What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Lynn Rush, author of the Wasteland and Violet Night Trilogies, is running a fun blog hop with a $250 grand prize. Lynn’s site is the hub. Click on the graphic to get there. Visit the blogs and complete the Rafflecopter tasks for changes to win.

To play along with the theme of “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” I am posting a deleted scene from January Black. It’s one of my favorite scenes, but it was necessarily cut when I rewrote the middle third of the book. (Those who have read the book will understand the significance of the maple leaf. *wink*)

Early on the evening of Matty’s birthday, Iris walked into the courtyard garden to find him lying on the stone floor, his feet propped on the chaise, a book saddled on his chest. He twirled a red maple leaf between his fingers as he stared at Wolfgang, the brightest star of The Maestros constellation and one of the few visible in Aventine. She picked the book from his chest and read the spine: The Sonnets. She flipped it around and read aloud from the page.

“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries and look upon myself and curse my fate, wishing me like to one more rich in hope, featured like him, like him with friends possessed, desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, with what I most enjoy contented least.”

She stopped to take a breath. He recited the rest from memory.

“Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, haply I think on thee, and then my state…”

She sat down at his head, and replacing the book on his chest, she looked down at him, at his tousled hair, his eyes sparkling in the lamplight.

“…like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate, For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings that then I scorn to change my state with kings.”

“What are you doing on the ground?”

He caressed her cheek with his finger and twirled a gold curl around his finger. “Counting my blessings.”

For the first moment in months, she felt like the chasm between them was all in her mind and had never been there at all.

I hope you enjoyed this special moment between Matty and Iris. Please visit Lynn Rush’s blog to see more Valentines’ themed posts!


The Look Challenge

Kendall Gray posted a “look” challenge on her blog, and tagged everyone who happened to read it. And, just now, I did. The idea is that you open your manuscript, search for the word “look” and post the paragraphs surrounding it. My January Black file is never closed these days, so I’m posting a teaser of that. At the end, I’ll tag some more authors.

It didn’t matter how much planning went into the king’s parties. Behind the scenes, they were always organized chaos. Just inside the door, there were a hundred people it seemed, some coming, some going, all walking quickly and with a purpose. Beyond them were the double doors that led into the Grand Corridor.

Iris dove into the crowd. She shoved past a woman with a mop, and then ran into the back of a man with a fire extinguisher. Each push earned her a scolding. Voices from all around her spoke her name, until it was the one word that could be made out above the din.

She didn’t apologize or even acknowledge any of them. She just wished they’d take the hint and get out of her way.

Finally, Iris reached the doors and jerked them open.

Faces wearing glittered and feathered masks turned toward the open doors. Iris froze in place, momentarily halted by the scorn she saw in their eyes. She broke free of her stupor and darted into the middle of them, ignoring the startled gasps of the women and angry demands for security to take her away.

She wondered as the Regents did where the palace police were, but she didn’t dare stop to look around. It hurt to breathe but desperation pushed her onward, chasing questions toward a destination that seemed horribly far away.

Had Matty slept at all? Or did he just wait until she drifted off to slip out of the room? Could he really have made love to her with his decision made? Did it hurt to walk away? Why was he doing this?

Wasn’t I enough?

Fellow blogging authors, give us your first “look.”

The Next Big Thing

So, my lovely Crescent Moon Press sister JR Tague tagged me in a post about her YA Zombie/Paranormal novel “Leveling Up.” The idea of this blog meme is to get a sneak peak of “The Next Big Thing.” At the bottom, I’ll be tagging more authors. If you follow along, you might discover a best seller before it’s released!

What is the title of your book?

January Black

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had a still frame image…a boy in an overgrown garden, looking at the stars. At the time, it was October and NaNoWriMo was about to start. The economy had been a hot mess for a solid year. And I had just purchased Dream Theater’s “Dark Clouds and Silver Linings.” That’s about all I can say without giving something away.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Iris is Taylor Swift, and Hadrian is Ryan Reynolds.

Matty…I have no idea. Jesse Eisenberg maybe.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A deceptively simple question puts a young genius on a collision course with a deadly law.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

JB is under contract with Crescent Moon Press, slated tentatively for release in January. (Wouldn’t that be awesome if it makes the date?)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript.

Five months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Across the Universe, by Beth Revis (maybe?)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Would you believe it was the 2008 financial collapse? I know it’s not a fun answer, but…*shrug*

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There was a bit in JB about a janitor with a 192 IQ who somehow felt that mopping the floor at a county courthouse was the best use of his time. Sadly, the story ran long, so it got cut.

Now, to tag in people. How about…?

Happy Friday!

Lucky Sevens

Lucky Sevens is a writing blog meme. Once tagged, the writer must pull out their present WIP, go to page 77, find the 7th sentence, and the post that plus the next six sentences. Krystal Wade tagged me. Since my present WIP doesn’t have 77 pages, I’m going to take advantage of her gracious permission to cheat.

These 7 sentences are numbers 7-11 of page 77 of a shelved novel.

“What else happened,” Nataju asked, caressing his wife’s arm. Her tattoo healed faster than his. All her injuries did.

“Siilan…” she said with a heavy exhale.

“…the hopeless wonder?…”

“Not so much,” Jiade’s lilt pierced through her sadness. “Briar’s daughter adores him.”

My beta readers have enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll dust it off and submit it somewhere.

Ok. Now I get to pick seven lucky people!

Again, here are the “rules.” Go to page 77 of your WIP (or something else you’ve written), find sentences 7-11. Post. Tag 7 more people. Feel free to cheat.

Thursday Threads: "He stared in horror at the body."

It’s Thursday, and the lovely Siobhan Muir has thrown down her 250 word challenge for the week. The prompt:

He Stared in Horror at the Body

Joey had seen a lot of atrocities during the course of his career. Not just the in the month he had been working for the department, but during his freelance years. And at school before then. In fact, the seedy underbelly of his chosen profession had caught his attention long before he ever gave thought to taking it personally. Others passed by, unknowing and uncaring, but not Joey.

These days when he saw a crime, he called upon the hosts of heaven and hell to avenge the wrong, not caring which arrived first, so long as someone had his back. And then grumbling, he’d set about sorting out the mess.

He stared in horror at the body. She looked like she had been stretched on a rack. Thinking that a girl’s legs went on for miles was one thing…but this sicko tried to see if they could. Arms, too. And neck.

What a mess, Joey thought, rubbing his face with his hands, wondering where he should start first. The unnatural limbs? The emaciated frame? The malnourished, jaundiced skin?

Looking close, he found artifacts in her hair and on her skin. The culprit was cocky, to be sure, but he was getting sloppy.

“Joey, can you fix that image, man?” He swiveled his chair around and pretended his eyes could shoot laser beams. His art director didn’t notice. “We’re due at the imagesetter after lunch.”

“This ain’t an image, Rick,” he growled. “It’s an effing crime scene.”

246 words

Please check out the other wonderful little stories built upon this prompt at Siobhan Muir’s (18+) blog.

"Thursday Threads" Honorable Mention

The fabulous Siobhan Muir (18+) holds a weekly flash fiction contest on her blog called “Thursday Threads.” She provides a line, taken from the winning entry the week before, and participants tell a story using that line in 250 words or less. This week, I gave the Easter Bunny a shout out and misled the judge into thinking my POV was on an acid trip. (I rock!)

Let’s Get This Over With.

“I haven’t been this nervous since…”

The latch closed. The action was careless, not angry, but the sound of the door closing echoed across the linoleum and masonry blocks like a detonation in closed quarters. The concussion rang in his ears, penetrated his flesh, made him want to duck and cover.

He shifted his eyes. On the opposite wall, a white bunny in a vest carried eggs in a basket. Further down the hallway, stick figure drawings hung from a wire by clothes pins. At the end of the hallway, a door opened and a single person walked out. Jon stepped back against the wall, his hand reaching for the sidearm that wasn’t there.

Shit, he thought. The shadow turned into a door half-way between him and the door at the far end of the corridor. He hadn’t felt this exposed since—no, he might have felt safer in Falluja. The only cover available for twenty yards in either direction was a janitor’s cart.

“Jon.” He snapped toward the woman’s voice to find his sister standing in the doorway, impractically dressed for walking in a skirt and three inch heels. She studied him with worry. “Are you ready?”

“Let’s get this over with,” he exhaled and followed her through the door, coming face to face with twenty second graders.

“Class,” she said. “This is my brother, Jonathan Seaver, Sergeant First Class in the US Army. He’s come to talk to us about the children he met in Iraq.”

Thursday Threads: The Scientist

Thursday Threads is a flash fiction competition that Siobhan Muir is hosting on her site. She gives a line and participants tell a story around it in 250 words or less.

“I heard this joke once. Or a parable, maybe…”

The bloodshot ghost paused to drag his smoke. He had manners, tilting his head back to blow his cancer straight up, rather than right at me. They were comical even; the smoke in this dive was so thick that I had needed the glow of neon to find the bar. He put his foot on the metal case beside him and slouched with his smoldering hand draped over his knee.

“You have five monkeys in a cage. The cage has a ladder to the top, and from the top hangs a banana. When any of them touch the ladder, you spray them all with water. When they give up the banana, you swap out a monkey. He doesn’t know about the water, goes for the prize, and the others will beat the shit out of him. Repeat. At the end, you have five monkeys that have never been sprayed with water, and yet, none of them will ever touch the ladder.”

I watched the next plume of smoke curl above his head. It had been so for centuries, Rachel said the last day he recognized her, but it had not always been so.

“The men upstairs like ‘the way things are.’” Ash flew as he flicked his fingers. “It allows for grunt armies and plausible deniability.” He pushed the case with his boot.

“The water hose?”

“No.” He tapped out the cigarette and collected his payment. “The scientist.” He left.

249 words

For more Thursday Threads, visit the comments section of today’s post on The Weird, The Wild, and the Wicked.