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Archive for May, 2014

Fiction Friday

Here is installment four of Garren’s story. You can read the first, second, and third if you aren’t caught up. 🙂

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Garren stepped out of the car and walked toward the house. He’d been told to come in plain clothes, but it didn’t feel right. It was summer, so it was harder to conceal his weapon. It wouldn’t bother him if he was in uniform. But, he didn’t usually carry a weapon if he was off duty. Being in plain clothes felt too much like being off duty. He wiped his hands on his pants before stepping up and knocking on the door.
Why was he nervous? He’d faced worse things than a family in an affluent neighborhood.
The door opened, and he saw the senior marshal, standing there. Garren let out a breath. At least he was here for the initial shift. The man had made him feel a little at ease in the commander’s office the day before. “Come in, Officer Alexander.”
He stepped inside with the marshal and saw another officer saying good-bye to a little girl. He knew the man’s name, Hersch, and his reputation. He’d never worked with him before though. But, he was known as a good cop. That’s all Garren needed to know. When he turned around, the officer seemed surprised to see him. “Why did they send you?”
Garren shrugged. “The deputy chief requested me. Do you have a problem with it?” He knew he was still considered a rookie even though he’d been with the department more than a year. Sometimes it rankled, but it just meant he had to work a little harder to prove himself.
The officer shook his head. “Not up to me. I’m out though. Officer Mackel will be by to relieve you in twelve hours. Then, I’ll take over from him. And on and on.” There was a slight smirk on the man’s face, but he didn’t look that amused.
“Right. I’ll see you in thirty-six hours then.”
The man’s smile widened slightly then he turned and left the house. Garren turned back to the marshal who led him forward. “Officer Alexander, this is Mary Wilkers.”
He smiled at the woman, who looked to be just a few years younger than his own mother. “Garren Alexander, Ma’am.”
She returned his smile and held out her hand. “It’s so nice to meet such a polite young man.”
He could feel his cheeks heat at her words. Then, a man was pushing forward. “And this is Jonah Wilkers,” he said, his voice changing, going a little harder.
Jonah barely even looked at Garren though. “A boy, Marshal Berenak? Seriously. Why would you send a boy here? I don’t need someone playing cops and robbers.”
Garren’s face paled, but he saw the marshal’s eyes sharpen. “Mr. Wilkers, you asked us for protection. We brought together three officers who have the kind of evaluations that would earn commendations. He may be young, but Officer Alexander’s name is right at the top of that list. He’s here for the next twelve hours, so you should get used to it.”
Something went through him at the officer’s words. Pride and a little bit of dread. Would he be able to live up to the man’s opinion of him?
“I’ll make a call and that will change.”
“Your friendship with the mayor will only get you so far, Wilkers. The deputy chief personally appointed him to this detail. You can call the commissioner if you’d like, and that’s not likely to change.”
“I’ll not count on a boy’s protection. I want a real cop here.”
Garren stepped forward. “You have me. And I am a real cop. I signed on to protect and serve. That’s what I’m here to do.”
Jonah turned his scowl on him again but turned away after a minute. “Insolent little brat,” he muttered.
“Right. I’ll be going then,” Marshal Berenak said. “I have a man staked out. We just need you inside with them.”
Garren nodded. They’d already been over this. When the marshal had left, Garren turned around and nearly toppled over the young girl.
“You shouldn’t talk to my daddy like that,” she said.
He studied her for a moment. Her dark hair was pulled back into a tight braid at the back of her head. It set the rest of her features at a sharp angle. He thought she might be a cute girl, maybe ten years old, if she didn’t look so severe. Her green eyes were just as sharp, and they looked out of place in such a young face. Currently they were hard, as she glared at him.
“Your daddy shouldn’t be talking to me like that.”
“He can talk any way he wants.”
“Michelle,” her mom said, taking her by the arm. “Leave the officer alone. He’s just here doing his job.” She offered Garren a slight smile, but it felt off. It seemed like she was used to keeping the peace. “You need to finish getting ready for your piano lesson. Then, you have that play”— she broke off at a glare from her daughter — “meet-up with Vanessa and Hillary.”
The girl stared at him for another minute then spun away. “Can we go shopping before we meet Vanessa and Hillary. I need some new clothes.”
The mother looked resigned. “You have a closetful but sure, whatever you want.”
“Always.” She smirked before moving away.
“I’m sorry, Officer,” Mary said.
He waved her off. “It’s fine. I’m just here to do a job. Did you clear this lesson and date with the marshals?”
She nodded. “We have a driver. We’ll be fine.”
There wasn’t much he could do about it anyway if they’d cleared it. So, he nodded and turned away. From what he’d observed so far, this detail couldn’t end soon enough.

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Writing Wednesday: No Internet

Very quick post from me today. Our internet was out when we woke up Monday morning. Still not on. Probably going to be tomorrow at the earliest(apparently they need parts to fix the problem). And we’re almost at our data limit on our phones with another week to go in the billing cycle. I’m only turning it on to post this then I’ll be shutting it off so we don’t go over. So no WiPPet from me today.

I’ve still been working on my goals this week. No internet to distract me can be a good thing, I guess. Was streaming music on my phone but none now. Which is the worst part. Can’t have a lot of noise or I get distracted. But it’s hard to focus in complete silence.

Anyway, I have been making progress. Almost through Flames of Redemption. Just two more crutch words to search out. Hopefully will be ready to send to CP by the time internet is back.
I’ve also finished the scene chart for The Choice and put all my notes into the scrivener document. Now just need to read through and figure out where to make changes so the scenes follow the right path. Even thought of a few more scenes to add.
I’ve added 786 words to the short story.
I finished The Immortal Rules, enjoyed it. DNF another free book on my kindle(that makes 3 so far this month). If I start skimming during the first couple chapters, I’m not going to keep reading. I read the first part of a serial, added the rest to my wish list, and started another free book that I’m enjoying.
Also finished Chuck Wendig’s 500 Ways to Tell a Better Story.
And I think that’s it for the goals this week. Hopefully Sunday I can have a more detailed post.

Update: Internet came back about 1:45 Wednesday afternoon. Can stop slowly losing my mind. 😉

 

Sunday Summary:

I didn’t get nearly as much done as I thought I would this week. Part of that is because we spent so much time outside. Also, searching through the WiPs for all my crutch/filter words took a lot longer than I expected. This step would be a lot easier if I wrote a cleaner draft. But, when I try to focus more on the word choice, I stall out. So, it seems it’s either take longer on the drafting stage or longer on the editing stage. I’ll probably keep doing it the way I have been. 🙂 There are some, like ‘very’, that I’ve found a lot less in these ones. So, at least that’s one I’ve been working out of using.

  • Stained Snow: Polishing run through & send to beta readers  I did get this done and sent it to two beta readers on Thursday. So, this is off my plate until at least July(next Sunday I’ll talk more about next month’s plan).
  • Flames of Redemption: Search & destroy mission & send to CP – I made quite a bit of progress on this. I still have a few words to search for & fix. I will get it done this week.
  • The Choice: Read through & create scene chart – didn’t even get started on this. Hoping to get it started this week. That depends on when I finish Flames of Redemption though.
  • Short story: 1250 words – only managed 1160 words on this. Still progress at least. I’m not sure how long this story is going to be even though I have a good idea what’s going to happen.
  • Crochet: Shark hat – finished this on Friday

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This week I’ll be concentrating on finishing this month’s goals. Next month, I have some different projects I want to work on. Stained Snow & Flames of Redemption will be off to readers. So, I just have to decide if I’m going to let The Choice sit while I work on the other projects or put it in with those ones. I figure if I wait to do the next revisions, that gives my CP time to read Flames of Redemption before I’m ready to send this one to her(and this is the problem with not just working on one until it’s completely done). I’m thinking if I get the scene chart done, I’ll still let it sit while I concentrate on June’s goals. June will be more of a drafting month. Then, July will be for revising again.

  • Flames of Redemption: finish searching through for filter words & fix
  • Flames of Redemption: send to CP
  • The Choice: make scene chart
  • Short story: write 1000 words
  • Read: The Immortal Rules(Julie Kagawa) – I downloaded this when it was free for iBooks, but the only way I can read it is on my phone. So, I keep forgetting about it. I’m going to try to finish it this week though.
  • Read: 500 Ways to Tell a Better Story(Chuck Wendig) – I’ve been working my way through this for this month. Going to try to finish it this week too.

 

Fiction Friday

This week brings us to the next installment of Garren’s(from Duty to Protect) back story and introduces us to some of his family. You can read installment one and two if you haven’t yet.

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Garren hadn’t had to worry about the paperwork. Wade had already taken care of it. He just had to sign off on all of it and clock out. Now, he was sitting in his patrol car outside his parents’ house. He didn’t know why he hadn’t gone inside yet. That meeting was still weighing on him. Why him? He couldn’t stop asking that question. Despite everything the deputy chief and commander had said, he didn’t quite buy it. There was no way he was the best they had. Sure he was a good cop. But, the best? It couldn’t be.
What about Wade? He’d been with the department a lot longer than he had. He had more experience. So, why had it been him?
Garren shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. He needed to get it cut again. Maybe he could get his mother to do it for him while he was here. Of course he’d have to go inside for that. He took a breath and finally stepped out of the car. He’d been so preoccupied, he hadn’t noticed the other vehicle parked at the other end of the house. He recognized Michael’s truck. He hadn’t known he was coming out here tonight. It wasn’t unusual. He knew the detective had been friends with his father for a long time.
His parents probably already knew about his new assignment then.
He was surprised at the weight that took off his shoulders. Maybe that had been his problem. He hadn’t wanted to be the one to tell them. He knew his father didn’t like him being a cop. He’d made that clear when he’d joined the Academy instead of staying on the ranch. His little sister hadn’t been happy about it either. His mother had just hugged him. He knew she worried. He saw it in her eyes every time he came by the ranch. Which was most days. But, even more so when he talked about his job. He didn’t like to see her upset, so he didn’t talk about it too much.
He walked up onto the porch but didn’t knock before walking inside. He might have his own apartment now, but this was still home. His sister stood at the sink, another teenage girl next to her. Garren recognized her as one of Michael’s four daughters. Poor guy. He knew the oldest was married and the next was off to college. This must be the one Connie was in school with. He knew they were close. He walked up behind his sister and pulled on one of her long blond locks.
“Damn it, Garren,” she said, swinging around.
He laughed and shook a finger at her. “Don’t swear, Connie. I’ll tell Mom.”
She swung out and punched his shoulder. He winced and rubbed at it, but the smile didn’t leave his face. “I don’t understand why everyone thinks you’re so sweet.”
She stuck her tongue out at him then turned back to the sink and laughed at something the other girl whispered to her. “Where are Mom and Dad?” He asked.
“In the living room with Mike and Anna.”
He started to turn away but Connie asked, “Do you know if Geoff is coming for dinner too?”
He thought he heard something in her voice and narrowed his eyes as he looked back at her. “I don’t know. Why?”
She shrugged, but he was sure that had been disappointment in her eyes. “I was just wondering. You know, to see if I had to get another place setting ready.”
Garren hesitated then shook his head. He had probably imagined it. She was too young to be any thing other than a little sister figure to his best friend. He knew his friend hadn’t had any of his own. It was probably better than his mother bringing any other children into that miserable life. That thought brought a slice of sadness and guilt to him. Geoff had just buried his mother a couple years before. He knew his friend blamed himself. He’d left that house as soon as he turned eighteen, but he’d check in on his mother several times a week. It hadn’t been often enough. He found her at the bottom of the steps, bruises around her neck that couldn’t be explained by the fall.
His father was currently one year into a life sentence.
Garren shook away those thoughts. It wasn’t Geoff’s fault. It wasn’t his either. He hadn’t been at the Academy for more than a month when he’d gotten the call from Geoff. It was the first time he’d spoken to his friend since he’d told him he was going. Geoff didn’t like cops. His father had been friends with several, and because of them no one took him seriously when he said how much he and his mother suffered at his father’s hand. Every one had liked Ian Lawrence. Until his wife died.
Garren let out a shuddering breath and went to find his parents. He should have been here sooner so he could tell them. It wasn’t up to a fellow cop to do it. He stepped into the living room, and his parents turned toward him. By the smile on his mother’s face, he realized he’d been wrong. Michael must not have said anything.
“Garren,” she said, moving over to him. “I was starting to think you wouldn’t make it.”
He tried to push his worried thoughts away and worked up a smile for her. “Like I’d ever miss your cooking, Mom. I didn’t know it was a big thing though,” he said, his gaze skipping over to Michael again.
“It’s not.” She gave him a tight squeeze. “Mike and Anna just stopped by, and I invited them to stay for dinner.”
Anna stepped forward. “Liz, why don’t we go see how the girls are doing?”
His mother stepped back and smiled at him again then left with the other woman. Michael waited until they had left then turned to look at Garren. “You have some beer, right, Brendan. I could use one.”
“Sure, Mike, I’ll go get you one.”
“Naw, I can get it. You want one, Garren?”
He hesitated, knowing his father didn’t like it when he drank. He was of age though so he didn’t see what the big deal was. “Sure, Mike. Thanks.” He was pretty smart, he knew what the other man was doing. Giving him a couple minutes to tell his father what had happened. He’d take advantage of it.
He turned to his father. “I was called up to the commander’s office when my shift was over today.” Might as well jump right into it.
He saw the scowl disappear from his father’s face. “Why? Is something wrong?”
Garren shook his head. “They said I was at the top of their list of their best officers. I got a new assignment.”
“To where? Why would they move you out of your patrol district?”
He shook his head. “I’m not moving to another district.”
“What’s going on, Garren?”
He could hear a tremor in his father’s voice. “It’s nothing bad, Dad. You’ve heard about that drive-by and the witness, Jonah Wilkers, right?”
Brendan nodded. “Mike’s on that case. What about it? Are you working with him?”
Garren shook his head again. “Not exactly. Wilkers is demanding protection. The marshals unit doesn’t want to put out the manpower. So they want us to supplement what they’ll provide. They asked me to be a part of it.”
“What kind of thing is that to ask of you? You’re not a babysitter.”
The corner of Garren’s mouth twitched. “No, but the deputy chief asked it. I can’t really say no.”
Brendan rubbed a hand over his face then back over his head. “I don’t know what to think about this, Garren. You won’t be on the streets, but if this guy needs protection, I don’t see you being safe watching out for him.”
“I didn’t join the force to be safe, Dad. And I’m sure it won’t be a big deal. I’ll be rotating with a couple other officers. And there’ll be a marshal around. They just want someone inside with the family. A couple days and they’ll probably have the guy anyway.”
Brendan didn’t look too convinced. “So, you’re saying you probably won’t be around much.”
He gave a little nod. “We’ll be on twelve hour shifts. I’ll try to come by when I’m not on though.”
“All right. I’ll let your mom know.” He turned toward the kitchen just as Mike headed back in and handed them their beers. “Dinner ready?”
“Nearly,” Mike said.
“Good.” Brendan’s gaze shifted to Garren, narrowing as he took a swallow of the beer. Then, he turned back to his friend. “You gonna watch out for him?”
“Much as I can.”
“Good,” he said again.
Garren wanted to argue that he could take care of himself. He knew there was no point though. So, he let the beer slide down his throat instead.

Writing Wednesday: Riding Bikes

We had some pretty nice weather on Sunday for my niece’s 11th birthday party(still unbalanced by the fact she’s 11. I was in my senior year of high school when she was born). Kids did a lot of playing outside at my sister’s. They especially seemed to like the new trampoline(with netting around it). After we got home, my husband went and got the kids’ bikes down so they could ride them on Monday. I could barely keep the boy inside Monday morning so I could get a few things done. At first, he couldn’t quite figure out the pedaling. He’d use his feet to move the bike forward. By that afternoon, he was getting the hang of it, although he still needed a little help getting started. After that, he could keep it going.

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Last year, the girl couldn’t even get her pedals to go around. She could on her brother’s bike, which is smaller. So, I think hers was just too big for her then. On Monday, she could get it going, but she’d stop pedaling right away because it was “going too fast” as soon as it moved a little bit.

I had the kids come in with me at 4 when I made dinner, and the boy was not happy about having to put his bike away. As in having a complete meltdown and screaming whenever we looked at him. By 4:30, he was sleeping in their little recliner in the living room. He woke up about 5, went in his room and went back to sleep. I tried to wake him up for dinner at 5:30, but he didn’t want to. He didn’t wake up until almost 5:30 Tuesday morning. Apparently riding your bike tires you right out(and also explains the massive fit). 🙂

Yesterday morning, the boy got his bike out again. And took right off. Then, he got his sister’s bike out of the garage. And figured out how to pedal it too. He is not fazed by it going “too fast”.  He has always been more physical and active than her, and a lot more daring, so this shouldn’t surprise me. It was raining yesterday afternoon, and he wasn’t happy that he couldn’t get his bike back out. It’s supposed to rain & storm all day today(we got caught in one downpour while waiting for the girl’s bus this morning), so might not be able to get more riding in today either.

Besides watching the boy ride his bike, I’ve been editing Stained Snow, getting it ready to go out to Beta Readers. I’m still looking for a couple if anyone is interested. I’m through most of it, but looking for all my filter/crutch words is taking longer than I expected. Although I’ve found a few on my list I don’t use as much as I used to. Like ‘very’. In most of the chapters, I haven’t found it at all. Still having trouble with ‘just’ though.

Since it’s what I have open, I’m using Stained Snow for today’s WiPPet. Very simple math today. This is near the end. Not giving more set up than that since I don’t want to give too much away.

If he didn’t, his brother would never stop. He wasn’t concerned with bringing him in anymore. That would never happen. He had to stop him, and the only way to do that would be with a bullet.
That thought should bother him more.

I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done this week. Even though I am most of the way through Stained Snow, I don’t have anything to cross off. I didn’t realize quite how motivated seeing those crossed off goals was. Hopefully by Sunday I can have at least a couple crossed off.

  • Stained Snow: Polishing run through & send to beta readers – I’m on chapter 22. Just have to finish this & the epilogue. Also going to rearrange chapters, because I was adding scenes & some chapters are really long. After that, I can send it out.
  • Flames of Redemption: Search & destroy mission & send to CP – haven’t started yet
  • The Choice: Read through & create scene chart – haven’t started yet
  • Short story: 1250 words – wrote 440 words on Monday. Haven’t gotten back to it yet.
  • Crochet: Shark hat – haven’t started yet. Hoping to get to that today.

Obviously I misjudged how long this polishing up would take. Still hoping to get through both of these this week. I may not get done with The Choice, but I’m going to leave it there. I didn’t put it on this week’s list, but I’ve already gotten through 4 of my free books(2 of these were novellas) on my Kindle. Also reading one on my phone because it was free on iTunes, and that’s the only place I have iBooks. And working my way through Chuck Wendig’s 500 Ways to Tell a Better Story.

Monday Mentions: Comments, Breaks, and vIctory

I found a few good posts around this week. First is this one from L.S. Engler on Fear of “Comment-ment”.  This is something I suffer from as well. I’ve been getting better, but it’s still something I struggle with. I’ve mentioned before that I’m really not a social person. If I went much farther on the introvert scale(and didn’t have my husband and kids to pull me out from time to time), I’d probably be considered a recluse. Also what would probably be diagnosed as social anxiety disorder(a big part of why I will never go out on Black Friday. I can barely handle the mall/crowds on a regular day). I think this bleeds over into my social media/online life as well. I like twitter because even though it feels like a party sometimes with all these different conversations going by, you can concentrate on just one or two of them if you want. And I’ve even had to take breaks from it because it can be overwhelming. Anyway, I think part of my problem with commenting is that I’m used to not saying anything. A lot of the time it’s that I don’t have anything to say. But, other times I want to leave a response, and I just – can’t. When I do, it often takes me quite a while to make sure I have it worded just right(which is probably one reason I keep quiet most of the time – can’t do that away from the computer screen). I have been working on it, but it can still be a struggle for me. I have this same issue with leaving reviews. Another thing I’ve been working on.

Then, this post from Kristen Lamb’s new blog series Writer Victory. This one on Identifying Problems areas. I’ve made the excuses. I let my insecurities keep me from writing. I was a wife and mother, with barely a year between the two. I think I had myself convinced I couldn’t be those and a writer. I tried to write, but if it wasn’t perfect, I gave up. Even now, my insecurities keep me from talking about it. If someone calls and asks what I’m doing, I never say writing.(“nothing” is my usual answer). I don’t tell people I’m a writer when they ask what I do. (“I stay home with the kids”). But, writers write. And when I wasn’t writing, I was miserable. To myself and to others. So, for the last 3+ years, I’ve been taking that back. I wake up at 4, so I can get some writing in before the kids get up(and even that isn’t always a lot of time). I take the hour or more of the boy’s naptime(when he takes one) to get some more writing done. As Kristen said “We don’t find time, we make time.”

And another post from Ava Jae on the difference between scene breaks and chapter breaks. I always struggle with where to end my chapters. I have this thing where I want all my chapters to be even(and have an even number of chapters). So, I’ve tried keeping them within a certain number of words. Or I’ve tried organizing them with just what happens in them. But, then the numbers are all weird(I seriously have a weird thing with numbers. I don’t know why this bothers me so much). Or end the chapter on a “big disaster” so the reader doesn’t want to put it down. And since I can’t seem to settle on one way, I’m very glad for Scrivener and the ease of moving chapters around. I just finished plotting out my next WiP last week. And set up the chapters with just 1-2 scenes each. I have a feeling it won’t stay this way.

I do have a few more posts to share, but I think I will save them for next week. 🙂

Sunday Summary: Revisions Done

It’s been another productive week, even though the weather’s been temperamental. Monday through Wednesday was hot.

playing baseball

playing baseball

It rained pretty much all day Thursday. Friday was overcast and windy(of course, the day the girl has her field trip to the zoo). The last couple days have made it easier to get things done since we’ve been staying inside(and after getting shoulders sunburned during the first half of the week, I didn’t mind the inside time).

feeding ducks in the neighbor's yard.

feeding ducks in the neighbor’s yard.

Friday I put out a call for beta readers for Stained Snow. I have one lined up now. I wouldn’t mind a couple more at least though. If you’re interested, you can leave me a message here, send me an email at fallonrb@gmail.com or catch me on twitter(@frbrown906).

  • The Choice: Finish round 1 revisions(mostly adding new scenes) finished this Saturday morning. It sits at a little under 71k right now. The first draft came in at a little over 64k.
  • Short Story: write 250 words a day Technically, I didn’t work on this every day. But, I did add over 1250 words to it this week, so I still met my goal.
  • Read: Hate Me, Protecting What’s Theirs(Tessa Bailey), & Multiple Motives(Kassandra Lamb)  I had finished all of these by the midweek check-in. I also read Unveiling You(Samantha Grey) and The Clockwork Giant(Brooke Johnson). Enjoyed both of them. And they were the last ones on my list for this month. So, I decided to move on to my list of free books on the Kindle. I started The Governess Affair(Courtney Milan) on Saturday morning and finished it. I loved this one even though it was short.
  • Crochet: Fierce Little Dragon – finish

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  • Knit: Fred the Croc bib – I finished this on Saturday. It took me a little over 6.5 hours over 3 days to finish it. Not too bad. I only have one more crafting project for this month. I’ll probably have it done this week.
Fred the Croc pattern by Elaine Fitzpatrick.

Fred the Croc pattern by Elaine Fitzpatrick.

I also finished plotting Stained by Ashes. I could start working on it this week, but it will probably wait unless I get my other priorities out of the way first. This will be my main project in June though.

  • Stained Snow: Polishing run through & send to beta readers
  • Flames of Redemption: Search & destroy missing & send to CP
  • The Choice: Read through & create scene chart
  • Short story: 1250 words
  • Crochet: Shark hat

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