Helping each other keep our heads above water.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Helping each other keep our heads above water.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Here is another snippet of the story for your reading pleasure. :)
Chapter two. Claire has just stepped into a small, out of the way, pirate tourist shop in
She set out on a slow amble around the shop. She fingered shells and poked at hermit crabs clinging to their cage walls, and browsed through a section of local books written about the area. Many of them on the subject of the pirate Blackbeard. She perused pirate eye-patches and Jolly Roger flags and toy swords and the like. Finally, she settled in a corner near the back of the shop where she met with an assortment of interesting artifacts.
A skull sitting atop a black velvet pedestal instantly gave her the creeps.
“It’s not real but it looks good, don’t it?” The deep voice came from her left. Out of the shadows walked a man who looked closer to being an actual pirate that anyone she’d ever seen in real life. Scruffy around the edges, time-worn face with weathered wrinkles, and a voice as gruff as sandpaper. Large man. He reached to touch the skull with hands that had seen more of their share of sun and sea.
She edged back. “Yes. It does look real.”
He moved nearer, cautiously it seemed, and eyed her closely as he did so. “Blackbeard lost his head, you know, in a battle at sea. They never found it. Or so they say.”
The skull did look surprisingly real. “Um…I didn’t know that. Interesting.”
He nodded, caressing the skull’s smooth top. “Some say it is still out there somewhere.” Claire looked up and took in the man’s far away stare and the upturned smirk of one corner of his mouth. Then he looked back at her. “What brings ya to the sea, lass?”
That Elizabethan inflection was deeply pronounced in this man. A local. Generations old, she was certain. And the ‘lass’ reference disturbed her for some reason. She wasn’t quite sure why.
Her gaze met his. “Just vacationing. Staying up the island a bit.”
He raked his fingers over the stubble of his chin and cocked his head to the left. “You’re at the old lightkeeper’s cottage?”
She nearly lied, finding no reason to tell this man where she was staying, but then relaxed. Why lie? She would be gone tomorrow. And this peaceful little town, she couldn’t imagine anything dangerous happening here.
“Yes, that’s where I’m staying. I rather like it there.”
He chuckled. “Haven’t seen the likes of ol’ Jack, have you now?”
Claire froze, not sure she could find her voice. Could that be…is his name…? “Um… No.” She shook her head. “I haven’t seen much of anyone.”
A deep belly laughed escaped him them. “Lass, so you have seen him. I can tell by the look on your face. I thought he’d be about. It’s the moon, you know. It’s a blue one coming up. Second full moon this month. Seems to bring poor Jack’s spirit out looking for his Hannah about that time.”
He leaned closer. “Don’t worry. He won’t hurt you. He’s just looking for his dead wife. Been stalking that beach for a few hundred yours now mourning her. All he wants is his Hannah back. Too bad your name ain’t Hannah, ‘cause you’re a comely lass and I bet he’d like you.”
Claire swallowed and bit her lower lip. Her gaze never left his, somehow momentarily lost in their depths. What did this man know? Who was he?
She shook her head. “No. No, my name is Claire.”
He pulled back and squinted at her. “You’re sure, lass?
Hastily, she nodded. “And I haven’t seen him. Really.” She backed away, suddenly very eager to get the hell out of that dark corner. “I need to be going now. Thank you for…"
For what? For scaring the shit out of her?
“Be safe, lass. Helluva storm coming in. Be safe.”
Storm. Everyone keeps talking about the storm.
She had other more important things to worry about than a stupid storm. Like the fact that she just might have kissed a ghost last night.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Recently, I entered a writing contest and for a matter of a couple of hours, I was a finalist. Yay! Yippee! I done real good!
I told my friends. I even shared on my two chapter loops after my entry was posted. It was out there for everyone to read. Yay! Yippee!
But soon, things changed. I guess, unknowingly, I broke the rules and within an hour of my entry being posted, I was disqualified. Authors writing for a particular publishing house could not enter, it seemed. I assumed (wrongly) that that meant currently contracted authors. I've not had a contract with the publisher for seven years. I'm not current. I am "former" I guess. So, once I was told about the disqualification, I of course said that I understood, and was sorry for the inconvenience.
It is okay. Really, it is. I totally understand. It's just nice to know that my work was good enough to be selected. Now, this gives another person a chance to shine. Everyone deserves a chance to shine, right?
Some of my friends/colleagues/acquaintances and writing buds have asked about the entry. So, okay, I've got this handy-dandy little venue for posting stuff here on my blog, so why not? Here you go. :)
An Hour Late and a Dead Guy Short
“What do you mean I can’t? I can do anything I damned well please.” Mitzi slammed her purse on the counter and twisted to look at her sister.
“It’s illegal, Mitzi. You can’t.”
“Oh hell. Who would know? Besides, I need the money.”
“I don’t need sarcasm, little Miss Rich Sister. I need dollars. The mortgage is due. Final notice. I’m not losing my house.”
An understatement. She stared out the kitchen window to the garden. The house was the only good thing she’d done in years. Finally, she’d finagled her way into a loan, scraped up the down payment, and became a homeowner. She wasn’t about to be reduced to renter ranks. Again.
“I’ll give you the money.”
“I. Said. No.” She didn’t need handouts. Ever since Ken disappeared, she’d made it just fine—until the bottom dropped out of her business.
Just like Ken.
“It’s just phone sex, Molly. It’s not like I’m going to catch a disease. No one will know who I am. I’ll be safe in my house, tucked in my bed, and just talk some guy into getting his jollies off. I’ll be a hundred bucks richer every fifteen minutes. That’s four hundred dollars an hour. If I get him off sooner, my income goes up. Piece of cake.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“I’m dead serious.”
“I’d have to be dead to do that.”
Mitzi figured Molly was pretty much dead when it came to sex, anyway. “We’ll, you’re not me.”
“The cops listen in on those things, you know.”
“What two consenting adults do on the phone is of no concern to anyone.”
“They try to catch Johns and hookers.”
“I’m not a hooker.”
Molly raised a brow. “What would you call it then? A guy creaming in his jeans. You get money. Hooker. You.”
“I wouldn’t even touch them!”
“Mitzi! Listen to yourself!”
“And sometimes it’s not guys. Women do it, too. Talk to other women.”
Molly clapped her hands over her ears. “Lalalalala! I do not want to hear anymore!” She grabbed her Gucci purse. The turquoise one that Mitzi had coveted for a month now.
In two seconds flat Molly whipped out a credit card. “Here. Or I won’t be able to live with myself.”
Mitzi swallowed her gumption. Probably thousands of dollars on that thing. Enough for the payment. Get her through until next month….
“I can’t.” There. She said it.
Molly rolled her eyes. “I’m leaving.” She reached for Mitzi’s hand, slapped the card down in it, and held her gaze long.
Then she left.
Mitzi’s shoulders slumped.
Damn that card felt good in her hand. But she wouldn’t use it. She was on her own.
* * *
The message on her answering machine said to show up at two o’clock in the upstairs office at
Somebody would be there.
It felt a bit creepy but Mitzi swallowed her spookies, peered up into the dark stairwell, and stepped inside. No light?
She propped the door open with her hip and searched for something to keep it cracked while she took the stairs.
There. Half a brick.
She glanced at her watch. Late. Shit.
She wedged the brick in tight. A rectangle of light lit the way up.
Would this company consider her problem-solving an asset?
Or would they just consider her “assets.”
Time would tell.
She took the stairs, stepped on something crunchy at the top, rapped on the door and glanced behind her. Dark corners. Shivers. Would she really want to work here?
The door creaked open. Slowly.
Mitzi took in the silence.
No one said, “Hello?” or “May I help you?” or “Kiss my ass?” or anything. Swallowing the spookies again, she pushed the door inward.
A shade was pulled down on the window opposite the door. No, wait. Jerked down. Torn. A triangle of light coming through.
Wrong place. Had to be in the wrong place.
Down. Two steps. Get out.
Turn around. Please. Come back.
Turning, she saw that triangle of light penetrate hallway onto the stuff she’d crunched earlier. Light bulb. Smashed.
Oh dear. Not good.
Come back, please.
She climbed the two steps, swallowed, and pushed forward into the room.
There was a dead guy on the floor.
And his ghost was sitting in the chair next to him.
You’re late. And now I’m dead.
Happy Turkey Day!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It is natural at this time of the year that people start thinking about all of the things we are thankful for. I’m no different. We suffer the rough patches through the year and sometimes the good things get lost in the shuffle. But if we look deep enough and long enough, there are so many good things we can give thanks for.
I’m thankful for so much this year and wanted to share my list (in no particular order of importance):
- My children. They’ve grown up and I marvel in all they do each and every day. My goodness, what wonderful young adults they have grown up to be. I’m so proud of them.
- My girlfriends. Without them, I’m not sure what I would do. I need you guys.
- My funny little grandchildren, who with only a simple smile, light up my heart.
- My family, each and every one of them, who have always been there.
- My writing network – my chapters, my sisterwriters, my novelsisterhood, my rplovelies, and so many more. Life just wouldn’t be the same without each of you.
- My new publisher. You see so much in me and always, always build me up. You believe in me and it makes it so much easier for me to believe in myself.
- A book in print this year. Enough said.
- My home. It is my haven. And I love being tucked within its four walls.
- My job. After all, it supports my writing habit.
- My good health. My eyesight. My energy. I need them all. Thank you. Also, I’m thankful for the good health of everyone in my family.
- My travels. I’ve seen so much, experienced so much, am thankful for all the people I’ve met along the way.
- And last but not least, the re-acquaintance of a very special person. I’m glad we found each other again and look forward to good times in the future.
I know there are many more things for which I am thankful. Probably too many to list here. But these are on my mind today and, well, there they are.
I’d love to hear from some of you, too, and hear what you are thankful this day.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Finally, you can get the answers to all of those questions about THE CURSE, such as....
Why does Claire travel backward in time to 1718?
Who is waiting for her?
Who haunts the beaches of the Outer Banks looking for his dead wife?
What role does the pirate Blackbeard play in all this?
What's up with that chalice, anyway?
What makes up a love so strong that time can't pull it apart?
What is...THE CURSE?
The answers are waiting for you here
Thursday, November 15, 2007
You can find out more about Silencing Sarah, now available for purchase, at http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/
To find out more about M.L., visit her author page at Resplendene Publishing here.
I'm ML Cordle and I have a debut novel that I'd like to tell you about!
Silencing Sarah is a romantic suspense that fits under the Dazzle line of Resplendence books. It is a bit of a psychological thriller but has plenty of sexual tension for those of you who like that chemistry! It's a story that took me eight weeks to write initially, and the first draft was met with favorable feedback from a literary agent who wanted me to cut it in half for marketing purposes. Well, I didn't want to (it was my baby!) but I spent the next few months doing so. About the time I was ready to resubmit, I came across Resplendence Publishing, liked what I saw and queried them. Long story short, here I am and the book is less than half of what it originally was, which is a good thing.
It is still a big book but I think it has a big story and, so far, the reader reviews have been fabulous. I do hope that you will visit http://www.mlcordle.com/ and check out some excerpts of Silencing Sarah and perhaps order your e-book today!
And while I'm here guestblogging, I'd like to say that you have remarkable taste if you are a regular visitor of Maddie's blogs. She's just the greatest! I hope that you will check out her soon-to-be released novel, Blue. This one sounds just as intriguing, just as captivating as The Curse! I'm so priviledged to be associated with Maddie, and with the other fine Resplendence authors! You can't go wrong with a Resplendence gem so I ask you to visit all the authors' sites (see Maddie's top friends at MySpace http://www.myspace.com/paprbackriter and the Resplendence Publishing) and get to know them yourself. Wonderful people and fantastic writers.
I have included below, a short blurb for Silencing Sarah and an excerpt for your reading enjoyment. And I hope to be hearing from you soon!
Blurb for Silencing Sarah:
When Madison Owens left her rural hometown in southwest Virginia to pursue her goal of becoming a writer, she never imagined that she would become a best-selling novelist and marry the man of her dreams. But she soon learns that dreams can turn into nightmares, and when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Divorced, heartbroken, and suffering from a major case of writer’s block, Madison returns to Virginia with plans to renovate her grandparent’s rustic cabin and create the sanctuary she so desperately needs.
Will McGomery is a man in hiding. After his wife’s suicide and the suspicious drowning death of a young local girl and family friend, Sarah Chambers, Will wants nothing more than to be left alone. The plot of land and cabin he purchased from the Owens family seemed to be the ideal place to escape the demons of his past, to live a quiet, simple life of solitude, and to silence the ghost who haunts him. But when a nosy, beautiful author shows up on his land claiming it as her own and stubbornly refusing to leave until he answers her questions about the past, Will knows that his quiet existence is at an end.
Although she knows she should heed Will’s warnings and stay out of his life, Madison can’t escape her growing attraction to the mysterious recluse. Her writer’s imagination is awakened by his story, just as her body is awakened by his touch. In her determination to sort out the truth from the lies, Madison wades into a quagmire of painful secrets, where no one is above suspicion and betrayal lies around every corner. Thoroughly embroiled in the mystery of Sarah Chamber’s death and her growing obsession with Will McGomery, Madison will invest everything—her heart and her life—in her quest to silence Sarah.
Excerpt from Chapter Seventeen:
Will imagined the cursed stillness that descended as a prelude to his seizures was like being on a darkened stage awaiting curtain call.
Hi didn’t know what horror awaited him on the other side of this curtain, but knew he had to be ready to face it. When the velvet wall parted, it was time to lock and load, no bowing out.
An audience would never laud his appearance; he knew this. No crowd of spectators existed, only a stage, and scenes from the realm of the dead.
Only the dead themselves.
He was merely the observer.
Reaching out to brace himself against the wall, he thought of Madison. He had wanted to stop her from leaving, but as she’d cut across the backyard toward the front of the cabin, her hair flaming like a halo around her head in the burnt red of the sinking sun, he had sensed the change in him. An eerie quiet had closed in, clasped him like a slumbering lover, and he’d made his way quickly to the house.
His fingertips curled into the painted sheet rock along the hallway. It felt insubstantial, like he’d pushed his fingers into a huge belly, but when he focused on the wall, he saw that his mind was playing tricks on him. It wasn’t yielding to the trembling pressure of his fingers at all.
He withdrew his hand, pressed his back to the wall and slid down to the floor. The roaring had started in his ears now. Like the surf, and yet it wasn’t. It was the racket of his erratic brain waves, a sound that would ratchet up in its intensity before fading to a dull hum.
He pinched his eyelids together, but there was no commitment in the delicate muscles that would keep them closed and they drifted back open. In that second while he’d been submerged in the complete darkness of the stage behind closed eyes, it had happened. The curtain had split, invisible ghost hands raising the veil of his subconscious withzealous fervor.
He was about to take in act two, or three…or five hundred. He simply knew it was a familiar scene, one in which he was a silent watcher, an unwilling witness with eyes that could not look away.
Molly stood in their bedroom within the house that no longer existed, the house that had burned to the ground years ago. On the bed was a book, an ancient looking thing with faded gold lettering across the front.
The letters, though worn, were exquisitely rendered, tall and slanted like ornate etchings in an Egyptian tomb.
His vision acute, he saw the word plainly from where he sat. He would not be able to see his own hands if he was to raise them to his face, but he saw those seven letters with laser clarity. A lump formed in his throat because he knew what came next.
Molly crossed to the bed and snatched the book up, flipped through it frantically. Her fingers faltered and she almost dropped it.
Her fear was like a bat caught in her throat, squeaking, shrilling.
It was awful. He wanted it to stop. He wanted to tell her it was okay. He would fix it. He would take it back, this deed that had compelled her to end her life.
He knew, however, that it was impossible to take anything back.
"My name," she said, fingers crumpling the pages as they savagely turned them one after another after another. "It’s never here. My name isn’t here. Where’s my name?"
Something was behind him, always behind him in this room. He could hear it breathing now, above the dissonant roar, a moist guttural wheezing. He couldn’t turn to see what it was, though. He could only see what was before him, understood that this was, in part, because he was locked in a seizure, for all purposes dead to the tangible, the drifting lost.
He tried to speak but his tongue was a frightened soldier hiding behind the wall of his teeth. Molly hurled the book across the room and instantly, her image dissipated like delicate sand moldings in water.
But instead of his own astral departure from the room, he remained.
This was something different. This felt totally wrong and very ominous.
The book skidded on its spine, falling open at the spot where his feet would be if he were in his body. Among lines and lines of names on the revealed page, one stood out to him; it shone an ethereal blue, like the sky in spring.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I needed it. Truly. After 17 straight days of travel for work, not even coming home weekends, I needed some reconnect time with my inner self. I needed down-time. I needed to bond with home and hearth again.
I needed a manicure. And a haircut.
So, after sleeping in my own bed last night (and to nearly noon) I showered and made my way to the salon where my hair was trimmed and fluffed and coiffed. Then I set off to my manicurist and got a new full set. Ah. I'm feeling better already.
While there, however, I observed something interesting. Two thirty-something mothers had arrived and signed in right before me. In tow they had their six or seven year old daughters. The girls were having fun picking out color for their mom's nails. How cute, I thought. I wonder if the moms will actually wear whatever colors the little darlings pick out.
Soon, the moms were whisked off to the pedicure stations and settled into their vibrating chairs, shoes and socks removed, soaking in the warm bath and...what? The girls, too? The little darlings who were picking out color for their mothers? THEY were also sitting in the vibrating chairs, chatting away just like their moms (each drinking Starbucks coffee), and getting a pedicure, too? Excuse me? They were like, six years old?
When did six-year-olds start to get pedicures?
I see all kinds of problems with this. What's next? Cell phones at 10? Oh...that's right...my step-daughter's daughter is 12 and she's had a cell phone for a couple of years. What? Is this not a bit ridiculous? Pedicures at age 6. Who would have thought? Do they wear bras, too? Excuse me? They DO?
Now, we weren't raised that way. I didn't raise my daughter that way. I didn't get my first pedicure until I was forty! I didn't get French tips until some time after that! I had to earn those smooth feet and lengthy nails over time, years of working and paying off the bills, to justify putting THOSE kinds of expenses into the budget.
So, while my full set is going on, I watch the girls get their toes painted red and I got to thinking. What kind of young women are these girls going to grow up to be? I mean, they could be demanding little prima dona princesses who insist to their husbands that manicures, pedicures, salon hair cuts, body and facial waxes, face lifts, botox, department store high-end makeup, designer purses and shoes and clothing, are all necessities for the budget. They might even consider that marrying someone who could provide them with these things, no questions asked, was part of the deal. They might even EXPECT that their husbands make good enough salaries to keep them slick and coiffed and nailed and fluffed and lifted and waxed and....
Somewhere along the line I didn't get that message. Hm.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
Earlier this evening I received an email from our marketing guru at Resplendence and she had attached my new cover! Woohoo! I love new covers.
What do you think?
THE CULT, is book two in The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice series. It's release date is Februrary, 2008. This story continues the saga of Blackbeard's Chalice and takes it forward in time to the present day. Victoria Porter (Jack's and Claire's daughter from THE CURSE) is the heroine and a surly, bad boy horror writer from the 21st century is her hero.
I'll be posting a blurb and excerpt soon!
Until then, just enjoy the cover!
Friday, November 02, 2007
Or so they say.
Yeah, yeah, of course I was working this week. I'm in Phoenix doing a training for the new teachers in our program. But we did take time out on Halloween for a little R&R. All of the teachers were asked to come in costume for our training that day, and then we had a little get-together at the pool at the day's end.
Here I am with my friend and co-worker Diana. Don't let her fool you with that angel outfit. But I, of course, am always a perfect angel...or something....
Since I missed Trick-or-Treat with my little goblins (grandkids) I'm looking forward to pictures of Princess Fiona, Shrek and our little Juliet.
Hope your Halloween was fun!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I'm such a creature of habit, even though my crazy day-to-day lifestyle often warrants chaos. Really, it's not that bad, but when you travel for your paycheck, life can get rather messy sometimes. And lately, my normal travel-two-weeks-out-of-the-month schedule has turned into traveling every week. In addition, my home on the weekend routine also has been dumped in the soup the past couple of weeks. I've been home three days in the past 25 days and I won't be home again for another seven.
So okay, I deserve to be a bit out of whack, right?
Well, fine. But being out of whack means it's interfering with stuff. Stuff like writing. I've got a novella sitting on my desktop to edit and I can't muster up the energy. Oh, I know that my editor is waiting patiently for it to come back but the out-of-whack syndrome is getting in my way. I'm so tired at the end of the day I can't look at it and then when I do, all of the red marks on the page make my eyes go blurry. And let's not mention the looming deadline for another story that needs a lot of my attention.
So, you say, do you want some cheese with that whine, Maddie?
Oh, I knew this stretch was going to be difficult, that time would be precious, and that I was going to be worn out. I didn't realize how it would affect my attitude about writing.
And that's scary.
I live in fear of my day job and the travel sucking the heart out of my writing again. It's happened once before, several years ago, and I fought hard to get it back. I've vowed that it would never happen again. I still live in fear of it though.
Perhaps I should remind myself that in seven days this hiatus will be over. I'll be back in the normal routine. I'll get those edits done. I'll get the next story finished. But right now seven days feels like a long way away. But I'll perservere until I can work on the writing, get the edits finished to my satisfaction, finish the book that's been nagging at me.
But until then, I'm out of whack. I feel it. Know it. Recognize it. Hate it.
Recogniztion is half the battle, so they say, right? I'll cope with it, however.