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!
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.
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
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…
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)…
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…
M&M of Restraint
& Playroom series
~Happy Wicked Reading~
Beware: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T READ KING *yes, it’s shouty capitals important*
“Forget your key again, sis?” My sister laughs as she lets me into the house. Her tiny mouth is curved in an amused grin, blue eyes sparking with cheer.
“Something like that,” I grumpily mumble, trying to hide my accent. It’s always exhausting to be what I’m not, so it makes me mean and nasty. “Here,” I say, while pulling the Id from my pocket. “You did well on the entrance examine. No Fundamentals of Mathematics for you. I did real good.”
“Sis, you have to try harder,” Fate chastises me. If her voice had held mocking pity I would’ve been even angrier, but she’s just trying to teach me right. “It’s ‘I did really well.’ You start Hillbrook in a few days. You can’t go another year without talking. They will eat you alive, and I won’t be able to protect you. You need to worry about appearances, especially with this scandal.” Her expression pinches when she thinks of what Daddy did to the people of this city. She isn’t sad that he’s in jail, like I am. She’s mad that he made us look bad.
“And here, I thought I was the one always protecting my big sister,” I tease, drawing her away from Daddy’s scandal. Ordinarily it don’t bother me much when she picks on my diction, but Wil’s words hit deep. “You could’ve said thanks,” I grumble- thanks for taking my test, Faith. Thanks for protecting me against the mean-looking boy, Faith. Thanks for living a different life so that momma wouldn’t be mean to me, Faith. Thanks for being the best sister in the world, Faith. But Fate, she is blind to all things Faith-related.
“Thanks,” she bubbly squeaks, not knowing why she’s thanking me. “Hungry?” Fate hops on her heels, her ponytail happily bobbing at the back of her head. She looks and acts my age, but deep inside, I feel older than her. It’s why I have to be the adult when she’s the big sister.
I roll my eyes at her and head towards the kitchen. “You’d die without me. I’ll work on my English if you work on your passive-aggressiveness. Just ask for something if you want it.”
“I’m hungry,” she whines. “Will you feed me, please?” She bats her long, blonde eyelashes and smiles sweetly.
“Worst day of your life so far was when the staff was let go, wasn’t it?” I shake my head in disgust. I fix her a peanut butter and jelly while we chat. Fate isn’t even capable of that.
“It was,” she says, bashfully hiding her face as she sits at the kitchen island.
“Sis, you have to learn how to take care of yourself. Now that you’re broke, you’re going to have to do this stuff yourself. You’re an adult now. Even the state won’t take you in.” I shudder from the thought.
Momma tried to give me to the state when Daddy brought me home. Apparently you don’t bring your dirty little secret home to your wife and expect her to keep it. No one in my parents’ social circles knows that I ain’t momma’s. They compromised. Daddy’s sister, Amelia, took me in, and I only come around when we need to keep up appearances. It would have looked strange if I didn’t go to Hillbrook. I’m starting my sophomore year in a few days. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be home until the night before school started, but Daddy’s arrest trumped everything. Dirty secret’s home and Momma’s pretending we’re a happy family.
“Couldn’t we have something better than pb&j?” Fate complains, smushing her face up in revulsion. She pokes at the bread and peeks between the slices.
“I know your palate is diverse,” I grin at her and she giggles. “How’s that for vocabulary, sis? I ate this for months at a time. You better get used to it. No money, no food.”
“I could go visit Regina, I suppose,” she sighs, a calculating light shines from her eyes- one I loathe. She takes an experimental bite of the sandwich, slowly chews, smiles to herself when she deems it tasty, and then takes a huge bite.
Sometimes I hate my sister. She is the most entitled, self-deluded person I’ve ever met. You can’t help but love her because she is blind to the fact. She ain’t doing it to be mean, she just don’t get it. After the day I’ve had, I feel my temperature rising.
“You shouldn’t use people like that, Fate,” I scold her, when usually I keep my trap shut. “It’s rude.”
“I’m not using her. She’s my best friend. Besides, she gets lonely in that huge house. She isn’t even allowed to eat in the big dining room, can you believe that?”
Blind. Blind. Blind. I repeat this so my hand doesn’t fly out and smack the entitlement from her perfect face.
“Wouldn’t have any idea what that’s like,” I sarcastically say. “No clue. How awful that must be for Regina.”
My daddy doted on me to make up for the life I was born into. He gave me endless attention. He’d spend time with me in West Virginia. He didn’t buy my love, he earned it. I want to resent him for not sticking up for me with Momma, but I can see where he’s coming from. I’d rather live real life with Aunt Amelia than this fake life. Momma and Fate are learning how easy it is to lose money. If you ain’t got a brain in your head, you’ll lie down and die. They’re dying and I’m resuscitating.
When I came home for important events, I was told to keep my mouth shut. Being quiet for Wil will be easy. I’ve went weeks without speaking to anyone but Daddy and Fate. And when my sister makes fun of me, my mouth don’t open for a long while.
I really like Regina. She thinks like me. So I just roll my eyes that Fate is upset that her friend has to eat prime rib in any room except the main dining room. Fate’s too delusional to realize she’s just making excuses to eat fine cuisine. Ironically, Fate failed to see her sister eating in her bedroom. I always ate what the staff ate. Momma had no need for Daddy’s bastard to eat her frilly food.
Only reason I’m roaming free is that Momma won’t leave her room and the staff is gone. Someone needs to do the cooking and cleaning for the blind. I do it because they’re incapable. Making a peanut butter sandwich is as advanced for them as brain surgery is for me.
“I’m going to see Daddy tomorrow. You going with?” I wipe down the kitchen while Fate eats her dinner. I pour her a glass of milk to go with it. I don’t eat. I have my own stuff in my room. Stuff I bought with my own money. I don’t want nothing from Momma, even if it did originate from Daddy.
“Dad doesn’t want to see me,” Fate grumbles while chewing.
“You lie,” I growl. “You’re making excuses. You’re acting just like Momma.”
“That’s because I’m too much like Mom. Dad doesn’t like me like he loves you. You’re his protégée.” She sounds hurt because I’m my daddy’s girl.
“That’s not really a compliment anymore, ya know. It’s like saying I’m destined to become a career criminal. Momma won’t even be in the same room with me. You heard her this morning. She said I was tainted by Daddy and my whore of a mother. She said Aunt Amelia was teaching me to be a con like Daddy. You think I don’t see her looking at me sideways? She thinks I’m up to no good. Like I’m going to steal my own dang silver and pawn it.”
“Mom’s not doing well, you know that. She hasn’t been out of her room for a few days. The problem is that you don’t see what Dad did as wrong. It was, Faith. It was wrong to scam all of those families out of money. He wasn’t being Robin Hood; he was keeping it for himself.”
“You don’t seem to have a problem spending that money, Fate,” I snap. “Your fancy clothes and your fancy schools weren’t free. Those families paid for it.”
“Don’t start this again.” She uses that tone that means I’m being insufferable. It’s the same one her mom uses. I loathe that tone, it sets off my temperature. “I know it bothers you that you grew up differently from me.”
“That’s got nothing to do with this. I don’t want that shit! I don’t care anything about it. I had everything I needed and more. I just want him out of prison, but you and Momma want him there. So yeah, it’s been started now, sister,” I snarl. I fling the dishcloth into the sink, preparing to throw down with my delusional sister.
“It was wrong,” she calmly says. Fate never loses her temper. She just backs down. I used to think it was because she thought she was better than me, now I think she’s too weak to fight back.
“It wrong, huh?” I slap my hand down on the kitchen island to gain her attention, and then I swipe her half-eaten sandwich away. I chuck the sandwich and the plate into the trash. She hungry, she can smear some bread. She thirsty, she can pour her own dang milk. I’m not her servant, I’m her sister, and this house is mine just as much as it is hers or Momma’s. I grab her glass of milk and toss it into the sink. The glass breaks, spraying milk everywhere. I ain’t cleaning it up, either.
“That, sure as shit, didn’t stop Momma from going to spas and taking vacays. You didn’t stop spending money on purses that cost more than Aunt Amelia’s trailer. Daddy may have stolen that money, but he worked hard for it. And you and Momma worked just as hard spending it.”
“There is no sense even talking to you when you get this way,” Fate says, walking away from me.
“Really,” I screech, “Really? You had no problem with me taking your SATs two years ago or your college entrance exams today. That’s was a crime. You making your baby sister a criminal. You making your Daddy a criminal to pay for your elitist bullshit. You just spent it and turned a blind eye to where it came from. And now you have no problem spending the money I worked for.”
“What are we supposed to do, Faith, starve? Our accounts were seized and this house is next. We have weeks, maybe less, until we’re homeless.”
“I don’t expect you to starve, Fate. I expect you to get a damn job or pawn your shit or treat me with some respect. I’m not the hillbilly moron you call me behind my back, and then have the nerve to ask to take your tests.”
“You offered,” Fate lamely replies, no shame in her tone. Her patronizing voice sets me off like a timer on a bomb.
“And you took me up on it,” I scream. I curl my fingers into my palms, curbing the need to pick up the wrought-iron stool Fate was sitting on and smash it into the French doors- anything to get her attention- to impart some dang knowledge in her blank skull.
“I can’t get a job. I have to go to school.” Even heated, she doesn’t raise her voice… and boy, if that don’t make me meaner than cat shit. Her innocent expression ramps up my temper to murderous-violence levels.
“Great. That’s great. I’ve been working for three years, saving for my future. That’s the money you’re spending now. So as you bitch about pb&j, you’re spending a fifteen-year-old’s future. My nineteen-year-old princess of a sister can’t get a job because she has college after she spent an entire year touring Europe and sitting on her ass. Well, no shocker here, but I have to go to HIGH SCHOOL,” I scream bloody murder. “One year ago, I graduated from junior high. You’re the adult!”
“Which is evident by the way you speak, isn’t it?” her haughty attitude dominates her voice. “If you’d go to school, you wouldn’t sound like an idiot.”
I’m stunned speechless at the level of disrespect and blindness. “Wow… just wow… You completely missed the mark on that one, sister. But thanks,” I seethe. “I’m the moron that’s too stupid for school, but smart enough to be used by you. Here, I thought I spoke like this because I was tossed from my home by my momma because she didn’t want me no more. I see this accent as a badge of honor. It means I’m not as ignorant as you. But nope, everyone here thinks it’s from a lack of intelligence. How intelligent are you, with your pretty soft spoken words, sister?”
“You’re upset and using me to vent. I will leave you to it,” Fate calmly says and heads for the front door.
“You need a dose of reality, Fate. Do you really think Daddy and I take care of you and Momma out of love? We do it because you’re weak. It’d be like tossing a dog out in the cold or throwing a baby in a dumpster. I have too much humanity for that. Today, I had to pretend to be you to save you and it goes unthanked. You’re my responsibility now that Daddy can’t take care of you. But you know what, eventually I may cut the dead weight,” I threaten.
“Are you saying you don’t love me?” She whines, her blue eyes glistening with unshed tears. Usually that would have me backing down, but not today.
“Are you saying you love me? Because from where I stand, you only love what I can do for you, same goes for Daddy. He stole, you spent, and you leave him to rot. You and Momma are leeches, sucking us dry.”
“Why are you so nasty? I’ll be at Regina’s,” she cries, heading towards the door.
“Have fun with that. Pretty sure you’ll be leeching off of her next, but maybe she’ll make you work for it. Tell the Whittenhowers I said hi!”
I trudge up to my room, pounding my feet on the stair treads. A lot of good it does me since I only weigh eighty pounds. I don’t make the impact I was hoping for. But it doesn’t matter since I see her leaning on my door and my temperature boils over.
“Don’t get too comfy, Momma. This ain’t your house no more. You always called my mom a whore because she spread her legs for Daddy. Well, what do you call what you do? You’re worthless. You do nothing but bleed Daddy dry and act all uppity about it.”
Momma looks me over for a long while. She looks disgusted that she likes what she sees. Well, I don’t like what I see. I see a dried-up desperate woman. Lara loves plastic surgery. It’s not making her look younger, just funny. I wonder if she’s jealous of Fate and me. Lara with her bleached hair, brown eyes contacted in blue, and her augmented body. Her daughters are what she’s tried to change herself into… and failed.
“Gwen was a blight on the area. Lord knows how many kids that woman has floating around. She sold you back to your father. What kind of mother does that? I haven’t treated you the best, but I never sold you.”
“You woulda if you coulda, though. Ain’t that right, Lara? I ain’t calling you Momma no more. We ain’t kin. You already sold Daddy out to the Feds,” I hiss in disgust.
“You’re all alike.” She deeply sighs, like this conversation is inconveniencing her. “Amelia raised Tom and Tom and Amelia raised you… con-artist, the lot of you. I’d thought Tom had changed, but all he did was get better at it.”
“Like you didn’t know Daddy was a criminal.” I roll my eyes at the absurdity of it. “You love to judge while you turn a blind eye on what you’re doing. You’re worse than he ever thought of being. I want you out of my house. It’s not yours. It’s Daddy’s, so it mine and Fate’s now. We’ll be here until we’re kicked out. I promised I’d take care of Fate, but I never said nothing about you. I don’t care how bad Fate acts, I’ll take care of her. But, you and I, we ain’t blood.”
“Good luck with that,” she evilly purrs, heading towards her room. “You know where to find me.”
Faithless is divided into 3 parts, with each part being the length of a novel. Guesstimated length of Faithless, near or over a 1000 pages- somewhere in the range of 250,000 words.
Part One: Faith. A 15 yr old Faith Simpson deals with her life crumbling down around her as she tries to keep her family together.
Part Two: Faithless. Failing at part one, Faith flees the scary consequences of her actions. Age 16- the opening of Restraint.
Part Three: Syn. Restraint-King timeline.
I should have part one near completion this weekend- I hope. My reading frenzy added to my creativity gauge. It didn’t max out, but I can’t afford to take off longer than a week at a time. Currently, part one is 50,000 words and about 2/3rds written. I estimate 80k in length, depending on if I strictly write by the outline or by the seat of my pants. I fear the length of this book, but usually I can’t help but add extra scenes as I write- for better flow.
Warning: Some minor spoilers for those who haven’t read KING. This is a rough first chapter. Words may change, edits will be made, but the core premise will stay the same. In other words, there are f*ck ups, as per usual- it isn’t a final product. Read at your own risk.
Warning #2: The dialogue and narration aren’t proper grammar. Faith doesn’t speak with proper English, therefor, she can not think with proper English. This is not an error within the manuscript, it is how it will be. It’s killing me to write like this, and I’m sure it will be annoying to read like this. But Faith eventually evens out as she matures.
“You’ve been notified,” A boy’s flat voice ominously flows from behind my locked front door, seconds after I flipped the deadbolt. I wouldn’t have heard him if I hadn’t just arrived home moments earlier. I bet he followed me up the walk.
I walk on heavy-laden feet to the door, scuffing my sneakers on the marble tile, dread coiling in my gut. Every visitor in the past week since I’ve been home has been… mean- nasty. If it wasn’t reporters hounding Momma and Fate, it’s been the rich folks not caring if they verbally attack a minor or not. The last posse was six men in expensive business suits wielding bricks from their garden patios. They managed to break out the huge widow in the family room before I put a stop to them.
Is this New York? Because it feels like I’ve slid into an alternate universe where rich folks accost you in West Virginia- I could make it into a B-rate horror flick.
When the rich attack!
I grab the fireplace poker from beside the door. Fate nearly had a heart attack when I took on six men. I knew I was safe. Only the truly evil would retaliate against an eighty pound girl defending her home. These men are used to lawyers, not throwing fists. I let them break one window to ease their frustrations. I poked at them with the iron stick, and just like that, their tantrums ended with them piling into their expensive cars.
Well, I may have threatened their hundred-thousand dollar cars with my fireplace poker. Losing a million dollars each hurt their pride, but they aren’t stupid. A pissed off teenager with a pointy metal stick next to a Porsche… their intelligence and higher reasoning returned right quick!
I shimmy up the door, standing on my tippy-toes and palming the wood. I put my peeper to the porthole, or whatever that little hole is called. Speechless, utterly speechless, I stare into a pair of mesmerizing eyes and my mind goes on a vacay. Our eyes connect through the peephole. Realistically, I know he can’t see me, but his pale gaze bores into my soul, hitching my breath in my throat.
The boy can’t be much older than me, maybe eighteen at most. His hair is shaved tight to his skull, so I have no idea of its color. He’s not very tall because he’s eye-level with the peephole. I’m on my tippy-toes, struggling to see out. It’s my usual stance since I’m an inch shy of five feet.
“I know you’re there,” his blank voice trills down my spine. “I can hear you breathing. I’m looking for Thomas Simpson’s eldest daughter, Fate. You wouldn’t happen to be her, would you?”
“How do you know my daddy?” My voice quivers when I think of my daddy locked away in that cold, dank jail cell. I know he broke the law, but it’s only money. He ain’t kilt nobody or nothing.
“He was an associate of my father’s. I need to speak with you,” he hopefully utters. A small twitch ripples through his bottom lip, and then he adds, “If you’re Fate.”
“Why ain’t your daddy here instead?” I raise my voice louder so he can hear me through the hardwood door.
“He’s indisposed,” he calmly replies, but I heard his voice crack before he could stop it. When the boy talks about his daddy, he sounds so sad it breaks my heart.
“Indisposed how?” I lean closer to the door, trying to get a better look at the boy and lose my footing. I catch myself on the coat tree seconds before I glue myself back to the peephole. There’s something about this kid- he’s interesting to look at. He’s not gorgeous; he’s just interesting.
“Dead, my father’s dead,” he numbly replies, momentarily knocking me stupid. “This is ridiculous, talking through the door,” he rapidly slurs. “Allow me in so we can talk.” He’s trying to coax me, but I know better than that. My daddy taught me how to read people. This kid is shady. I pretend that my mind doesn’t supply Just like your daddy… just like you. It’s what makes me want to talk with him- we’re kindred. He’s no rich man looking for payback. But he wants something, which riles me up, making my mouth spew words that are best left unsaid.
“I guess he’s real indisposed, now, ain’t he?” The words spill without thought, just as they always do. I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I just don’t know how to chat with people. My sister is going to kill me if she heard that. “Sorry for your loss… Who was your daddy? Maybe I knew him. My daddy didn’t teach me to be ignorant. I ain’t letting some boy come inside after all the stuff that’s been happening. They threw bricks through our windows last week- a girl slapped my sister when she went to the store. The last time my momma left the house, she was ostracized by her kind. So prove it,” I challenge.
“You must be Fate, the eldest, right?” Hope fills his voice. I’ll be anyone he wants me to be if he’ll just tell me what he wants.
“I sure am,” I boldly say. “I ain’t weak either, so get to talkin’.”
“My father was Jonathon. His friends called him JJ.” He says friends weird, like it means something else, something wicked.
“Stand in front of the peephole again. I need to get a better look at ya.” I met JJ a few times. He was nice to me and my momma and my sister, but he treated Daddy strangely. He reminded me of an old dog at his master’s feet- tail wagging, tongue hanging, eagerly awaiting his master’s command.
The boy steps back on the porch so that I can get a look-see from boots to hair. He’s dressed nicely, nowhere near the tastes of my sister’s friends. Well, he ain’t one of them, so it don’t matter none if he wears non-designer jeans and a gray t-shirt. His black leather boots are designer, though. Maybe he just don’t care what he wears.
“You look like your daddy. Same round face and you’re kinda short, too,” I murmur to myself. In a stronger voice, I add, “Okay, but you’re not coming in. I’m coming out. Step away from the door. Go on down the walk a bit, so I know you won’t charge me.”
“You care more about the house than you do yourself?” He snorts, amused by my choices. “I could hurt you out here just as easily as I could inside there.”
“Yeah… well, I ain’t worried none about myself. See, my momma and sister are in here. You can put a hurting on me out there, but if I let you in here, you could hurt them, too. Now. Back. Down. The. Walk,” I icily order.
The boy walks backwards down the walk with his hands held out. He’s smirking to himself, apparently he finds me funny. When his feet hit the sidewalk, I quickly slip out the door and it automatically locks behind me.
I stand on the porch with my arms crossed over my chest, glaring at the interloper who won’t tell me what he wants. He’s eying me over and I don’t like it one drop. I do the same right back at him. I could take him. He’s not that big. I’ve protected my house at least a dozen times in the week since Daddy went to jail.
“You remind me of a rabid Chihuahua that thinks it’s a Pitbull,” the boy relentlessly teases me as if I’m amusing. “You actually think you can guard your house and yourself against me,” he incredulously murmurs, shaking his head to and fro.
“I don’t think,” I growl, “I know.” My chin juts out farther and my shoulders go back. Even my feet prepare for attack. He ain’t the first boy I’ll fight dirty against. Hand-to-hand, he will kick my ass. But who said I had to fight fair. I’ll twist his nuts while he cries like an infant.
He calms himself after silently laughing for a solid minute, and says, “Are you sure you’re Fate?” He scrutinizes me, not believing my claim.
“As sure as I’ll ever be,” I drawl with a scowl on my face. “Who are you, JJ’s son? What do you want with Fate Simpson?”
“I can’t say until you confirm your identity.” His voice cracks a bit and he tries to cover it with a cough. I smile when I hear it. “You’re not what I expected.” He does a double-take, and then a triple-take, his eyes burning into my flesh- and the grimace on his lips screams he don’t like what he sees. “You’re a kid. You don’t look nineteen and you talk funny.”
“Well, now, that’s not nice with the name calling,” I drawl, anger simmering just beneath the surface of my voice. It’s like a broken record- it makes me want to move back to West Virginia. “I can assure you that Fate Simpson is in fact nineteen. She’s fair of hair and skin, and has blue eyes. She’s short, real short. Doesn’t that sound just like me?” I challenge, attitude twisting my tone. I fist my hands on my hips and look down on him.
“That would be the description I was given. But… I was also told that she was an adult, and that her baby sister looks just like her.” He looks me over some more with a smirk on his face. He doesn’t believe that I’m Fate.
“Well, my sister is the spitting image of me, I’ll give you that,” I drawl, looking him square in the eyes. The trick to lying is about skirting as close to the truth as you can go without actually telling the truth. I’m a very good liar.
“Are you really Fate? If you lie to me I’ll hurt your mom and sister,” he quietly and easily threatens me, drawing a step closer. “I need to know for sure.”
“Damned fool,” I grumble under my breath, pulling an Id out of the front pocket of my worn-in jeans. “It’s a good thing I tested today, or this wouldn’t be on my person.”
I hand him the Id, saying I am, in fact, Fate Simpson. I smile sweetly as he examines the Id, and then me, trying to authenticate us- me and the Id. It’s the real deal. Not a fake. He’ll find no issue with it.
“Wow,” he murmurs, shaking his head. “You look ten or twelve. You can drive? You graduated?” he mutters to himself in disbelief.
“That’s what it says, don’t it?” I snatch the Id back and retreat to the front stoop. “I’m finished with you funning me. You’re extremely rude.” I pout out my bottom lip, and turn to go back inside. Without fail, men react to a woman’s retreat- words will spill that were previously stuck.
“I… I just… I don’t… get it,” he growls, rubbing a hand over his shaved head. His head fuzz looks real soft. I bet it feels like microfiber. “You don’t act like you’re from around here.”
“I’m not… not really. I went to school back in West Virginia, where my Daddy grew up. I lived with Aunt Amelia. I came here during vacations and for Hillbrook Prep. Momma and Daddy wouldn’t allow me to miss that.”
“Why didn’t you live with your parents?” He sounds extremely curious as he stays on the sidewalk, leaving a good twenty feet between us. So much for the putting a hurting on me.
“Didn’t wanna.” I roll my eyes at the boy. It’s none of his dang business that my momma didn’t want me living around here. “What’s your name?”
“Doesn’t matter,” he brusquely says.
“Yeah, it sure does matter. You come to my home to bother me. You make me produce an Id just so you’ll talk to me. Mr. JJ’s son, what do you want with Fate Simpson?”
“Will,” the boy softly says.
“Well, William, it’s a pleasure to meet ya,” I cordially say, extending my hand for a shake. The rule here and where I was raised is the same. It’s rudeness to shake a lady’s hand if she doesn’t do the offering first.
It’s even ruder when they don’t shake your hand. I let my empty hand fall to my side. I try to keep the rejection off my face. My lip quivers a little bit, but we ain’t making friends out here, now are we? After all, he said he’d hurt my family.
“My name isn’t William. It’s Wil with one L,” he stresses.
“Well, don’t get all pissy on me, mister. How was I supposed to know that? Mr. Wil with one L,” I drawl. “Ain’t my problem that you hate your own name. What’s that short for, anyway?”
“It’s short for none of your business,” Wil barks out, showing the first signs that I’m getting to him. He calms himself down before he speaks again. Deep breaths saw in and out between his clenched lips, moving his well-formed manly chest. “This is not going to go well, is it?”
“Depends on what the it is? How ‘bout you start by telling me what you’re doing here?”
“Are you really Fate?” He walks a few feet towards me, all suspicious like. If Wil thinks he’s gonna intimidate me, he’s got another thing coming. I walk towards the boy and his feet freeze in surprise. I smirk at him. He don’t know me from Adam. I ain’t my sister, my daddy raised me different. I walk right up him and get into his personal space.
“Didn’t we already prove that? Pretty sure we did.” I cop an attitude that seems to confuse him more.
“Fine,” Wil dramatically sighs, fighting his urge to strangle me. “Your daddy was in business with my father. I’m not at liberty to discuss what this entails, but you’re going to do as you’re told,” he threatens me.
“Or what?” I get on my tippy-toes and say it in his face. “Whatcha gonna do to me that ain’t already been done before?”
“Not you, pixy. Your momma and that sister of yours will be the ones to pay, if you don’t do as you’re told. If you’re this tiny, it wouldn’t take anything to hurt your baby sister. What’s her name?” He puts a slender finger to his temple and taps. A malicious smirk twists his lips. “Does Faith have faith in her big sister to keep her safe? Your daddy can’t protect his darling daughters from a jail cell, now can he?”
I snort. No, Faith does not have faith that her big sister will keep her safe, or else she wouldn’t be out her protecting all of us.
“What’d we do to you?” A whine battles with the attitude in my voice.
“Nothing. You don’t have to do anything. Your daddy did this to you, little girl. You better be telling the truth that you’re Fate. I’m not paying for your lies.” A coldness enters his voice that spreads a chill down my spine. I fight the need to shudder and fail.
“Why pay at all?” My attitude deflates, making my shoulders slump.
“I’m sure this is a difficult concept for the spoiled, entitled little bitch of a scamming, con-artist embezzler,” pure hatred spews from his perfect lips. Wil sneers at me like I’m dog shit on the bottom of his shoe. Ain’t nothing I haven’t seen before, so it don’t hurt my feelings none. “You can hide in that huge house, but I’ll come in looking for you. You better hope Lara and Faith Simpson don’t cross my path before you do. You following me, here?”
A light brown eyebrow pops in question. The movement captures my interests, stalling my response. Wil’s snide sigh snaps me out of it.
“I ain’t slow,” I grumble, cheeks pinking from embarrassment- and if that doesn’t just piss me off. “You’re coercing me. What am I supposed to do?” I whine. “You’re threating to hurt my family, but you won’t say why or how. I don’t even know who you are.”
“Go ask your daddy,” he snidely says.
“Quit being an assmunch and twisting his name like I’m a moron for my diction. You can’t have me an entitled princess and then make fun of the way I talk. And… and I will be asking my daddy about you,” I threaten without heat.
“You’ve been notified. I will be contacting you shortly with your first assignment. Fail me and I’ll flail you, understood?”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Wil with on L, sir,” I salute. “I won’t be waiting on ya, though. You best tell me when you’ll be coming around. And you ain’t coming in my house.”
“I think I’d prefer if she just killed me.” He dramatically sighs. His feet turn towards the sidewalk like they have a mind of their own to walk away from me. His face stays rooted in my direction. His icy cold stare bores into my eyes. He don’t like me much.
“You sound like a moron. Learn to speak proper English or don’t speak at all.” I wince, tears stinging my eyes. “It’s the first thing I’m asking of you. Don’t speak unless I speak to you and give concise answers. I doubt your intelligence at this point.”
“You’re mean,” I cry, bottom lip trembling, my teeth snare it before it goes all out quiver.
“Second lesson: no shit. I ain’t your daddy or your buddy. I’m your enforcer, and you’re going to behave or I’m going to cut your tongue out to save my hearing and sanity. Save the tears for someone who gives a shit, sweetheart. You better toughen up or I’ll do it for you.”
I stare up at him, holding my eyes wide so the tears won’t fall. He just took me by surprise, is all. I saw a kid about my age and saw him as a kid, not this machine-like Wil that demands I obey him. I just want to tell him that I ain’t dumb or ignorant or a moron. I want to tell him that I’m silent all the time, but for some reason I thought I could talk to him. He ain’t telling me nothing I don’t already know.
I am tough.
I can take direction.
Wil ain’t worth my tears.
“Good, I see you’re a fast learner,” Wil doesn’t sound pleased, just relieved. “I wasn’t kidding about hurting Lara and Faith, and your father is easy to get to, so behave and do as you’re told. Repeat after me: Notice received.”
“Notice received,” I grumble under my breath, not wanting my voice to hurt his ears. His answering growl has me speaking up. “Notice received,” I mimic my sister’s voice, trying to sound smart and ladylike.
“Sign this,” he pulls a piece of paper out of the inner pocket of his leather jacket. “Full birth name and date it.”
I quickly sign Fate Marjorie Simpson without reading a single word on the contract. I’m not Fate anyway, so what do I care. I just want Wil to leave so I can put myself back together again.
“You will meet me two nights from tonight at ten p.m.” He hands me a business card that has an address written on the back. The front simply says Wil with a phone number listed. “It will give you enough time to speak with your father.”
“Yes, sir,” I say, properly cowed. I’d like to keep my tongue affixed in my mouth.
“Yes, Wil, not sir. We’re the same age, pixy. I’m younger, actually. No way will I listen to that drawl mixed with that sir shit,” he hisses. “Be there at that time. Be on time. Not early. Not late. If you don’t show up, I show up here with some perverts that like little girls- particularly blonde-haired dolls with big blue eyes that are only fifteen. Think of Faith, and behave.”
“Yes, Wil. I will be there. I’ll do anything to keep my sister safe and I mean anything,” I vow.
“That’s what they count on,” he murmurs to himself. Wil’s face twists in pain for a split-second before he masks it.
“Be a good girl, now. You speak of this with no one, except for your father and me. Understood?”
“Yes, Wil.” I promise, staring deep into his blue gaze that’s so pale it’s nearly white. Wil’s eyes remind me of a Husky pup. A Husky that’s been beaten until it turned mean.