Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great Unexpectations

Last night, I was thinking of this whole querying process and trying to psyche myself for another round of queries to send out... and I realized that not even one small part of me thinks I'll get published. It's not that I don't think I'm a good writer. I do. There are lots of good writers out there, though. I'm not even depressed, because you have to have ambitions to be depressed. It's just a weird sense that this whole thing isn't my reality. My reality is that I'll be doing the same thing day after day... and there is some comfort in that.

Every query I send out... every contest I enter... it's like this big game with myself. It's pretending. Then, I'll wake up and write or revise just because I can't stop myself. Maybe it's because I have nightmares every night... or maybe it's the reality of coping with the kids. I don't have low expectations.... I have no expectations whatsoever.

Is that odd?

I mean, I have a full and now a partial out, but there isn't any expectation in my mind. I feel sad when I get a rejection, but part of that is just I put myself out there and exposed some part of me that I really care about. My characters are all so honest... even the evil ones that lie, because I know their souls and I write about that. It makes me wonder if I know their souls so well because they're each a part of me. So, that is what makes me sad about rejections.

As I was thinking on all this last night... I wondered if it was pessimism or pragmatism.

It's not like this will change the way I do things... because this is still fun. It's still fun to laugh with agents on Twitter. It's fun to enter contests. It's fun to pretend at this whole "writer" thing.

Okay, this was probably a really weird post. I didn't sleep more than four hours last night or the night before. So, if none of this makes any sense... it's not you... it's me. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bite me, Followers... Contest

So, I chose none of the above..... BAWAHAHA! Because I'm cool, and I can do that. So, for my hundred followers contest, I'll be giving away the hat above (sans the model with the 5 o'clock shadow and romance novel lips... and the cleft in his chin that you sort want to stick your tongue into... but maybe that's just me.) I designed it for myself based on Honor's favorite retort of "Bite me." (We'll be like... twinners. We can wear our hats on the same day.)


1. You must do all the math... because I hate math. Really. So, just post below how many entries I need to write out for you.

2. You must live in the U.S. or Canada.

3. Last Day for Entry is February 28th and I'll draw a winner on March 1st. I'll get you your hat as soon as is humanly possible.

4. Insert any other rules that I should be able to think of but can't.

5. I like odd numbers.


One entry for becoming a follower. Two for already being a follower.

One for mentioning this contest on Twitter, your blog, to your neighbor/mother/dog, in a sky banner, or any other way you feel like doing it. (Maximum of 3 entries this way)

One entry for becoming Honor's follower on Twitter and two for already being her follower on Twitter. One entry for being daring enough to hashtag her with #reeveishot (or #honorisshort for the men-folk.)

Beta readers get an extra entry for everything I've put you through. (I still might end up sending out Honor-autographed hardcopies to some of you for all your help. Thank you so much.)

Like I said... let me know how many entries to fill out for you.

Once again... that hat comes WITHOUT the model. I know. Le sigh.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Whoops Blogfest Entry-- Rugskating

We're supposed to post a clumsy moment from one of our manuscripts. This is from "A Little Crazy Talk" and I don't think it requires much explanation.

Three minutes later, I rushed down the hall and slid on Summer's hall carpet.

Who keeps a circular rug in a hallway with polished wood flooring? Summer was just lucky I discovered this before Ike played human bowling or something.

I felt less lucky as I pulled some crazy figure skating moves (which wouldn't have been possible in a skirt.) I nearly collided with Julio, but he has really good reflexes after four months of me tripping and crashing into him. He moved at the last second, probably after hearing the first pirouette, and grabbed me before I hit the ground. I winced and quickly buried my face in his shirt.

Seeing the wince, he asked in concern, "Are you hurt?"

I could hear Summer and Steve trying desperately not to laugh until they found out I was okay.

I kept my face buried and muttered, "I'm okay. I'm just very, very embarrassed."

Steve and Summer gave up the fight and guffawed.

I didn't think people actually made that noise, but now I do. They guffawed all over… loudly.

Apparently, Steve, who'd had the best view, said that he would have given me a high score for creativity and execution.

Julio showed the most restraint, and just held me long enough for my cheeks to fade to something less violet crayon shaded. I couldn't see his face, but at least he wasn't shaking with silent laughter.

He did say, though, "I had no idea mornings were so exciting for you." He tried to shoo Summer and Steve off, but made the mistake of saying "show's over."

This brought new peals of laughter from them that followed us out the door.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My lucky day... for followers

In reality, a lot of things have gone wrong today--including I gouged the front end of the car on a parking rail. UGH.

On the other hand, I have over a hundred followers. Yay!!! I'm trying to decide what to do to celebrate. Here are some ideas I have... of varying degrees of intelligence.

1. Giving away my hardcover copy of Shiver
2. Giving away an Amazon giftcard
3. Giving away one of my hardcopy beta copies of Honor Among Thieves... possibly signed by Honor... for fun.
4. Something so completely random that I haven't conceived of it yet.

Any opinions, advice, or comments about this... or really any subject?

If you look to the right side of the blog, you'll see a "Company of Him" Series image. I figured even if I don't ever query those... they're fun to yank quotes from. So, I've got excerpts and summaries from each of those ten in their own special little blog.

So, that's what is on my mind today. I've been distracted... and a rash of unlucky issues has me crabby, so this might be the most brilliance my brain spits out today. (I know, pathetic, right?)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Honorary Post about All Things Honor

Four years ago, Honor woke up in a meadow... naked... yes, naked and with no memories whatsoever. Well, she knew her name was Honor but that was it. She was immediately chased by a shadowy monster, but she escaped with the help of local campers. In the hospital, she discovered she was completely colorblind among other things. They also pointed out that she was short. (They got kicked for that.)

Life is not kind to the cute and short... and after she left the hospital, she was picked up by someone who assured her that they knew who she was. Instead, she was drugged and thrown into a closet where a madman calling himself "Laird Tiger" told her that she was about to be tested via running for her life. If she lived... she'd be the new "Mrs." If not... well... the others hadn't. Not one to be intimidated, Honor told this freak where he could shove it. He cut her wrist and did something with their blood that meant they could speak into each other's minds. When she grabbed his nostrils and slammed his face against her closet door, her running started early. He sent more of those shadow monsters after her. She escaped him... and the shadow monsters... but the darkness has followed her these four years.

Honor moved whenever Laird Tiger would find her. She'd never seen his face but his voice dogged her steps as did the shadow monsters she took to calling Vugs. Discovering a penchant and ability with a knife, she killed the Vugs by stabbing them in their giant glowing eye. That's been her life for four years. You can't exactly form healthy relationships when the darkness moves and hunts you. She stayed too long in L.A. and Vugs killed her roommate and best friend, Pamela.

After learning to kill the Vugs more effectively, she moved to Seattle where she is followed by these strange pale men that she's run across before. One night, one of them is attacked by a Vug while following her. She doubles-back to save him and is slashed by the angry Vug. Though dying, Honor tries to do mouth-to-mouth but the man keeps muttering strange things including "I'll give you what is mine to give" and telling her he is "Hunter Thief." Their blood is mixing. Utter chaos... even before he melts into the ground and vanishes. When she arrives home, she's completely healed besides this weird scar on her wrist that looks like an arrow made of ivy.

Soon after, another guy starts following her. He has silver hair and eyes... and strange ways, but he's also smoking hot. So, of course, she yanks out her switchblade, Tuck, and threatens him in a book store. This guy has the nerve to tell her that she is marked for death and she is dying. THE NERVE! He keeps asking her about the guy... the guy she'd seen melt into the ground. He keeps following her and, in a nearby park, he pledges to give her whatever she asks for in exchange for her story regarding "Hunter Thief." To seal the pledge, he cuts his hand and her hand... which Honor was totally not on-board with. He also licks his hand... and commands her to lick hers. (She's already learned he can work some sort of mind mojo and control people.) After they've sealed the handshake, Honor is bound to finish the pledge.

Deep beneath the city of Seattle, Honor finds the caverns of Vampire and another race called Hunters or vampires. Born of Father Rock and Mother Earth, they're not the monsters of legends. They exist to keep the mortals, offspring of elementals and Mother Earth, safe as they go about their lives above-ground in Empire. True--vampires are immortal and their blood is used to create binding pledges, but they're the guardians that keep the mortals--Beings--safe from the shadow monsters known as Shifts. Beings can't see the Shifts nor can they see their immortal half-siblings, vampires, unless the vampires wish it.

The one Honor just bound herself to--is a Steward whom she calls Reeve. However, Honor isn't dying of the Shift bite that has marked her. She is a Shadow Hunter, the daughter of Mother Earth. That pledge Reeve made... to give her whatever she asked for... wasn't finite. That other Hunter she'd seen die had been a vampire Thief and had traded his life-force for hers. Honor is the newest member of the Seattle Sovereignty and Honor Thief.

In Honor Among Thieves, Honor must find her place in this weird new world and outrun Laird Tiger. She'll kill a bunch of Shifts along the way, because that's what Shadow Hunters do best. When they're all a pile of ash... it'll be her and the new guy, Reeve... who looks so hot when he fights.

Key Players:

Shift/Vugs= Formed by violent emnity--there are always more in this violent world. Shadow Hunters can see their giant eyes to stab as well as the six inch retractable claws, monster teeth, and their eight foot forms made of liquid rock but vapory as shadow. Honor favors throwing stuff at them and has wicked aim. Vampires see a "Shift of shadow" and kill by climbing them and stabbing. Shifts eat humans. They prefer to bite them and then wait for their poison to cause the human's blood to boil. It's like calling for a family bbq... and boiled blood is the scented invite. They also like Honor's blood even though she and vampires are immune to their poison. They REALLY like Honor's blood.

Honor= Shadow Hunter, short (but pissy about it), cute (even more pissy about that), and color-blind. She wears camo, attitude, and her switchblade named Tuck. She's been killing Shifts practically since she woke up. She's haunted by her friend's death and has vowed to wipe the earth from its never-ending supply of Shifts. Her favorite retort: "Bite me." She's also known for being a poet of profane hand gestures. Oh... and for the first time in her four year life, she is hot for a male... who just happens to be bound to her. Talk about your lucky breaks.

Reeve=Vampire aka Hunter. Over four hundred years old. His calling as Steward means that he takes care of those above and below ground. He is forced to kill those poisoned by the Shift's bite in order to dispose of their bodies before their blood boils. He's bound himself to Honor... thinking she'd be dead within hours. Vampires aren't known for emotions--they're trying to learn them by associating with the emotional mortals of Empire. Honor is certainly helping him experience some emotions. After all, he likes weapons... she likes weapons. He likes the way she smells and biting her... she keeps shouting "Bite me." There could be worse things.

The Master= Master vampire of the Seattle Sovereignty which includes Thieves, Warriors, Trackers/Scouts, Provision Hunters (vampires only eat the meat of carnivores), a Healer, Keeper, and a single Steward. He's closing in on his thousandth birthday... but doesn't look a day over twenty-five.

Ming's= Honor's favorite Chinese restaurant

Canadian Donuts= Honor's favorite food

Whipped Cream= Honor's favorite condiment

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's the end of the sanity as we know it... and I feel fine.

So, as a... literary experiment... I put Honor on Twitter yesterday. Psychotic? Possibly. Reason? Mostly because it just seemed fun, but also... for more exposure for her. I have a question, though. I know there are seven of my followers who will "get" what Honor is talking about, but I'm not sure about the rest of you. I'm wondering if I should post some sort of explanation on the world of Honor... or what... What do you think?

Also... is this idea just so lame... or crazy that I ought to up my dosage of medication?

I'm still waffling on the whole Honor to DAW thing, but I think I'm going to send it. Maybe. Possibly.

Re:Straint is out in that submission contest with Knight Agency. Scorched is out in Full from that pitch contest. Two agents have queries on Honor (but I'm considering calling them six weeks silence same as no.)

That's my life in a nutshell. (Help! I'm in a nutshell. How did I get in this gigantic nutshell?) Yeah... I didn't sleep well last night. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday

I have so much to do today, but my asthma is already kicking my tail. This does not bode well. So, I'm still trying to decide on what to work on now. I'm also still trying to decide what to query and so on. Gah... clearly not a good day to be making useful decisions.

I have decided, however, that I'm going to send in Honor Among Thieves to DAW. Magic 8 ball doesn't think it's a good idea, but you really can't trust them not to be biased. I had it sent out on query, but I think I can assume I got their six weeks "no reply-not interested." It's really difficult for me not to rant about this subject. Give me a form rejection over no reply. Anyway, life moves on. So, I really need to push through Honor... again... and print it out. I might beg some query/cover page help on that this week.

Other than that... B and T are at school today. T had a rough start this morning. (Going back after a holiday is always tough.)

I was busy with a Twitter project this morning and was late to Yoga... by a lot. Then, one of them asked if I had a job in the morning and that's why I was late. Doh! (Of all the things to fess up to... yeah... awkward. Nothing like admitting to a room that you're going public with an imaginary friend.)

So, this morning, I have dishes to do. I should clean. More laundry. Blah blah blah and so on. Hopefully, my lungs start working. Happy Wednesday. For those of you that don't celebrate Wednesday... Happy pre-Thursday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love at uhh... no sight... blogfest entry

So, I've been talking about my favorite of my stories for a while now. "Stories and Magic." As a refresher, it's the story of a woman who illustrates children's books and has become a shut-in agoraphobic. (She can't go outside and hasn't left her apartment for three years. She hasn't let anyone new in her life for years... and won't answer the door to any but a select few.) A guy moves in below her and his balcony is right below hers, though they can't see each other. He talks to her on her balcony and sets up a webcam for her to see him. They don't see each other face to face until half-way through the book. It's long, but I wanted to set the mood so you'll know why I like this scene. Anyway, here is the scene:

Just as the video window popped up on my computer, I heard Scott start playing drums. He’d mentioned them, but I hadn’t noticed them yesterday. I couldn’t see him on the camera, so I wondered if his drums were in another room. I knew nothing about drums, but he sounded fantastic. Loud… but fantastic. I lay down on my couch and listened. After about a half an hour of drum solos, I heard a doorbell. I got up to go get it, but couldn’t see anyone through my peekhole. Scott answered his door—it had been his door. After a murmured conversation, he shut the door and walked straight through his place throwing his drumsticks with a sigh. I followed his progress over to his balcony with my own steps.

“Juliet?” he called when I stepped outside.

“A famous musician wants me to illustrate a children’s book with an accompanying CD of music,” I said, sitting down.

“Who?” he asked.

“I don’t know, and I don’t find out unless I contract to do it.” I lay down with my back on the cement, staring up at the sky that was shades of purple and pink from the setting sun.

“I can see your hair—it’s beautiful.” I was pretty sure if my hair could blush, it was. “It must be long,” he added. “It looks just like it did in the sketch. It’s all wavy. That’s cool.” I could feel the soft tug of him touching my hair, but I tried to stay still.

I cleared my throat and said, “I have to go do it in his recording studio, though.”

“Hmm. Do what?” he asked, distracted.

I laughed and said, “You’re not listening anymore.”

“No,” he agreed. “I have a really short attention span actually. Your hair looks like the color of gold in the sunlight. How long is your hair?”

“It’s down to my waist.”

He stopped touching my hair and said, “Okay—sorry—musician—book—you don’t know who.”

I turned over onto my stomach, putting my chin on my hands. “I have to go to his recording studio in New York City to do them. He says it won’t be right otherwise.”

“Ohhh,” Scott said in understanding.

“My agent needs an answer in two weeks. He asked if I could try meds or therapy. If I don’t do it, the guy isn’t going to do it. He says his kids liked my books.”

“So, no pressure or anything, huh?” he asked dryly.

“I’m pretty sure this is entirely your fault,” I grumbled.

This surprised a bark of laughter out of him. “How is that again?” he asked.

“My life was boring and according to schedule before you came, and I was sort of happy with it.”

“I could leave,” he offered.

“No….” I sighed. “It’s too late.”

“Hmm. I didn’t think I could feel any crappier today, but being compared to the plague—managed it.”

I laughed and said, “No, well—I wasn’t really happy before, but I was convinced I was because I was finishing ‘to do’ lists. Actually BEING happy is a lot more complicated.”

“Well—that’s a little better,” he admitted.

“Your drum playing sounded really good.”

“Good… That was the end of it for a really long time. Apparently the man beneath me is homebound and has a heart condition. I know it’s not like a rock and roll drummer to cave to ‘the man’ but, drumming isn’t literally life or death for me.”

“Oh—your news is worse than mine,” I said. He clearly loved drumming. I wanted to help him. What could I do? “What about if your drums were up here in my apartment?”

“Do you play the drums?” he asked.


“Then, why would there be drums up there?”

“So, you could still play.”

“So, I would be up there with my drums?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, and then quickly followed it up with, “But not right now!”

He laughed. “Of course not—that would be crazy.”

I groaned and stuck my hand down. “Okay—here is my hand—slap your face against it,” I said in irritation.

It surprised me when he put his face against my hand, but my mouth dropped open when he kissed my palm. His fingers twined between mine, and he brushed his lips against my wrist and the tips of my fingers. My face felt hot, and my stomach started doing funny things. His lips felt really soft against my wrist. I looked around, thinking, “We’re out in plain sight… anyone could see what you’re doing to my hand.” His breath felt hot and sensual. Finally I just laid my cheek against the cool pavement, and closed my eyes. I was pretty sure it must be obscene—especially when his teeth brushed against my hand, but I’d been good for far too long anyway. Then he started taking nipping bites of my skin. I felt completely edible. Mmm. My heart was dancing. Wow. I’m pretty sure I’d never felt anything this good.

Then, he stopped.

He asked softly, “Juliet, can I come up?” and it brought me back to my senses, and my heart started pounding for a different reason.

I swallowed, pulling my hand up, while I sat. I could let him come up. My cheeks felt hot. No, I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. It was too soon. No one new had seen me for—a long time. What if he didn’t like me? Sure—he seemed to like my hand, but my hand was a very small part of me. Plus, he’d just totally seduced my hand, and it was so hot—wow—it was hot. It would be strange and awkward to have him here after that, wouldn’t it? The seconds dragged on. We sat there, and I kept trying to convince myself it was going to be fine, but none of my limbs would listen.

He sighed and said, “Sorry—too soon still? I’m kicking myself right now.”

Reeve Speaks--Morgue Scene excerpt from Honor Seven

No matter how many times I stand beside their bodies hearing the subtle crackling of their flesh cooling and smelling the decay of organs creeping towards death—it never changes the feeling that it wasn’t meant to end like this—not for Shantel Cummings—not for any of them.

There were a million other scents in this room of death—some from the room itself—some from the building that housed so many living and dead. None was pleasant—not to me. Sometimes, I challenged myself to establish how long the scent had been present and where it had come from. When had the female at the front desk returned from her repast of eating some sort of curry flavored dish? How long ago had the heavy floral-scented female walked by this room? What about the older male whose body was terminally ill—what had he been carrying into the office two doors down thirty-six minutes ago? Today, I did none of that, though.

I blocked it all out and forced into my mind the scent of her. Sweet. She smelled sweet like something creamy and decadent. I knew her scent so well that it was tangible in my mind, and I could block out this mortality that hung around me like a shroud. Beautiful. Never had I imagined an odor to be so, but hers was. I concentrated on it until I could taste it on my tongue.

Her curling, long, black hair was scented slightly differently from her pale, ivory skin.

I’d switched out her shampoo again, trying to find the least fragrant concoction so that it wouldn’t detract from the smell of her. I’d washed all of the vile fabric softener from the three batches of clothing I’d used it on—so it was no longer over-powering, though it was still there in subtle trace amounts. She’d liked it, but it was a slight scent to her—though stronger than her own smell.

Sometimes, she wore moisturizer on her skin—though it was rare. I was grateful she wasn’t enamored of cosmetics of any kind. I was, on occasion, grateful that she was as small as she was. At four foot ten, her shorter-than-average frame was so sweet-smelling that—were there any more skin—she’d be irresistible. I’d thought of mentioning this to her, but she didn’t take comments regarding height so lightly.

It was unfortunate that I had to share her scent with my Brethren. I’d wanted to insist they ignore it, but it was hardly a rational request—I’d known that even before the Master had laughed when I’d admitted to it.

When her heart sped up, the perfume of her body wrapped around me as her blood warmed her skin. Its heat slipped into the air so quickly and so completely that it seemed to defy all laws of the physical world. Perhaps it was just because I was constantly waiting for it—inhaling it into every inch of me the moment it passed from her skin—absorbing it into me—wishing it was her inside me and not just the scent of her skin. Beautiful.

I was so focused that my mind bridged the twenty-three miles between us.

‘Hey, Shiny,’ she said in my head.

‘Hi. What are you doing?’

‘Is this the mental line of what are you wearing?’ she asked, amusement in her voice.

‘What?’ Often, she was a few emotional steps ahead of me in idioms.

‘Never mind. I was just getting ready for bed.’

My mind quickened at the thought. She was getting ready for bed. I had a much better reason to be done with this. I searched the scents around me briefly. One of them would be due to return to this room soon. I could wait—a few minutes. The impulse to return to her side was intense. It nearly broke through hundreds of years of forced behavior and control.

‘What are you doing?’ she asked.

I looked around the cold room that tried for a clinical sterility but really was anything but. There was no reason for description, and I’d learned that she wasn’t asking that. She was asking for a time not an action. It was a learned pattern of speech.

‘Just finishing up,’ I said.

‘How bad?’ There was so much sweet concern in her voice. It was nearly my undoing on patience to leave.

‘Not too bad. I arrived soon after it happened. She told me she was dying anyway. She had nothing to settle in her mind or life. It was most tragic to see her so prepared for her end.’

‘So that’s not as bad,’ she said, trying to quantify it. It was odd—but nice.

A male was coming toward the room.

‘I need to speak with someone. I’ll be there in thirty-seven minutes,’ I said.

‘Exactly thirty-seven minutes?’ There was humor in her voice again. She found my exactness to be amusing. I’d never found it to be so before I met her. I was still struggling to realize when exactness was a poor choice and when it was acceptable. I didn’t mind that she was amused. In fact, I liked it. Her smile was worth it. Her happiness was worth it. Besides, she was never amused in a cruel way.


‘Well, alright. Hurry home.’

My muscles seized at the command. My mind tried to push motion beyond desires and intentions. ‘Okay.’ The word slipped out—was pushed out. ‘Uhh,’ I said, while I still could.

‘Never mind,’ she said quickly, realizing she’d activated that blood bond. ‘Take as long as you need. It doesn’t matter.’

My body and mind relaxed. ‘Thank you.’

‘Sorry,’ she said, never intending to force my will.

‘It’s fine. I’ll see you in…thirty-six minutes.’

‘Okay, I’ll set the timer.’

Would she? Or was that a joke?

I knew the scent of the male coming, and I pushed the awareness of my presence into the room. There was no reason to hide from him.

The thin, thirty-eight year old Being pushed through the doors while pulling on the latex gloves. His heart sped up slightly when he saw me, but only slightly, and he tried for nonchalance—as if this non-reaction was a game between us.

“Jack,” I said, smiling.

“Hey, blood boy. Haven’t seen you for a few months,” he said. He was from Fresno—originally, but had lived in Seattle for over five years now. It was in his voice—as was the lack of sleep and stress he was under.

“Your wife had her baby.” I noted the scent of formula and diapers on his skin.

He froze in his movements. The intimacy of my knowledge of his life outside of this place clearly discomfiting.

“You smell differently,” I explained, lest he think I was following him. They didn’t like to know that we followed them—for whatever reason.

“Oh. Yeah, she did,” he said relaxing. I knew before he did so that he was about to change the subject away from his life. He didn’t like me knowing about him. He didn’t like knowing about me—if he was being honest with himself. Looking at the body I’d set on the metal table, he said, “It looks like we’ve got a pro here.”

“Pro?” I repeated. The female was hardly pro-anything. She just… was. It was still a shock to me what they put themselves through in order to make money to spend on things to destroy their bodies.

“She’s a prostitute,” Jack said.

“Oh. Yes, she was.” Technically, she wasn’t anything anymore.

“Did you get a name?” He picked up a sheet of paper attached to a clipboard.

“Shantel Cummings. Age: Forty-two years, six months, twelve days.”

I watched as he did the math.

“Did you get any next of kin information?” he asked.

“If her sires or siblings were still alive, she had no knowledge of that. Her mother was Sonja Cummings and her father, by birth, was Samuel Clark. She was born in Everett.”

“How fast will we need to get her in the ground or fire?” he asked, scratching his eyebrow with the cap of his pen. Once again, there was that attempt at nonchalance. He knew things that he didn’t want to know, so he pretended they didn’t matter.

“She was bitten eight hours ago. I wasn’t able to attempt any type of recovery potion because her body was already compromised due to this disease you call AIDS.”

“Whoa. She has AIDS?” Jack said, taking a step back. His heart rate picked up slightly. “Lead with that, blood boy. Always lead with that.”

“My apologies. I will in the future.”

Their bodies are so fragile.

I was losing time that I could spend with her—she might already be in bed. Jack might be able to move faster. “You could ascribe that as her cause of death,” I suggested, pushing it into his mind. Normally, I wouldn’t use persuasion with him, but I wanted to be done.

His pen paused, and he said, “Hey, I don’t tell you how to do your job—whatever it is—you don’t tell me how to do mine.”

“Again, my apologies. I’m anxious to be with my mate.”

“Your mate?” he repeated, a smile on his face. This knowledge of my personal life made him feel strangely powerful—I could tell, though it made no sense to me. Perhaps he was just relieved that there was something he understood about me.

“Yes. I’d like to be done here within the next forty-five seconds if possible. I still have a bit of a drive to make tonight.”

“You drive—you don’t fly?”

“It wouldn’t make sense to go to the airport before going back to the Sovereignty Heart,” I said.

“No, I mean wings. You don’t turn into a bat or a….”

“Myth,” I said.

“That’s too bad. I always thought that could be useful.”

“I eat bats,” I volunteered. I wasn’t sure how far I was to take this sharing of information, but if it encouraged his cooperation—and hurried him, I was willing to tell him anything.

“Hmm. Tasty.”

I sensed this was sarcasm.

The seconds were ticking away as he continued to write on the paper.

“You’ll bury or burn the body within the next six hours,” I told him, adding a slight suggestion to it.

“Yes,” he repeated in a monotone—before shaking his head and frowning. “Hey, I cooperate—you don’t need to get into my head.”

“To be exact, I’m not getting ‘into’ your head, I’m merely….”

“UHH…tut tut tut,” he interrupted me, shaking a finger. Jack was odd—even for a human. “Let’s keep the mystery alive, blood boy.”

“Very well. My anxiety to be gone is becoming more sincere.”

Another smile. “This mate of yours must really be something. I’ve never seen any of you anxious to be doing anything. It’s… humanizing.”

I sensed that he wasn’t intending to be insulting, so I smiled.

“In fact, she—is it a she?” he asked.

Once again, no insult was meant—he was merely unfamiliar with our ways.

“Yes, she is female.”

“I’ve never seen a female of your kind,” Jack said.

While not technically a Hunter, she was a Shadow Hunter, but this was a distinction he wouldn’t understand.

“There are not many. There are only three females currently in the Sovereignty Heart.” Two Shadow Hunters and one vampire—though he also wouldn’t understand this.

“And you have one of them. You lucky dog.”

Slang. It was so unpredictable to perceive its intent. Jack was not the type to level insult, so I guessed that he was merely being humorous.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Okay, I think we’re done here,” he said.

“You’ll spray the body with saltwater soon?”

“I’d heard we’re doing that now,” Jack said. “Some new vampire policy?”

“It’ll help deter the Shifts, though I’ll have one of our Hunters check back within six hours to ascertain that none have traced her back to this repository for the deceased.”

“We like to call it… the Morgue,” he said, amused again.

“Very well. We’re done?”

“Yes, Hunter or whatever. Off to your mate.”

“Please, call me Reeve.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday (Panda, Ghosts, Brick, Nudity is fun)

Okay, it's been a while, but I went and did some flashy fiction yesterday, and I know how much you like it when I flash... you with fiction.


"Are you sure it's supposed to look like that?"


"Is that the model from behind?" the kid next to me asked. He examined my painting and then the nude model lounging in front of the class.

"No," I said.

"Isn't that her butt, though?" Larry asked from the other side of me. "If that's meant to be her from in front, you aren't seeing what I'm seeing. Plus, you're using the wrong colors. Blue and green? It's like someone beat her with a stick."

"Are you sure it's supposed to look like that?" the girl in back of me hissed.

I rolled my eyes. Who cared about the model? She was plain and uninspiring. I was painting the beautiful girl in front of me... who was probably blocking her own painting of the model with her curvy, clothed form. Carissa turned to look at me. Her blue eyes tipped up slightly at the edges giving her an exotic look. Her red lips were puckered and looked like they wanted to be kissed. She smiled at me. I smiled back.

She took a step to the side, so I could see my own face looking back at me. She was painting me? Dipping her paint brush into the flesh tones... she painted, "443-8974 Call me" just below my chin.

I snatched my pen up, wrote it on my palm, and a moment later, a brush stroke obliterated the words--but not the satisfied smile on her face.


"Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge." -Paul Gauguin


Slapping the brick from Edgar's hand, Allen said, "What are you doing?"

"You slept with my wife. I'm walling you into this sidewall... just like in this book I'm reading," Edgar said.

"You git! You can't wall a conscious person up into a brick wall. They have to be unconscious. Do you expect me to just stand here while you're building a wall around me?"

Edgar nailed him in the head with the next brick. Allen dropped in a heap.

"Good point, Allen. This'll be much easier," he said, starting a fresh layer of bricks and dipping his trowel in the cement. "Much easier."



"He's going out again," Travis said, gesturing at the back window.

"Hush up, Travis," his mother said.

"Gramps has cracked, Mom. We both know it. He should be in a home or something." Travis chewed on a wad of gum. He'd replace it with tobacco when he was out of the house, but this would have to do with his mom around.

"I think it's sweet." His mother washed out the remainder of the breakfast dishes while gazing out at her father. "It's only been a year."

"Yeah, but he goes out there, sits in that chair, and talks to her like she is sitting in a chair next to him. It's weird enough having that chair out back," Travis said.

"It's not hurting anyone."

Travis rolled his eyes and pushed through the back screen door of the ancient farmhouse, striding toward the chair.

As he approached, he could hear his grandfather say, "No, Nell, the boy will be fine. You'll see."

His grandfather was deaf as a post and didn't hear Travis's feet in the grass as his grandson crept up.

"Nell, are you sure he is the one killing the chickens?" his grandfather asked.

Travis stopped and stared. He and his friends had snagged a few of his grandfather's chickens a couple nights back. There was no way that his grandfather could know that. Still, there was no way his dead grandmother was sitting in a chair beside him telling him this stuff. Was there?

Looking at the ground, he noticed a patch of dead earth to the side of the chair his grandfather sat in. It was as if something was blocking the sun from that spot of grass. Grandpa Troy was too frail to move the chair. Still, if it wasn't Grandpa Troy's chair killing the ground beside it... whose was it?

Travis turned around and strode back to the house.

"You're right," he told his mom. "It's nothing."

"I told you," she said,smiling over her shoulder. Dropping the dishcloth to the side of the sink, she asked in concern, "What's wrong, Travis? You look like you've seen a ghost."


Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.

-- Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)


I answered the door, dressed in a panda suit. My date looked at me in shocked disbelief.

"Uh, Faith, what's with the panda suit?"

I didn't even look like a real panda. I looked like a giant child's stuffed animal There was no mask, but the hood on my head conveyed that I wasn't just dressed in an unflattering black and white jumper. No, I was a panda.

"What?" I asked, plastering a confused look on my face.

"Uhh... the bear thing," he said, gesturing at my outfit.

I looked down. In the distance, I could hear my roommate run into the bathroom before she could ruin this by laughing.

I shook my head while narrowing my eyes. "Are you feeling okay, Billy?"

"You're wearing a panda suit!" he said.

Keeping my face straight, I said, "No... I'm not."

"YOU ARE." He gestured at me again before running a hand through his hair. "I can't take you out dressed like that."

"Dressed... like... what?" I asked.

"LIKE THAT!" He groaned. "Look... just go change. We can still make the movie if you hurry."

I narrowed my eyes. "You can't tell me what to do."

He stormed off toward his jeep just as a ratty old Cadillac waited for him to exit the driveway. A moment later, a new guy appeared at my front step. He took in my outfit in a glance.

"Cool. Do I get one too?" he asked.

I unzipped the panda suit and pulled it off to reveal my actual attire. I fluffed my hair, saying, "That thing was hot."

Betty stuck her head around the corner. "He didn't run off."

"No. I'd say my portion of the forfeit is fulfilled," I said.

"Yep, next time bet on the Saints, bubs," she said. "I'll let bachelor number three know you're taken." She looked at my date for the night and said, "Hey, Luke, for the record... I was betting on you."

Luke smiled and said, "I'm a little disappointed that the Panda costume came off."

I winked at him and said, "Honey, it was bound to come off sooner or later tonight."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SEVEN! It's not scary, I promise.

My little boy is seven today!!! Awww. Not only is he just the sweetest and most perfect child on the whole planet, but seven is a prime and odd number. ;)

So, I need to clean, vacuum, and steam-clean my floors. I also need to go clean up the therapy room and put up T's birthday swing.

Man... I'm so tired.

I just submitted my pitch to the Knight Agency. Thanks to everyone who helped out with that.

I'm just exhausted today due to asthma issues, so I'm hoping this caffeine kicks that in the head. Asthma sucks when you have things to accomplish.

Okay... off to try to accomplish.

Oh, Catherine.... you are so wonderful. I just want to say that having you email me yesterday when I was trying to pull out of my slump... it just meant so much. It made my whole day so much better. I'm really grateful to have "met" so many wonderful people through this blog and twitter. You guys are so awesome.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life... Universe... Everything...

Yesterday was not a good day in bugdom. I found out that a very close friend is having to make a profound decision regarding her eight year old Autistic child. It's so profound that I feel unworthy to comment on it because I simply cannot comprehend having to make the same decision. I cried all yesterday for her... which is why I made it half-way down my list of blogs to visit and stopped. I'll try to get to more of the blogs tomorrow. I'm hoping to have found some way to cope by then. I don't even know what to say to her... because it's just one of those things that you'll survive but hope not to. My heart goes out to her... and she's been in my prayers as well as her child and the rest of her family.

In my family, tomorrow is T's seventh birthday. He'll be having a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle slumber party this Friday.

My sister is planning on offering on a house we went to check out yesterday. If there was anyway to sell our own house and buy this one (which is 50k less than what we paid for ours), we'd steal it right out from under her. Seriously... there are so many rooms in this place and I'd be able to take in foster kids like I've always wanted... and we'd be able to have a therapy room that doesn't steal so much space from my kids. I'm incredibly jealous. Supremely jealous. Seriously. It's twice the size of our current house. Plus, it's near us but in an incredible school district that we were going to try to open enroll into for B's pre-school therapy. Unfortunately... no one open enrolls into this district and gets in. (For a little bit of time, we considered renting an apartment in the district JUST to get B in. Yeah... SN parents think of all kinds of crazy things.) So, yeah... it would get my sister out of a high crime area... she'd be twenty minutes from us... and she'd be living in an awesome house.

Speaking of SN children, I did solve a problem in regards to my kids that I've been having. My kids are both very, very literal due to their Autism, but my daughter is almost exclusively literal. No, really. So, I'm working on crossing the street safety when I drop them off in the school parking lot. I keep going over the same directions EVERY DAY. Stay together. Go to the cross-walk. Look both ways. Every day... B will look both ways and dart in front of cars. The cars are going like ten miles an hour... and always stop, but it's aggravating. Today, I realized I had to add a key phrase. "LOOK both ways AND STOP AND WAIT if cars are coming." Yeah... the things you would never imagine you'd have to say out loud, but if you have a child who is literal to the point of impairment... you HAVE to say them. It's part of the reason neither child can use the phone. They need a script of how to handle it... and it's one of those things that you need to adapt to circumstances, so they can't do it. All of our phone calls involve me in the background shouting answers to them.

Well, I have yoga this morning... and I wrenched one of my shoulders really fierce yesterday doing something. I had insomnia last night due to the horrors of the day AND being in pain. (My kids probably are glad to be away from the "bear" that I am today. Though, honestly, they usually don't even notice my moods.)

I'm having a rough day and I had a weird night last night with lots of nightmares... so I'm sorry if I'm slow to deal with things right now. I might just need a mental vacation for a bit.

Happy Wednesday to those that believe in Wednesdays.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pitch... it's the new naughty word

Above is the cover I used for my hardcopy beta readers before I changed the name a little.

Okay, so I need to work on my pitch for Re:Straint today. I'm wondering if I should focus on Scorched and Re:Straint as far as querying and so on goes. Honor kicks tail, don't get me wrong, but it might be difficult to convey how Honor isn't your typical vampire book and is genuinely funny.

Oh... I should post a link to that Submissions Festival I keep bringing up:

So, I need to write that pitch for Re:Straint. I still have my full on Scorched in with CJLA. I have a couple Honor queries out, but I'm sure I'll get my rejections of those on either Valentine's Day or President's Day... or both. ;) If I do... it's seriously okay. Honor is really hard to query because of the over-saturation of vamp Lit. out there. Rejections on Honor have been much easier to take because I just know you can't get across Honor's voice in a small excerpt and a query letter. I've barely touched queries on these other two because I've been distracted with writing actually. So, I think Re:Straint has been queried once which went right to partial... and Scorched... maybe two or three times. Maybe. So, this will be new and fun to query on Re: Straint.

On the pitch, I'm going to use a tighter cut of the blurb below, but it needs to be one paragraph. So, that might be interesting. I've also had a really nice slushpile reader offer to critique my query on Re: Straint, so I'll work on getting that to her today.

I guess that's it. Hmm. I'm going to go visit blogs this morning and try to be a good blog friend instead of the twitterhead I've been lately.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Test Subjects Needed -Must be Willing to Handle Infectious Materials

Okay, so there is another "pitchfest" this week. This time with one of the agents from the Knight Agency. Unlike the previous one, she'll be accepting submissions all week and it will be private.

So, I'm doing a second run through on Re: Straint, but then I'll need some betas to read. I'm planning on submitting to this pitchfest, but it'll just be a short submission. I have a bit to get the full ready. Normally, I'd love to reciprocate on Beta-ing, but I really struggle NOT to do line-by-line, and these next two weeks are going to be freakishly busy for me, so it wouldn't be an immediate reciprocation.

Before anyone volunteers, let me tell you what I need and about this one: I converted the entire manuscript to first person from third person as well as adding in epistolatory sections in between each chapter. So, I need third person typos found and those sections typo-checked. (That's as deep of a line-by-line as I'm looking for. Glaring typos.) Also, in the conversion between third and first--there are going to be some "kinks" especially with exposition. (I.e. Lucas shouldn't spend paragraphs talking to himself about things to do with the Strain for no reason... it would be odd.) I've been working on that last night and this morning. That will create possibly new problems, though, in that I might cut enough exposition that it'll be confusing. So, I need continuity, clarity, and flow watched.

Let me give you a summary of this before you get nuts too:

The skeletons hiding in Lucas's closet are microscopic, but deadly. He's never had a normal life. Genetics have predetermined what he eats for breakfast and who he can be around. Nothing about his existence is healthy including his reaction to Hallie. He's been stalking her as his desire to be around her has proven to be irresistible. Like an infection, she's in his blood, but he desperately wants to keep his germs... and family to himself. There are those among the Strain who'd kill to keep them apart.

The feeling of hollowness and waiting has finally lifted in Hallie's life, but the mystery surrounding Lucas just seems to grow exponentially. She keeps trying to convince him she needs him in her life completely and forever, but he's convinced he'll prove fatal to her. His mother is rather terrifying, but how bad can she really be? What is the Strain and why do its members hide in dark and quiet corners?

Not everything is visible to the naked eye in this story of infectious love.

Re: Straint is an Urban Science-fiction YA 89,000 words, with mild profanity (PG-13 rating for violence and so on) It does mention cannibalism in an off-hand, glib way--so if that bothers you... this isn't the book to read. It's first person with three POVs.

Anyway, my email address is wendy at sparrow dot us I think two or three betas would be perfect on a stick.

Okay, I'm going back to revising. Have a good Monday everyone. Hugs.

Oh and, in the end, I decided not to do ABNA even though that's what originally spurred-on this rewrite. Best of luck to those that entered.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Ugh. You've probably noticed by now that I've become addicted to Twitter. I blame Diana... and so should all of you. If you're on Twitter, you can see me chatting away all day on there or in my feed. If you're not--stay away. It sucks your life out through your nose--just like they used to do to mummify people.

Anyway, so I've been lousy at blogging and visiting blogs. Sorry. Hugs and kisses all around.

I've also been working through Re:Straint, though, and switching it into the first person from third person. It's going amazingly well. Seriously. It's going slow... really slow, but I'm loving it so far.

Umm, I haven't heard anything on Scorched, but it would be weirdly early to have heard. I haven't done anything on Honor... because I've been trying to get through Re: Straint. (Can I just tell you that this is going so well? I'm really falling in love with this story.)

Anyway, that's what I'm up to. Changing a story from third to first or vice versa is a nightmare that should never be attempted with anything less than a month's time. I'm still going to try to get it done for ABNA, but if I don't... I don't. Meh. Them's the breaks.

Well, it's 2 a.m. and I'm going to bed. Night all.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight Scene Blogfest

So, I'm a very violent person... literarially. (I don't think that's a word.) It was hard to choose the fight scene I was going to post, because all of my manuscripts have fights in them. What does that say about me?

Anyway, I posted a scene from Quality of Justice which has my very favorite person in it: Devi Scott. She's an albino who can see infra-red due to toxic-poisoning from a witch doctor who killed her brother. So, basically, she can see the heat of objects and can see in the dark. Is she wicked cool? Uhh... yeah. (Her eyes will glow red if the light hits them due to lack of pigment found in albinism.) She's a former bounty hunter trying to go straight, but she hasn't quite managed not to take out her stress by beating up thugs.... Here she "thinks" the guy she's dating doesn't want to date her because she's an albino (misunderstanding,) so she takes out her frustration by ditching him and finding someone to beat-up on. Anyway, it's long and imperfect, but here you go:

A scream ripped through the air with a nearly visible intensity. I closed my eyes for a moment and replayed its direction before opening my eyes and taking off at a run.

In a deserted dead-ending nook not far, but far enough from the main drag for private violence, there was a woman pressed up against a wall. A man held a knife at her neck while whispering furiously. I dropped my bag near the entry to the alley which was long enough to park about eight cars in it. I considered bringing the letter opener, but I suspected I was already out-gunned, so I left it. Five years of hate had taught me the value of a well-placed foot and a light step. I slid into the alley with the hood on the jacket up and around my face. His concentration was all on the woman, and she was too terrified to do anything. In fact, her terror would make her reactions into that of a feral cat. If allowed, she'd most likely attack me too.

I was within fifteen feet… and then ten… He'd ripped her blouse and she was begging. He was choking her with one hand, and in the other holding a rather nasty-looking knife that made my letter opener look like… well… what it was. I decided to trade out… even though a well-placed letter opener was worth more than a sloppy knife jab. A knife in my hands was one less in the hands of a criminal. So, I guess I wasn't trading so much as just swiping his knife before I disappeared, but that's semantics.

After a quick scrutiny of position, I opted for the low blow. I'll admit… I opt for this quite a lot… especially when I’m in a bad mood. A well placed knee from behind while simultaneously grabbing both his underarms with clawed hands and ripping at both flesh and hair…. Well, that would immobilize most men for a while.

He dropped the knife in his free hand, and his other hand fell from her neck.

"RUN! Call the police," I shouted at the woman while getting well out of her way.

She stumbled at me, ready to fight, before my words sunk in and she ran out. Her departure made me realize two other shapes hovered at the entrance to the alley. Perfect.

My stray, the would-be attacker, was recovering, and I dove for his knife at the same time as him. I was faster. I'm usually faster. Instead of using it, though, I threw it into the trash where I could see it, but he couldn't. I've discovered that when you have the benefit of seeing in the dark, getting rid of pointy objects is a priority when it's down to grappling. Pointy objects end up being what the grappling is over. You could get hurt that way.

He tried to claw my face, and I turned sideways and kneed him again as he flew past. This time, though, he didn't slow down because adrenalin was fueling his movements, and he hit the brick wall just a little beyond me. He staggered back towards me, and I swept his legs. A pile of garbage broke his fall, and he yanked out a broken bottle to wield. Criminals can be so unsanitary. He didn't know what was in that bottle. He jabbed forward, and I flipped backward, kicking the bottle up in the air. I recovered in time to catch the cool blue glass in my gloved hand, and to toss it into the corner with the knife. I was calling that my "pointy object" corner. He came running at me again, and I jumped to catch the bottom rung of some metal stairs attached to the building my back was to. I nailed him with a kick in his chest with both feet. Stumbling, he nearly went down. It gave me time to look at our visitors who were nearing while gauging the fight.

Could this night get any better? If only it had been more goons. I could have handled a dozen more strays over the hand fate had just dealt me.

It was Sarah. I'd recognize her pixie height and build anywhere. She had a taser in her hand… even better. The man next to her carried a bat. I groaned. Either I'd have to save them too, or they'd attack me. Neither scenario involved me sneaking away just as the police got here… if the girl I sent running called them. I could kiss my brand-new knife away. It was probably covered by the remnants in the broken bottle anyway.

My stray got in a good punch to my stomach, but I reacted fast enough to punch his face. We backed up from each other and circled around in a wrestler stance.

"Who are you?" he asked. "Are you a cop?"

I jumped forward but arced toward the ground into a handspring, pulling my feet into a double kick. I don't like standing kicks. It involves leaving a part of you exposed that I'd rather not. I've discovered it's much easier to train in gymnastics and self-defense separately and work out moves myself. There aren't very many places that teach "Jackie Chan" fighting. He's an excellent teacher, though. That's the reason I use to justify watching "Super Cop" over and over. The stray fell, but grabbed one of my feet… unanticipated… but I landed on top of him… cool. I put the foot he'd grabbed on his neck.

That's when Sarah and batboy arrived.

"I don't know which of them is the one we're after," she said, walking toward me with her taser pointing in our direction.

I went to pull my hood off. The jig was up. I wasn't about to be a taser outlet. "Stop. I'm the Devi you know…," I said wryly. I turned into the light and Sarah screamed and fired.

A typical taser is designed to be relatively non-lethal and only work on the one that the probe is fired into. The former Vegas Scott had decided this was less fun and "upgraded" to something stronger that could incapacitate two people. The person with the probe in them got the higher voltage, but anyone touching them was hit too. I know all this because I had an "upgraded" model in my back-pack at the apartment. Apparently, Sarah had received a "Scott Special" also. I needed to talk to Scott about the phrase "with great power comes great responsibility." Well, we'd talk after I shot him with the taser that Sarah had just fired into my side.

I fell off the stray, and onto my back, and for a second my vision exploded white like a fire ball as the air around me became a little charged. Then, I heard the sirens. I was in too much pain to groan again, but internally it was there, and I swear I could smell fried brain.

Sarah came running saying, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Your eyes hit the light just right and even though you warned me, it freaked me out a second before I recognized you." All of this was said in the amount of time it would have taken the average person to say "hello." She knelt next to me pulling my head onto her lap. "I wasn't expecting you… I was expecting him…" she said, gesturing at the stray.

"Help me… up… please…" I muttered painfully.

After a worried maternal look, she did.

The sirens were coming… This wasn't good. I pulled the probe out of my side, and the gun out of Sarah's hand. I threw it into another pile of trash and made sure it sunk into the nasty. "I'll need the bat, Charlie."

They both looked at me, and Charlie flashed Sarah a look but didn't say anything. "Why?" she asked.

"Hurry… The police are nearly here, and I need to get a good hit in before they get here," I said, attempting to stand up enough to reach for the bat.

He looked at Sarah and back at me.

"C'mon!" I insisted, shaking my hand a little.

"Who?" Charlie said the one word and with what I felt was uncalled-for animosity towards the person his wife had tried to maim.

"Give it to me NOW," I shouted fed up with it. I surprised him enough that he handed it over to me. "Go cover your wife's eyes, she won't want to see this…" He shot in front of Sarah and in-between us. Apparently, he thought she was my intended target. It was cute, and a level of cute that I was actually comfortable with. Maybe that says something about me….

"No… I'm not…," he started angrily. When he saw my target, he quickly turned and hugged Sarah's head into his chest.

My bat hit the stray's head with a sickening thud. I leaned down to check a pulse after dropping the bat and taking deep breaths. "Ouch…," I complained as the impact made my jittery arms hurt. I felt a fluttering pulse in the stray's neck and collapsed up against the wall over where I'd flung the Taser. My stomach felt vile. There are certain parts of your anatomy that don't take kindly to electricity… well… actually… most of your body doesn't. Tasers always left my stomach feeling queasy like running a marathon after a flu. That chocolate cake was feeling like a bad idea. It felt like it'd been rebaked to a solid in my stomach.

The cavalry was running down the headlight illuminated alley.

"Okay… ow… we don't have much time. Here is the story. Charlie nailed him with the bat after the stray… uhh…that guy… punched me in the stomach. THERE WAS NO TASER… and you don't know me. The knife is in the corner over there," I said indicating the corner with my head. I took my coat off and tied it around my waist. I had a black shirt underneath that screamed "All In!" and had big white cards and poker chips across it. It was the kind of shirt that said, "If you didn't see me, than you weren't looking." I quickly shoved my "driving gloves" into the pocket of my coat. I sank down to sit on the taser and clutch my stomach. Smiling at Sarah, I said, "Nice shot, though, Sarah. Poor target choice, but good aim."