Committed

“It’s too dangerous,” the doctor said, shaking his head. “He’s had a psychotic break. Admittedly it was a minor one, but I can’t in good conscience let you put him under any more stress.”

“How bad was it?” Detective Massey kept his voice low, though the man in the recliner didn’t seem to be able to hear him. “Is he okay?”

“Martin is convinced his wife has been replaced by a doppelganger. When the paramedics got here he had a knife in his hand and was screaming that he wouldn’t let her hurt his children.” The doctor glanced over at his patient. “It took a few minutes for them to calm him down and determine that the red mess splashed all over the floor was spaghetti sauce.”

“Huh.” Detective Massey looked at the last great hope of their case and saw the conviction spiraling down the drain with every jerk of Martin’s head as he checked the corners of the room, looking less like a man and more like a chicken.

“Pardon me,” Martin’s wife said as she walked toward the doctor and the detective with two steaming mugs. “I’m going to see if he wants some tea. He actually considered taking some from me after you started him on the new medication.” The doctor nodded and Detective Massey watched the slim blonde woman approach Martin with well-deserved caution. He couldn’t hear what they were saying but he could see her smiling at her husband, trying to coax him into taking the mug from her.

To the detective’s surprise and relief, Martin took the mug and looked into it. The doctor exhaled slowly and Detective Massey realized he had been holding his breath as well. His wife smiled and took a sip of her tea, as if she was trying to convince him it was safe to do the same. It reminded Detective Massey of how his own wife would act with the children when they didn’t want to try some new food.

Martin stared into the mug while she sipped her tea, still bathed in silence. The smile never left his wife’s face, even as she drank. She looked up at him and said something, just a couple of words made of a collection of syllables, and Martin recoiled. His wife looked confused and Detective Massey heard her ask him if he was all right just before he threw the tea, mug and all, at his wife’s head.

She dodged the majority of it, getting only a few spots of tea on her sweater, and the plastic mug bounced off the floor as the rest of the tea spilled out in a fan. It hadn’t even come to a complete halt before two large men in scrubs pushed past Detective Massey and moved forward to restrain Martin.

“Who are you?” He was screaming at the top of his lungs as he fought the orderlies, his eyes locked on his now-sobbing wife. “Who are you? What did you do with my wife? Where did you take her?” A nurse came running in with a syringe in her hand, uncapped it, and stabbed it into Martin’s arm, depressing the plunger with a speed that made Detective Massey’s upper arm twinge in sympathy.

“You see what I mean?” The doctor led him out of the room while Martin continued to fight. “I’m beginning to think we should keep his wife from coming at all. In any case, we won’t be letting him out for at least a month. Even then, the pressures of a trial…” His words trailed away as Martin’s struggles became weaker and Detective Massey focused on the syringe cap that the nurse had dropped in her haste to get to Martin. It was right beside the chair. If one of the orderlies stepped the wrong way, he could slip on it. Detective Massey wondered if they had the equipment there to deal with a broken leg or if they’d have to send him to the hospital.

Without another word to the doctor, the detective turned and walked out. He couldn’t stand to see Martin, his near-hysterical wife, or the ruin of his case for even one second more. It was over, that much was true. They might still have the trial, but without a witness it would be nearly impossible to convict.

Dammit, Detective Massey thought. I need a cigarette.

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Merry Christmas Exchange!

Finally, a new crochet post!

It would seem that November was a bad month for me to try and start the mystery crochet-along. Thanks to NaNoWriMo and my rewrites, I didn’t even finish the first week’s assignment. I may go back to it later when I’m between projects but for now it’s on the back burner.

However, my Christmas squares arrived! I was so excited to open them and see what everyone else came up with, but I saved the real rifling through them for when I was finished with my writing. They were certainly worth the wait.Xmas Exchange

Here they are, 28 squares made by 7 friends. Everyone’s greens were so much brighter than mine I feel kind of jealous. I thought the deep green looked like a Christmas tree but it kind of just ended up looking blackish in the pictures.

My Xmas

These are the ones I made! I wanted it to be a rectangular blanket so I made the 4 for myself and um, 10 more. It kind of got out of hand.

Xmas Final Placement

Here’s the final placement. I just put all of mine on the outer columns and I think it looks pretty good. It’s still a little more square than I really would like but I’m not making more squares. It would never end. 35 squares would have made a nice rectangular (if a little small) blanket. Sigh.

Now that I think about it, I might move the poinsettia squares up to the middle. It looks a little unbalanced this way. I’ll have to remember that for when I start putting them together. I plan on using the rest of the pound of white yarn that I bought for the project. Hopefully it will look nice. I don’t trust myself around white blankets, clothes, etc. so I don’t think I’ll ever use it. Maybe one of my mothers in law would like it. They’re far more festive than I am.

Rewrites Conquered!

I’ve decided that I’m going to try and do Friday posts about my writing to go with the rest of the week. Mondays are kind of reserved for my crochet stuff, Tuesdays are my Yeah Write days, Wednesdays have become Open Book Blog Hop day and Thursdays are when I sleep, apparently.

The biggest thing this week is that I finished the rewrites on Detective’s Brother! My editor got them to me last week while I was still in the throes of NaNoWriMo, which I think gave me the inspiration to finish my NaNo novel faster. I started working on the rewrites last Saturday and – thanks to having last weekend, Tuesday and half of yesterday off – finished them up yesterday afternoon before I had to run up to work. It involved several days of sitting in front of my computer and writing until my butt was sore because our couch, while comfy to sleep and crochet on, is second-hand and well-loved.

Her main suggestion was to add more scenes from my hero’s perspective. Don’t editors usually want you to take stuff out?! I jumped on her idea, though. I love the chance to explore things from the man’s point of view, and Simon Creed has a lot of baggage.

I really want to keep this editor on through my other projects, and I feel like she was definitely worth the wait. The scenes I added or rewrote made the story better and I even added a tiny plot bunny (as they call them in NaNoWriMo) that I didn’t even see coming. I’m going to take her advice into working on Framed and rewrite a few scenes so that my hero gets some screen time. Up until he gets thrown in jail, though. Yes, you heard right. The story’s called Framed after all.

The other big thing is that my story, Crab, was tied for Crowd Fave in the Yeah Write challenge this week! This is the first time that’s ever happened and I’m super excited about it! I’m putting the Crowd Fave badge on the story for sure. I was a little conflicted about using it because I tied for first with Laissez-Faire but hey, we both earned it!

This has been a great week for writing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what my editor has to say about the changes. I just sent the rewritten manuscript to her so fingers crossed she likes what I did with the place!

S-E-X is A-OK

Open Book BH 2

This week on the Open Book Blog Hop, we’re talking about sex!

I have never been what people would refer to as a prude. When I was in high school and had to change clothes with the rest of the girls during marching band season, I was the first one to strip off. Whenever I go for a massage and they tell me “undress to your level of comfort” I ask them if they want my panties off or on. It doesn’t surprise anyone I know when I tell them I write romance because they know how I feel about sex – it’s awesome.

I’m what you’d call a sex positive person. As long as it’s between two consenting adults and no one gets hurt, I see sex as a good thing. It can and does bring you closer to your partner, even if you’re not in a relationship, because you share the deepest and most intimate part of yourself with them. If you’re a person who is okay with sharing that with multiple partners, that’s fine with me! I’m more the type to save it for a single partner, something I’m sure my husband is glad about.

As a romance writer, I tend to focus on the relationship between my hero and heroine when it comes to their having sex. They rarely jump into bed just because they have a spare half-hour, it’s usually something that comes naturally in the story (even if it ends up being quick and dirty). I don’t throw in a lot of sex scenes just because I feel like it’s expected of me, I let my characters do what feels right to them, just as I encourage real life people to do.

That’s not to say a romance writer needs to write sex scenes at all! I’ve read several sweet romances where the main characters don’t have sex at all. Everything in those was romantic gestures instead of expressing their feelings sexually, and I found them just as satisfying as steamy erotica.

The most important thing about sex in any form is to stay within your comfort zone. If you’re not comfortable watching, say, Game of Thrones then by all means turn off the TV and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. By the same token, don’t shame anyone because they like watching it! What I find acceptable may be vastly different from what you find acceptable and I wouldn’t dream of forcing you into my mold. The things I do dream about…well, maybe I’ll tell you when you’re older.

Last week I told you about P.J. Fiala’s latest book, Danny’s War. She’s written others in the “Rolling Thunder” series too!

TwoBook

You can buy them separately or together on Amazon and while you’re at it, pick up Danny’s War too. Hot guys and motorcycles – they’re like peanut butter and chocolate!

Want to share your feelings on sex? Join our Blog Hop!
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2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
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Crab

It was almost silent in the treatment room. The only sounds were the whirring and occasional mechanical grinding of the fluid pumps stationed by each of the recliners. Belinda’s pump was one of the grinding ones and she was quickly reaching the limit of how much she could handle.

The steroids were making her irritable and she knew it, so she didn’t grab the nurse and tear into her for giving her the loudest pump in the hospital. She wanted to, but she didn’t. Instead, she sat back in the recliner, closed her eyes, and tried to ignore it. It continued its mind-itching grind and Belinda looked up to see how much was left in the bag. The bright yellow fluid in the bag was still almost at the top and she sighed heavily, halfway hoping the nurse would hear her.

When nobody came to ask what was wrong, she fingered the call button on the side of the recliner. Calling the nurse would only prolong the administration. She would have to unhook the bag, bring out a new pump and IV pole, hook it all back up, and by that time the bag might have been a quarter gone or more. Instead of the call button, she pushed the longer button that would recline the chair slightly in the hopes she could take a nap. There was a whining from inside the recliner that only stopped when she took her finger off the button.

“Great,” Belinda said out loud, not caring that the other people in the room had turned to look at her. “Just effing great.” Leave it to her to get the one recliner that wouldn’t recline.

Belinda hated Thursdays. The rest of the week wasn’t a cakewalk – handfuls of pills three times a day, watching more and more of her hair swirl away down the drain – but Thursdays were chemo days which meant that not only did she have to deal with more of the same, she also had to try and keep herself from vomiting every fifteen minutes.

She was the youngest person in what the other patients called their “chemo clique,” and it made her sort of a curiosity to them. When she’d first started her infusions, they had a slew of questions for her, the sort of nosy and invasive ones that cancer patients felt they could ask of each other because they were all in it together. Belinda had closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep, and they’d stopped asking.

“Belinda.”

She hadn’t realized her eyes were closed until she opened them. There was a man in a suit standing in front of her and she sat forward. “Detective Massey. Is something wrong?”

“Bad news,” he said, getting right to the point. It was one of the reasons Belinda liked him. “They won’t move the trial.”

“What? They have to. I can’t miss my chemo.”

“The judge says we’ve already delayed long enough. If you can’t make it next Thursday, you’re out as a witness.”

“What about my statement?”

“He wants you on the stand. This is the most high-profile case he’s ever tried and he wants everything perfect for the cameras,” the detective shook his head. “I’m sorry.” He glanced down at his watch. “I have to get going. Without you we’re going to need Martin Griggs even more and I need check on him.”

“Fine,” Belinda said. “Whatever.” She sat back and watched the detective leave. He had been even more curt than usual and it lit a spark of rage in her. Did he think she wanted to be there? Trapped in a chair while a murderer that she’d seen clearly in the streetlights went free? The urge to rip the IV out of her arm and fling the pump across the room came over her but she forced herself to sit still. A second later the nausea hit her. Too distracted by her anger to concentrate on suppressing it, she fumbled for the plastic basin by the side of her chair and grabbed it just in time to vomit hard enough to make her back hurt.

“Are you all right, Miss Keys?” The nurse had hurried over when she saw Belinda flailing and the younger of the two women nodded as she wiped her mouth.

“Oh yeah,” Belinda said, thinking of the empty witness stand and the murderer dancing just out of her reach. “Just effing peachy.”

NaNoWriMo and the Dreaded Rewrites

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

Friday night, after a mere 20 days of writing like a crazy person, I hit 50,000 words and won NaNoWriMo 2015!

I had a lot of fun doing it, especially the Word Sprints, and it taught me a very important lesson about getting your first draft out, even if it’s less than stellar. That’s what rewrites are for.

Speaking of rewrites, my editor got back to me with some helpful suggestions, which means I get to go back and add scenes, change perspective, and basically add another ten pages or so. This is a lot harder than it sounds and I’m really glad I finished my NaNoWriMo novel when I did because trying to do both of them at once would have been a nightmare.

Her suggestions were excellent, and I kind of wish I’d had them earlier because it would have added a ton of words to my novel. It also puts me in the position of having to do the exact same thing with this one that I’m going through with Detective’s Brother, which means I’m not going to let it see the light of day until I get it rewritten. Besides, Framed is next on my rewrite list. That one will be kind of fun, since I haven’t started editing it yet and it still needs a couple of chapters anyway. I can add stuff in as I go and it won’t be as much of a hassle as it is right now.

I’m hoping I can keep this editor on my team for the rest of my books. She seems enthusiastic about my work and I like the suggestions she’s giving me. It seems she’s interested in helping me polish it in addition to the usual editing and I’m grateful. It’s kind of fun going deeper into my hero’s mind, even if it’s filled with thorns and tragedy.

For now I’m feeling a little sad after NaNoWriMo’s ending and a little frantic because of the rewrites, so there’s no crochet news to report. However, my Christmas exchange squares are on the way so hopefully I’ll have them to show off next week!

Winding Down

NaNo-2015-Participant-Banner

NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close.

I’ve learned some really important stuff over the years. First and foremost, I can always find some time to write. I fall into the trap sometimes of thinking that I can’t write because I only have an hour or two to myself but I’ve learned that’s not the case. I’ve been able to get a decent chunk of writing done during lunch breaks, while my stepdaughter is taking her nap, even waiting for the laundry to dry. Writing doesn’t need to have a perfect setting or setup, just a computer and an idea.

I’ve also learned that sometimes the main thing is simply writing. I’m not going to pretend that writing 6500 words in a day is going to produce a perfect product right away but that’s also 6500 words I didn’t have the day before! Even if I have to edit half of them out later or refine them, I’m still getting things done and getting my ideas onto paper.

Thanks to these lessons I feel like I’m becoming a better writer. True, this story is going to take some editing and it may change in ways I’m not expecting – in fact, my heroine has already done some things that weren’t in my outline – but I feel like I’ve got a good draft going and I’m pleased with the way it’s coming along.

Some people like to be critical of NaNoWriMo by saying that it makes everyone think that just because they finished a novel they are “real writers,” but they’re kind of right. Everyone who writes a novel, a short story, or even fan fiction is a writer. As long as we’re actually writing instead of just sitting around talking about writing, we’re writers. Period.

I have 44,534 words and if I can buckle down and write another 6500 like I did on Tuesday I can finish! All I need is a couple of cheesy horror movies and some Word Sprints and I’ll be golden. Winning starts today and I want to get in before midnight. Now, on to the finish line!

The Chex Mix of Romance Fiction