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Writing Wednesday: “Every Second”

Yeah, I’m listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. Again. Hey, when I obsess about something, I go all in. 😉 And these lines get me every time:

How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive

How do you write like you need it to survive

How do you write every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive.

I know that answer!! I’ve been feeling that way, especially this week. The words are coming and coming almost faster than I can manage to write them down. Even ones I haven’t started yet(yes, I’m looking at you Jonas & Isaac). I had to jot down notes just to get the characters to leave me alone until I can get to them. I’d actually got through all of Wednesday’s writing goals by Tuesday night. So, that’s how my week is going. 😀

And that leads in to WiPPet Wednesday!! Wooooo! Whatever It Takes was supposed to be Thursday’s project. But, I’ll be getting to that one in just a bit. It takes place about two years after Not Meant to Be. And speaking of Jonas and Isaac, you’ll get a peek at the directions they’re heading in this snippet. Their story will take place probably about 4-5 years after this. And last weekend, I wrote a bit that happened about 4 months earlier. For now I have 15 sentences(7+12+2+0+1-7) from the first scene of Whatever It Takes. Carisa is Carlos’ little sister, and they’re at his restaurant.

She knelt down to catch Pia then lifted her in her arms. She smiled at Jonas, who her niece had just abandoned. “I didn’t know you were home already,” she said. And she couldn’t help glancing past him. His shadow from the last two years was nowhere to be seen. “Is Isaac going to meet you here?”
His face went from warm to cold almost instantly. “No,” he said.
Shit. Well, she’d known they’d had a falling out before Jonas had left for boot camp, but she was sure they would have made things up by now. They had always seemed to work so well together. “He already left for college anyway,” Tereza said softly. But, Carisa could tell that wasn’t all.
“He’s going to a local one and still living with Roman and Cristine,” Jonas said, his eyes riveted to the floor. “Not like he’s all the way on the other side of the country or something.”

Yeah, Jonas isn’t taking the break up too well. I’m already figuring out how I’ll get them back together(those notes I mentioned above).

As for my progress this week:

Writing:

  • Heart of Christmas – 10000 words – 5292/10000 words, 2339 words this week. Posted a bit about this story on my Patreon(at the moment, I’m making all my content available for $1 monthly patrons, at least until I build up a following).
    • She let out a soft sigh as his lips pressed to hers. “Oh, aye,” she mimicked his accent. “Matches what I was thinking.”
  • Still Burning – 10000 words – 5102/10000 words, 2323 words this week
    • There was a flash of heat in his eyes then his lips quirked up. “Because I know us, Jess. I let you talk me into your bed, and we won’t have dinner. Or probably breakfast tomorrow. Except for the fact I got to work. And I really want to take you to dinner.”
  • Whatever It Takes – 10000 words – 2737/10000 words,
  • High on Loving You – 10000 words – 2824/10000 words,
  • By the Gun – 10000 words – 4997/10000 words, 2384 words this week
    • But, it was too late to change any of that. All they could do was move forward. And he finally felt like he was doing that.
  • Side Projects – 10000 words – 5240/10000 words, 2778 words this week. I’ve already met my goal on this for the week.
    • Midas’ Daughter – Flip glared over at him for a moment then returned his attention to Mr. Midas. James didn’t matter here, not if Mr. Midas decided he didn’t. “You might think I don’t have any power, but I also don’t have a lot to lose. You already destroyed what I could have had with her. All I have left here is a job.”
    • Patrick & Sarah – 283 words – The boy’s lip curled up into a sneer, a look that should not have fit on the face of a boy so young. “You and every other man in this town,” he said.
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 191 words – No,” she said, shaking her head. His mind must really have traveled far away. “Haiwee.”
    • Roman – 207 words – He sat beside her and followed her gaze to the television screen. Where the newscaster was wrapping up a story. And there was video of Carlos being led back to his cell. Well, that explained the tears. 
    • Dougal & Shae – 187 words – She let out a soft laugh but didn’t bother turning around. “Sure you didn’t. Don’t try to tell me Donnie didn’t send you out here to try to push us together once more.”
    • Jacob & Matthew – 250 words – “Oh, I responded to all of Pa’s letters,” Matthew told her. “I just didn’t send any of them here, as I figured you would throw them in the fire before letting him read them.” He glanced at the boy again and saw the confusion in his furrowed brow. Exchanging verbal blows with his stepmother would get him nowhere and only upset his little brother, so he took a step back. “I take it Pa is not at home today.”
    • Mike & Fadil – 327 words – “You aren’t an all-powerful being, Jess. Do you want me to keep Alexa a little longer until things settle down more?”
    • Preggers – 317 words – Missy gave them increasingly dirty looks every time she passed the table, but Lyndi didn’t seem to notice. So, Marika decided to ignore it as well. What she couldn’t ignore was how nervous the other woman seemed to grow as the minutes ticked away. 
    • Hawk – 220 words – I nodded, but I wasn’t sure what else to say about it. I thought it had been the worst thing to feel my father’s fists and feet slamming into me then having him pushing me out of his truck into a ditch and leaving me there. Until he’d shot at me.
    • Sean & Braeden – 227 words – He saw his parents exchange a glance and wish he’d decided to do that before they’d even sat down to eat. Like maybe as soon as he’d realized Braeden was here. He should have known that would only lead to disaster. 
    • Jared’s Stepfather – 196 words – But, he made the vow anyway. He didn’t care if it cost him his life. He would never let that man hurt Denise or hand her off to another man to do it. Not as long as he breathed.

Editing:

  • Stained Blood – Beta edits – Chapter 1/26, 0 this month
  • Flames of Renewal – CP edits
  • In the Moonlight – Read Through & Revise – Read through Chapter 13/32. And posted a teaser of this yesterday.
  • Hang OnPolish & Submit

Reading:

  • Listen: 5 books – 2/5, 1 this week
    • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue(Mackenzi Lee) – Started listening Thursday morning. Finished Monday afternoon. Loved this one so much.
    • When the Moon was Ours(Anna-Marie McLemore) – Started this Tuesday morning. On Chapter 20/47
  • Read: 30 books – 13/30, 3 this week
    • Winter of the Wolf(Christina Ochs) – Started this Saturday night. Finished it Sunday afternoon. Really enjoyed it, though I still can’t believe one of the characters she killed. 😥 Seriously, no one in this series is safe.
    • Dating Sarah Cooper(Siera Maley) – Started this Sunday evening. Finished it Sunday night. Really, really enjoyed this one.
    • Hard Justice(Lori Foster) – Started this Monday afternoon(after starting 2 other books and setting them aside). Finished it Tuesday night. Enjoyed it.
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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Sign”

“I’d take that as a sign,” Carlos said.

“Sign of what?” Carisa asked, looking up at her older brother. He was leaning against her table but not looking at her. She followed his gaze and saw Jayla walking into the restaurant, trailed by two young men and a girl. She knew the girl, Alexa, but not the two boys.

“Jayla doesn’t come down here,” he said. “Not around anyone from her past, except Jared. And that’s because he gave her a job at the clinic. She certainly doesn’t bring her siblings.”

“Obviously she does if they’re here,” Carisa said, ducking her head so her brother hopefully wouldn’t notice her cheeks flaming.

He only chuckled, though. “That’s just what I’m saying, Carisa. You ever tell her you spend most every day here after work.”

She felt the temperature in her cheeks climb higher. “No,” she said finally. “But, I did tell Alexa about it one day when I was working with her at the youth center.”

“And she told her big sister, maybe even mentioned your name. And here they are.”

“It doesn’t mean anything, Carlos. They need to eat like anyone else.”

“But, never here. Not before. And that’s just what I’m saying. And she’s risking the younger sibling’s foster mother’s ire by bringing them around someone like me. I’d say that’s another sign.”

“Sign of what?” she asked again. She didn’t know what had gotten into her brother lately, but he kept saying stuff like this. Just because he was happily married now with a new baby didn’t mean everyone was cut out for that.

“Sign that she wants to be with you. Maybe it’s one you should start heeding.”

She shook her head and turned back to the paper she was grading. She didn’t need to start heeding any signs. It would probably be better if she avoided them at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh, Carisa. No don’t avoid those signs. Your brother knows what he’s talking about. 😀

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “sign” any way we’d like. And the first line of this popped into my head. So, I went with it.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Admit”

Admit it. I know what you’re thinking.”

Carisa wanted to sigh, but what was the point, really? “then, why would I bother saying it?”

“Why wouldn’t you?” Jayla shot back. “Might as well get it off your chest. It won’t bother me.”

“Judging from your tone, that’s exactly what it would do. Except I’m sure I’m not thinking what you’ve assumed I am.”

Jayla looked confused for a moment then she scowled again. “Sure you are. It’s what everyone thinks. I see how people look at me. I know what they think of me. They don’t believe I actually left that life behind more than five years ago. But, I did.”

Her bottom lip trembled at that last, and she pressed her lips together as if to hide that. Carisa wanted to go to her, but she was sure Jayla would not appreciate that. So, she kept her distance. “I believe you,” she said. “Trust me, I am not judging you.”

“And why should I trust you. I still barely know you.”

Not for a lack of trying on Carisa’s part, though. The other girl had some quite tall and thick walls erected around herself. Carisa didn’t know if she’d ever be able to get through them.

But, she’d certainly like to try.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use “admit” any way we want. I’m going to be getting back to outlining Jayla and Carisa’s story, since I finished the first draft of Not Meant to Be on Friday, so these two jumped into my head.

SOCS/Story a Day: Day 20 – “All or Nothing”

“All I was asking,” Carisa said, “was what made you buy this place. It wasn’t a judgment, Carlos. I’m just curious.”

Her brother relaxed slightly. She really hadn’t meant for the question to sound judgmental, but that was apparently how it had come out. Or at least how he had heard it. Did he really still think she was so much like her father? She’d have thought he’d have known better by now.

“Before I bought this place,” Carlos said, “I was working as a cook at another restaurant. Aberto hired a lot of people just out of prison. Gave ’em a chance. One chance. If you screwed up, broke one of his rules, you were gone. Roman and Cristine knew him and helped get me a job as a dishwasher there when I was released. Roman had already done enough by getting me a very reduced sentence. This was so much more than what he had to do.”

“Because Tereza asked him to help you. And he promised to do what he could as long as she didn’t see you again.” She knew that part of the story.

His lips curled up a little. “Yeah. It was smart. We would have ruined each other back then.” But, he ran a thumb over the ring on his left hand. They were married now and so happy. She was happy for her brother. Even if she was a little jealous, too.  “Anyway, Aberto was killed in a drive-by and his place shut down. I’d been thinking of opening my own place by that time, and Cristine helped me get started.”

“I know all that, Carlos. What I was wondering, why this place? This neighborhood. Isn’t this where you grew up?” It had to hold hard memories for him to deal with. It did for her, and she’d been young when her father had moved their mother, her and her only remaining sister to another city.

“That’s why. And I wanted to continue what Aberto had been doing. I was given a second chance, so I wanted to give that to others, too. And this place was available and in my budget.” His lips curled up even more at that. “You should have seen it. It was only a step above being condemned. It took a lot of work, but I turned it into this.”

“And it’s a good place.” She’d seen the good he’d done here, the people he’d helped. It wasn’t enough for her father to ever forgive him, but he was holding a grudge against Carlos that wasn’t his fault. So nothing would ever be enough.

He gave her a quick hug. “Thanks, little sis. I’d better get back in the kitchen or no one else will think so.”

She smiled as he did just that. She was so glad she’d re-connected with her brother, even if it had taken another death to do so. One had ripped them apart and one to bring them back together. But, nothing would take her from his life again. Nothing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I combined Story a Day and Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompts again. Story a Day was to focus on worldbuilding. So I decided to go with how Carlos did come to have his restaurant. And for Stream of Consciousness was to use all or nothing, Use one or both and bonus points if you start and end with one(or each) of them.

Story a Day: Day 19 – “Secondary Meeting”

“Hello, Ms. Blakemore,” two young kids greeted her as she walked through the youth center.

She smiled and waved at them. This was so much different than her last teaching job. Of course, none of her students there would be seen in a place like this. They’d had nannies or whatever to watch them after school. And if they got into trouble, their parents got them out of it. She’d basically been a glorified babysitter there. Here she actually saw she made a difference. At the school and the time she put in here at the youth center.

Her father didn’t see it that way, but there were a lot of things they didn’t see the same these days.

She stepped into one of the rooms set up for those who needed a quieter environment to study. There were basketball courts outside and a small sparring area on the other side of the main room. She’d seen Toby over there along with his wife and their tiny baby. The cop was here several times a week helping those kids who needed that to get their aggression out in a safer way. She supposed he was her brother-in-law now since her brother had married his half-sister.

She wasn’t any help with the more physical activities, though. but, in here, she could usually be some help. As long as it wasn’t some really advanced math, she could usually help the kids get a grip on it. She might not have enough knowledge to teach a more specific subject. At least that’s how her dad seemed to see it. Not that she’d rather work with the younger kids.

She pushed that thought away, something she’d been doing more with anything that had to do with her father, and approached the only kid in the room. “Hello,” she greeted. “What are you working on? Do you need help?”

The girl looked up at her, serious brown eyes wide. Hadn’t anyone ever offered her that before? “That’s okay,” the girl whispered.

Usually if someone said they didn’t need anything, Carisa would move on. But, something about the girl pulled at her. maybe it was the tears she saw her battling back. Or maybe it was that she reminded Carisa of the vague memories she had of her oldest sister. Though Adriane had been younger than this girl when she died.

“I’ll be around if you do need anything. Or if you just want to talk.”

She’d just started to walk to the front of the room, when the girl spoke up. “My foster dad thinks I should just get this stuff. Just because he’s good at math and science. But I…I don’t,” she stammered. “That’s why I come here to do it. And my sister picks me up on Thursdays for dinner. My foster parents don’t really like her, even though she’s doing good now.”

Carisa smiled a little to herself. Apparently once the girl started talking, she just kept on going. She headed back to the girl’s desk and sat at the one next to her. “What’s your name? I’m Carisa. Or you can call me Ms. Blakemore. Either’s fine, but I prefer the first myself.”

“Alexa,” the girl said, looking shy now. Apparently it had been easier to talk to Carisa’s back.

“Well, Alexa, let’s see if we can help you work through these problems. Then, you’ll be done when your sister gets here.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write an interaction between the protagonist and a secondary character. This will either be before Jayla & Carisa’s story starts or right at the very beginning. Alexa’s older sister is Jayla, so this is setting up how her and Carisa will meet. Not sure how much they’ll like each other right off, though.

Story a Day: Day 18 – Refusal

“We’re not your family.” Carisa flinched at the words, even though they hadn’t been aimed at her. She chanced a glance over at her brother, the man she hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years. She only had vague memories of him, most of them likely influenced by her older sister’s stories. “You took one daughter from me,” her father continued. “Don’t even think I’m going to let you have a relationship with the others. I don’t care how much you claim you’ve changed. You’re still the punk kid you’ve always been.”

The words made Carisa want to cry. She couldn’t imagine how Carlos felt. She’d only been four when the oldest of her sisters had been killed. He’d been nineteen. But, he wasn’t the one who had killed her. She did know that much. Yet her father had always blamed him.

She took a step toward them, but the knot that always seemed to sit in her chest tightened and her hands shook as more angry words passed between the two men. She tried to drag in more air, but everything still felt too tight. She had to get out of here. She’d never been able to stand up to her father anyway. Why would now be any different?

She turned away from the group gathered at the graveside. The other brother she’d never really known had just been buried, but all she could think was that she had to get away. She couldn’t take anymore. She’d wanted to reconnect with Carlos, but not like this.

Maybe it was better this way. It’s not like it would change anything anyway.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story where instead of accepting the challenge that takes them into the story, they turn away. This moment actually happens at the end of Shed Some Light(which is Carlos’ story). Except originally Carisa does combat her anxiety and faces her father, standing up for her brother. And they do re-connect. It causes problems with her father and she ends up moving closer to Carlos to have a relationship with her brother. Which wouldn’t have happened if she really did just turn away. Neither would the events of her story(which I’m still figuring out).

Story a Day: Day 17

Carisa stepped into the restaurant and looked around. She didn’t see her brother around anywhere, so he was probably back in the kitchen. Either that or his office. This place ran smoothly, and she figured there had to be a reason for that. Maybe it should come as a surprise, for the man who her father always claimed was a waste of space.

She shook her head a little at that. Her father refused to see all the ways Carlos had changed since he’d been a boy. He’d made mistakes and bad decisions, but he was a good man now. She just wasn’t sure her father would ever let himself see that.

She knew he wouldn’t mind if she stuck her head in the kitchen and let him know she was here. He’d probably even come out to join her if he wasn’t too busy. Instead she slipped into her usual table in the corner like any other customer would do. Of course, the waitress recognized her. So she imagined her brother would be out here soon anyway.

She looked around at the other tables and recognized some of the other regulars. Like Leo and Bryan, and their son, Isaiah. She couldn’t help smiling at the little boy, who didn’t look like either of his fathers. They’d adopted him when he’d still been an infant, and the love between them was so obvious. She’d never felt that from even her one father.

She knew he’d argue about that, he’d always been there, had never hit them, hadn’t abandoned them. He’d also never wanted to spend much time with his daughters, had exacting standards for their dress, behavior, schooling. And if they didn’t meet those standards even once, he didn’t let them forget. And insisted it meant they’d turn out like their brothers.

Right, because she got a B in one class meant she’d go out and join a gang.

She knew he’d taken Adriane’s death hard. But, that hadn’t been Carlos’ fault, not the way her father had always made it out to be. And certainly not a reason to abandon him and forbid her or her sister to ever speak to him again. She was glad she’d stopped obeying that one. It had been too late to get to know her other brother, Brent. But, she could have a relationship going forward with the brother she had left.

And here he came now, carrying her usual drink. He greeted Leo and Bryan, stopping long enough to tickle the boy in the high chair before continuing to her table. “Vanesa said you were here. It’s been a couple weeks since you stopped in. What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” she said. “I spent the last couple weeks of summer vacation visiting mom and Analise.” By the narrowing of his eyes, he’d noticed she hadn’t mention her father. He didn’t ask either.

“How are they?”

“Good. They want me to move back home. But, I like my job at the school here. A lot better than that private school Dad got me my first job at. I feel like I’m actually doing some good here.”

He smiled. “Then stay.”

“I plan to. It was just stressful having them argue about my life like they got a say. I wanted to come see you and be where I didn’t feel judged for my decisions.”

He smiled at her, looking pleased. “Do you know what you want? I’ll get it and join you for lunch.”

She was definitely glad she’d come here. Carlos never made her feel less than for the things she wanted. No matter what they were.

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