Writer Thrill Seeking

If you asked me to go bungee jumping or skydiving, I’d probably chuckle and politely tell you that if I wanted to see the ground rushing up at my face, I’d get drunk and fall over. Though I’ve had my thrills and sometimes I go looking for a certain kind, nobody would rush to call me a thrillseeker. I don’t know if I’d get on a roller coaster that goes upside down anymore.

But when it comes to writing, I’m far more game for a thrill.

The first week of May I decided to spend money I didn’t have to enter a script that I hadn’t written into a contest that’s deadline was the next day.

Okay, now this only looks like a last minute decision. To be fair, I thought the deadline was actually the next week. I did think I had a little more time. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to doing the contest because, like I mentioned, really didn’t have the entry fee to spare.

But when I saw that I was wrong about the deadline, I sort of…well…went thrill seeking. The first time I entered a script in this contest, I spent a couple of months working on an entry that got me an honorable mention. When I entered last year, I spent about a week on a entry I thought would ultimately be a throwaway, and I ended up with 5th place.

I could not pass up the challenge of writing fifteen pages of script in two days and see if I couldn’t beat 5th place.

The idea is one I’ve had kicking around in my head and I even wrote a short story/first chapter for it. I already had an outline. I was actually going in pretty well stacked in terms of knowing what I was doing. It was just a matter of finding the time to get it all written.

Yeah, about that.

During the same two days I was writing these fifteen pages I was also prepping for my next Green Hornet chat with Dan, outlining season 3 of Murderville, writing my page a day, studying my four languages, and doing my daily life stuff.

No sweat.

This is how I get my high. By driving myself crazy. I honestly think that I’m not happy unless I’m committing some sort of busy-ness that pushes me to the brink of insanity. For the last few months, I’ve been taking it pretty easy on the writing schedule. I was struggling with my mental and physical health. I really didn’t have the energy to push it. Or at least it didn’t feel like I did.

I’m feeling a bit more energized now, though.

Maybe I just needed a little thrill to get going.

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Murderville: The End Of- Episode 5

The Mistress’s Men

Lu really wanted to spend her entire shift tagging along with Josh, watching him be a detective, getting elbowed in the ribs for not keeping her word about not asking any questions or saying anything sarcastic, but unfortunately, she did have work to do.

A whole pile of it was waiting on her desk.

“You work weekends now?” Melanie asked as she strolled into the office.

The death investigator’s office was situated down the hall from the autopsy room.  It had two desks, two phones, several filing cabinets, a couple of chairs, a police scanner, a coffee pot, and a television.  The official break room was on the second floor, but most everyone just hung out in the death investigator’s office because it was closer.

Melanie poured herself a cup of coffee.

“Jerome is off and someone had to cover,” Lu said, sitting down at her desk, looking at the stack of files in the center of it not unlike she might look at pile of dog shit on her lawn.  And Lu didn’t own a dog.  She gestured at them, careful not to touch them.  “Is this my pain?”

“Yep,” Melanie said, reading her look.  “Those are the files that upstairs,” Melanie looked up, “wants reviewed.  Dr. Pascal was ranting about it last night.  I thought his head was going to pop off.”

“He’s got about as much skin in this audit as I do.”

“Neither one of you have anything to worry about,” Melanie said, giving Lu a pat on the shoulder.  “You two are the best at your jobs.  Upstairs is crazy to think otherwise.”

Melanie sat down at the other desk, turning on the TV, but keeping the volume low.

Lu wanted to believe that Melanie was right, but just the fact that she was working for Jerome on a weekend because the city was too cheap to hire as many death investigators as they needed didn’t boost her confidence any.  Lu knew all too well that being good at your job didn’t meant that you weren’t expendable.

With a heavy sigh, Lu pulled the first file from the top of the pile and opened it up, looking for a mistake she knew that she hadn’t made.

###

Simon Sidney lived in a large house on the lakefront, only a few miles down the road from End Of, on Lake Shore Drive.  The house was practically a wall of windows on the side that faced the lake, which was no doubt picturesque most of the time, if you didn’t think about how many cars were probably at the bottom of Lake Munster.

Josh sat on the white couch in the white living room wondering why so many people with money insisted on white living rooms.

Simon Sidney was a handsome man in his sixties, his hair long gone silver, his age starting to show in his golfer’s physique.  His wife, Carlotta, was easily twenty years younger than he was and held up to a much different standard.  Her hair was bleached an unnatural blonde and it was clear by the lack of movement in her forehead that she’d had a round or twelve of Botox.  Her lips looked overly filled and her clothes were a size too small.

They sat on the couch opposite Josh, a low glass coffee table between the detective and the couple.  Simon Sidney sat on the couch, looking relaxed in his dress shirt and slacks.  Carlotta Sidney was perched next to her husband, right on the edge of the sofa.  Josh didn’t think she could relax in the dress she was wearing.

“Mr. Sidney,” Josh began, sparing a glance at his wife, “I need to know about your relationship with Starla James.”

“She was my mistress,” Simon Sidney said so bluntly that if the words had been an anvil, a cartoon coyote would have been flattened instantly in a comical way.

“One of your mistresses,” his wife patiently corrected and a second anvil dropped on that poor coyote’s head.

Josh nodded and quickly jotted down the unnecessary information into his notebook to hide his wide-eyed shock from the couple.

###

Keep up with Lu and Josh’s investigation! Check out Murderville or Patreon!

Writing for Tips

In my continued attempts to support myself by writing (not only because it’s my ultimate goal in life, but also because I’m still struggling to find a day job), I’ve come up with a new way for folks to support me and my work.

Specifically, I call it Writing for Tips.

Right now, it’s a collection of the formerly-freebie stories and the stories I had in the Storytime Jukebox and I also plan to add a few more stories as we go along. Yes, the Jukebox is no more. It was a nice idea, a pay-what-you-want endeavor, but ultimately, it was just a little to prohibitive. Also, I’m just too clumsy to be expected to do that sort of thing well. Writing for Tips is better because it’s not only a pay-what-you want endeavor, but it’s also a pay-if-you-want endeavor. Meaning the stories are essentially free, but you can throw some cash my way via PayPal or buy me a coffee via Ko-Fi if you like my work.

Think of it as busking, but for writing.

Will people read and not throw any money in my open typewriter case? Yeah, probably. Hopefully, though, they will enjoy what they read. They’ll tell friends. They’ll look for my other work. They’ll buy it. They’ll read it. They’ll enjoy it. They’ll tell friends. I’m creating a cycle here. Also, there will be some who do toss me a buck or two when they can in addition to doing everything else. Both are very much appreciated.

It’s possible I might expand this to include some non-fiction/essay-type writing as well, but we’ll see.

In the meantime, if you like the tune, don’t be afraid to tip the player.

May Writing Projects

You know, I said last month that April was my oyster. Apparently, I forgot that I don’t care for oysters. I did my page-a-day and my poem-a-day. I submitted a short story twice (same story, two different markets, a rejection was involved) and I submitted (Vampires) Made in America to a new agent.

And that’s about it.

I thought I’d be able to find a project to work on, but the best I did was rearranging my To Do List of Doom so it made more sense. I’ve still got a massive list of projects in various states and none of them made any progress in April.

I have my speculations about the reasons for this, but I’m not going to get into them here.

Instead, I’m going to move on. New month…well, same me, but actual stuff to work on.

I’ve decided to dedicate May to my Patreon. I’m going to outline season 3 of Murderville and write the first draft of the season 3 preview story. I’m also going to brainstorm ways I can be more involved on Patreon. Right now, it’s very much set it and forget it. I feel like I need to provide a little more content in order to entice new patrons and keep the ones I have. Can’t get by on my looks here.

Or anywhere, really.

Speaking of Murderville, episode 5 of The End Of is live May 8th. We’re over the half-way point here. Become a patron and enjoy the ride. $1 an episode lets you read; $2 an episode lets you read AND you get some really sweet bonus material in the form of other stuff I’m working on. It’s never too late to head to Murderville!

Releasing the Mermaid

“Releasing the Mermaid” would be a great title for a book or a movie, but instead it’s the title of this blog post and the mermaid in question is Come to the Rocks.

As you know, Come to the Rocks, my little, twisted mermaid/human queer romance story came out on the 16th from NineStar Press. This is the longest story I’ve ever had published by someone who is not me. It’s also the first thing I’ve had published by someone who is not me in a very long while.

After years of being in complete control over the publishing end of the writing life, I sort of forgot what it was like to not have to worry about that so much.

Now, obviously having a novelette published on its own isn’t quite the same as having a short story published in an anthology. Longer, solo stories require more work. I mean that’s just logic. And so I was expecting that. I was not expecting the first round of edits to come during an incredibly busy time in my schedule, but it did and I managed it, with the help and patience of my wonderful editor Jason.

The subsequent edits and proofreading were much easier and I appreciate the talents of those who worked on my little book. They made my manuscript sparkle.

I also had the talents of the wonderful Natasha Snow for my cover, and I will never get over the magnificent job she did. She captured the story perfectly, I think.

These are two things that I like doing in regards to my self-publishing, though after this experience I realize that I really need to improve my skills.

NineStar Press also handled all of the stuff that I am truly terrible at. They did the pre-order and orchestrated the release blitz. They provided advanced reader copies for reviews, which is something I never even thought about doing on my own. I am positively tragic when it comes to self-promotion so it was nice to have that help and that boost. There is no doubt in my mind that this little book reached more people than it would have if I’d self-published it. I am endlessly grateful for that.

As much as I like the total control of self-publishing, I cannot deny the benefits of traditional publishing. It’s a little less stressful because there’s a team and tasks are delegated and not everything falls on me to do. My main role was as a writer and it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to do just that. I said earlier this year that I wanted to get back into the traditional publishing game and this has reminded me of the perks of it. I’ll probably still self-publish, but I’m hoping that this will begin the trend of balancing the two more equally.

The release of this mermaid was a definite group effort, but still very much a personal accomplishment.

A truly sweet swim.

Murderville: The End Of- Episode 4

A Little Family Support

Haskell and Leora Jones were big on family.  So big on family that they had five children: Drusilla (Dru), Nicodemus (Nico), Tallulah (Lu), and twins Dashiell (Dash) and Dartagnan (Tag).  They ran a successful family business that only their daughter Lu didn’t work in, much to their displeasure.  And they had a family dinner most nights of the week even though their three oldest children no longer lived at home and in the case of the two oldest, had families of their own.  But that didn’t stop Haskell and Leora from cooking huge dinners nor did it stop any of the children or their husbands or their children from stopping by for the evening meal without invitation nor forewarning.

Lu walked into her parents’ house in a foul mood wanting nothing more than to eat until she reached peak food coma, but without the effort of actually cooking.  Her foul mood fled as soon as the door closed behind her, not because of the impending food, but because no foul mood of hers could withstand the cute of her two nephews, Ezra and Roman.  Aged five and three respectfully, the two biracial boys were biological half-brothers adopted by Nico and Josh when they were tiny.  Their dads got a kick out of people saying that the boys looked like them.

Ezra and Roman barreled into their aunt as soon as they heard the front door slam shut.

“Auntie Luuuuuuuu!” they squealed, crashing into her legs and hugging her around the knees.

“Hello, my minions,” Lu said, giving each a hug in turn, kissing them both on the top of their heads.  “What evil have you done on behalf of your overlord today?”

The two boys answered in only giggles.

“Are you heathens here alone or is Nan and Pop around?” Lu asked.

“Inna kitchen makin’ dinner,” Ezra said and then wrinkled his nose in disgust. “It’s gross.”

“Yes, but you also don’t like pancakes,” Lu said.  “Your opinion can hardly be trusted.”

Roman giggled while Ezra stuck his tongue out at his aunt.

“Get away from me,” she said, giving her nephews a playful nudge.  “Go hassle Pop for quarters or something.”

“Hooray!”

The two boys tore off through the house.  Lu knew they passed through the kitchen because her mother yelled at them to slow down.  Lu followed them at a much calmer pace.

Leora was at the kitchen counter.  Four different pots were going on the stove, something was in the oven, and it looked like there was something in a bowl that was in the process of being prepared.  Her mother moved like a whirlwind amongst all of it.

“Are you here for dinner, Lu?” she asked.  “I think I might just have enough to feed you, too.”

“Good God, I hope so,” Lu said, looking at the ensuing feast.

“She started throwing more food into pots as soon as Josh walked through the door,” her brother Nico said.  He was sitting on the other side of the kitchen with said Josh at the table.

When it came to Lu and her siblings, an argument could be made that Haskell and Leora took home the wrong baby at some point, only no one was quite sure which one.  None of the Jones children looked like their parents.  And with the exception of the twins, none of them looked like each other, either.  Lu was short with a witch’s nose and hazel eyes that looked like they could see through anything.  Nico was tall with gangly limbs and soft blue eyes that looked almost like he was on the verge of crying all the time.  The only thing Lu and Nico had in common appearance-wise was they both had brown hair, but Lu’s was much darker than Nico’s.

Lu sat down heavily at the table with Nico and Josh.

“And how was your day, dear?” Nico asked with a sly little smile.

“My cases are being audited,” Lu said bitterly.

Nico’s eyes went wide and Josh’s jaw actually dropped.  Lu heard a pot lid rattle harshly across the room.

“Yes, exactly,” she said, pointing at them both.

###

Don’t miss a clue! Check out Murderville or Patreon!

New Release! Come to the Rocks

Linnea’s only safe place is a spot on the rocky shoreline where the water can be rather vicious. It’s here where she meets, and falls in love with, a mermaid named Mren. As the romance blossoms, the escalating harassment from Linnea’s ex-boyfriend Mikey threatens the secret relationship. Mren has vowed to protect Linnea, but she’s confined to the water and Mikey is a land monster. Meanwhile, Linnea will do anything to keep Mren safe from him.

Anything.

 

Come to the Rocks, my little bisexual woman/mermaid horror-ish romance story is coming soon!

Now available from NineStar Press.

This little novelette ebook is only $2.99. Too good to pass up.

April Writing Projects

Last month I wrapped up the first round of revisions on The End of the (Werewolf) Curse and wrote the first draft of a short story called “The Support Group Meets on Wednesday”, as well as continued writing my one page a day for my experiment.

What I did not do was submit any short stories.

It’s the same ol’, same ol’. I look at what I have ready to submit and then I look at the markets that I find that are taking submissions and things don’t match up. At the very end of the month, I did find one story that kind of matched with one market, but I ended up re-writing the story to make it match better. So, I’ll submit it this month. And I’ll hopefully be able to submit another story or two to other places.

It also looks like I’ll be continuing my agent search with (Vampires) Made in America.

I’m not exactly sure, as I stare at my To Do List of Doom, what I want to work on this month. I think that’s a sign that I need to switch gears a bit.

Since April is National Poetry Month, I’m going to attempt to write a poem every day. I’ve done this before and I enjoyed myself. I have so many poem fragments around, I feel like this will be a good way to turn them into something while also shaking things up a bit.

I may also work on some non-fiction. I’ve got some possible projects that I’ve been speculating on and now might be the time to take a harder look at them.

Maybe I’ll work on a script since I have so many of them in various stages, too.

This month is my oyster, really.

Speaking of sea things…

Come to the Rocks is set to be released by NineStar Press on April 16th! Pre-order it and you get three days early. So order today! It’s like set it and forget it and then you get a surprise that will have your future self thanking your past self. Trust me.

Episode four of Murderville: The End Of goes live on April 10th. Become a patron for only $1 an episode. $2 patrons will get a bonus on April 24th. It’s never too late to get in on a killer good time.

Murderville: The End Of- Episode 3

To Complicate Things

Josh and his partner Vince sat on the couch in the living room of Stella James’s sister, Brandy Everly.  Her husband, and Stella’s brother-in-law, Lance sat in a chair opposite them.  Mrs. Everly was in the other room, finishing up a phone call.

The search of Starla James’s luxurious apartment quickly revealed that it wasn’t the site of her death, but also revealed little in the way of clues as to who the culprit might be.  Everything was neat, tidy, orderly, and there was no sign of any of the men that Starla James might be connected with, either currently or in the past.  The most Josh and Vince were able to recover was the name of the victim’s next of kin.

The Everly’s living room was done up tastefully enough in dark wood and white, which let Josh know that this couple didn’t have any children or pets.  The white couch he and Vince sat on was spotless.  Lance Everly sat nervously on the edge of his chair, waiting for his wife so the couple could receive the bad news that Josh and Vince had brought them.  Not that they knew at the moment they’d be receiving bad news, but what good news do two plain clothes detectives ever bring?  Mr. Everly was a thin man, young with an older cast, like he worked too hard for too little.  Josh watched him fidget as he waited, his hands unable to remain still, the only attempt at small talk to fill the time unsuccessful.  Josh wanted to keep this serious and direct.

“I’m sorry about that,” Mrs. Everly said as she entered the room.  “I’m trying to organize a girls’ night out for next weekend and you would not believe how involved it is.”

She smiled at the two detectives as she perched herself on the arm of her husband’s chair, putting an arm around his anxious shoulders.  Brandy Everly didn’t quite have the exotic, sexy beauty that her sister had, but she wasn’t unattractive.  Instead of black hair, hers was red, and kept about shoulder length in an easy, flattering style.  She was thinner, less-curvy than her sister, and whatever bosom she might have had was discreetly concealed beneath a modest dark purple blouse that matched her light purple capris.

“Now, what’s this all about?” Mrs. Everly asked.

Josh felt Vince shift beside him.  This was a tough part of the job, informing someone that their loved one had died and not in a natural manner.  The reactions to such news varied from person to person and there was no clear predictor of what to expect.

“Mrs. Everly, I’m sorry to inform you that your sister was found deceased early this afternoon,” Josh said.

He waited while the words found their meaning for the couple.  Mr. Everly looked up at his wife, reaching back to grasp her hand that rested on his shoulder.  Mrs. Everly stared at the two detectives for a moment, her face somewhat neutral, as though the full weight of her sister’s death hadn’t quite hit yet.

“What happened?” she asked softly.

“Your sister was found hanging from a tree at End Of,” Josh said.

“She killed herself?” Mrs. Everly asked.

“Right now we can’t say,” Josh said, watching as Mr. Everly squeezed his wife’s hand hard.  Lu called it a homicide, but Josh wanted to be careful with that information for now.  It hadn’t been confirmed.  “We have to wait for the autopsy results before a cause of death can be conclusively stated.  But as an unattended, suspicious death, we have to investigate it.  Are you up for answering a few questions?”

Mrs. Everly nodded.

“Do you know of any reason why your sister might have wanted to take her own life?” Josh asked.

Mr. Everly looked down at the white-carpeted floor, considering.  Mrs. Everly sighed and looked at Josh.

“Maybe she was finally tired of being a whore.”

###

Keep up with the latest mystery. Check out Murderville or Patreon!