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Posts tagged ‘Heart of Christmas’

Writing Wednesday: End of May

It’s been a pretty good week so far. Sunday, my MIL came out to the house to watch the kids and the husband and I got on the motorcycle and went for our first ride of the season. It was nice to finally get out. We got hit with a few raindrops when we were almost home, but we mostly beat the rain. We’d planned to have a fire out in the yard that night, but all the wood we have was wet and it started thundering again while husband was trying to get it going. So we had to cancel that. Maybe next weekend.

Monday I thought would be a lazy day. But, we ended up going to a friend’s so husband could help cut down a tree. Then, we had to haul some mattresses around for some family members of his(I won’t get into all the drama surrounding that). We did get some free, fresh eggs out of that, though. And then we went and got ice cream for dinner. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I did get some.

Yesterday was back to the normal routine. At least for the next week. Then, the kids will be home for the summer, and I’ll have to see what my routine looks like. It may not be too different since they can pretty play outside by themselves(I do check on them periodically, but they don’t need me out there constantly).

Now, since it is Wednesday, it’s time to share another snippet for WiPPet Wednesday!! Today I’m working on Heart of Christmas, a novella in my BC Security series. I still don’t have a lot for this one(less than 1k so far), but I can share a little bit. This is from the very first scene.  26 sentences(31-5) for today. Alaina is walking with her cousin, Sean. They’re on his family’s farm. And her brother, Declan, you may have met in snippets of Protecting the Heart. He’ll be showing up a little later.

He’d made it pretty clear that he didn’t ever think about her. Avoiding eye contact, barely responding to her greetings and other efforts to converse with him. Yeah, it was obvious, so why couldn’t she just give up?
Too stubborn for anyone’s own good as her brother, Declan, would likely say.
Sean squeezed her shoulders as if he knew where her thoughts had gone. But how could he? It’s not like she’d ever admitted any of these feelings to anyone. That was just a way to be humiliated. She learned that lesson a long time ago. Thanks to her stepfather, when he’d abandoned her after driving her mother…she quickly cut that thought off. No need to bring herself down now.
“Those Dougherty boys,” Sean murmured, and she jerked her gaze to his.
Sean’s smile remained soft, but she cleared her throat. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He didn’t laugh this time, but she was pretty sure she could hear it in his voice when he said, “It took me a while to convince Braeden it was okay to love me, too. And Caelen has more standing in his way than Brae ever did.”
“I still don’t know what you’re talking about.” But her chest ached at the insinuation to a past she wasn’t aware of.
Sean’s lips curled up even more. “I think you do. But, I won’t pester you about it anymore. Mom will question what’s kept us from her table for so long.”
“Leave your mother alone,” Alaina said, a laugh in her voice. “She’s a saint for putting up with you for so long.”
He brushed his lips over her temple, and the gesture nearly brought tears to her eyes. “I know it,” he murmured.

Plotting

  • Still Burning finish Story Toolkit, Outline
  • Jayla & Carisa(Gilbert, Co #7) brainstorm, character back stories, plot summaryget through Story Toolkit: Supporting Characters – This is going onto the backburner for the moment. I’ll pick it back up once I finish Not Meant to Be.
  • High on Your Love(Kurztown #6) – brainstorm, character back stories, plot summary, Story Toolkit, Outline. – Finished writing Morgan’s back story, still need to type it up.

Writing

  • Not Meant to Be – Add 53000 words/28 scenes to finish 1st draft – 20681 words/23 scenes finished this month,
  • Still Burning(Hunter Family #4) – Write 70000 words/61 scenes – 1397 words/1 scene finished
  • Heart of Christmas(BC Security #3.5) – Write 30000 words/42 scenes – 935 words/1 scene finished, 190 words this week.
  • By the Gun – Write 50000 words/22 scenes to finish part/book 1(haven’t decided if I’ll write the book in 3 parts or make it 3 different books. Likely will decide when I finish the first part). – 3247 words/4 scenes, 2225 words/2 scenes this week
    • Diego was right, Luke knew. But, he’d always hoped the boy would lose sight of his vow for vengeance. That he would find something more fulfilling to life, as Luke had. If he was right about who he’d seen out there today, it was obvious that hadn’t happened. And that it never would.
  • Side Projects Add 4400 words between all projects – 12496/4400 words, 960 words this week
    • Patrick & Sarah – 219 words – He had to shake that thought off, too, or he might just find himself turning around and riding back to the farm. But, then he certainly would never have a chance with Sarah. And he really wanted to have that chance. Even if it never came to more than that. 
    • Dougal & Shae – 210 words – “Really? What do you plan to do? Drag your little sister out to a bar? Sure and she’d likely kick your arse for that, too.”“Oh, yes, she would,” he said, the grin not fading from his face. “But, that wasn’t my plan anyway. I came to extend an invitation to my parents’ place this weekend.”
    • Roman – 325 words – That would make this an even more precise job he’d have to do. And he wasn’t sure he could do that. The questions he’d planned to ask would likely tip Carlos right over the edge he was already walking. But, he didn’t see any way around it. Even if not for his case, he needed to know so they could help Tereza move on from the way she’d been living.
    • Midas’ Daughter – 206 words – If it was up to her, she’d just cancel the party. She hadn’t wanted it in the first place. But, she knew that wasn’t possible. Her father would never let her get away with it.

Editing

  • Flames of Renewal – CP Edits
  • In the Moonlight – Transfer from OneNote(on my Surface) to Scrivener(on my laptop) – 27 chapters(there’s actually 32, counting the epilogue, but I’d already started it before) – 27/27 chapters typed up.
  • Stained Blood – Adding this in as I’m starting to get chapters back from beta: Compile comments – 1/26 chapters. Got an email back from CP on this. No comments in the document for this version, but a lot of good things in the email.
  • Snow White Twist – Beta edits, rename, & submitcompiled notes from 1 beta reader to the main document. Still waiting to hear from other beta reader. Have a potential title for it as well. Still simmering on that, though.
  • Dance with the Devilread through, make revisions, & polish –  Polished 4/10 chapters.
  • Beta Read Read 58 chapters(total of 73, but that’s what I have left) & return to author

Blogging

  • Story a Day – Write 31 stories – 30/31 stories written, 3 this week. Still waiting for the final prompt.
    • Meeting Jonas – Isaac meets Jonas for first time. Warning for mention of child abuse & self-harm.
    • Memorial Day – Toby visits the cemetery to honor those who have been lost.
    • Your Call – Some back story to By the Gun. What will Luke do when there’s trouble immediately following Arcelia agreeing to marry him?

Reading

  • Listen: 5 books – 6/5 for the month,  this week
    • The Immortal Irishman(Timothy Egan) – I don’t read or listen to much non-fiction. But this one was the daily deal back on St. Patrick’s day and it combines two of my interests, Irish history and the Civil War. On Chapter 17/24. I’m really enjoying it and it’s inspiring me to pick up a story I wrote years ago and have replotted that takes place in the same time period.
    • Heartless(Gail Carriger) – Started this Monday morning. On Chapter 5/16
  • Read: 31 books – 30.5/31, 2 this week
    • Death at Peony House(Krista Walsh) – I started this Sunday afternoon. At 46%. This was still in my Unlimited folder, though I think the series is out of KU now. So this will be my “extra” book for now. Really enjoying it(so good incentive to finish my other books for the week and get back to it).
    • The Star-Touched Queen(Roshani Chokshi) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. Absolutely lovely.
    • A Copper Ridge Christmas(Maisey Yates) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon. It was a quick, enjoyable read.
    • By the Hour(Roni Loren) – Started this Tuesday evening. At 18%

Crafting

  • Knit: Duo Cable Hat – Finished this Tuesday night. Now, putting the yarn away until at least September.

It was a pretty good month overall. Over 40,000 words written and crossed a few things off, though it seems I added even more. Hoping next month will be good as well.

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Story a Day: Day 24 – Hidden Message

Caelen stared down at the scarred wood in front of him. He wanted to go back up to the house, tell Alaina he was sorry, he hadn’t meant any of things he said, all he wanted was to be with her.

But, he couldn’t do that. It would only put them right back to where they were. Alaina at risk, and him still not deserving her. So instead he took out a piece of paper and started writing. Maybe he could make it so she could understand why he’d had to do this.

Dear Alaina,

As I hurt you, I know you may not even read this. I would not blame you.

Do not believe any of it is your fault. None at all.

I am sorry for it all. I did not know of a better way to keep you

Safe. I wish I could have.

Don’t think I don’t want you. That is the farthest thing from the truth.

All I want is you safe and happy. I do not see me making you either.

Nothing would make me happier if I could. But it’s not to be.

God. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I know

Exactly how much you are worth, or I would not have done this. Even if I

Regret losing you because of this, I know it would have been the right thing.

Only thing I regret is that look in your eyes when I said we were done.

Unless he goes away, this is the way it must be. No matter how

Sorry I am for that. And please know that I am. Always, Caelen.

He looked at the letter once he’d signed it. This was probably stupid. He should just tell her. But, she probably wouldn’t even speak to him now. If her brother even let him get close. And he was afraid if he wrote it out plainly, and his father did get a hold of it, she would be at even more risk.

He couldn’t take the chance. So he folded the letter and tried to think of how he could get it to her.

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

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to include a hidden message in your story. It shouldn’t be too easy to figure out the message Caelen was trying to give to Alaina. I’ve just started writing their story this morning, but this would come closer to the end. Not sure I’ll include it in the actual story, though. We’ll see.

 

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “March”

“Danica, you march right in there and apologize to your mama.”

Alaina glanced up at her brother’s voice, but it was the little girl who caught her attention. Her bottom lip was trembling, and tears were welling in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Declan.”

“I’m not the one you yelled at,” he said, but his voice was softening. “She didn’t deserve that, Dani. Go on and tell her you’re sorry. Everything will be fine.”

Alaina waited until the little girl dragged her feet back into the kitchen to approach her brother. He was still crouched down from facing his stepdaughter, and she put a hand on his shoulder. “You make a pretty great dad, Dec.”

He shook his head. “I don’t have a clue to what I’m doing. What if I mess it all up?”

“You did fine with me.”

He looked back at her then. “You were nearly sixteen at the time. There wasn’t much raising left to do. This is different. And I’m not.”

“What do you mean?”

“Not her father. Not really. She never really knew him and thank goodness for that.”

Alaina didn’t know a whole lot about the situation, except he’d been responsible for Declan being hurt over the summer. So, yeah, she could agree with him there. “You’re doing just fine,” she told him. But, she had to hold back a smile. She was pretty sure her brother was going to be surprised when he opened his gift from Eva and Dani on Christmas morning.

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

Today’s prompt for the Stream of Consciousness post was “march” and that first sentence is what popped into  my head. I’m still plotting out Heart of Christmas, but I definitely think this will be included in it.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Man”

This was actually a perfect Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “man”, for the dialogue that popped into my head the other day between a few characters. This will come near the end of Heart of Christmas, which I’ve been plotting.

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

“Why would you want to do that?” Caelen asked Alaina. “What if I turn out like him?”

“Why would you? That man isn’t even your father.”

The words were soft, gentle, but he still flinched away from them. Just as he always had from the man himself. “Maybe not, but he’s the one that raised me. I don’t even know who my real father is because he had no interest in me. Just like my mother. Just like everyone in my life.”

Alaina opened her mouth as if to argue, but a voice behind them said, “That’s not true, little brother, and you know it.” Braeden stepped into the room, carrying something under one arm. “Not all the way true, at least. Not everyone has walked from you. I never did.”

The heat of shame flushed through him, leaving his face stained red, he was sure. “I’m sorry, Brae. I know, but-”

“But nothing. And you were too young to know everything going on in this house before she walked. I saw what he did when she told him she was pregnant with you. She left then and only came back then because the man she was with, your father, was being deployed, and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to make it on her own. And Da was cruel to her, Cae. Every moment of every day. I’m surprised she managed to stick it out for five years.”

He saw Alaina’s brother, Declan, lift his head at the other side of the room at the mention of the man being deployed. But, Caelen couldn’t think about that. There was too much emotion rushing through him.

“She could have at least taken us with her.”

Braeden shook his head. “He never would have let me go, and she didn’t know if she could take care of herself, let alone either or the both of us.”

“How can you just forgive her?” He wasn’t sure he ever could. “She left us at his mercy. He beat you, too.” Usually because Braeden stepped in the way when he’d wanted to hurt Caelen.

“I’ve spoken to her. The day after I turned eighteen, in fact. He couldn’t do anything to me then.”

Caelen could only stare at him. Why hadn’t he known his brother had gone to the woman who had abandoned them? He was about to ask but Braeden continued before he could get a word out.

“She wasn’t in a good place, Cae. She’d been living with your father, but he’d been killed in action a little more than a year before that. She still wasn’t in a place to take care of any one but herself. I told her what life had been like for us, and I know she felt terrible, but she couldn’t face it. I did what I could to make him leave you alone because she couldn’t, Caelen.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“Because I didn’t want it to hurt you anymore. And you never showed any signs of being ready to forgive her for getting out of  a cocked up situation.”

“Why now then?”

“I visited her for Christmas. She gave me this for you. Even if you don’t want to speak with her, she wanted you to have something from him.”

Declan had made his way over to stand behind Alaina. Caelen flicked open the latch on the box Braeden set on the table. On the top sat a photo. He reached for it, ran his thumb over the woman, one he hadn’t seen in nearly two decades. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the man.

“Can I see that?” Declan asked.

“I don’t even know who he is. Having his picture won’t help.” But, he handed it over.

“I do,” Declan said softly. “I thought there was something familiar about you.”

Caelen’s head jerked up, and he stared at Declan. “What do you mean?”

Declan tapped the photo. “Caelen Mulroney. My father served with him. He wasn’t happy when Da decided to leave the army and move us to Texas to be with Mom and Alaina, but they stayed in touch. And we came back here for his funeral. I remember Da speaking to her. She’d started living with him about the time we left.”

“I remember,” Alaina said. “I was so angry they let you miss a week of school, but I still had to go.”

Declan’s mouth ticked up at that, and he handed the picture back. Caelen couldn’t look away from it. There was so much he wanted to know, and yet he was afraid to find out. Alaina seemed to sense his mixed-up feelings. She brushed a kiss over his cheek. “We’ll leave you alone to look at this.”

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

That turned out longer than I expected. And I’m sure there’ll be more to this when I put it with the rest of the story that’s still to be written.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Project”

“Is that what I am to you?” Caelen asked from the doorway. “A project?”

Alaina spun to face him, her mouth hanging slightly open. “What…what are you talking about?”

“I heard you talkin’ to your sister-in-law. About your latest project. Is that why you’re here. To make the poor, sad, lonely Irish boy feel better ’bout himself. Then, you’ll go back home to America.”

It wasn’t guilt that flashed into her eyes, but anger. “Is that really what you think of me, Caelen Dougherty? That I’d just string you along then cut the line. I’m not like that.”

“I heard what you said,” he replied stubbornly.

“You heard what you wanted to,” she retorted. “I know you’ve got abandonment issues, and I get that. I’ve got a set of my own. It doesn’t mean you need to project your fears onto me and think you know what I’m thinking.”

Shame washed through him. Maybe she was right. About his fears and taking it out on her. He wasn’t sure which one made him feel worse. “Alaina-”

“No,” she said, slapping a hand against his chest. “You don’t get to accuse me, then try to just smooth things over. If you really want to know, I was talking about a project. Something I’m making. That I was going to give you for Christmas. But, if you’re just going to be a donkey’s ass about it, I just may have changed my mind, and I’ll just scrap the whole thing.”

He just stared at her as she stomped out of the room. She was making him a gift? He hadn’t even gone out and bought her anything yet. Well, now, didn’t he feel the idiot? And still, he wanted to follow her. Lord knew it would probably be a mistake in her current temper. And that temper only drew him to her more. And he wasn’t sure what to do about that.

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

I can tell you, Caelen! haha. Anyway, this is my sacrifice to the gods of Stream of Consciousness Saturday…oh, wait, there are no gods of SOCS, you say? My bad. Sorry, I seem to be in a goofy mood this morning. No idea why. Anyway, I’ve shared a few other pieces that will likely make it into Heart of Christmas, but I haven’t had anything from Caelen’s pov yet. I think these two should be interesting to write.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “How”

How are you doing on this lovely day?”

Alaina glanced over at Caelen who was leaning in the doorway to the kitchen then back out the window. Where the sky seem to be pouring down buckets of water. “Is this really what you call a lovely day in Ireland?”

He let out a long loud laugh. God, she really loved to hear his laugh. “You’d think you’d be used to it after the more than year you’ve lived here.”

She loved listening to the way words rolled off his tongue, too. Sometimes she wished he talked more, just so she could hear it.

He brushed his dark hair away from his face and moved over to the table. He’d been out working in her uncle’s barn most of the day. Now, she scooped some of the stew she’d been cooking into a bowl for him. He smiled up at her as she set the bowl in front of him. “Running through the rain may well have been worth this.”

“My stew or getting to see me?”

She watched his face flood with color then just winked at him. Then, she turned back around. “Are you flirting with my sister, Dougherty?”

She rolled her eyes at her older brother’s question, but she heard Caelen choke a little. “No. No, I…I just came in for some stew.”

“Relax, Caelen,” she told him still not turning around. “Declan likes to think he’s a badass, but he’s really a softie.”

Her brother wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. “I am a badass. Retired, but still a badass.”

She laughed. “I didn’t know badass and Marine were synonymous.”

“Then, you weren’t paying attention.”

She laughed again, harder this time. She’d missed his brother and hated not knowing exactly what was going on with him. Especially when he’d gotten hurt over the summer. So much for being retired from anything. She was glad he and his new family had at least been able to make it over here for the holidays. She wasn’t looking forward to when they left again, though.

Even if her brother did try to butt into her private life.

“Maybe it’s him I should be worrying about,” Declan murmured. “Are you going to break his heart?”

“I don’t think that’s possible,” she said. She’d have to have it first, and it was something Caelen seemed to keep well-guarded. If only she could get through those defenses. She just didn’t know how.

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

Another Stream of Consciousness Saturday, today’s prompt: “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Enjoy! Another dip into the novella I’m planning to write in my BC Security series. This one is tentatively titled “Heart of Christmas”. The others all have heart in the title(Guarding the Heart, Protecting the Heart, Defending the Heart) and this one does take place around Christmas. I got it mostly brainstormed this week, so I’ll be moving on to writing back stories next week. I already know most of Alaina’s from writing Declan’s for Protecting the Heart. So that shouldn’t be too hard.

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