second book.  Redemption was much better than Gabriel’s Gate…and I garnered new readers, which is always a plus.

Then, I started my third book.  I hired an editor that is not only a perfectionist, but is brilliant in that she can make suggestions while retaining my own voice.  This work is much tighter.

So, what have I learned?  Well, I learned you don’t have to explain every single detail.  Let the reader use his/her imagination.

I’ve learned you do not have to take the reader one day at a time.  It’s okay to skip a few days and let the reader know that some time has passed in a mini-back story.

I’ve learned that the more you write, the better your work is.  Yes, you’re still going to have to re-write that story…it’s still going to need an editor, but you find, or at least I did, it’s easier to paint the word pictures.  All it takes is practice.

Happy reading and Happy writing.