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    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

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New Year, New Story…

Okay so the New Year has arrived and it’s time to get back to writing.  Shadow’s Soul is out being eviscerated, I mean critiqued, by the other Evil Six so I decided to start the year off write…I began to plot out Raine and Gavin’s next adventure.

But to get to this point took time.  Here’s a little insight into the schizophrenic maze known as a writer’s mind. 

I’ve spent the last few weeks prepping the Prankster Duo, the knight in slightly muddy armor, and the hellhound for the holidays.  We had to hunt down holiday gifts, bind them and then deliver them out to the other Swamp residents.  The Swamp Thing family has had a rough time this season so we had to sneak in late one night to leave their gift on the doorstep in an effort not to be dragged into their “martial discussions”. The Prankster Duo managed to get in and get out without any major setbacks (fires, explosions, dismemberment, etc.) while delivering Smokey, Quirky and Jedi’s gifts.  The knight and I took on the tougher residents. Evading Snarky’s newest whip was perilous and dropping off Eerie and Mischievous’ gifts, well I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say the hellhound was in need of some bone therapy afterwards, and knight’s armor had a few more dents to add to his collection.  Don’t tell Eerie, but I think I lost a blade to one of the shambling hordes.

Regardless, we made it through the season.  The Prankster Duo has increased their weaponry supply with some new additions and they’ve been tormenting the zombies scuffling through the Swamp.  The hellhound was quite pleased with his decapitated duck and unidentified leg bone.  Overall it was a lovely Holiday!

While hunting down and setting sneaky traps for our holiday gifts, I decided to pare down the towering pile of nightstand books and got caught up with some of my favorite stories.  When I finished with that, it was time to face the ominous quest looming on my horizon… the creation of my next book.

For those not familiar with a writer, let me explain why your writer friends seem to morph into bi-polar maniacs with multiple personalities in-between their Works in Progress (aka WIPs).  We all fear the blank page or screen that mocks us with its whiteness. 

Typing the last word on your last story is a relief, until you realize you have to start all over again.  Regardless if you’re doing a stand-alone or a series, beginning a story is terrifying.  Let’s follow along with my neurosis as I begin a new WIP.

First question that hits—can I do it?  Can I really get another three to four hundred pages that will keep a reader on the edge of their seat? Am I all tapped out? Was writing that last book, was that it?

A few deep breaths and a handful of chocolate later I’ve managed to smash that stupid voice into silence.  Yes, I’m a writer, damn it, I can do this.  I’ve done it before.

Next question—so do I continue with Raine and Gavin or do I let other characters have their own story? Should I go back to that other story line and take a break from Raine? If I continue with Raine, I’ll have to pitch to my editor for book three, if I don’t I’ll have to go back out to the vicious world of pitches and throw myself on the mercy of another editor.  What to do?

I re-read the 125 pages I have of the other WIP and it hits me…this isn’t going to work without some major re-writing.  Where do I start? Should I throw it away and just start from scratch? I mean, I really like some of it, but other parts are going to have me sporting a Sinead O’Connor look real quick.  Oh man, maybe it’s not so smart to go back to that one just yet….okay let’s think about Raine. 

What do I need to do next? Where is the overall story arc going? Every book has to accomplish something or why write their story? Fine, let’s torment the newly established couple, throw in some twists and turns and then…miracle of miracles, words are spitting across the page.  A plot emerges.  This is good, I haven’t lost the ability yet. 

Okay so I have a plot, but I’m still thinking this year I’d like to get two books done, so where do I focus?  How do I choose which gets to be done first? The massive re-write or begin Raine’s latest adventure?

Dear God I think the voices in my head are going to stomp my brain into mush and it will leak out of my ears and then neither story will get written.  ARRRGHHH!!!

I manage to piece together Raine’s story and I’m turning over how to re-write the other story, but in the meantime those around me are giving me a wide berth.  Maybe it’s the fact I’m continuously mumbling under my breath while wildly gesturing to get the voices to lower to a dull roar, or maybe it’s the fact that while eating a lovely dinner with family, I blurt out, “She’s being hunted by a psychic psychopath!”

Chairs scrape a few more inches away from me, the Prankster Duo just shake their heads, and knight simply responds in a gently voice, “Do you want some more chocolate, babe?”

And the year has barely begun…

Wicked!

May I present….

Today I’m suppose to meet up with Raine McCord at this little pub downtown called Zaranas. Checking out the notes in front of me, I mentally review the few bits of information I’ve been given.  Employee of Taliesin Security located in Portland, Oregon.  This security company is run by CEO Ryan Mulcahy, her boss.  Physical description: 5’5”, black hair, grey eyes.  Job title: Security Officer.

No hint of her real role in the shadowy world of the Kyn.  It amazed me how most people were so blithely ignorant of the existence of beings who were “other” for lack of a better term.  All those fairy tales used to scare little children, the dark truth the stories spawned from, all true.  And those in the know had to have some seriously high government level security clearance.

I tap my fingers on the sticky table top. Nothing on paper about the few little hints I’ve picked up around the fringes.  Whispers she was part of some black ops type group who kept the truly monstrous Kyn from breaking out into the light.  Whatever the case, I was a little nervous about this meeting.  Now I’ve met my share of bad-asses, but this case, it seemed tougher than my norm.

A cold breeze swirls around my jean clad legs.  Portland, Oregon.  Sheesh.  There was a damn good reason I spend most of my time in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.  The dripping discomfort currently glistening in the gray streets, by the gray buildings, matched the gray everything.  I sighed.  Maybe that wasn’t totally fair,  the few weeks of spring up here could be downright beautiful.

The chair across from me scrapes across the floor, a high pitch wail of sound that has me jerking to attention.  The woman currently flowing into the seat had me catching my breath.  Ooookkkaayy…I may be totally in love and lust with my hubby, but this woman…she’d make anyone stare.  The strange sensation of sitting across from a dangerously sexy predator was better than any mesmerizing spell a witch could cast.

“Jami?”  Her voice was all smoke and mists, twisting and twining around me. Dark hair pulled back from a sharply angled face, silvery eyes that I would in no way classify as a simple “gray”, watches with a disturbing intensity.

“Ms. McCord?” I wish I could sound half that cool and composed.

A faint twist of lips, probably supposed to be a smile, appear briefly.  “Raine.”

I nod, a little too frantically.  Pulling myself together, I clear my throat and try this thing again. “Raine, then.  Thank you for coming.”

A careless shrug of shoulders.  “Taliesin is always willing to work with our counterparts in the government.”

Oh, someone was not happy about having to meet with me.  “So basically you’re following orders?”  Can’t believe I asked that, but I always prefer honesty to game playing.

Another quick quirk of lips.  Guess she likes honesty too.  “Have to earn a paycheck somehow.”  She settles back, crossed those boot clad legs at the ankle.

I recognize the movement for what it is, I’ve been with too many soldiers not too.  A move meant to appease your companion into thinking you weren’t a threat. Yeah, not happening here. She may make men drool but only a fool would tangle with her.

“I appreciate the time.”  I decide it’s time to get this meeting underway.  “So, did Mr. Mulcahy explain why I was sent?”

She doesn’t answer, her eerie gaze unwavering.  Fine, then. Pulling teeth from a lion would probably be easier, but I had to follow orders too.

“My bosses”, who would remain unnamed, “are concerned with the possibility of a threat from your community to ours.”  Arrgh, I so hated talking in vague circles, but all the security clearance in the world wouldn’t stop the guaranteed panic which would ensue if our conversation was overheard by the wrong people.  Like anyone not sitting at this little table.

The slightly amused expression disappeared as a cool indifference took its place.  “What kind of threat?”

Instead of answering, I push over the small stack of black and white photos from my nifty little folder.  Pictures speak a thousand words, a hell of a lot more concisely than I ever could.

The dark green long sleeve shirt sleeve rides up to expose a brief glimpse of strange scars wrapping around the wrist.  The image makes me wonder about some other stories I’ve heard.  Also makes me wonder if I dare to ask.

Long fingers topped with short nails, capture the images dragging them closer.  No change of expression as she examines the horror done to a couple of young college co-eds.  “You sure it’s not one of yours?”

I shake my head,  “Not this time.”

She pushes the pictures back over the table. “Why?”

“What was left behind, couldn’t have been ours.  One of yours maybe, so we thought we’d ask if you’d heard anything lately.”

Silence answers.  I wish I could get some insight into what was going on in her head.  I’ve got a gut feeling she might actually know something.  Nightmares come in all shapes and sizes, and right now my bosses wanted this taken care of before Joe Q Public caught wind of it.

“I’ll ask around.”  She sits up straighter in her chair.  “Anything else you can give me?”

I shake my head.  Raine gets up to leave and I find words coming out of my mouth, even though my brain is screaming “Danger, Will Robinson, danger”.   “Raine, can I ask you something? It has nothing to do with this. It’s personal.”

Her lean body stills, and the air around us tightens. “Maybe.”

I force myself to meet those unsettling silvery eyes.  “If I had specific information on a certain entrepreneur and his company, would you be interested?”

It was like watching a body turn to stone.  “Who?”

My throat aches, and my stomach tightens as cold slices to the morrow of my bones.  I need someone to take down the monster who haunts my nightmares, and if my sources were right, the hunter I needed was standing in front of me.

“Talbot.”  The cold expands, nerves and dread scraping muscles from bones, leaving weak skin behind.  I pull out a small flash drive containing the names of men who should have been put down years ago. I can’t stop my hand from trembling.  The risk was huge, but the payoff meant I might be able to make it through one night without screaming.

I drop my gaze unable to maintain eye contact as fear, anger, helplessness, resentment, a mishmash of every ugly emotion rolls through me.  I may not be strong enough to stop these human monsters, but here’s hoping the hunter in front of me could. What was that old saying?  It takes a monster to hunt one? Sounds good to me.

The flash drive disappears and does the woman I’ve just sent out hunting.

“Good luck, Raine.”  I have a sick feeling she’s going to need it.

–Wicked

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