Delve into my imagination

Archive for July, 2013

The Hunter: Chapters 1-3

-The Hunter-
Passages are written in chapters. The chapters with the heading Cortez Abernathy are in the present, while the chapters with the heading TheHunter are passages from the past, written within the pages of Cortez Abernathy’s memoir, The Hunter.

Note: Cortez Abernathy is romance novelist. Cort is highly sexual, romantic, and extremely emotional. Since this book is written for him, about him, and takes place within his mind, the usual linear storyline would not suffice. In essence, this book is Cort.


Cortez Abernathy
-Chapter One-

            The blinking cursor of death.

            |

            I’m not used to this insanity. Well, I’m used to actual insanity, as in the kind in actuality. What I’m not used to is… Ugh, I can’t even think it.

            Writer’s Block.

            I suffer from the dreaded writer’s block. I’ve been suffering for almost a year. It was a big joke between Ezra and me when I wrote my first shitty book. I wrote it on purpose. I wanted to see how Katya would react, whether or not she’d do her job versus falling for my charms.

            Kitten did her damned job, alright!

            The book I gave my wife was a shit-fest. I deliberately messed it all up. It was a test, or so I told myself as Ezra maniacally laughed at my plight. I was able to resurrect the horrid creation, and it hit number five on the New York Times best seller’s list. It stayed there for many weeks in fact… and then life got in the way. I lost track of the days that I didn’t write, when previously it was unfathomable that I go a few hours without putting words to page.

            In the past, writing was as essential as breathing, an involuntary compulsion. I had to create to release the pent-up pressure inside my mind- the emotions, the thoughts, the sensations that choke the very life out of me. For me, writing was an emotional pressure release valve. I grin and charm my way into people’s lives. I smile when inside I feel raw, an open wound that will never heal.

            First, life got in the way: relationships, family obligations, mystery illegitimate children, secrets and lies and betrayals of the deepest kind, marriages, and threats. Then the emotions came and rolled me under: Fear, jealousy, friendship, love, betrayal, fear, jealousy, betrayal, bitterness, and love. These emotions were so strong that no words could be uttered. My mind was a blank canvas without its usual colorful imagination. I was a black hole, devoid of anything but an infinite stretch of silent pain.

The first stirring appeared after I felt safe, the tingling at the back of my mind. It’s a slight sensation, rather pleasant and titillating. It was my muse awakening from a long slumber. She… and I have no idea why as a male I have a female muse, a muse I refuse to name. She stretched and yawned, and then she smiled at me, the smile of an angel. I blinked back tears, realizing that her visage is that of my long dead mother- but we all have our issues, mine just happen to be of the mommy kind.

            I was elated. I was sitting on the sofa watching a movie with my family. I burst up from my seat, knocking poor Kitten off of my lap. I’d frightened Diane to the point that she gasped, a huge expression for the ultra-controlled women. Marcus knew. I could tell by the sparkling in his eye and the hearty laugh as he gazed at me in wonder. I’d shouted, “I’ve got to write. Disturb me and I’ll hurt you.” I ran to my office and sat down to write. Laptop booted up, a carafe of coffee, the whirr of the air purifier singing its song of contentment. Hell, the air temperature was perfect. I was at peace, the pressure ready to be relieved.

            … And then I checked my messages. All one-thousand-four-hundred of them.

            A while back, I’d joked about Bitch-Slaps through the laptop screen. It is a turn of phrase I created as Grant and I commiserated over the horrors of being a published author. Grant and I have long discussions about how reader interactions make us feel- the inspiration, the anxiety, the fear. The majority of the interactions are life-changing, friendship-building, inspiring. A scant few are like cancer, they bleed into your creativity and deplete your motivation, hell, your will to live even. Demands, ridicule, people speaking to you as if you are not a human being, but just a source of their unlimited entertainment- a puppet that’s strings get pulled for the price of your book.

            I was in Hell- I burst into flame. I incinerated in my horror as my muse shriveled up and died within that special place she dwells at the base of my spine. My angel, my muse, the unnamed inspiration that I refuse to admit is Celeste Hunter. My mother died again for me that day, and I haven’t written a word since, not even a grocery list.

            The demanding hands came through the laptop screen and choked me- they had me by the throat. The screams were deafening in their silence. Words of malice formed perfectly placed plunges into my heart. It was the game reawakening and ruining the only thing I had left to call my own. Ezra isn’t mine. Faith isn’t mine. Katya isn’t mine. Ava and baby Ez belong to Ezra and Katya. Zane belongs to Ezra and Faith. Azriel is mine by genetics, but she belongs to all of us. I’m not even mine. I’d freely give myself to Ezra in all ways, but the game owns me. I have no rights to anything. I thought my passion was something that couldn’t be taken from me.

            … And I was wrong. My passion was torn from my soul- ashes of who I used to be, who I should have become.

            I paid the penance for whatever tantrum Ezra had thrown within the bounds of the game, and the payment of that consequence was my life’s blood- my life’s work.

            Thousands upon thousands of emails, comments on my websites, Facebook and Twitter were blowing up with malice… and then the reviews started. Reviews are the bane of my existence. Perfect, five-star reviews manage to hurt my injured psyche. I think to myself, what did they really mean by that? Was the tone insulting? You never know, but the mind always sees it as a slight. I don’t read reviews on principal, but how can you not when you are inundated with thousands overnight? 

The mean reviews, bashing, personal attacks, suck the life from your soul. You would think because someone received my book for free, or as an ARC, or for Lord’s sake, pirated the cocksucker that that gives them the rights to taint your name. Line-by-line they shred your story, and you try not to take offense, but how can you not? You created every word, you breathed life from nothing. While it may just be a book to them, a few minutes to snicker as they taunt like schoolyard bullies, it was thousands of hours of your life put into word form. Each and every book is remembered within you mind. Just the title itself will ping memories and emotions of how you felt as you birthed your story.

The worst are the reviews when you know they didn’t even read the dang book. They take apart a few chapters, totally annihilate your work, all the while getting it wrong because they didn’t even read it. But you can’t defend, you can’t even respond, you can’t even speak out in your own private medium on your own websites. You will be scorned for life. Stoned in the way of social networking. The scarlet letter, but in this case the A stands for Author.

I was ruined.

Ordinarily it would have washed over my back as soon as I began writing again, or read a book, or hugged my children. Any sort of positive interaction to remove the darkness that smudges my soul. But over a thousand is not a handful, and the reason for the well-placed strike was another mini-death- the betrayal.

Ezra’s betrayal.

Doesn’t everything in my life boil down to Ezra and his many explicit betrayals? I was distraught, raw. It felt as if Ezra personally attacked me. Hell, at the time, I figured he did. But I knew that if Ezra hadn’t betrayed me, then it was Faith, which was just as bad. Worse actually, Faith using me to hurt Ezra, and Ezra allowing me to take his consequences- it’s a double fist to the ass, that.

For months I pretended to write, which is with great difficulty when you live with your editor and your boss. Breakfast conversation was tense to say the least, especially when asked how my work in progress was coming along. Yeah, thanks for the advance, but I ain’t got shit on paper. Unless you want me to take a crap and wipe my ass and hand it in as a manuscript. I might be able to do that at least by the rapidly approaching deadline- I hope.

Finally, after questioning concerns and plenty of razzing, they all realized I had a real problem. So instead of indulging in writing, my soul cleanser, I ignored my issues and became the best father on the planet. Never having a father myself, I took all the qualities I respected in Marcus, and all the mistakes everyone was making around me, and tweaked it to how I thought a father should react.

I’m paralyzed by fear, by suffocating emotions that have no outlet for release, by the life I’ve chosen to lead but curiously believe it’s the wrong path. This isn’t how I saw myself. I’m living in our allies’ estate with my family and children, seeking refuge from the shit-storm Ezra rained down upon our heads. I feel immense guilt as I withhold everything from the ones I love. Our hosts are being tormented by the ones they house. It’s wrong, and my mother raised me better than that, and I should be raising my children better than that. 

“Daddy,” Baby Ezra’s tender voice flows as he paws at my thighs, and just like that, Celeste Hunter takes the first real breath she has had in over a year. Not the resurrected breath of rebirth, but the dawn of a new life. My muse, my mother, she croons in my mind. If you can’t live with it, don’t accept it. Change!

… And like a lightning strike, I take a deep breath and my fingers fly along the keys. In order to be reborn, one must start at the beginning…

 

 

The Hunter
-Chapter Two-

“Wait up!” I shout at Ez’s retreating back.

This summer, Ezra is obsessed with hide and seek. We take turns seeking each other. Once caught, we go back to the center of the lawn, and begin again. He makes us do this from dusk ‘til dawn. I just want to hang around the pool with Divina and Aaron, reading books and listening to music. But Ezra stares me down and says, no, do as I say.

In the past month, we’ve expanded our game to almost a hundred square acres. Now we use compasses, and we’re working up to the seven-hundred acres surrounding ShadowHaven. Ezra expects it by the time school starts. I learned forever ago, just give Ez what he wants.

We play The Hunter, as Ez likes to call it, and he won’t tell me why. He just mumbles, it’s what you do, isn’t it? You hunt your prey, don’t you? I try to tell him that I meant: why do we play it, not why is it called The Hunter? But he always ignores me.

I can tell Ezra is holding something back for me, he’s distancing himself. He knows something I don’t. I’d asked my mom about it because Ezra was getting obsessed with hide and seek… Mom didn’t say anything, and she didn’t need to. Her petrified expression said it all. Now I wish I hadn’t said anything, because Mom and Diane keep looking at us like we’re going to turn into freaks or some shit. The little brat, Aaron, tattles on us every time we do something that they think is nature versus nurture– whatever the hell that means.

An old dude keeps coming around and trying to chat us up. After several times, I figured out that he was a headcase quack. He’s stopped talking to me. But four times a week, Ez and the Doc lock themselves in our bedroom for two hours at a clip. Ezra threw a temper tantrum, so now he only comes after dark. Dr. Weiss was cutting into The Hunter time.  

It’s days like today that I get jealous. Ez is only a month older than me, but he’s huge. Ezra is all long arms and legs, which eat up the distance of our hunt. It takes me twice as long to do our route. He hated it when I called him lollypop, but it’s not true anymore. All this hunting has beefed him up. I try not to notice, but it’s impossible with him constantly strutting around naked. It’s like he wants me to see that he’s manlier than me. Divina has seen all of him, too. Ezra just laughs and looks you in the eyes- pervert.

Ezra is a good four inches taller than me. After twelve years of being identical in all ways, I’m pissed. I still look like a kid and Ez is running around with hair on his body. I try not to compare us, but it’s difficult not to when everyone else does. We get a lot of sidelong looks and people calling us twins. I don’t know why, but it annoys Ezra so much that he gets confrontational. I’ve never told him that it hurts my feelings when he goes on the attack. Our lives have always been parallel: no fathers, raised as brothers by our single mothers, we even look alike. Why would Ezra be ashamed to be my brother? I guess he just doesn’t like my skin color. He teases me about being half Hispanic all the time. I’m too tan for Ezra’s white, rich world.

“Don’t be a twit,” Ez taunts, running backwards on his muscular legs- show off. “You’ll never catch me.” Ez whips around and lopes off into the woods, sinister laugh fading in his wake.

“You’ll regret making me chase you,” I shout. “Someday, you’ll be the one eating my dust!” Ez’s answer is his creepy laugh. After a heartbeat of hurt because Ezra left me behind, I go after him.

Pumping my arms as legs as fast as I can go, digging the treads of my sneakers into the ground, I try to gain on Ezra. I slow to yank off my t-shirt and swab my face dry. It’s so humid you can practically see the moisture in the air. It’s ninety-three degrees today with the sun directly overhead. The canopy of the woods isn’t offering any relief. It’s just moist, hot, and buggy.

I’d rather be in the pool, casting looks at Divina’s bikini top. Ez would throw a fit, though. Last week he beat me for looking at her titties. I told Ezra Divina wasn’t my cousin, so I can look all I want. I was just curious. I ended up with a black eye and Ezra had Dr. Weiss for extra sessions.

One advantage of being shorter, the limbs aren’t whipping me in the face. Ez keeps cursing every time he gets lashed. I snicker as he calls a spruce a cocksucker.

“You can’t hide if you keep bitching at inanimate objects,” I sing. “Defeats the purpose of hide and seek.”

“So does chasing me, dumbass,” Ezra shouts at me from somewhere deep in the woods. “The whole point is learning to track… which you suck at.”

“If you’d shut up, I’d look for you. You might as well throw up a flare, since your chatty ass won’t zip it.” Truthfully, every time I’ve found Ezra was because he was bitching at himself or a tree, sometimes a leaf or a bug. He’s silent in the woods. His feet barely touch the ground. Ezra stalks like a perfect predator. I never even hear him breathe. It’s these random outbursts that betray his position- without fail. I know he’s not… right in the head. He’s just Ez.

 

 

Cortez Abernathy
-Chapter Three-

The whisper of fingertips on my chest awakens me, enlivens me. I’d know these fingertips even in nonexistence, and they just may be the very death of me. The fierce hunger I feel, the pit of ache in my stomach, causes a starvation that threatens to emaciate me unto death.

“Ezra,” his name flutters, quivers from nervousness, from my parted lips as I press his palm to the center of my chest, directly over my rapidly beating heart.

The kiss is soft, a declaration of love as much as a silent apology of guilt and remorse. Ezra hovers over me, hands pressed into the mattress on either side of my shoulders. It’s just him and me, laying in our bed, as it should have always been. Gray eyes, the same shade and shape as my own, gaze down at me in wonder. Twin storm cloud asking for redemption… forgiveness.

Before the words flee my mouth, Ezra’s lips descend and consume me, suck my life down within himself, exactly where I belong.

This is like breathing. This is breathing, for without Ezra I cease to exist. We may have not shared a womb, a fact that I would’ve felt jealousy over if it weren’t for the problem of being in love with one’s twin brother. It’s bad enough that we are both men, men who are related by blood. We shan’t complicate it any more than it already is with pure incent- cousin is bad enough, but not illegal.

Ezra is my world. Ezra is my obsession. He builds me up and destroys me time and time again, and I gladly take it just to be near him. Ezra is my Sun, and I am a budding planet on the fringes of our solar system. I can never be close enough to him. I’d do anything to be as one entity. I crave the sensation of slipping my skin and entering Ezra, or him entering me, joining as one. Just as the Sun does to the planets that are sucked within its orbit- I implode. Ezra destroys my very being with a simple kiss.

“Please,” I beg, salaciously offering myself to anything he wants. A sardonic brow pops as a smirk pulls at Ezra’s cruel lips. I put all of my need into my expression, voicing without sound how very much I need him, how much I need to be with him. Ezra’s answering smile catches the very breath in my throat. It’s the smile that is only reserved for me. No matter who Ezra is: Ezra, Master Ez, or Ez, they all smile at me like that- just me, only me. Just as it should always be.

Muscular thighs part my own as Ezra settles his lower body along mine. I eagerly allow it, I crave what I shouldn’t. But this is not about fear, or right or wrong. This stolen moment is about Ezra and me, us, as it should always be. I allow Ezra to touch me in ways that most men would beat another for stealing, for violating a sacredness of privacy. But between Ezra and me, there are no line worth drawing.

Betrayal, lies, the agonizing torture that Ezra has put me under means so very little when I can smell his musky masculine scent, feel the movement of his chest against mine as he pants from excitement. The sensation of his skin touching my starving flesh has me whimpering in disbelief. It’s been too long. I’ve allowed hurt feeling to warp my love for the man that means the world to me- the man that is my life.

“Make love to me,” I forcefully demand while raising my lower body off of the mattress, trying to grind myself into Ezra. My heels dent the bed, toes curling for leverage. “NOW!”

“With pleasure,” Ezra murmurs with a smile. His tone is part sarcasm, part lust, and a whole heluva lot of amusement. His fingertips skate down my chest, outlining my abs, to my disappointment they veer around my cock. I watch in wonder as Ezra grips his flesh in his fist and pushes into me.

“Ezra,” I scream his name in exquisite torment, ecstasy isn’t a strong enough word. As a word weaver, I don’t have a word in my mental thesaurus to use for the sensation of Ezra joining us as one, as we should be… forever.

“Holy Fuck,” Kitten says with a sharp laugh. “That surely wasn’t a nightmare you were having.”

My eyelids fly open, hating the fleeting dream, despising myself for going there, even in my own mind. My wife stands beside our borrowed bed at Whittenhower Estates, fresh from Restraint and her naughty games with Dexter and Monica. She looks amused as she gazes at the sight I’ve made of myself.

My body is twisted in our sheets, sheets that only cover one of my thighs. Sweat slicks my body, as I pant, still stuck in my imagination. It’s discombobulating, the sensation of being in another time and place. The time was the future or the past, hell if I know which. The place was Ezra and my bed at ShadowHaven, the bed I miss, the bed I’ve shared with the love of my life since I left the cradle.

Tortured, I cry out, hating that my abs and chest are covered in the obvious reaction to my fantasy. I’m covered in my own ejaculate. Rivulets of semen speckle my flesh, covering me in an outrageous amount of proof of what I am, what I refuse to acknowledge. I never cum this much with anyone but him, even in my dreams.

I shade my eyes in humiliation, quickly ripping away the sheet that is twisted around my quivering thigh. I scrub my shame away. If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

“Make love to me,” I beg my wife, but the tone is different than the one from my dreams- distant, pained… desperate. Obvious. Katya’s amusement disappears in an instant. Her vibrant green eyes change, not to lust as I’d hoped. I need her to distract me from the agony. Her eyes change to pain, deeply lancing pain. 

“It’s against the rules,” Katya says as an excuse, an excuse as obvious as the reason I asked her to make love to me in the first place.

“You’re my wife. Don’t we make the rules? If you really wanted to touch me, you would,” I easily manipulate, shoving the pain down and employing my charm. “Kitten, I’ll make you purr until I render you speechless.” The desperation is only thinly veiled. I need touch. I need centered. I need comforted and cared for. I need Ezra. And in his place, anyone can substitute. Katya is the substitute Ezra provided me, but she won’t comply. She’s too smart for our game, our ruination. She’s too smart to lie still while the avalanche of torment sent from the fates buries her with the rest of us. Katya is a fighter- a survivor.

“Go to him,” Katya breathes out, and agony is written across her face. “You really have to go to him- forgive him. I heard you. I watched you as you dreamed. Just as I’ve done since we started sharing a bed. You don’t dream of me, you don’t dream of anyone… but him. Get over yourself and fix this.”

“I can’t,” I cry out in shame. The pain tightens my chest, threatening to kill me with the vise-like grip clenching my heart. “You don’t understand,” I whine, and how could she, I can’t tell her the fucking truth.

“You are a selfish piece of shit,” Katya growls at me. “Grow up and fix this! Not for me, not for you, not for Ezra. Because I don’t know what is going to happen to us. Do this for our children!” Katya screams at me.

“It’s not my fault,” I shout back. “Everyone blames me when they should be blaming Ezra!”

“Bullshit,” Katya calmly says over her shoulder a second before she locks herself in the en suite bathroom.

“But it’s not,” I whisper to the Heavens. “If you only knew, you’d stop blaming me.”

Frustrated, pained, and horny, I stalk from the bed and yank on a pair of pajama pants. I can’t sleep. But I could write. With a deep breath, I smile. I can write again. The block is gone, and it’s time to heal with my words.

Whittenhower Estates is a strange, place- ominous. It’s perfect if you wanted to write a gothic novel of pain and misery. You can feel it bleeding from the walls, weeping from the mortar. I catch a flash of black and purple as Faith ghosts down the hall and rounds the corner. Yeah, just that split-second opens the wound in my heart and I start to bleed out. I lean against the wall, holding my chest against the suffocating nature of betrayal.

Another flash of color and my world fractures. I stare at the door with a cheery teddy bear plaque. I want to gouge that reminder of the past from the door with my fingernails, leaving blood and flesh from the splinters. I love Daniel, Whitt, Pretty Boy, whatever name you want to call him. Whitt is like the brother I never had, and I truly love him. Better yet, I like him. But right now, I could take a page from Faith’s playbook. I want to twist Whitt’s nutsack until it pops from his body and shove it up his virgin asshole.

That flash of color was the absence of color- white. The white-blond hair on the top of Ezra’s head as he snuck into the door with the taunting teddy bear plaque. At least Ezra asked this time, it’s not a true betrayal. Hot twenty-something pretty boys who eagerly shout their gaydom are a huge draw for my husband. Whitt is so gorgeous that it hurts to look at him, and then you melt when you hear his voice.

I’ve never wanted Whitt, I’ve never seen him as anything but a brother. But I can see Whitt’s appeal to both sexes. The perfect bastard has always wanted to take what’s mine, and I allowed it because it was a test- a test Ezra failed miserably. I’d be angrier if it weren’t for the fact that it’s caused Ezra to be even. I love Ezra enough to be happy that he is happy- that he is even. Yeah, I’m so jealous I could… tear my flesh from my body while screaming like a lunatic, but my name isn’t Ezra.

I retreat towards my office, surreptitiously wiping the betraying tears that flow from my traitorous eyes. I’m not sad. I’m not crying because Ezra is happy from playing gay-games with Whitt and his exotic boyfriend, Dalton. Ezra must feel like he died and went straight to heaven.

I stare at the floor as I enter my office, not giving a shit if obstacles take my life. It’s too bad that my office wasn’t on a different floor, I’d chance the grand staircase with my eyes shut. It would be a sweet surrender to exit this torture. Some days I feel as if I were the tortured hero written within a dark and twisted novel. Will my creator finally set me free?

“Ah, you look like hell,” Marcus wryly says, a smirk on his taunting lips as he sits at my desk, researching something on my laptop.

I sigh in relief- comfort. Thank you, Lord, comfort. “I’m no longer blocked,” I announce.

The Hunter

Copyright © 2013 Erica Chilson


   Erica Chilson
M&M of Restraint

& Playroom series
~Happy Wicked Reading~

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Cort: Lazy? Surely not!

 

“Is that chocolate?” I point at the milkshake. Aaron doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t have to, either. The tightening around his eyes says, why, yes, Cortez, it’s chocolate. Please have my milkshake.  

“Don’t mind if I do,” I answer the tightening around Aaron’s eyes. I grab the milkshake and take a hearty pull.

“Your lazy ass will get fat,” Aaron growls, staring at the chocolate decadence streaming up the straw.

“I’m not fat,” I snidely hiss, pointing at my flat belly.

“I notice you didn’t bitch about being called lazy,” Aaron grumbles from around his burger. I just shrug. If the shoe fits… I’m too lazy to try it on for size. “I remember when you were a fat, little pudge,” Aaron taunts, still eyeing his shake like it’s a prize.

I set the chocolate shake down in front of Aaron. “I just wanted a taste… why do you have to be so mean?” My eyebrows pull together as my bottom lip pouts out.

“Cort,” Aaron sighs.

“I remember when you were four feet tall and seventy pounds, but I don’t call you a wimp to your face,” I softly say, sounding hurt.

“I’m sorry,” Aaron apologizes, just like I knew he would. “You’re not fat. Here, have the shake.” He hands it to me as a peace offering.

“Thanks,” I happily murmur, reaching for my prize. “I noticed you didn’t say anything about the lazy.”

“I cannot lie,” Aaron replies, grabbing a fistful of fries.

“I’m just fucking with ya,” I say with a laugh. “My lunchtime is dwindling.” I glance at the clock above Aaron’s desk- seventeen minutes- doable?

“Keep it below a keen. It was embarrassing last week when you were screaming Ezra’s name and I had two patients out here,” Aaron chastises, thoroughly annoyed.

“Be happy you weren’t Roarke, the day before yesterday…” I trail off. I plunk the half-drained milkshake back in front of Aaron and twist the knob to Ezra’s office.


Mr. & Ms. Abernathy

***note: not edited***

 

The Hunter
-Chapter Seventeen-

I’m not at all freaking out. I sleep nude, always have… always will… I used to sleep nude. I don’t wish for my bride to feel uncomfortable, or so I lie to myself. Not that I wish Divina discomfort. It’s a lie that I’m wearing pajamas for her benefit. Pajamas weren’t good enough of a barrier, either. I have on boxers, a t-shirt, pajama pants and long-sleeved shirt, and a robe for good measure.

I’m not at all sweating in the ninety-five degree humid heat in the height of summer. Ninety-five in the shade, the shade of the moon. It’s nighttime and sweltering. Divina’s dream vacation: Jamaica… and no hotel. We’re in a cabin on our own private beach- a cabin without air conditioning… without electricity. We’re trust fund babies… seriously? Divina picked primitive beach camping as her ideal honeymoon. I’ve never even made toast in my life. What are we going to eat while we’re here… what are we going to do?

Did I ever mention my bride has a wicked sense of humor? Which I love when we’re picking on someone else. Not so much when it’s directed at me, and without a doubt, I am the brunt of Divina’s private joke.

I lunge to the side, batting around my head, when a buzzing flies by my ear. The mosquitoes here are the size of hummingbirds, and they ain’t looking for nectar, unless you call my blood sweet. Which I’m sure it is.

“Oh, Cort,” Divina sadly says, shaking her head at me, trying her damnedest not to laugh.

“You do realize I can hear your silent spoiled hanging in the air,” I snidely say, glaring her ass down. “What are we going to eat? I don’t have any idea how to catch a fish, or scale a fish, or cook a fish. Hell, I don’t even know how to start the fire to cook a fish. Still breathing Sushi?”

“Oh, Cort,” Divina repeats, covering her mouth with the back of her hand.

“I didn’t sign up for Survivor,” I mutter, turning my back on my wife to stare out at the beautiful ocean. It’s gorgeous.

“Ah, Survivor- Rich Bitch Edition. Out-bitch. Out-moan. Out-groan. Six days and five nights on a tropical island, in your own personal cabin, with your wife as your constant companion. The prize is a pre-nuptial agreement giving you half a billion dollars, deeded as the owner of ShadowHaven with Ezra, and my undying love. Oh, poor Cort,” Divina whimpers, pouting out her bottom lip.  

“Shut it,” I growl, palming Divina’s forehead and shoving her away. “Like you’re any better. What do you suggest?”

Divina’s eyes gleam wickedness and I get worried. She’s Ezra’s cousin for a reason. Diane is reserved, but Pearl is a wildcat. Never trust a woman who smirks like that. Beautiful, petite, glossy chestnut hair, and gray eyes that hold a tint of blue from her father, Divina can be a brat. So sweet and innocent until she makes you her private joke. Right now, I’m Divina’s joke.

“Rum,” Divina sings holding up a liter of golden liquor, “and marshmallows.”

“Um… I have no idea how to cook that,” I grumble, trying to figure out what concoction that could possibly create. “I’m not even sure that’s food.”

“Cort,” Divina bursts out laughing. “Relax. Take off your jammie snowsuit and put on some shorts. Come outside and sit with me on the beach. I’m going to start a fire. We’ll toast marshmallows and get drunk. Husband and wife or not, it’s still you and me. I’ve known you every day of your life. Let’s just go hang out on a beach in Jamaica- forget it’s a honeymoon. Let’s… just be us.”

“How do we get fire? How do you know how to start a fire to toast the marshmallows,” I mumble, feeling about as manly as a princess.

“Boy, your head has been up your ass since your birth, I guess. First, it’s called a lighter. You flick it, and as if by magic, flame appears. And in case you are lost on what flame is, it means fire. So you hold the magic flame to the paper until it catches on fire, and then the kindling lights. Second, I was a girl scout. Which you’d know if you’d paid attention to anything other than Ezra.”

“What’s a girl scout gotta do with it,” I mumble in confusion. I swipe my hand over my forehead, getting the back of my hand sticky from sweat.

“Oh, Cort,” Divina moans again, and again, and again. “I learned how to start a fire with only two twigs and some tinder.” She shakes her head at me, silently laughing. “I’ll meet you out there… it’s up to you if you want to sweat to death with your style choices.”


The Hunter snippet.

 

The Hunter. Teaser/snippet/something or other. Keep in mind, it’s not edited- like at all! I’m feeling charitable. I was going over Cortez Abernathy’s book’s drafts. One that I already axed was over 20,000 words & I’ll try to incorporate some of it somehow. This was the prologue of the newest version, but I’ve already changed my mind on how I am going to write this book. Now Cortez will give a glimpse of the past thru passages of his newest book, The Hunter, a Cortez Abernathy memoir. The following will be in the book, but slightly changed. Have a read!

The Hunter
Prologue-

“Wait up!” I shout at Ez’s retreating back.

This summer, Ezra is obsessed with hide and seek. We take turns seeking each other. Once caught, we go back to the center of the lawn, and begin again. He makes us do this from dusk ‘til dawn. I just want to hang around the pool with Divina and Aaron, reading books and listening to music. But Ezra stares me down and says, no, do as I say.

In the past month, we’ve expanded our game to almost a hundred square acres. Now we use compasses, and we’re working up to the seven-hundred acres surrounding ShadowHaven. Ezra expects it by the time school starts. I learned forever ago, just give Ez what he wants.

We play The Hunter, as Ez likes to call it, and he won’t tell me why. He just mumbles, it’s what you do, isn’t it? You hunt your prey, don’t you? I try to tell him that I meant: why do we play it, not why is it called The Hunter? But he always ignores me.

I can tell he’s holding something back. He knows something I don’t. I asked my mom about it because Ezra is getting obsessed… she didn’t say anything, and she didn’t need to. Her petrified expression said it all. Now I wish I hadn’t said anything, because Mom and Diane keep looking at us like we’re going to turn into freaks or some shit. The little brat, Aaron, tattles on us every time we do something that they think is nature versus nurture– whatever the hell that means.

An old dude keeps coming around and trying to chat us up. After several times, I figured out that he was a headcase quack. He’s stopped talking to me. But four times a week, Ez and the Doc lock themselves in our bedroom for two hours at a clip. Ezra threw a temper tantrum, so now he only comes after dark. Doctor Weiss was cutting into The Hunter time.

It’s days like today that I get jealous. Ez is only a month older than me, but he’s huge. Ezra is all long arms and legs, which eat up the distance of our hunt. It takes me twice as long to do our route. He hated it when I called him lollypop, but it’s not true anymore. All this hunting has beefed him up. I try not to notice, but it’s impossible with him constantly strutting around naked. It’s like he wants me to see that he’s manlier than me. Divina has seen all of him, too. Ezra just laughs and looks you in the eyes- pervert.

He’s a good four inches taller than me. After twelve years of being identical in all ways, I’m pissed. I still look like a kid and Ez is running around with hair on his body. I try not to compare us, but it’s difficult not to when everyone else does. We get a lot of sidelong looks and people calling us twins. I don’t know why, but it annoys Ezra so much that he gets confrontational. I’ve never told him that it hurts my feelings when he goes on the attack. Our lives have always been parallel: no fathers, raised as brothers by our single mothers, we even look alike. Why would he be ashamed to be my brother? I guess he just doesn’t like my skin color. He teases me about being half Hispanic all the time. I’m too tan for his white, rich world.

“Don’t be a twit,” Ez taunts, running backwards on his muscular legs- show off. “You’ll never catch me.” Ez whips around and lopes off into the woods, sinister laugh fading in his wake.

“You’ll regret making me chase you,” I shout. “Someday, you’ll be the one eating my dust!” Ez’s answer is his creepy laugh. After a heartbeat of hurt because he left me behind, I go after him.

Pumping my arms as legs as fast as I can go, digging the treads of my sneakers into the ground, I try to gain on him. I slow to yank off my t-shirt and swab my face dry. It’s so humid you can practically see the moisture in the air. It’s ninety-three degrees today with the sun directly overhead. The canopy of the woods isn’t offering any relief. It’s just moist, hot, and buggy.

I’d rather be in the pool, casting looks at Divina’s bikini top. Ez would throw a fit, though. Last week he beat me for looking at her titties. I told him she wasn’t my cousin, so I can look all I want. I ended up with a black eye and Ezra had Dr. Weiss for extra sessions.

One advantage of being shorter, the limbs aren’t whipping me in the face. Ez keeps cursing every time he gets lashed. I snicker as he calls a spruce a cocksucker.

“You can’t hide if you keep bitching at inanimate objects,” I sing. “Defeats the purpose of hide and seek.”

“So does chasing me, dumbass,” he shouts at me from somewhere deep in the woods. “The whole point is learning to track… which you suck at.”

“If you’d shut up, I’d look for you. You might as well throw up a flare, since your chatty ass won’t zip it.” Truthfully, every time I’ve found him was because he was bitching at himself or a tree, sometimes a leaf or a bug. He’s silent in the woods. His feet barely touch the ground. He stalks like a perfect predator. I never even hear him breathe. It’s these random outbursts that betray his position- without fail. I know he’s not… right in the head. He’s just Ez.


Widow, Chapter 1 & 2

This is the introduction of the Widower & the Widow. Chapters 1-3 happen a few days prior to Chapter 50 of Good Girl, with Chapter 4 of Widow being Chapter 50 of Good Girl. I hope this sets up the time frame. Good Girl flawlessly slides into Widow, with Malcolm Mason & Clover Webster as Narrators.

I just finished chapter 27, have outlined the rest of the scenes, and foresee Widow’s release the final week of August (depending on the muse, and all outside forces beyond my control)

Here is the introduction to the Widower & the Widow. Enjoy!

 

The Widower

~Chapter One~

“I won’t be home very early tonight, Kieren. Sorry about that,” I exhaustedly mumble to my second oldest son as I gaze around our breakfast table. My eyes light on the empty seat and pain lances deep within my chest.

I’m failing them… my family.

“It’s alright, Dad,” Kieren shrugs off all the responsibilities I put on his shoulders. Since my wife killed herself, Kieren and Devon have been my wife and support system. The pressure combined with the painful memories is why there is an empty seat at our table- my son Devon is spiraling down to beyond rock bottom, and it’s all my fault.

“I have a shit load of paperwork and reports to file. I’d rather be here for you kids, but I have to clear some of this away so that I have some free time once school’s out.” I lamely offer my excuse.

“It’s fine,” Kieren stresses as he begins clearing away the breakfast he made me and his siblings. I stare at my son thinking to myself, NO! No, it is not alright. But I refuse to be like my father. But I am, aren’t I? My father would bring women home to take care of us. I’ve never done that. But my father left me to take care of my baby sister, Isis. Just as I’m doing to Kieren, making him take care of house and home… Weston and Raven.

When Kieren graduated high school, Devon was already at the police academy and I had to work to put a roof over our heads. My son threw away his own happiness to take care of ours. Kieren has a full ride to State on a football scholarship, but he threw it away to be a grease monkey so he could be close to home. It’s why I never let Kieren get away with shit. Most parents would have kissed Kieren’s ass, but not me. I rode Kieren hard, all the while thinking Devon was perfectly fine.

I’m a fucking failure.

“Don’t,” Kieren barks at me as he stacks the cereal bowls. “Get your book bags,” he says to Weston and Raven. “Your lunches are on the kitchen island. Meet me in the truck in five minutes.”

I stare at my hands, waiting for Kieren to light in to me. I deserve it. I sigh, wishing our lives had turned out differently… especially for my eldest sons. Kieren should taking finals for his freshman year at college, worrying about getting piss-roaring drunk and how many chicks he could bag at this weekend’s frat party. Instead, he’s playing happy homemaker, raising my kids, cooking my meals, paying my bills, and working a minimum waged job.

… but then again, Devon should be getting into the car with me to ride to the station, where we would protect and serve our community. But Devon’s marinating at rehab in Arizona.

Failure. Fucking. Failure.

My father was a ruthless, cold bastard that failed Isis. Camille failed us all. I failed us all. Devon failed Kieren, leaving him to take care of Weston and Raven. What a legacy I’ve created.

“Knock it the fuck off,” Kieren hisses, and he never raises his voice at me. Kieren will scoff or make fun of me. But usually he’s gentle, understanding and giving. I raise my eyes to the boy that looks like my father and his mother.

All of my kids are a mix of my family. Devon is the spitting image of his mother, but with my coloring: on the small side, light blue eyes and dark curls. Kieren is built like my father and me, HUGE. But he has his mother’s blond hair. Raven is all Isis. If my sister weren’t still breathing, I’d swear my only daughter was her reincarnation. I’ve never seen anyone as heart-stoppingly beautiful as the women in my family. But it doesn’t make me proud, it terrifies the hell out of me. Weston will look just like Devon when he grows up, but his hair is a shade or two lighter.

“I’m so fucking sorry,” I mumble to the reason I still breathe. Only five people mean anything to me, and I’ve failed them all. I’ve longingly stared at my service pistol, wanting to taste its barrel. But I can’t do to them what Camille did to us all. That dumb cunt even used my service pistol to end her pathetic existence. Every day I get to carry a reminder of how much I’ve ruined my family.

“I said,” Kieren bites out, “to knock it the fuck off. I’m sick of this attitude you walk around with. We were doing good until Devon’s… fuck up. He’s going to be twenty-one. Devon’s a man, and he wouldn’t be in rehab if he took responsibility for his own actions. You walking around blaming yourself is bullshit,” Kieren hisses.

“He’s my son,” I wince when my voice dips down to a whine.

“And he’s my brother,” Kieren counters. “We were supposed to take care of each other, but Devon is a selfish asshole… and that ain’t got a thing to do with you, Dad. Isis, Devon, and I are grown. Rae’s gonna be sixteen and West is closing in on fifteen. All ya gotta do is blink and they will already be out of high school. It’s time for you to move on and get a life.”

“I’m working on it,” I say with a secret smile, and Kieren laughs like a man. That satisfied rumble that only a real man can make. I’ve been waiting for Devon to join our ranks- Augustus and me- but Kieren’s beat him to it.

“I’ll have Rae text Princess to occupy Clover so you can get your loot.” Kieren heartily chuckles. “I’ll see you at lunch. And I don’t give a shit how much work you have to do, be home by seven thirty or I’m sending out a posse. We’re having spaghetti.”

“Alright, I’ll be home by seven. See ya,” I say while clasping my son’s shoulder. I grab my belt on the way by, hooking it into place. I never leave the house without pulling on my Chief Mason persona.

“Be a good girl,” I murmur against my baby girl’s velvety soft forehead.

“I will, Daddy. Not too much is going on at school,” Raven sweetly says, but I trust her as much as I trust Devon. Zilch. An angelic smile from Raven… yeah… lest she forgets who raised Isis. I know all of my daughter’s tricks before she even thinks of them.

“Um-hmm…” I murmur while smiling against Raven’s forehead. I don’t even have to ask, Weston automatically gives me a hug from behind before charging out to Kieren’s truck. Weston is a good boy, I don’t have to remind him to behave. But… I thought Devon was, too. I wasn’t completely blind. I’ve always known Devon’s issues, I just thought he had them in hand. So far so good with Weston and Raven. Rae can be a little bitch and Weston can be devious, but no issues are cropping up from our shared nightmare.

Heart still stinging over the fact that my first born isn’t with me while we ride to work, I hum a tune while I get into my town-issued SUV. But I drive in the opposite direction of the Court House. I have some treats to pick up. I said I’d never be like my dad, and I meant it. My father was a wholly male. Chief John Mason was a fair man, but he was unemotional. He liked to call me a pansy-assed girl because I’m so emotional. But the man did all that he could do to keep us alive, teach us to be good human beings, and be self-reliant. Dad worked hard, and he found harder women to take care of Isis and me. I swore I’d never do that.

… But as I park down the street from Clover Webster’s home, I wonder if I’m doing just that. Not in a million years would I call Clover a whore, like the women Dad brought home to us. But stalking a women seems wrong. But fuck if it isn’t the highlight of my day.

Clover is a good woman. It doesn’t get any more right than when your kids get pissed enough to hook their parents up. The seven kids think it’s a good idea, and I tend to agree. Plus, the woman can cook.

I rub my belly as a smile stretches across my face as I ghost down the street towards my prize. A bouncy ponytail catches my eye, causing me to growl. “Girl,” I hiss. “Gitcha skinny ass right back here!” I run headlong towards the bane of my sons’ existences, and if all goes well, my future stepdaughter, and undoubtedly, my future daughter-in-law.

Willow jogs up to me, box of baked good clutched to her chest. “Seth said Clover was guarding the front window. So I had him distract her while I grabbed the goodies,” the tiny thing breathlessly gasps out. “Here’s your cut.”

I take my two dozen sour cream donuts and scowl the girl down. “Where’s the cherry Danish?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Willow poorly lies.

“Girl, don’t make me spank your ass. I can smell the cream cheese icing…” I sniff the air. “Is that chocolate I smell?”

“Here’s your Danish,” Willow says as she flops a box on top of my donuts. Willow flashes me a brilliant grin, and then takes off at breakneck speeds towards the ancient piece of shit Ford Explorer that she bought from Robin. I momentarily get distracted by the fact that Robin would rip off a relative and that Willow can run like a gazelle.

“Hey, that’s Clover’s seven deadly sins chocolate cake, isn’t it?” I run towards Willow’s car as it idles at the curb.

Willow spills into the driver’s seat, and yells out the window, “Clover was mine first. I’ll always get dibs on her food.”

“You’ll get a fat ass,” I caustically warn, but all Willow does is laugh at me as she drives away with the cake I’d requested my reluctant woman to make. The loneliness suffocates me as Willow drives away.

I am alone, and I’ve fucked it all up.

I am the Widower.  

 

 

 

The Widow
~Chapter Two~

“Did you study for your algebra exam,” I ask Seth for the tenth time. He’s ignored me while texting Willow. I love that they are as thick as thieves… but the little shits are up to something.

I hate how my son doesn’t give me the time a day. I’d ask other moms of teenagers if this is par for the course, but I’m not friends with any. I have no idea if it’s normal or not for your children to act like you were put upon this earth just to feed, clothe, and shelter their entitled asses. They do not see me as a living, breathing person that has feelings that can, and always do, get hurt.

“Uh-huh…” Seth mumbles while his fingers flash lighting quick on his cell phone. I’m not even sure Seth heard me until he replies, “I’ll ace it… I always do.” He rolls his eyes at me like I’ve lost my ever loving mind. My son is obsessed with math and science, so he can’t figure out why I’d worry that he wouldn’t study for algebra. “Why do you keep looking out the window?”

“I’m not,” I poorly deny, and fight my natural instinct to guiltily look away from the front window. My box of baked goods is still there. Two dozen sour cream donuts, a cherry Danish, a layered chocolate cake, and four dozen sugar cookies. My not-so secret admirer sent me two sets of demands last night. I hugely yawn as I think about how late I had to stay up to accommodate the requests. Sometimes… at all times… I wish I had some help.

“Sure you’re not,” Seth grumbles. “Twin,” he shouts. “Kieren will be here any minute. Gitcha ass down here.”

“Don’t be vulgar,” I chastise, and receive another disrespectful eye roll. I try my best to teach my kids not to be heathens, but it’s an uphill battle. My parents are pot-headed tree-huggers that are a foot away from a retirement home if they don’t behave, and Willow swears like a pissed off drunken pirate. Is it too much to ask for them to act civilized?

“Ass,” Seth baits me… Yes, it is most definitely too much to ask. Seth needs a father to kick his ass for the disrespect. The boy is bigger than me now, and he really doesn’t care if he upsets me or not. I’m just the person who gives him whatever he wants.

I’m invisible. Just as Sam wanted it. I can almost feel my dead husband gloating from Hell.

“Heathen,” I grumble, giving a dramatic eye roll of my own. “I can take you to school. It’s on my way to work,” I helpfully offer, wanting a few minutes where my kids can’t get away from me, where they’re forced to talk to me. I’ve yet to figure out why my kids are hanging around the Masons. Hell, why is Violet being polite? It makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

“I’m ready,” Violet happily says, bouncing into the room. Happy is not in my daughter’s vocabulary. Something is up. My self-conscious need for perfection has led Violet to act like a stick is firmly shoved up her ass. A stick she inherited from me.

“It’s just easier, Mom. Ren is already taking Rae and Wes to school. We were on the way,” Seth logically supplies as he grabs for his messenger bag.

Feeling lonely, I’ll try anything for a few extra minutes of my children’s time. “I…”

“You have enough to do, don’t worry about us getting to school,” Violet sweetly says, and my suspicions rise. I narrow my eyes, but something out of the corner of my eye catches my attention, or lack of something. My secret admirer managed to take the huge box of baked goods off of my porch without me noticing. How the hell does he do it?

“Fuck,” I hiss in awe, receiving identical looks of disbelief from Seth and Violet. I never swear out loud, but I swear worse than Willow inside my mind. “Um… nothing. Have a great day at school today,” I brightly say.

“Yeah,” Seth mutters, knowing I’m full of shit. “Later,” is his goodbye, and Violet mumbles the same. It hurts my heart that my children won’t touch me out of affection… ever. I haven’t had a hug in years, just as Sam wanted it.

I watch my children engage the Masons, hugging and giggling as they pile into Kieren’s beat up pickup truck. My twins act like kids around their friends, animatedly chatting and smiling. That hurts more than the lack of hugs. Do my kids think I’m that terrible that they can’t be themselves around me?

I grab my keys and make my way to my parents’ house to begin my daily routine. Wake and feed the kids, call the Spook House and make sure Willow is still breathing, check in on my parents for the same reason and make sure they won’t harm themselves while I’m at work, then I work a ten hour day, only to come home and take care of all the things people have a mate for. I am not a singular person with emotions and needs. I was placed on this earth for the sole reason to take care of my children and parents. I am male and female. I am husband and wife. I am mother and father. I am daughter, sister, and parent. I am a walking banker, maid, chef, handyman, servant, nurse, therapist, and teacher… and I am agonizingly alone.

I am the Widow.


   Erica Chilson
M&M of Restraint

& Playroom series
~Happy Wicked Reading~

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Birthday Bash Winners

Thanks for all of you who participated in my 35th Birthday Bash!!
results powered by random.org.

I have a little private joke to tell y’all. My beta, and all around awesome gal, Cassie Hoffman, wins every freakin’ thing she enters. I love to tease her by saying she has a ‘lucky’ horseshoe shoved where the sun don’t shine. As is evident by my giveaway’s winners!  & those who didn’t win, please join me next time for more fun! Thanks for sharing links, tweeting, liking, and friending! I hope y’all got a free copy of Restraint & Good Girl over the promo days!

Please confirm your email addresses by 7/20 at Midnight. send confirmation to: thewickedwriter@yahoo.com
$35 Amazon gift card: Cassie Hoffman
Digital Bundle of 10 Erica Chilson titles. M&M 1-9, & Good Girl: Kim Nelson Issacs
Faithless, M&M #9: April Walrath
KING, M&M #8: Jessica Ryba


Whatnots….

Warning: This posting will be a mishmash of a billion little bits of information… and extremely long-winded. I’ll put headers so that you may skip potions you don’t give a damn about. *wink wink* I’m riding through Ohio, destination New York (Groceries, fruit & vegetables :P) & Pennsylvania (Home) So I have a few hours of heading eastbound while glaring into the rising sun to formulate a long blog posting. Oh, and rocking out to my father’s love of Creedence Clearwater Revival, but thank goodness he’s no longer listening to his favorites on Sirius radio. I was about ready to jump from the moving car during Fox News & that eighties rock station. The wickedly bright, and always in my eyes no matter how hard I try to avoid it, sun and I are about to have words. I lost a screw in my glasses & I’m missing my transitions lenses something fierce. DANG, this freakin’ sucks!

Edited Versions of my titles
I’ve been contacted a few times in the past few hours on how to tell which version is which and if it is necessary to reread or what the changes were. Restraint, Good Girl, and Unleashed were edited and uploaded the first week of July. On the title page of these editions it will say their date of publication and their revised editions of November 2012/July 2013 (Restraint & Unleashed) & July 2013 (Good Girl) If you do not have these editions, please go to my account on Amazon, manage Kindle devices, and click to ‘turn on’ automatic updates. The newest edition should upload the next time you sync your device. Or follow the steps above until manage Kindle devices, on the library click the drop down next to the title you wish to update, and click update. You can also access this from the purchase page on Amazon (website only) you may also remove the title from device or archive, and redownload the edition. If all else fails, and it has for a select handful of ppl, please contact Amazon via telephone, and have them ‘reset’ your copy to the newest version. Most copies update, but it is out of my control and totally in Amazon’s hands. I don’t know why some update while others don’t.

The changes per title:
Restraint was lengthened from 70k to 100k. Restraint went through a lot of sentence restructure, formatting, and proofreading. I’ve grown within my craft & I want to make my work the best it can be. Restraint was polished, the scenes were expanded with description, and the storyline was fixed for issues in flow and storyline conflict. The overall premise did not change. If you think you need to reread for other than the enjoyment of beginning the series anew, no fear, there is no need. I realize that a lot of readers hate rereading, while some are like me, finding comfort in a reread. I will not change the storyline of my works unless there is a major conflict that I didn’t anticipate.

Unleashed & Good Girl were slightly lengthened by a few thousand words. I didn’t find as many errors, conflicts, or need to restructure the sentences. They basically received a thorough going over and polish.

As I write new titles, I will be going back to past titles, Dexter is next on my list… and yes, I will be going back to the beginning with Restraint & Good Girl when I finish all of my titles. I foresee me doing this until I find the titles flawless. (which is an impossibility) This also help to refresh the little things in my mind as I write new books within these series. Good Girl was a refresher for Widow, & Dexter will be a refresher before I begin The Hunter, and so on.

Thoughts on reviews:
I thank those who have taken the time to review my works, albeit positive or negative. Either way, obviously my work struck a chord within the reader enough for them to think about the story and take time from their busy lives to write a few sentences or a long review. So thank you.

I do not read reviews on principle. Any review, good or bad, is an emotional drain for me. While positive may fill me with inspiration, negative will undoubtedly demotivate my ass… and I never know if it’s positive or negative. Even a positive 5 star review can be riddled with unintentional landmines.

It’s a vicious cycle to engage in, an addiction. “This person loves me. “This person loathes me.” “OMG, I fucked that up!” By the time I read two or three reviews, I’m hunting up a razor blade (I jest. I’m not a cutter, but you get the point… and in all seriousness, I’ve thought about it before. But through the force of my massive willpower, I’ve abstained)

I have to take a step back from all of the closet backseat drivers (editors) and the people who think they can write my stories better than I can. Word of advice, you can’t. Why do I have the arrogance to say you can’t write my story better than I can? Simple, because it’s MY STORY, and I am the creator of its universe. As far as my grammar Nazis… I’ve grown a lot, and I will continue to grow within all the facets of my craft. Making fun of me when you make similar mistakes in the bashing review is kind of… interesting.

Final words: I am a human being. Just because I put my work out for public consumption does not mean you have the liberty to speak to me in any manner you wish. You do realize what I write, correct? I abhor DISRESPECT! Writer and authors alike are regular people with regular lives. We are all walking in similar directions down different paths. While I love interacting with my readers (I truly do) it is unnerving when some make demands (write it like this, you should have done this differently…) everything within my work is up to my discretion because it’s MY work. I thank you for the input. But no, I will not change who I am to meet whatever expectations you have of me. & yes, this is coming from a location of stress that I feel every time I receive this type of message or email. It’s completely inconceivable why people believe I will kotow to them for any reason, no matter how big or small.

In retrospect, the people in the digital land of the internet are just people, strangers. I liken the criticism and demands to a complete stranger walking up to me on a crowded street and making demands of me. Who wouldn’t be pissed?  I have no idea who you are, as you have no idea of who I am. That’s not entirely true. I am an open book: my real name, age, location, and my words bleed upon the page. My point is that until you and I have multiple interactions over a long spans of time, like any relationship, you have no rights to me until you’ve earned it. I’m a very guarded person, I even take great offence when my nearest and dearest place pressure on me. Quickest way to clam me up, make a demand of me.

Note to everyone: It could be anyone on the other side of that user name with a stolen pic as a profile picture. Unless you are a public figure, you have no idea who is on the other side of the computer screen. So yes, the negatives wound me, but then I realize it could be anyone. This isn’t coming from a position of arrogance. Why should I heed words from someone who doesn’t know me, and may be ten years old giving me writing, editing, plotting, and storyline advice? I do not go to your place of employment or your home and follow you around telling you how to do this or that on a subject I know jack-shit about, so don’t come into my home and office through my laptop screen giving me advice about my occupation that you may or may not have any experience with. As bitchy as that last statement is, it’s all about mutual respect.

I will take all advice with a grain of salt, even from my betas and fellow writers. Because, ultimately, I am the one who has to live with my work. After all, it has my real name attached to it, not yours.

Really, think on this… Catfish was not a fictitious story!!! Scary, that!

Reader interactions:
I love hearing from readers, whether good or bad (not the readers 😉 The comments) Please be respectful, though. I don’t need you walking on eggshell or any shit like that. My self-confidence isn’t make of spun glass, but I am prone to bouts of extreme frustration. I have the ability to look in my mirror and acknowledge my faults. So you can’t say anything to me that I didn’t already know. With this said, go ahead and write me in any media you wish (email, msg, and comments on the website or Facebook pages. Friend my ass, and I’ll accept. Hell, you can write me letters if you wish)

I’ve had a lot of positive interactions with readers, and it’s been a cause of inspiration. M&M of Restraint is Dark and contains very dark themes. I’ve had a lot of abuse survivors contact me, saying I’ve helped them come to terms with their violation. You have no idea how this makes me feel. I want my readers to feel empowered by my work. While I may not write traditional HEA, my characters always end up with a feeling of completion within themselves. Do not give power to your victimizer by dwelling in the past. You are stronger than that!

Within the Playroom series, I dive into substance addiction, and it will be a thread within the series. It is something that has directly affected my life in several way, and I wish to address it. I’ve had a few readers contact me in thanks over writing about something that is usually pushed underneath the rug or dramatized as being fun and carefree. I’m a firm believer in tough love and totally against enabling the abuser. I hope this helps to push readers to change aspects of their lives that aren’t fulfilling them, negative people within their lives included.

Current works in progress:

Widow: a dual narrated storyline between the Widow & the Widower. Clover Webster and Malcolm Mason alternate chapters. Odd chapters for the Widower, & even chapters for the Widow. I’ve read a lot of multiple POV books, and it always confused me when the point of view would shift within a chapter with no real indication, and sometime within the same paragraph. I’ve had to read several paragraphs to gauge who the hell was narrating. Believe it or not, big time authors make this mistake within their books, especially those who have more than 2 narrators. My all-time favorite author is a HUGE offender. She also uses an upwards of 19 narrators (I think that was the final tally on her last published work) within this chaotic mess.

Using my idols are a model on what not to do, I decided that I would ease the transition by giving each narrator their own chapter with headings, so you never need to determine who is speaking/thinking because I told you before you began. Since this is my first foray into the land of multiple POV, I decided to simplify it with only 2 narrators.

Widow is a HEA storyline. One of the strongest romances I’ve written. While not saccharine in the least, with some very strong dark themes, it is pure romance. The Playroom series is my venture to get away from the darkness of The M&M series. There are no billionaires, fanatical storylines, or outlandish lifestyles. The Playroom is real people who have very real issues and kinks. They suffer through daily struggles with rent/mortgages, occupations, families, and children.

Good Girl was the introduction to the cast of characters. I needed it to highlight the playful naïveté of a teenager. It did not end with a cliffhanger or any real resolution because Willow Prynne is a still a child in my eyes. Willow has to grow up before she gets the life she deserves. Willow’s resolution will be within the pages of book 4 of the series. But you will continue to see Willow grow throughout book 2 and 3.

Widow was the perfect nexus for the series. The union of Malcolm and Clover gives us a glimpse of the cast of characters. Yes, I just said the union. There is no secret that they are going to hook up. In the format of romance, the format that I usually hate, mind you, you know from page one how the book will end. It’s why I’m not a fan of romance. I like a mystery.  I don’t like knowing that the main protagonists are destined to be together no matter what. But in Widow’s case, it needed to be written as romance. It’s the progression of the characters as they solidify their family that sets up the rest of the series.

Widow is a sensual book. It shows the softer, gentler side of BDSM. In Good Girl, I broke down the barriers of BDSM by showing the playfulness of the lifestyle. I want readers to realize the lifestyle is NOT about abuse, force, or pain. There should always be a choice based on trust. Recently fiction has portrayed the lifestyle with an abusive filter, desensitizing readers to what is really right or wrong. Abuse is not sexy, it’s abuse, and it’s illegal. A personal violation is not romantic, no matter what light you shine on it. It’s assault. You should never allow someone to infringe upon your rights as a human being. I cannot stress this strongly enough!

Yes, I’ve written force and non-consent, but I’ve made sure you see the after-effects of such an event. I’ve shown these events to empower the victim when they survive because life is not pretty. Force is not romance, and it’s not sexy or hot. It may be some people’s kink. But there is a fine line between it being a mutual choice and assault. It’s a choice, both parties always have a choice. Don’t fall into a trap by allowing yourself to see it through a tainted filter. *lecture complete*

Back to Widow… our Widower, Malcolm Mason is the ultimate alpha male who wants to take care of his family. He isn’t abusive because he struggles with his own past. He suffers from skin hunger, and readers will experience the softer, sensual side of the lifestyle through Malcolm.

Widow sets up Wayward. Wayward will be narrated by Augustus Kline, Robin Prynne, and Isis Mason. I want to stress that the narrators do not indicate unions. While the three lifelong friends may find HEA together, you’ll have to read to find out. I’ve grouped my narrators by age and connection. Similar to book 4 with Willow Prynne and Kieren and Devon Mason. It would be disjointed to have narrators of differing ages. To read as a teen/young adult, and then be thrust in the mind of an adult would be discombobulating, especially for me as I write it.

Widow is slated for release on the final week of August. It may be sooner rather than later. Only the muse knows. Currently the book is 75k words in length, and about 3/4th completed. I have no true length on my books. I end them when the story deems it should be ended. However, I do price my books according to length.

Pricing:
I’ve never written a work under 50k, but if I do, here is the pricing guide I always follow.
10-25,000 words: 99 cents
26-40,000 words: $1.99
41-60,000 words: $2.99
61-100,000 words: $3.99
All first in a series will be listed at $3.99, regardless of length. (If shorter than 100k, will be priced less. It’s why Restraint was just raised to $3.99 from its original $2.99. The revision pushed it over 100k) First in a series are also subject to .99 cent sales and free promotions.
101,000+ words: $4.99
Over 150,000 words: $5.99
Omnibus editions & epic length novels over 300,000 words: $9.99.
Only paper editions will ever be over $9.99. Yes, I do plan on paper editions in the near future.
These prices are well under the guidelines that major publishers and independent and self-published authors use. I will never rip off my readers. I know more than anyone how horrible the economy is currently. I’d rather have my loyal fans read my books for next to nothing than go without. My code is to give the reader a lot of content and story for as little price as possible. But a girl has to eat… even if she’s on a diet.

First person present tense:
If you haven’t figured out yet, I’m just writing whatever pops into my mind as it pops into my mind. (Dude, both times I typed pops, POOPS flowed from my fingertips! *snickers) Currently, I see the sign promising Erie Pennsylvania in 40 miles, and my bladder is about to freakin’ burst. Dang you, Venti Caramel Iced Coffee from the Ohio Toll road Starbucks that litter the plazas… But alas, we’ve run out of plazas since we’ve abandoned that road for Ohio’s I-90, which seems very short on rest areas. GONNA PISS MY PANTS! A coffee piss is worse than a beer piss.

So anyhoo… case in point about first person present tense (dude, Fox news just took over CCR L) I write in this tense because it causes the reader to experience the story as it’s happening, like my current pissy pants issue. You’re reading about my predicament as I experience the bulging pressure of a full to bursting bladder.

I can’t write in past tense. I just can’t do it. I hate it when I do a flashback sequence. I also can’t write a 3rd person perspective, either. It also takes me a long time to get into a book that is written that way. I think in the here and now. So the entire time I’m reading about the “saids” and “dids” I’m like, but your dialogue is in present tense. WTF? Yeah, it confuses me and pulls me from the story. I know the norm is past tense. But… yeah, my story, my freakin’ rules! Yes, I’m a dominant personality. You should know this by now.

Plus, that third person makes me feel like a patient at an insane asylum when it’s not written properly. I’m not Ezra Zeitler of the multiple personality persuasion. Like, I’m talking about myself in third person or some shit. You don’t think, ‘she walked into the room,’ when thinking about your own actions. I’m like, “bitch, I sashayed into the room, and everyone was looking at me.”

In case you are wondering… yeah, reviews from first person perspective haters led me to this strange train of thought. *shrugs* You ain’t making me write any differently than I already do. I’ll perfect my craft, but I’m not catering to everyone’s likes. It’s an impossibility. Plus, I really do love reading first person present, so that’s what I write.

WELCOME TO PENNSYLVIANIA. My home state better cough up a freakin bathroom before I wet this leather seat with my coffee piss! OMG! A Rest Area! Thank you baby Jesus! I love you Pennsylvania for the short while before we dip back into New York, my other ridge-running state.

AH! I feel five pounds lighter! Pure bliss! & you wouldn’t enjoy my discomfort and subsequent relief if it wasn’t for the first person present tense writing J

WHAT’S NEXT?
My muse has a mind of her own. After Widow, I may or may not write The Hunter or Wayward. Sometimes as I’m writing a series and I finish one book, the next manifests immediately. Other times I’m able to go between the series with little issue. It’s why I only write 2 series at a time. Any more than that and I would go insane.

I can give you some info on The Hunter, though. I will do my damnedest to get The Hunter released before Thanksgiving. I have some events, sales and such for that time frame, and again at Christmas/New Years because of all the new devices being purchased as gifts. Yeah, it’s a long ways off, but I have to keep a schedule. I want Widow, Wayward, and The Hunter published before then. And it all depends on length. Like with Faithless, which I thought would be a short book. I never know what the book’s length will be until it tells me… so it all depends. We will see!

The Hunter: Cortez Abernathy is experiencing writer’s block, as you learned in several books and the why of it during chapter 105 of Faithless. I want to get away from a parallel storyline, flashback, dream sequences… but I want to give Cort’s perspective of past events without rehashing them to death. Cort’s story is the time frame of after they moved to Misery Castle (KING- ending chapters of Faithless) The reader will be in the present as Cort and company deal with events, but will experience the past through Cort’s newest book, The Hunter. The Hunter is an autobiographical Cortez Abernathy memoir.

Cortez’s book will be more romancy, emotional, and life-changing. It’s not a coming of age story, more of a finding one’s true path kind of story. Cortez is lost. I’ve been strongly toying with an idea, and I’m on the fence. After Widow, for the first time ever, I’m seeking the advice from my betas. What I may or may not do is irreversible, and I don’t want to fuck up my series by acting in haste. No, I’m not offing any major characters (I promise). But it will have far reaching consequences, and I do believe I’m going to do it. Sometimes I amaze myself. *snickers* Yes, you should be very worried!

Warning aside, The Hunter will be very sweet, very emotional, and as gut-wrenching as it is playful and charming. Basically, Cort’s book will be just like his personality!

Silenced: I believe will be a short book, and not because Grant doesn’t have a lot to say… it’s just that his book ties into a more complex book. But I felt it was the right time to set up what Grant has going on. His swagger and naughtiness will be a good palate cleanser between Cortez and Ezra’s emotional torture roller coaster ride from Hell. Grant has some ‘play’ he’s working on to get attention from an unlikely source. Wil kept hinting at this during Faithless. “One step closer, congrats!” kind of dialogue. Plus, Grant is mighty pissed his bedroom romp with Faith was interrupted.

Next up is Integrated (Ezra Holden Zeitler’s book). After that, it’s either Niel or Katya’s book. Yeah, that gives you a hint about what I’m toying with…

HOME NOW
What I have planned for this evening: I have a few winners to choose for the rafflecopter giveaway. I also have to send out copies of my books to a prize winner from another giveaway I was a part of. I’m doing laundry out the ass! I have to create a report for the sales for the promo weekend, and I think I will post the first two chapters of Widow (a chapter from both narrators)…

Sneaky Snakes!
As usual, after a Kindle free promotion weekend: It wasn’t good enough that I gave out thousands of FREE books, ppl must read the rest of the books for FREE as well. Unleashed had a return this morning, now there is a return for Dexter, and I’m positive there will be one for Dalton next… and so on. Now I just checked, and there are two Unleashed returns. Man, it’s amazing how people accidently one-click my books in series order, and manage to return them after reading…. Amazing… absolutely amazing…


   Erica Chilson
M&M of Restraint

& Playroom series
~Happy Wicked Reading~

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