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JusJoJan: Day 8 – Honorable

Welcome to Day 8 of Just Jot It January. I’ve been mulling over today’s prompt of ‘honorable’ for most of the day, really. Almost thought about not posting anything.

But, I got to thinking. These are the characters I write, for the most part. People who do the right thing, or at least try to. They usually at least have honorable intentions. I realized that a majority of my characters are cops, firefighters, or military(mostly former). Not all of them by any means, but probably a large handful of them. My Flames series does surround a whole group of firefighters.

Now, even though they might be honorable, that doesn’t mean they always make the most honorable decisions. Like Mark Young, in Flames of Retribution, which I’m revising now. He joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. Spent nearly 8 years serving. But, he didn’t always make the right decisions.

He remembered the feel of Caitie’s fingers tracing his tattoos. The way she’d murmured “Semper Fidelis” as she drew the words over his bicep. Did she know what those words meant? He remembered explaining it to another woman in what seemed like another lifetime.
“It means always faithful. It’s our motto as Marines. But, it also means I’ll come back to you, Deena. I’ll always come back to you.”
He came back, but she hadn’t wanted him anymore when he told her what he’d done. He ran a hand over his face. He’d screwed that up. He couldn’t put any of the blame anywhere else. She hadn’t been able to forgive him or live with what he’d done. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to push that out of his head. How many times had Nolan told him it wasn’t his fault. Yes, he’d screwed up, he’d been an asshole. But, that didn’t mean she should have-. No, he needed to stop thinking about it. He needed to finish his workout then jump in the shower. He didn’t work today, but he didn’t think he could stay in the house either. Not with all these thoughts haunting him.

I never said I wrote perfect characters.

Flames A-Z: Shae Magaldi

Yes, another member of the Magaldi family.  I have mentioned how large this family (and their cousins,  the Rileys) are,  right?

Shae (or Shaelynn, though she’s almost exclusively referred to as Shae is the second oldest child of Conal and Brenna Riley, and the oldest daughter.  Like her older brother,  Donovan,(and her two younger brothers), she joined the police department.  And she married Dougal Magaldi,  who ran one of his family’s pubs.  They had for children together: Cormac, Brann, Caitie, & Giovanni. The older the all followed their mother into law enforcement, while the youngest took the same path as their father.

Shae hasn’t had a huge part in any of the stories, although she had shown up in: Renewal, Retribution, and Recompense (books 2,3,&4). The next two will be following Brann and Gio, so I imagine she’ll have even more of a part in them.

This is from Flames of Retribution.  Shae isn’t actually in this part,  but she is mentioned. And is a pretty important moment for Mark.

“I was sent in for another cooler of beer,” Dougal said. “I figured you could help me carry it out. I see you’re not drinking the hard stuff.”
“Uh, no, sir. I just got off shift and a few hours sleep. I figured it best to keep a clear head.”
Dougal let out a loud laugh. “The family’s enough to throw you off balance. That’s probably a smart move, son. I remember you from Adrian’s wedding. You danced with my baby girl. And she left with you.”
Mark wiped his now sweaty hand on his pants. “She-”
“I told her that night I could see you were a good man. I’m not one to try to make my kids’ decisions for them. Believe me, if I were, none of them would be cops. They’d all have safe, nine-to-five, working at a desk jobs. Or to tell them what decision to make. I won’t ask you your intentions, son. I remember what it was to be young and in love with a Riley girl. It takes your breath away.”
“I’m not…” He trailed off, his steps freezing as they came to a framed picture on the wall. It almost looked like Caitie but not quite. She looked older, and her eyes weren’t that bright flashing blue. They were closer to a green. But, she had a blue cap over her red curls and her blue uniform jacket looked pressed and stiff. She held a stiff posture, but the smile came through.
“That’s my Shae,” Dougal said, coming back to stand beside him. “She makes a picture, doesn’t she? Our Caitie girl takes after her in a lot of ways.”
“I can see that,” he murmured. He couldn’t pull his eyes away from the picture. “How do you stand it?” he asked. “The fear? It brings me to my knees every time she straps on that gun.”
“She tried staying home with each of the kids. Those were the most miserable years of our life together. She loved them, but she was in her element when she was on the streets. It got easier when she got promoted to Lieutenant. Not on the street as much. I still don’t feel quite right until she’s back at my side. It’s not something you get over. Just something you get used to.”

A to Z: M is for Mark Young


I was going to talk about mutual aid today, but I think I’ll put that as part of another day’s post. Instead, I want to talk about another character in my Flames series who took on more life than I ever expected.

At first, I think I wrote Mark Young into Flames of Redemption simply because obviously Kayla couldn’t be the only firefighter at the station. Then, he started giving her a hard time. At first, I thought it was simply because he was grieving a friend, a brother, even more than a colleague. Then, I learned he’d been giving her a hard time even longer than that. And I realized there was even more behind why he did this, and little of it actually had to do with her. More of his background started to come through until I realized he had a story to tell as well. Well, it wasn’t so much I realized it as he demanded I let him tell his story. And he didn’t stop demanding, until I’d finished writing it.

Name: Mark Young

Age: 34

Parents: Timothy & Monica Young

Siblings: older sister – Maura, younger brother – Patrick

Occupation: firefighter

Background: Mark grew up as the middle son but never felt like he belonged anywhere until he joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. He served for almost eight years before being seriously wounded. While in the Corps, he met and became friends with Nolan Hunter(more on him tomorrow). After recovering, he moved to Crystal Glen(fictional town set in NW Pennsylvania) and ended up joining the fire department there with Nolan. He’d found another place he belonged, but traumas from the last several years still rode with him.

Mark had just lifted the bar over his head when he heard the sharp rap on his front door. He groaned as he set the bar back in the bracket and sat up. He was only halfway through his weights routine and hated being interrupted. But he grabbed the towel he kept near his weight bench and wiped the sweat from his face as he headed for the door. He’d taken his shirt off when he’d returned from today’s run and didn’t bother putting it back on. So, he answered the door in just a pair of track pants.
“Damn it, Mark. You could at least put a shirt on.”
Mark just grinned at Nolan. “Grow a couple inches, and you could just look me in the face.”
Nolan pushed against his shoulder. He could look him in the eye, but straight on, his gaze landed right at his collarbone. Mark just turned and walked back into the apartment, leaving the door open for his friend. He didn’t put his shirt on, dropping back onto the weight bench and reaching for the bar again. “I know you didn’t come here to spot me,” he said as he started another set of lifts.
“You never got my keys back to me.”
“On the kitchen counter. I tried to take them by your place and even brought them to the station yesterday, but you’d switched shifts with McCorkel. How’ve you been getting around?”
“Walking. Hopping rides with the other guys. Cork’s wife went into labor Saturday night. Hadn’t planned on working Sunday.”
“How is she?”
“Good from all reports,” he said, hopping up on to the counter as Mark settled the bar in the bracket again.
Without sitting up, he put his knees over the padded bars of the leg developer, hooking his feet onto the bottom of it. He started doing leg lifts and just turned his head toward Nolan. “The baby?”
“Good too. A little girl, Lorna Caitrin.He’s taking my next shift. I’m sure he’ll have pictures for you.”
Mark nodded, but his jaw tightened as he counted each lift in his head. It clenched tighter as his leg twinged. But, he pushed past that. He felt like he was always pushing past it. “Damn it, Mark. You don’t have to do this to yourself.”
“I’m not doing anything to myself,” he said, the words grating out through his teeth as he forced himself to do a few more lifts. “I’m doing it for me. I won’t go back to what I was.”
“What you were? You were fucking wounded. You were lucky to be alive, let alone keep your leg. Give yourself a fucking break. Being wounded isn’t a sign of weakness. The fact you’re still around and moving on your own should be a sign of your strength.”
“Didn’t feel that way to me when I couldn’t do a single thing for myself. I won’t go back to feeling that way again.” He let the equipment drop back into place and sat up, reaching for the towel. “Can you get a water out of the fridge? Since you seem determined to stay.”
“You’re in a nasty mood today, Mark. I figured that fairy would have taken care of that.”
He nearly snarled at that before pulling himself back. “She has nothing to do with it. It was a rough night. We got that warehouse fire and that pile-up.” He wiped the towel over his face again, as if that could erase the memory of the little boy he’d pulled out of the car. He was still alive even if his legs were mangled. They could fix that. He knew a leg could be fixed. So, he tried not to think about all the pain the boy would go through to get them working again.
At least he was still alive.
“What did happen Saturday night?” Nolan asked as he handed him the bottle of water. “You didn’t come back down before I left, and you never responded to my message.”
“I was a little busy.”
“So, you did get some. Why aren’t you in a better mood then?”
“I told you. It was a rough night.” He dragged a hand over his head though.
“We’re used to rough nights, Mark. What the hell is going on with you?”
“Hell if I know,” he muttered, taking a pull from the bottle. Then, he wrapped the towel around his shoulders. “I didn’t want to leave. She was wrapped around me, and I just wanted to stay there.”
“Maybe you should have.” The teasing tone and aggravation had left Nolan’s voice. “You could have given yourself that.”
Mark shook his head and leaned against a wall. “I haven’t even fallen asleep with a woman in over a year, Nolan. I never have trouble leaving. So, why was this so hard?”
“She have her claws in you already, brother? You going to start calling her when you’re done with work?”
Mark’s eyes snapped open, but even though Nolan was smiling, it didn’t quite reach his eyes. He knew his friend was worried about him. “No. It’s not like that. I don’t do relationships. Not anymore.”
“I’m not going there with you again. You already know my opinion about you still punishing yourself for that. You made a mistake. You’re human, Mark. You’re allowed.”

Writing Wednesday: New Schedule Working

I mentioned on Sunday that I was going to be switching to a time goal. I even set up a schedule to figure out how to work it all out. On Monday, I got in 7.5 hours even though it took until almost 11 at night to get everything finished. Tuesday I added an extra writing goal(more on that later) and got in 8 hours and had everything finished before 9. So, this seems to be working. Between all the projects(and a couple are in plotting stages so not too many words to track), I wrote 7337 words in two days.

Flames of Retribution is coming along pretty well, and Mark is about to be thrown for a loop. Which brings me to this week’s WiPPet. For anyone new here, WiPPet is the creation of K.L. Schwengel. We post a snippet from a work in progress that corresponds to the date. So for today(8/6), I’ve got the first 6 paragraphs of Flames of Retribution. This may not stay the beginning. I’m still tossing around the idea of using the last couple scenes from the short story I wrote last week as the beginning of this story. I did include a few lines from it in here. And there is some “language”. I have a feeling there’ll be a bit of “language” in this one.

Wind slapped at Mark’s face as his feet pounded against the sidewalk. Into mile three of his run, and his breath still came easily. He pushed a little harder, needing to feel the burn in his muscles. Needed it to push these other thoughts and images from his head.
“Do you still think I’m a teenager?”
Fuck. How many more miles would it take to get her voice out of his head? Probably more than he could handle running in a day. He hadn’t been able to get her smile or that damn kiss out of his head for the last six months. How did he think he’d get what happened last night to leave him alone? It had been a lot more than one quick, impulsive kiss. And no, she was definitely not a teenager. How had he ever thought that?
He never should have gone up to her room the night before. He could blame the whiskey, but he hadn’t had that much. He knew exactly what he was doing with Caitie Magaldi. He hadn’t been so damn hungry for someone in a long time. Maybe ever. And she had made it easy to order from that menu.
“I like sex, Mark. I won’t apologize for it.”
And thank fucking God for that.

Check out the other WiPPeteers here or add your own. Just ignore the flying monkeys in the corner 😉

Now for my RoW80 Update:

Good. Good. Good. Oh, did you want more details than that? 😉

  • Flames of Retribution: 3 hrs/day or 2k/day – so far, so good. Did 3 hours Monday & Tuesday. 2 hours so far today. Already over 2k for today. Was over 2500 the other 2.
  • Flames of Redemption: 2 hrs/day(or polished & sent to betas) – doing good with this one too. haven’t gotten to it yet today, but did 2 hours each Monday and Tuesday. About halfway through my list of words to search out.
  • Doren’s Story: 1 hr/day(or finish character work) – yes. Have the character GMCs done and a good bit of Doren’s back story written. Have possible title for this as well.
  • Law of Choice: 1 hr/day(in notebook) – doing good with this as well. I’ve added about 3.5 handwritten pages so far.
  • *Added*Flames of Justice: 1/2 hr/day(in notebook) –  This is the goal I added on Tuesday. A novella in my flames series. It’s actually going to take place before Flames of Retribution. I don’t think much that happens in it will really affect the story line for Retribution though. It shouldn’t, so I’m just working on this one on the side really. But, Reese is insistent that his story should be told. We’ll see if it even goes anywhere. Yesterday, I did get some brainstorming done.
  • Rick & Leann: 1/2 hr a day – doing good with this as well. 818 words added to it. Hoping to finish it this week.
  • Read: Greylands(Krista Walsh & others) & A Beauty So Beastly(RaShelle Workman) – Finished reading Greylands last night. Really enjoyed it. Just barely started A Beauty So Beastly.
  • Knit: Berry Baby Hat – Almost finished with this. Should have it done today
  • Crochet: Orbital Dishcloth – will start this once I finish the hat.

It’s been a great week. I’m up to a total of 9626 words so far for the week. And I’ve only done 2/8 hours of work for today.

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