Thursday, May 27, 2010

Query Spoof Contest - May 13th to May 27th

Queries are hard to write. Writers the world over sweat and anguish over what to squeeze into the one-page explanation of who we are, what our book is about, why we wrote it, and who would buy it...not to mention word count, a little marketing...oh, and our contact information.  Needless to say, its not my favorite part of being a writer.

Creepy Query Girl thought to put a fun spin on the process by hosting a Query Spoof Contest. The rules are very basic:

"I want you to write a query letter pitching an already famous book or movie in the WORST ways possible. It’s gotta be funny and the original book or movie you’re trying to promote should shine through."

The prizes are actually quite nice. They include an over the phone consultation with an agent/editor from the Writer's Workshop, a 30-Page critique from '3CriticsClub', or your choice of a box of chocolates or champagne from France.  Pretty swanky, huh?

Her critique group will judge the entries and post the top five. You'all can vote on your favorites.  Very cool!

I've entered the contest and my entry is below...don't forget to check out the other creative entries over at Creepy Query Girl after May 27th.

Dear : Agents A-Z

I don’t know what kind of books you handle but I though if I just emailed everyone in the Writer’s Market I’m bound to get a few nibbles. My book FrightLight is almost halfway done and I thought I’d get a jump on the whole ‘representing’ thing.

My story is about a girl named Pretty, whose mom is a total flake and ships her to a rainy little town filled with woods and sheriffs and stuff. Pretty is sad and goes around being sad, and beautiful in a high school filled with people who instantly like her despite the fact that she is kind of unpleasant and a bummer. She crushes on this guy who treats her really bad, says she’s smelly, and stares at her menacingly in the parking lot.

The guy’s name is Eugene and is actually an old guy trapped in a kid’s body…a friend of his gave him a virus called Vampire that makes him not age. He hangs out in high schools and stalks the new girls. He lives with other old people who have this virus. They all hate that they permanently look like hot teenagers because it’s a curse to be gorgeous for all eternity…plus if they go out into the sunlight they flash like strobe lights.

Everyone stays away from Eugene and his gang except Pretty, who thinks that boys sneaking into her room at night to watch her sleep is not stalker behavior, but kinda sweet. Although Eugene constantly tells Pretty that she is unable to survive her own clumsiness, repeatedly tells her they can’t be friends, and disappears for days, she decides that he’s a catch and falls in love with him.

Eugene takes Pretty to his favorite secluded forest area and announces that she is so well…pretty, that he finds it hard not to kill her on the spot. Pretty thinks it is so noble that Eugene resists this murderous urge just for her and proceeds to tempt him by getting really close to his mouth. Meanwhile there’s another gang of virus-old-people-in-hot-bodies, these have different colored eyes so you can tell the difference, that decide if Eugene isn’t going to devour Pretty, then they call dibs. This is a total party foul in the virus society. Eugene’s family whisks Pretty away to safety, tell her horrible news, and then lose track of her.

Pretty falls for a bait-and-switch ploy and is lured to be dinner by one of the opposing virus dudes. He and Eugene fight and then Eugene’s family tear him apart and set him on fire while dancing about in a rain-dance like fashion because that is what sophisticated virus people do. Pretty almost gets the virus, but Eugene saves her by sucking it out of her arm. He does NOT empty her like a juice pouch and since this is very challenging for him, it proves he’s totally in love with her and really strong.

Eugene’s family takes Pretty to the hospital, lies to her mother about how she got hurt, and then leaves Eugene there to watch her sleep some more. Pretty’s mom buys the entire story hook-line-and-sinker, leaving Pretty and Eugene to be together. I have another book in mind about Pretty and a guy named Jason Gray who has anger issues and gets involved with a dog cult.

Thank you for your time. Get back to me quick for first dibs when I finish the book!
Sincerely, VampLuver2010

Thats my entry...go check out the others and have a laugh.  I'll be back from my vacay on June 4th. Can't wait to check out your Dream Sequence Blogfest entries!

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by Mild Mannered Photographer, Uploaded on April 21, 2008.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

NiteWriter -- Out!

I finally finished the line edits and revision on Ruby Dawn...yay!  With the completed manuscript and proposal sent off I can finally breath a sigh of least until I start on the next book. 

I promised my husband that I would take some time off...or away, rather -- from the computer. Apparently he fails to see pulling my hair, screaming at the monitor, and throwing my notes across the room as productive. 0_o  Non-writers...what are ya gonna do?

I will return in two weeks, in time to read all of your wonderful entries in the Dream Sequence Blogfest on June 4th. 

See you all soon...and while I'm gone...GO WRITE!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Elevator Speech - Hook Line Blogfest

Having just attended a conference, I have first hand experience with the dreaded, "Tell me about your book." line that editors and agents use when you meet with them. Its nerve wracking as it is to meet with someone to pitch your book...not knowing what to say leaves them blinking silently with a sympathetic smile on their frozen faces.

I heard an agent call the one-sentence pitch an 'elevator speech'. Its from the idea of having just the amount of time it takes to reach the next floor to sell your book idea to the hapless editor who got on the elevator with you.

As a writer, I usually take 400+ words to get my idea across so the query...and the hook line send a shuddering quiver through my guts. Brian, who hosts the Time Guardian Blog announced a Hookline Blogfest and I had to take the challenge. Boil your book down to a one-sentence pitch. (*sigh*)

Here goes...

Bayou Blue - An ambitious journalist follows a career-making cold case to the bayou of Louisiana where she gets trapped in a hurricane with a mysterious sheriff bent on hiding the truth behind the crime.

Whew! Can't wait to read all the other great entries. I'm sure I'll learn a lot about phrasing and semicolons. Until Next Time...Go Write!

Photograph by ellyjonez, Uploaded on April 22, 2009.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk Blogfest...Limits

Ronni Griffin blogger at Fiction Groupie came up with a great idea called, 'Let's Talk Blogfest'. The rules are to post a dialogue scene from something you wrote.

My excerpt is from a novel called, The Daedelus Key, from my Intelli-Trace Series in the action/thriller genre. Intelli-Trace employees act as bounty hunters for stolen technology. They hunt down research and development projects stolen from Fortune 500 companies. From prototypes to schematics, biological samples, to computer code...if its stolen, they'll track it, steal it back, and destroy the competition's gains in the process.

Kressa is an intelligence broker bent on stealing the Deadelus Key, an algorithm rumored to be able to break military codes.  The poor guy on the chair is one of the designers.

Chapter One
The Den

The man struggled against the restraints tying him to the chair. Afraid, he glanced around the dimly lit basement, jumping at sounds made by the water pipes and old doors.

Kressa sat in a corner of the room shrouded in shadows, observing.

“Hey,” the man called out. “Somebody better tell me what is going on.”

Kressa smiled slightly, the bravado always came first. They inevitably all yelled protests, warnings, and threats but this never lasted. Not in his experience, and he had years of interrogation experience. No, they eventually all broke. They all told him what he wanted to know. This one was no different.

Kressa’s eyes went to the light bulb hanging exposed over the captive’s chair. It flickered and went out dousing the man in momentary darkness before brightening once more. Kressa heard him gasp. Although unplanned, the effect was desirable. Kressa gathered his tools making sure to let them clink against one another.

“Who’s there?” the man asked, realizing he’d not been alone.

“My name is not important,” Kressa intoned as he walked out of the darkness. The room reeked of the man’s fear. “What is important is whether or not I believe what you say to me is the truth.”

“The truth?” The man repeated. “The truth about what?”

“The truth about the Daedelus Key,” Kressa breathed. “And to make sure we start off on the right foot. I’m going to have to understand a little about you and your limits.”

The man’s eyes widened when Kressa opened his bag and began to lay a series of pliers, picks, and bottles on the table beside the captive’s chair.

“Limits?” the man gasped.

Kressa nodded absently already lost in the smell of the lemon juice and greased tools.

“Yes, for instance,” Kressa said and showed the man a screwdriver sharpened to a razor’s edge. He positioned it just to the right of the man’s kneecap and rested a malet against the handle.  He looked at him with a questioning raise of his eyebrows. “How long do you think before this makes you scream?”

That was my entry for Let's Talk Blogfest. I hope you take a look at the other great pieces over at Fiction Groupie. 
 Photograph by Monica Arellano-Ongpin, Uploaded on March 14, 2009.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Kierah Jane Reilly tagged me in a post where she "Paid Forward" a sweet mention by B. Miller.  In it, she mentioned three writers and I was one of them.  I was flabbergasted and a lot thankful for the shout out.  Through the recent blogfests I've met a lot of really great bloggers I never would have come across.

Thank You, Keirah...I hope all of you hop on over to her blog, check out her cute Chicken Story, and click to follow. She's a gem.

If you have a book that is published, B. Miller's Pay It Forward Giveaway is an amazing opportunity for exposure. Just check out the Grand Prize description:

If you are a writer with published work available for purchase, I will buy your novel/story collection/chapbook, etc., up to a value of $25. I will also read your work and give a review on your chosen website, as well as a review and a plug on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook fan page. I will go to my local library and booksellers and ask that your work be stocked on my local shelves in Greenville, South Carolina. And, if you're willing, I will do a guest feature on my blog for you, complete with interview and links to your media. about a great prize!
As part of the giveaway and mention by Kierah, I get to name three Bloggers I'd like love to hang out with in  a non-virtual way...they are:
  • Mary McDonald - Her blog for aspiring writers is witty, informative, and just plain good writing.
  • Jeannie Campbell - Her Character Therapist blog is amazingly helpful. I've learned so much about motivation, drive, and layering through her posts. Check her out; you'll be glad you did.
  • Courtney Barr's Southern Princess Blog - Not only are her posts always humorous, her fiction writing is phenomenally funny. Her Flirt Fest Blogfest entry had my laughing so hard I nearly peed.
Looking forward to tomorrow's Lets Talk Blogfest over at Fiction Groupie...I have something sinister planned. Mwahaha ha!

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by MarcinMoga/Lolek, Uploaded on January 3, 2010. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poking At Tigers...Flirtfest Blogfest

The clever gals over at Critique This WIP are hosting a Flirtfest Blogfest today...say that three times fast!  The rules are simple: Post your favorite flirty it hot, awkward, or sweet.  So I decided to enter an excerpt from my book Ruby Dawn

Ruby's clinic was vandalized the night before and Ben, the cop she's just started dating drove her to the scene to inspect the damage.  Tom, a man from Ruby's past recently showed up to work a sting in her neighborhood. Her first love, Tom disappeared ten years ago after they were involved in the death of one of their school mates at a locked-down high school. Lilah is Ruby's receptionist and best friend.

Ruby Dawn

Last night, Ben told me that things were missing. He wasn’t kidding. A lot of supplies, chairs, and yes even the trash cans were gone. I stood in the middle of the ruined room and ran my eyes over everything, shocked. A muffled sob escaped my lips and I wiped at my eyes angrily.

“Ruby, are you okay?” Tom’s voice made me turn.

Startled, I gasped. “Tom, what are you doing here?”

He raised his eyebrows. “What am I doing here, really? I heard about what happened and came to make sure you weren’t hurt.”

I looked at him and flapped my arms at my sides speechless. Tom’s hair was cut, styled in way that made him look like he belonged in a country club. He still had the stubble though. It was a weird look, sort of high-end thug. He caught me staring, licked his pinkies, and used them to pretend groom his eyebrows. It was a move he used to do to make me laugh in class. I smiled.

“You know who did this.” Tom asked and nodded at the paint on the floor.

It wasn’t a question.

“Antonio Llave,” I whispered. “The gang-banger I was telling you about. I think he did this.”

Anger flashed across his face. “I’ve heard a few things about him. He’s busting through the ranks in La Eme.” Tom scanned the damage. “This looks like a threat from them; minimal damage, but a big warning. You’re probably right.”

In the front room, a second voice echoed Tom’s words.

“Minimal damage?” Ben repeated. “Are you serious?”

He walked in through the broken front window and joined Tom and I in the middle of the clinic lobby. My eyes flit from Ben to Tom. For some reason, I felt nervous with them in the same room.

Tom waved his hand at the room and nodded. “Yeah, I’m serious. Who are you?”

“I’m Officer Farrell, who are you?” Ben shot back.

The same height, Tom and Ben stood facing each other in a weird sort of standoff reminiscent of school-yard staring contests. I expected someone to double-dog dare someone at any moment.

I cleared my throat. “Ben, uh, Tom’s the guy from the alley that you helped me with.”

Ben eyed Tom with suspicion. Apparently no longer sure he believed he was in fact an officer.

Suddenly, Tom smiled and put out his hand.

“I never got a chance to thank you for that, Officer Farrell,” he said as he shook Ben’s hand. “Really, I appreciate you keeping my name out of this. I told my lieutenant about how great you handled that situation.”

Ben nodded dumbly, taken aback by Tom’s sudden change in demeanor. He cleared his throat. “Yeah, uh, no problem.”

Tom turned to me, shoved a piece of gum in his mouth, and winked. I forgot how disarming Tom could be if he wanted, from rival to brother-in-arms with one charming smile. I always used to tease him that he could sell ketchup ice-pops to a lady in white gloves.

“Ben, Tom is an old friend from…before I moved here,” I hedged.

Tom looked at Ben’s face, then at my awkward smile and grinned. He knew that Ben liked me. He took a step over to me, wrapped his arm around my shoulder, and kissed my hair.

“We’ve known each other for what, thirteen years?” Tom asked me.

Ben ground his jaw.

I blew my bangs from my eyes and frowned. Tom loved to poke at tigers. I pulled out of his arms, strode over to Ben, and kissed him on the cheek.

“Thank you again, Ben for being there, and giving me a ride. I’ll be all right now. I’m going to start cleaning up,” I said.

Ben nodded and then shot a triumphant look at Tom. “I’ll be going then,” he said. Then to Tom, “Try to keep from getting dumped in an alley again tonight. I’m not on duty.”

Tom smiled and nodded. He looked like he enjoyed sparring with Ben. “Oh, don’t worry. Ruby is really good at taking care of me.”

“Bye Ben!” I said suddenly and pulled him toward the door.

“I’ll see you tonight, then?” Ben asked in a needlessly loud voice.

“Yes, Ben. Pick me up here at eight, okay?”

He nodded and left. I watched him leave then turned and gave Tom a stern look.

He flashed me a look of complete enjoyment. “Let me guess, coffee?”

I rolled my eyes and pushed Tom down the back hall toward the rear door.

“Don’t you need to be somewhere dangerous?” I thought about his job and my heart wrenched with worry. “What about your cover, Tom? You’re not even supposed to be here, are you?”

“That can’t be concern I hear.” Tom turned and stopped himself with is arms across the doorway. He smiled down at me and my face flushed. He put his forehead against mine. “You’re not staying here alone, are you?” He whispered, breath brushing my eyelids.

Tom never liked any space between us.

I stepped back, my hands going to my hips. “What makes you think I’m staying here?”

Tom cocked his head to the side and folded his arms. He already knew.

“How…?” I asked.

“It’s my job to know about people, Ruby. I can’t believe you gave up your apartment to keep this place open.”

I took another step away from him and looked back down the hall toward the ruined office. Anger flaring, I shook my head. “I couldn’t just abandon these people, Tom.”

Pain flashed behind his eyes, and I regretted my choice of words immediately. I tried to backpedal, but I only managed to stammer incoherently.

“Shhh,” Tom whispered. He took my hand in his and kissed my palm sending a ripple through me.

“I, I didn’t mean…” I tried, my face flushed.

“Its okay, I know what you meant, Ruby. And you’re right about what you said the other night too,” he breathed and leaned closer.

Barely able to think, I stood frozen by his nearness. “What I said?”

He smiled, so close now that I could feel his lips move. “You said that I don’t know you anymore. That I need to get to know you all over again.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not what I said,” I breathed.

Tom’s hand slipped to my face, cupping my cheek in his palm. He ran his thumb over my bottom lip and it sent heat thrumming through me. I gripped his sleeves, my fingers digging into the material.

A wayward warning flittered somewhere in the back of my brain, but I closed my eyes instead of moving.

Tom brushed his lips against mine, barely touching, his breath soft.

Up front, Lilah shouted. “This place is a wreck!”

Startled, I pulled away from Tom. Lilah had either had rotten or impeccable timing. I hadn’t decided which just yet. “I – I’m back here,” I shouted back. “I’ll be right out.”

Tom groaned and let go of me. He looked up at the outer door with frustration. I followed his gaze to Lilah rooting through the debris.

Trying not to show my breath was ragged; I bent and picked up a broken mug off the floor. “I have to get started if I want to be done by eight.”

Tom already taking the shards from me flashed a crooked grin. “You’re gonna break his heart.”

I put my hands on my hips, indignation growing in my gut. “You don’t know that.”

Tom leaned against the door jam. “He’s not your type.”

I scowled. “And you are?”

He shrugged. “If memory serves.”

Anger at his teasing and my own weakness flooded my face with heat. “That was a long time ago, Tom. If my memory serves, we didn’t turn out so well.”

Sorrow momentarily flit across his perfect features but he recovered and smiled winningly. “A lot has changed since then, Ruby. You’ll see.”

I put my hand to my hot cheek and shrugged. “I don’t know if it matters anymore, Tom.”

He looked at me with sad eyes. “Don’t write us off completely just yet, Ruby.”

I shot him a look of shock. Poking myself in the chest I shouted. “Me…you’re telling me, not to write us off…you – you’re the one who left!”

Thrown his hands up in surrender, Tom backed up. “I can see that was the wrong choice of words.”

I pointed to the back door with a shaking finger. “Go.”


I grabbed a nearby magazine and hurled it in his direction.

Ducking it easily, he smirked and pointed it at me. “You still have great aim, I see.”

“Tom, I’m serious.” His amusement sent ripples of irritation through me. “Go.”

“And you don’t want my help?” He smiled again, clearly not intimidated by my reaction.

I rubbed tears from my eyes with the palms of both hands. “I need you to leave right now, Tom. I just can’t think with you in the room.” I looked at him with a deep sigh.

His smile faltered. “I’m sorry.” He took another step away from me. “I’ll leave.”

I blew the bangs out of my eyes and frowned upset with myself. I craved Tom. Like an essential component, my body ached for him. “That’s probably the best,” I whispered.

Pain darkened his green eyes, but he smiled at me gently. “I’ll see you soon.”

Crossing my arms over my chest I refused to feel bad. I couldn’t let myself get a taste for him again. Too much rode on my shoulders for me to abandon reason. “Bye, Tom.” I said softly.

“Dr. McKinney!” Lilah yelled again from outside. “Dr. McKinney!”

Reluctantly, I turned from Tom and walked back down the hall to the front lobby. “It looks worse than it is, Lilah.”

“What are you talking about? This place is jacked-up!”

She spun slowly around with her arms out at her sides. Behind me, I heard the rear door swing shut and turned to look for Tom. My heart sank. He was gone.

I hope you enjoyed my character's awkward angst.  Please check out the other wonderful entries at Critique This WIP.

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by Katie Tegtmeyer, Uploaded on April 6, 2006.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Alligator, Crawfish, and a Black Butterfly.

Last weekend I flew to Seattle to kill two birds with one stone. I visited my brother and his lovely wife and I attended a writer's conference. I arrived fairly early in the morning and wandered Pioneer Square all day...I took the train, several busses, and walked everywhere.  It was great.  Visiting the required touristy places was fun with no schedule or itinerary. The Sound, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle...all still there and all still great!

After the conference in the evenings, my brother took me to eat at his favorite places in Freemont.  I had Vietnamese Pho for the first time and was instantly in love.  We also went to La Petit, a cajun restaurant, and I had fried alligator tail, crawfish etouffee, and oysters rockefeller.  It was totally justified research for my next novel, people.  Yum!

For some reason, whether its the clean air or the artsy-fartsy surroundings, I always manage to get a tattoo when I'm out there. Coyote over at Apocalypse was gone...he's moved on to better skin canvas pastures.  But I did find a great place called Hidden Hand just across the Freemont Bridge.  I'd been planning for a while to get the drippy butterfly tattoo.  Its more my speed, no offense to the colorful butterfly enthusiasts.

The conference itself was wonderful. The key-note speaker, Brandilyn Collins, a popular suspense novelist, had three workshops filled with awesome insights.  She wrote a non-fiction book recently called, Getting Into Character: 7 Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors and it is such a great book, I had to mention it.  Brandilyn takes the principles behind Stanislavsky's writings on Method acting and applies them to the writer.

Many fine actors use this method to build a character from the inside out. Rather than dressing up the outside with looks and gestures, Stanislavsky explains that understanding a character's core truth will result in the outward manifestation of their drives.  For instance, you might have a shy character...but why is she shy?  Is she deformed, abused, overly tall, a genius?  The reason they are shy will color how they express that inner abused woman might not make eye contact or roll the shoulders forward while an overly tall woman might slouch.  Someone with a scar might subconsciously cover it when nervous...etc.

The workshops were so helpful and the book, which I purchased at the conference, is thoroughly highlighted in preparation for revisions on Ruby Dawn...and blocking out of Bayou Blue. 

I had the opportunity to meet with a few acquisition editors and got the green light to send in proposals so I felt that despite my gorging on gourmet oddities and tourist silliness, my trip to Seattle was a success.

Looking forward to reading all of your entries on the 16th during the Flirt Fest Blogfest over at Critique This WIP.

Until next time...Go Write!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The Alliterative Alomorph, master of the word wrangle, is having an Internal Conflict Blogfest today.  I thank her for her great idea.

This is from a finished novel, The Shadow Effect. Its an Action/Thriller.  This is the prologue.

Riverside County Courthouse
10:13 AM

August launched over the desk before the guard could stop him, his hands already around Sorren’s neck. A guttural growl escaped his throat as August squeezed with every fiber of his being, willing the man to die. Sorren clawed at August’s hands, spittle erupting from his silently working lips. August heard his fellow agents yelling his name, saw them leap towards him, but they faded into garbled background. All he could see, and smell, and hate, was Sorren; the man who murdered his sister. Sorren, her abusive husband, had finally killed Maddie, after years of abuse. He’d bludgeoned her to death with a lamp from their bedside table.

August heard himself shouting at Sorren but had no idea what he was saying. Sorren’s eyes bulged, and despite the men yanking at his arms, August wouldn’t let go. A vein bulged on Sorren’s forehead, beating in a whir under his skin, trying to keep him alive. August stared at it, and Maddie’s face blazed across his vision.

He remembered Maddie at six or seven. Remembered when they played as kids, her blond hair shining with the sun behind her, as they twirled together on the tire swing in their back yard. His chest tightened, and he cried out for her, hollow with despair, and let go. He let go and McKranski and Hollis tackled him from behind. August’s breath flew out of him under their weight, and he watched Sorren gasping for air from his skewed angle on the floor.

And then all the sound came back at once. The judge banged the gavel furiously yelling for order, and turning red in the face. A woman cried off to the left of him, or maybe it was a child, he couldn’t tell. All around him people yelled, and barked orders, and cried, but nobody said Maddie’s name that day. Nobody thought of her, but him.

I hope you enjoyed August's internal kill or not to kill.  Please check out the other great entries at the Internal Conflict Blogfest.

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by victoriapeckham, Uploaded on September 28, 2006.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm a "Bald Face Liar"

A special Thank You to Harley D. Palmer over at Labotomy of a Writer for this extremely appropriate award...the bald faced liar part. She had a funny post the other day where she gave Seven Outrageous "Facts" about herself and only one of them were true. Or…you can post six correct facts…with one lie. Its up to you’all to figure out which.

I guess its my turn…Are there six truths and one lie, or one truth and six lies?

1. I am a brown belt in Karate.
2.  I love to go spelunking with my scuba group.
3.  I know three languages.
4. Four of my six children are adopted.
5. I love to target shoot with a Glock .45
6. I am terrified of flying.
7. I have multiple tattoos.

Okay, try to guess which are true...and which are false....good luck! I will be furiously writing and awaiting your guesses!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Deleted Scene Blogfest

Mia over at My Literary Jam and Toast  is holding a Deleted Scene Blogfest today. 

As a writer, having to delete scenes that I love, but don't necessarily belong in my WIP is hard.  I feel like I'm abandoning a kitten or something.

 As a 1st person author...I find that writing in 3rd person helps me get me out of my writing ruts. I started a story last year as a way to help me through some writer's block on another book. I had a few scenes in mind, but never blocked out the whole story. I eventually threw the pages in a "Blips and Blurbs" folder I keep with ideas.  

The Set Up:
Cayden and Laynie, friends since childhood, meet up again at the funeral for Cayden's mother.  They're in their early twenties, still in college.  I wanted to show a relationship that was a friendship heavy with history...something that I could mold into a romance later, if I needed to.

So here is my deleted scene...

Jade Crossing
Chapter One

People trickled out and by midnight everyone had left the house; his mother’s funeral finally over. Cayden sank into the dark leather reading chair by the fireplace in the library and let his head drop back and stared up at the ceiling. He saw Laynie out of the corner of his eyes standing by the picture window that overlooked the driveway rotunda. Arms crossed in front of her chest, she leaned a hip against the wall, her lips pulled into a frown.

“Your step-dad is leaving?” She asked. “Did he bother to talk to you at all tonight?”

Laynie and his step-father had a hate-hate relationship.

“I avoided him, not the other way around,” Cayden murmured. He leaned forward, snaked a crystal bottle of vodka off the wet bar, and pulled out the stopper. “I found some pictures.”

Laynie looked over at him with knit brows. “What kind of pictures?”

Cayden took a pull on the bottle and shuddered. He held the crystal stopper to his bruised eye like a kaleidoscope and looked at her. She lit up in a dozen facets of light. “The kind private detectives take of cheating spouses,” he said quietly.

“Oh, Cayden,” Laynie whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

Cayden shrugged and swished the alcohol around and around in the bottle. “This isn’t new information, Laynie.”

“I know, Cayden,” Laynie murmured. “Still must hurt though.”

She walked over to him, sat on the coffee table opposite him, and put her hands on his knees.

“They were fanned out on the floor in front of the tub,” Cayden said and his voice caught in his throat. His mother’s pale arms floating in scarlet water flashed behind his eyes. A tremor quaked his stomach. “I picked them up after I called 911.”

“You told him? Your father?” Laynie asked. “When?”

“About two seconds before I got this,” Cayden said wryly and pointed to his black eye.

“What happened?” Worry lined her delicate features, pulling her pink lips into a frown.

“He was making noise about my going back to school early,” Cayden said. “He told me I needed to get my head back in the game.”

“That’s horrible,” Laynie spat. “Your mom just died!”

“Yeah, well, we argued and he shoved me, and I punch him, and he returned the favor,” Cayden said quietly. “He wants me to move out by Monday. He wants to sell. ”

“But you grew up here!” Laynie said indignantly.

“I grew up in various ‘boarding schools’,” Cayden said and made quotes in the air with his fingers. “I spent summers here.”

We spent summers here,” Laynie murmured. “Coming here is the only thing that kept me sane.”

Cayden reached out and ran a hand through her dark hair, feeling the silky softness wind through his fingers. “Kept us both sane,” he whispered.

Laynie cocked her head to the side, looking up at him at an angle. She smiled and then said, “Teresa told me you haven’t eaten in a day or two,” Laynie said finally. “She said you haven’t slept either. She said you wander around the house at night.”

Cayden let his hand drop to his lap and encased her hand in his. “You worry too much.”

“No one worries enough about you, Cayden,” she said exasperated. “You need to stop drinking. You need a decent meal, and you need to sleep.”

Cayden put the bottle on the wet bar and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. He hit his sore eye again and winced. He looked at Laynie through bleary eyes.

“I can’t sleep,” Cayden answered. “I can’t stop my mind from churning, and I can’t lay still. If I do nod off…I see her, Laynie.” His breath caught in his throat. “I see her just… floating in the tub.”

Tears burned his eyes and he got up and walked to the window, and he wiped them away, angry. He put his hand flat against the glass, holding himself up and keeping his back to her.

“Oh, Cayden,” Laynie said behind him, her voice breaking. He heard her get up and then her arms were around him and she hugged him with her head against his shoulder blades. “Come here.”

“I should have seen…” Cayden breathed. “I should have known.”

Laynie was shaking her head. “No one saw this coming, Sweets.”

She pulled him around by his hand and led him back to the couch. She sat down on the end of the couch, pulled a pillow to her lap, and patted it with her hand.

“Come here,” she urged him.

Cayden sat down next to her and after a few seconds let himslef topple over, his head landing on the pillow.  Sighing, he looked up at her face. She smiled and ran her fingers over his eyelids, closing them. Laynie stroked his brows, humming something. Cayden took a breath and his throat ached.

“Just rest your eyes for a minute,” she whispered against his cheek. “Only a minute, and  then I’ll stop bugging you.”

Three days of exhaustion hit Cayden all at once, and he floated along on the sound of her breathing. Her perfume, the feel of her sweater on his face, the warmth of her legs under his neck, all of it slowed him down, and his mind drifted off.

The last thing he remembered from that night, the night of his mother’s funeral, was being in Laynie’s arms.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this scene, the characters, and whether or not the emotion rings true.  I might turn this into a novel in the 1st person, Laynie's POV, or maybe Cayden's? 

I encourage you to take a trip to see the other awesome entries at My Literary Jam and Toast. Unil next time...Go Write!

Photograph by maveric2003, Uploaded on February 17, 2007.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bad Girl Blogfest

Andrew Rosenberg over at The Write Runner is hosting a Bad Girl Blogfest today.  I thought I'd enter Hayden James, the love interest in one of my earlier Thriller/Action novels, Chasing Darkness.

To set up the scene, she and August, the main character, work for Intelli-Trace Group as sort of bounty hunters for stolen corporate technology. From biotechnology to prototypes, if its stolen, Intelli-Trace employees track it down, steal it back, and destroy the competition's gains.

August, on assignment in East Africa, was in a small plane that was shot down a few hours ago. Worried and getting no information from August's handler, Marco, Hayden is out of patience.  She's tracking an intelligence broker in Greece but wants to be out finding August.  Marken, her partner, is with her...

Chasing Darkness
Chapter Fourteen

They sat on the bench waiting for Bootsy, the information tech, to call back.

“I heard about August,” Marken said quietly. “Any news?”

Hayden’s stomach flopped. She’d been trying not to think about it.

“He’s fast and he’s smart,” she said, determined to keep her voice steady. “He’s come out of worse situations without a scratch.”

“Yeah,” Marken agreed. “I mean, I’ve heard he’s one of the best guys out there. He’ll be fine.”

Hayden thought he sounded artificially cheerful.

“Sure, he’ll be fine,” she repeated and tried to believe it.

A minute later Bootsy called her back.

“The address is for Angelicos Packing,” He said. “He’ll probably either meet his contact there or get more directions from a land line. Get going. I’ll send you directions in a minute.”

“Let’s go,” Hayden said to Marken. “We’ve got his destination.”

Marken took the camera and stuffed it in his knapsack.

“I tell you, so many people have shades and don’t use them,” Marken remarked. “Honestly, it amazes me that criminals aren’t more paranoid.”

“Oh he’s paranoid,” Hayden said. They walked back down the trail to their car. “Just not enough. If he knew we were after him he’d be scared.”

Marken chuckled and pulled open the driver’s side door. “We’re on the same side and you still scare me.”

Hayden smirked and hopped in the car. “That’s the way it should be, my friend.”

Bootsy shot them over the directions and Hayden navigated for them. They pulled to a stop a couple of streets over and then made their way toward the packing building by foot. Halfway there, her PhoneLink vibrated with a text message. Thinking it was more information from Intelli-Bond, she pulled it out of her pocket. It was from the man who’d called before with information on August.

Rumor of hostage situation involving expedition team member. Report of explosion in vicinity of rescue path. Assignmet moved to ‘Evacuate’ status.

Hayden’s chest tightened with dread, threatening to send her into a panic. Unable to get back in touch with Marco, all the information she had was coming from an unconfirmed source. Hayden stopped and leaned against the building, her heart pounding.

“What’s the matter?” Marken whispered.

“Nothing,” Hayden said, trying to cover the fear in her voice. “Let’s get this done.” She pulled her weapon from the clip-on waist holster hidden under her sweatshirt.

“Whoa, whoa,” Marken said, reaching out to stop her. “We’re just supposed to follow this guy.”

Hayden shook her head. “Plans just changed,” she whispered. “I need that name now.” She pulled away from Marken and strode quickly along the street toward the rear of the packing house.

“What are you going to do?” Marken fell into step behind her.

“I don’t know yet.”


“I said I don’t know yet!” Hayden hissed. They slid along the fence near the rear entrance. “I’ve never worked with Mr. Stavros before.”

She put her hand on the door lever but Marken stopped her.
“Do you expect him to just give up a contact ‘cause you asked?”

Hayden pulled away from Marken again. “Don’t get in my way again Marken,” she warned.

“Hayden,” Marken began but she was already through the door.

Stavros froze in the middle of the room with one hand stretched toward an old time phone on the table and the other hand in his pocket. His mouth flopped open and closed as if trying to speak but Hayden was already in his face, pressing her gun under his chin. Hayden put her finger to her lips in a ‘be quiet’ gesture. Stavros nodded and sat down on the chair next to the table. Marken ran in after her, then went to check that the place was empty.

“Waiting for a call?” Hayden whispered.

“Who are you?” Stavros demanded. “You have no right…”

Hayden hit him on the nose with the handle of her gun cutting off his words. He crumpled to the ground.

“I asked you to be quiet,” Hayden whispered hoarsely.

“My nose, you broke my nose,” Stavros croaked. He dripped crimson down the front of his suit.

“Ah great,” Marken moaned when he hurried back over to them. “I leave you for five seconds and you hurt him.”

Hayden ignored Marken. She pulled a chair over to her side and patted the seat.

“Have a seat Stavros,” Hayden said evenly. “We need to talk about your contact. Where are you meeting the Koreans?”

He swore at her in Greek.

“I know what that means, you know,” Hayden said. She pulled a silencer out of her sweatshirt pocket and screwed it onto the barrel of her gun. She knit her brows together and frowned. “And I take offense.”

Marken took a step back, his eye flit to her gun. “What are you doing?”

“I’m in a little bit of a time crunch here, so you’re going to have to work with me on this one,” she said to Marken. To Stavros; in Greek, “Did you already get the call?”

Stavros spit at her, and stared back defiantly and Hayden, losing her temper shot at his head. She aimed six inches to the right; her round thumping in a fifty pound bag of rice behind him but the effect was what she’d wanted. Stavros yelped and cowered in his chair.

“No, no call yet,” Stavros sputtered in English. He had his hands over his face, hiding. “Five more minutes.”

“Have you lost your mind?” Marken shouted. His face was flushed, wary. “We’re just supposed to follow him.”

Hayden reached out and felt the phone receiver.

“Phones still warm Stavros,” she said and brought her gun back up. “You were on that phone before we came in. She aimed her gun at Stavros’s knee. “Roll up your pant’s leg,” Hayden ordered.

“Wait,” Stavros stammered. “Wait.” He looked frantically at Marken.

“I am not kidding here Stavros,” Hayden said. She made her gun hand shake a little for effect. “I apologize in advance if I miss a little high. I’ve had a lot of coffee.”

“Hayden…” Marken warned. He licked his lips nervously.

“No more lying,” she said to Stavros in Greek. She cocked her head, closed her left eye, and pretended to have trouble aiming. “I don’t have time for this.”

Stavros stared at her wide eyed, but didn’t say anything.

Hayden shrugged and aimed to the left of Stavros’s knee, at another bag of rice, and fired a round. Marken swore out loud. Stavros flinched and raised his arms up over his head, trembling.

“No more lying,” Stavros stammered while nodding his head vehemently. “No more lies, okay?” He looked from Hayden to Marken and then back. “I receive call. You are right.”

Hayden put her gun down and looked at Marken. “You see what we’re dealing with here?”

Marken looked at her and nodded, his face pulled into a frown.

“Yeah,” he said quietly. “Crazy.”

I hope you enjoyed meeting my Bad Girl, Hayden...there are other great entries at The Write Runner. Take a minute to check them out.

I am at a Writer's Conference this week and might not comment right away...but I promise I will...I can't resist reading all of your great posts!

Photograph by honey-bee, Uploaded on May 17, 2007. Photograph by TaniaSaiz, Uploaded on April 23, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Primal Scream Blogfest - My Most Heart Pumping Scene

I'm using a scene from my most recent novel, Ruby Dawn.

To set up my scene, the main character, Ruby is having a turf war over her neighborhood with a member of La Eme - A mexican gang.  The gang member, Antonio, warned her to back off or he'd kill her.

Ruby and her love interest, Tom, are in her free clinic talking...and she just told him about the threat to her life. Ben is a cop who likes her.

Ruby Dawn
Chapter Eighteen

Tom’s faced changed. Anger flashed behind his green eyes. He put his hand on mine stopping me. “Antonio came to your work?”

I nodded. “He said he was going to give me one more chance to cooperate, and then he threatened me…oh, Tom. He said he’d put a bullet—”

Tom grabbed me, his expression hard. “He threatened you directly, and you didn’t tell me?”

My face heated up, confusion making my heart ram painfully. “I was so thrown by you showing up here and staying, and then the fight with Ben happened and it flew out of my head.” I gasped remembering Antonio’s face when he said he’d put a bullet in my brain. My hand went to the space between my eyes, and I felt the cold fingers of panic squeeze at my heart.

Tom grabbed me by my shoulders. His face strained, alarmed. “What did he say, exactly?”

“Uhm, he said that I was going to wish I had never been born, you know, standard evil guy threats.”

Tom looked at me, opened his mouth to say something, but his eyes snapped to the window. His face registered shock and then his eyes whipped back to mine, and I saw a peculiar orange glow in them before Tom threw us to the ground.

An explosion overhead sent shards of glass and liquid raining through the kitchen window. I screamed and tried to get up, but Tom wrapped himself around me covering me with his body. Flames spread across the floor like a molten wave crawling along the kitchen floor and counters in a flood of bright heat. Another crash and a bottle with a rag sticking out of it landed next to me, the end of the cloth on fire. Tom kicked it away and pulled me with him toward the back door. We got to our feet and he pushed me ahead of him, away from the fire. Heat seared my skin making it tight, and all around us the waving blur of superheated air burned my eyes.

“Go, Ruby!” He coughed. “The back door!”

I stumbled along the back hall gagging, struggling for breath. Overhead, the black smoke roiled up the walls and billowed along the ceiling. I heard another crash this time from my office. I turned in time to see the Molotov cocktail bottle fly through the window, smash into the opposite wall, and spew a sheet of liquid fire across my desk and files. The curtains went up with a whoosh. I kept running. Heart ramming in my chest, I reached for the back door and pulled. It wouldn’t budge.

Tom crashed into me, reached up to undo the lock, and together we yanked on the handle. It finally gave and slammed backwards into the room, knocking us down. Overhead, something hit the wall where my head had been. Debris flew out from the wall, and I realized that someone opened fire on the back door. If we hadn’t fallen, we’d be dead.

Tom pulled me to him. We took cover by the side of the back door. Feet from freedom, the hail of bullets overhead kept us from getting out of the burning house.

“We have to get out of here!” I screamed.

“Wait it out,” Tom said through clenched teeth. “Wait them out. We have time.”

His eyes flit behind us to the room engulfed in fire, and he squeezed me tighter to his body.

I nodded dumbly. Unable to open my mouth without screams ripping out of my chest, I clenched my eyes and wrapped my arms around Tom. The crackle and hiss of the building burning and breaking around us closed in on me and I coughed and choked. More gunfire split the door jam and then silence.

Tom moved next to me, and I looked to see him peering out of the doorway. “They’re gone,” he said.

He wrapped his arm around my waist, and we ran bent over to the wet grass.

I collapsed on the soft earth and took deep, gasping breaths. Lights flashed to my right as fire trucks and paramedics screeched to a stop in front of the building. Firefighters and paramedics ran toward the clinic shouting and pulling hoses.

Frightened, I flailed reaching for Tom.

He gathered me in his arms and held me tight. His ragged breaths in my hair, the only sound he made. He wouldn’t let me go.

“We have to warn Ben,” I coughed. “He’s the only other one who knows about this. He might be next.”

Tom, shaking and soot covered, finally stood and nodded. He helped me to my feet and wiped my face with his fingers.

“I’ll tell my boss to have Lilah picked up at her brother’s house, too.”

I walked with him down across the lawn to the front of the house. The paramedics spotted us and ran over covering us with oxygen masks and blankets. I pulled my mask off and tried to tell them about Ben, but they kept putting it back over my mouth. Neighbors gathered around us, and then I saw Ben. Surrounded by firemen, he strained against them trying to get to the clinic door.

“Ben!” I yelled and collapsed into a coughing fit. “Ben, over here!”

He turned at my voice, broke from the firemen, and ran over to us. One look at Tom and me, and he covered his mouth with both hands.

“I thought you were dead, Ruby,” he breathed, his face pulled into shocked worry. “I thought you were gone.”

Tom pulled his mask off and flashed Ben a brilliant smile made whiter by all the soot on his face. “I’m fine too, thanks.”

Ben looked at him and relief flooded his features as he laughed nervously. “Yeah,” he said. “What happened?”

I hope you enjoyed my selection...Be sure to visit the other entries located on the side bar --->

Photograph by redeye^, Uploaded on February 11, 2010.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Greetings to everyone out there who survived the A-Z Blogging challenge with me. Whew! That was fun, but I am glad that it is over until next year.  I met some wonderful people on the challenge...two of which have Tagged me via blog post. The two wonderful people are: Jessica over at The Alliterative Allomorph and Rayna at Coffee Rings Everywhere.

For a "Tag" you answer 5 questions 5 times to share a bit about yourself. So here goes!

Question 1 - Where were you five years ago?
1. Living in the Inland Empire - dessert California.
2. Welcoming to our family two children my husband and I just adopted.
3. Packing up to move to our new home near Temecula.
4. Saying goodbye to my brother - he moved to Seattle.
5. Taking my first gun safety class...falling in love with the smell of gun oil.

Question 2 - Where would you like to be in five years?
1. In my cozy home.
2. On a book tour.
3. At my daughter's graduation from high school.
4. Starting my youngest's Kindergarten studies - homeschool style.
5. On a beach near azure water with a sweet umbrella drink in my hand, my hubby on the chaise lounge next to me.

Question 3 - What is on your to-do list today?
1. Take my daughter to her composition class.
2. Attack the Fed-Ex guy when he shows up with my Droid...finally!
3. Work on revisions and line edits for Ruby Dawn.
4. Get my post ready for tomorrow's Blogfest.
5. Pack for my writer's conference.

Question 4 - What snacks do you enjoy?
1. Froth-frappy-whip creamy coffe drinks.
2. Any form of chocolate, but especially in brownie form.
3. Egg drop soup...I know its weird.
4. Red vines.
5. Grapes.

Question 5 - What five things would you do if you were a billionare?
1. Pay all of my bills.
2. Take my husband and six kids on a tour of the world via jet.
3. Start an Adopiton Awareness campaign to show people how much of a blessing it is.
4. Start a Art and Humanities camp for underpriveledged children to discover what is out there other than  video games and television.
5. May secret donations to worthy causes just to see the encouragement change lives.

The rules are that I get to pass the Tag along to 5 Bloggers I admire....

Amalia T.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Patricia Stoltey
Kierah Jane Reilly
Sarah Jayne Smythe - Writing in the Wilderness

Can't wait to read more about these great writers and bloggers.  Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by TheOnlyAnla who is taking a break until her math t, Uploaded on August 23, 2009.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A - Z Challenge -- Reflections

Thank you to Arlee Bird and his A-Z Blogging Challenge. April was a whirlwind of blog posts, commenting, and site hopping. I loved it. I met people from all over the world and learned about their interests, passions, failures, and aspirations. From Greece to New Zealand...India to California, the people on the other side of my monitor lifted my spirit with beautiful poetry, moving photographs, verses, and prose.

If I had a problem figuring out what to blog about before, I've been cured. I posted more times in the month of April than in the past two years combined.  I learned how to grab photographs from Flickr, self edit, manipulate HTML tags, and use the Mr. Linky...all in one month!

It was definitely difficult to keep up with all the comments, but seeing yours in my email motivated me to spread the joy.  Someone out there was reading my posts...someone that didn't share my last name, or genetics, or was otherwise cajoled into "checking out my blog". If someone came up with a "post every odd day" fest or something similar I'd definitely throw my hat in the ring again.

Thank you for sharing all of your rants and praises. For letting me into your world for a few moments while you celebrated and hoped and even grieved.  I had a wonderful time...and will contiue to follow you all.

Photograph by lrargerich, Uploaded on January 17, 2009.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

And the Award Goes To....

A special "Thank You" post to Wolfie over at Writer Person for this sweet award.  I was reading my comments and saw that I'd been tagged...

Very cool, right? One of the things you have to do when you get this award is to write 3 nice things about here goes:
  1. I love to bake for other people. Seeing them enjoy something I've made just for them just warms my heart.
  2. I'm a good listener. If you need a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, or a hug...I'm your gal.
  3. I'm tenacious...not always a good thing, but for writing it is, otherwise known as...stick-to-it-ness.
Now for the best part of receiving this award...I get to give it other people!  As part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge last month, I was introduced to a number of really great blogs. I want to give this award to the few that really stuck out in my mind...
Of course there are many more great blogs out there that took part in the challenge. Tomorrow is the May 3rd Mega Post hosted by the A-Z Blogging Challenge mastermind, Arlee Bird over at his blog, Tossing It Out.

Can't wait to see you guys through your updates and blogfest entries! Until next time...Go Write!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dying and Eating...InThat Order

Today I am participating in Lilah Pierce's Last Line Blogfest.  There are  a lot of great entries and I encourage you to go on over to Lilah's blog to check the rest of them out.

This excerpt is from my finished novel, Purple Knot.

To set up the scene, my main character, Reyna Cruz, received an urgent call from her ex-fiance, Jimmy, asking her to fly home. Summer, Reyna's best friend was attacked in her home during an burglary and Reyna has medical power of attorney.  Reyna has to decide whether or not to do an emergency C-Section to save the baby...because it is very risky for Summer in her wounded state.

Summer's family, especially the mother, Mona, hate Reyna for breaking Jimmy's heart and don't want her involved. Jimmy is Summer's brother. Banfield is the doctor.

Purple Knot

“As her guardian, you need to do what she would want,” Dr. Banfield said looking at me. “Whatever the reason, it was her wish, that you make these decisions for her, if she were unable. Summer signed those papers on purpose.”

I was frozen, brain locked with panic, when a shrill tone tore out from the monitors over Summer’s bed.

“No!” Mona wailed taking a step towards me as people ran into the room swarming Summer’s petite body.

“Ms. Cruz!” Banfield snapped. “I need a decision, now.”

Mona lunged toward me, but Jimmy pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. She bounced off of his back, crying. I turned to look at Summer. She would never choose herself over her child-never in a million years. I grabbed the consent form from his hand and scribbled my name frantically.

“Do it! Take the baby!” I screamed at Banfield.

Mona wailed and launched herself at the bed, trying to pull the defibrillator paddles off the machine herself, but a burly resident yanked her to the side. Banfield barked orders, and someone climbed up onto the bed and pushed on Summer, giving her CPR, and then they were wheeling her across the room and out the door. They disappeared behind two swinging doors leaving us with the shrieking machines, blood on the floor, and the deep hollow of knowing that someone you love is not coming back.

Mona took another step toward me, but Jimmy put his hand up stopping her. Her eyes were furious, and she shrieked like a mythical animal.

“You’re a murderer!”

She spat in my face.

Jimmy growled and reached out for her but she was too quick. She slapped me across the face, and I let her, not bothering to put my hands up when I saw it coming. Blood from my lip sprayed out in front of me onto the floor, and I thought it strangely ironic that Summer and I would both shed blood here. Jimmy grabbed Mona's arm, spun her around, and marched her out of the room.

“A murderer!” She yelled again over her shoulder, yanked away from Jimmy, and ran toward the stairs, crying Summer’s name.

The nursing staff and families of other patients stared transfixed at our surreal drama. And still, the stupid machines screeched their reproach that something was terribly wrong.

Ten minutes later, Dr. Banfield returned. The baby had made it, Summer had not.

Crushed, I sank to the floor and slumped against the nurse’s counter as sobs ripped through my body like my stomach was trying to come up. My throat so full of ache that the pain of her loss wouldn’t escape. Then Jimmy was there, and I just wailed silently. Shaking and sorry and angry that my Summer was gone.

Thats it for my entry for the Last Line Blogfest... 

Onto the 50 Followers Baking Blogfest over at Charity Bradford's My Writing Journey.

The challenge: Write a scene where your MC bakes something, anything, good, bad, yummy, burned, anything. Have fun with it, and post it on your blog on May 1st.

My current WIP takes place in the swaps of Louisianna. I thought I'd take the opportunity to make on of my favorite southern dishes...Bouillabaisse!

Bayou Blue

Steam flailed and whooshed out from under the metal lid rattling it against the lip of the large pot like the constant chattering of my teeth. Sitting on the wood stool wrapped in a scratchy wool blanket I blinked the water out of my eyes. Outside, the rain pelted the tiny window over the sink. I glared at the distant lightning and frowned. The storm would be here soon.

“I told you not to go,” Jake drawled, his lazy smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. “Now what, ma belle…you look like a drowned kitten.”

Ma belle…my beautiful.

He hadn’t called me that before. I smoothed my tangled bands with my fingers, but didn’t answer. Pursing my lips I watched him pull the pan bread out of the stove. The scent of warm bread right out of the oven made my mouth water. Jake coaxed it out of the wrought iron pan with his pocket knife and smoothed butter over it. Instantly melting, it seeped into the crevasses of the uneven surface.

The cabin’s pot belly stove gave off waves of heat in the small room warming my toes and sending the heady scent of boiling Bouillabaisse floating in my direction. My stomach growled. Tarragon, fennel, and creamy broth made my mouth water despite my chill.

Cocking his head to the side, Jake looked at me with concern. “Are you warming up yet?’

Still feeling stupid, I nodded and cleared my throat. “Yeah.”

My eyes flit to the bandage on his bicep. His prize for fishing me out of the swamp when I’d tried to take off with his boat. He'd been right. I should have listened to a man who grew up on these waters.

Jake knit his brows together. “You don’t stop chattering you’re going to vibrate right off of that stool,” he mumbled. “Hold on.”

He wiped his hands on a dish towel and pulled a blue and white speckled mug from a hook over the pot belly stove. Ladling some of the soup into it he handed me the mug and smiled.

“Thanks,” I murmured. I cupped my hands around the mug warming my palms and breathing in the steam. “This smells wonderful.”

Handing me a piece of he baguette, he smiled. “Best if you dip it.”

I did, and the savory soup made me smile. Jake could cook, that was for certain.

Jake’s eyes went to the window, and he shook his head. “Ill fait mauvais.”

“I’m sorry?” I followed his gaze to the storm. He often slipped into his familial Cajun-French when worried.

“It’s a bad one.” He said and sighed.

I wish I'd realized then, that I would barely survive that storm.

Be sure to come back and visit during The Primal Scream Blogfest - Your Most Heart Pumping Scene on May 5th. If you'd like to participate, sign ups are on the side bar. --->

Photograph by boliston, Uploaded on May 27, 2008. Photograph by J.J. Verhoef, Uploaded on April 14, 2009.