April A to Z Challenge 2017


Greetings! I’ve been pondering what to do on the April challenge for the past couple of weeks.  I have been wondering how I would do this challenge and manage to continue posting the #MFRW challenges on Friday.

In doing so, I’ve managed to miss getting my posts up! Way to go Ellie, way to go!

I’m still not sure how to get them all in, but I will try my best. I’ve been going gangbusters on revisions to Roxy Sings the Blues. April is Camp Nanowrimo and I am working on a new project that is top-secret for now in addition to the rewrites on Roxy. This new project has a hard deadline, so I have to be diligent in getting this one finished.

Despite all of the advice that is the current trend, which was the opposite advice from the 80’s and 90’s, the best way to get it all in is to multitask. Really, women are conditioned to multitask from the get go.

First thing first –  I have promised an excerpt or teaser since the beginning of the year. I shared one in Inquisitive Minds,  One Phone Call,  and Life Isn’t Fair, but aside from those, I’ve been negligent in sharing. So, today I will share a Tuesday Teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues.

“Detective Miller, Detective Alvarez.”

Devon Miller nodded in acknowledgment. He hated these calls. He hated seeing veterans in the homeless shelter. It never made sense to him. “What have we got?”

“Two males. Looks like meth heads, but we need to find out what’s going on. This is the fourth time this month that homeless guys have shown up dead. I’m putting you two on the case. Check with Dickerson in narcotics, see if he has any leads.” Seargent Brenner stood, flipping the body bag back over the victim’s face. “I want to know what they are taking, who they are buying from, what the cause of death was. I want a full tox screen and have Simmons report anything out of the order. Anything. Talk to some of the regulars at the shelter up the street.” He tucked his hands into the pockets of his black leather jacket, eyes downcast to the ground. Hesitating as if he wanted to add something more, but then changing his mind. He added, “I want reports on my desk in the morning.”

Devon watched him walk away before bending to examine the body. He reached for a discarded straw in the pile of trash that the first body lay in. Using the straw, he opened the vic’s mouth checking for missing teeth, foaming, anything. “Still got his teeth. That’s something.”

Alvarez stood with his hands shoved into his jacket. “This kid is too young to be here.”  He bent swiping the hair out of the eyes of the second body. “Both of them are. I’d lay odds that test results are going to be the same as the last guys. I think our best bet is going to be Dickerson. See if he knows who’s dealing the designer drugs down here and find out how bums can afford it.”

Are you curious? Let me know in the comments! 

The second item on the agenda –  the A to Z challenge. With my push for Camp Nano, I ‘ve forgotten to put up my posts for Saturday and Monday.

First the rules of the challenge – every day of the week minus Sundays,  you are to post that letter of the alphabet. The theme is something that your blog is typically about. My theme is:

 

Are you surprised? I liked last year that there were categories to choose from but this year, there isn’t a list of themes it is make your own! Although, it did get me out of my comfort zone to try my hand at some photography which was fun!

That’s what this challenge is all about –  fun!

A – Attitude

(April 1) Writing requires a certain attitude. You have to have confidence in your ability. There is a certain egotism in thinking that others should read what you have written. I prefer to call it confidence but on the days that I am faltering in confidence, I go back to the word attitude. It’s a stance, a unique voice, your reason behind the desire to spend countless hours behind a laptop in solitude. It’s that gnawing at your soul that if you don’t get it down on paper it will make you go mad. It’s the knowing in your heart that drives you forward and overrides the countless times you’ve thought of giving up. In the end, there is a certain attitude, sometimes cocky sometimes timid, but overall it’s knowing that you can do this and do it well!

B -Books

(April 3) There are certain books that a writer should have on their bookshelf. I have:

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing by Stephen King

Writing Down the Bones  by Natalie Goldberg

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

And . . . if you are anything like me more than a dozen others.

 

 C -Characters

Characters drive the story. The best stories are character driven because it’s the connection to the characters that keep us interested. If the character is nothing more than a flat Stanley then who cares what happens to him but if the character is well-developed, we become involved, putting ourselves in their shoes, sympathizing with them,  on the edge of our seat hoping they make it out of that dangerous situation. What would Gone With the Wind be without the narcissistic Scarlet O’Hara?

So, … two birds with one stone or rather two topics in one post and it is by far not my longest post! I call that a win.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Life Isn’t Fair


Since I didn’t share my snippet piece yesterday, I thought I’d fudge a bit and share today.

Wow! This story has really gone through the mill. Roxy Sings the Blues originally started as the serial post erotica that I shared on Storytime Tryst. Don’t bother trying to find it, I no longer have the time to manage Storytime and nothing has been posted since forever ago.

All rights reserved to original artist. Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image.

All rights reserved to original artist. Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image.

The only recognizable part of that original story is the characters, although they are more fully developed now as well. When I compiled all of my serial posts, I added bits and pieces here and there to  help it congeal. Yeah, it wasn’t really working for me. First of all,  the original story was erotica. It wasn’t even my best effort in erotica either. Something about this story just wouldn’t let me go. Although I wasn’t happy with it,  I knew there was something in it that screamed to be told. Maybe I had wax in my ears, maybe my internal editor was cringing so much she wouldn’t listen to the voice crying to be heard.  When the fecal matter hit the rotary blades with the previous small publishing house I was associated with, I fell into a pit of discouragement and shelved Valkyrie’s Curse, which was 90% complete.

When the fecal matter hit the rotary blades with the previous small publishing house I was associated with, I fell into a pit of discouragement and shelved Valkyrie’s Curse, which was 90% complete.

Valkyrie’s was ready to be sent out to my beta readers, but after some critical comments, I tucked it away, as I wasn’t ready to push ahead with doing it on my own just yet. I haven’t given up on it, but it was set aside before Penned Con 2016 with a bitter taste left in my mouth. Time heals all wounds, however, and I feel I can go that last 10% soon. In the meantime, I heard Roxy’s wails of sorrow crying to be heard.  I dusted off those files, cringing at points, but also seeing that she had a story worth being told. Not the story I had first written, but a much deeper, more encompassing story. I was giving a superficial glossing to her story, focusing on certain gritty aspects of her life. She deserved more.

I’m keeping a small portion of what I had written, but most of it has ended up in the recycle bin. The revision has turned into a complete rewrite. Sordid details of her bad mistakes really didn’t need to be aired as yesterday’s dirty laundry. I have to admit, it needed a rewrite desperately.

The original plot of transformation was heart wrenching, motivational, kitschy, and focused too much on the back story. Ironic since another shelved project I’ve talked about before, my Fae series – anyone remember me sharing about Faere Warrior? – was shelved because I needed to share more of the back story. I haven’t given up on that one either. Basically, I got myself into a state of being overwhelmed with numerous projects that are unfinished for one reason or another.

Just a quick note here, most of my projects are so very close, yet every one of them needs just a little more. This is where I kick myself with disgust. If I focused on just those in my unfinished files I will be writing until I am 60! Scary thing is, that isn’t that far away!

So anyway, back to Roxy. . . the deeper story. I think you’re going to like it.  Last time I shared a snippet from the intro. Let’s dive right into the thick of it, shall we?

Here’s a brief snippet from Chapter 1 to let you know where Roxy is starting from:

Two hours and twenty-four minutes later, I pulled up into a visitor’s spot by the main entrance. I barreled through the doors, racing down the hall to the oncology floor, running past the nurse’s station towards the room number Tara had texted me.

I stopped short just outside the door. This was it. This was reality. I did not want to face losing my mom. I gave myself a quick talk as I took several deep breaths. One step. Two steps. Three steps and I was at the side of mom’s bed. Tara was on the other side, her head down on the edge of the bed, holding mom’s hand.

My eyes welled with tears. “NO” My body racked with sobs as I lifted my mother’s cold lifeless hand to my cheek. Tara lifted her head slowly, looking up at me in such a forlorn and lost expression it broke my heart even more.  I ran to her, lifting her from her chair as we sobbed together.

It wasn’t fair. Even knowing it was coming someday, we were not prepared for this reality. Some day was not supposed to be this day or any day in the near future. At twenty-three and twenty we were not supposed to lose our mother. Before either of us were married, before either of us had children, before either of us had even had a chance to truly live, cancer took her from us. It. Wasn’t. Fair.

As I held my younger sister in my arms, my eyes clenched tightly to shut out the vision of the corpse that lay in the bed that was supposed to be my mother. My breath caught in my throat, feeling panicky and lost, so very lost. I turned quickly to the side, hitting the vase of flowers on the stand next to the bed rails. The vase that held a beautiful flower arrangement shattered into pieces as it made contact with the linoleum floor.

Shattered. Just like our lives were now.

Just like Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers, Roxy’s shattered life can be rebuilt. Slowly, piece by piece, and she will come out stronger than she began. Isn’t that kind of the point of a transformation plot? I guess I kind of gave that away, didn’t I? All I can say is don’t write her off just yet. Fate isn’t done jerking her around. 

Did you get the feels? Do you feel compassion for Roxy and her sister?

How have you dealt with the death of a close loved one?

When my father passed away, my world was suddenly shattered. When my mother passed away, I was only slightly more prepared having been her caregiver for the last year and a half of her life. I didn’t have to face it in my twenties, though, which I am grateful to have had them in my life as long as I did.  It took me a long time to find the good in life after both losses, but eventually, I did and I hope you have as well.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: ROOK by Miranda Lynn


I know I promised a teaser today, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I have the privilege of sharing a cover reveal for an author I met at Kentuckiana Book Blitz! This woman helped me calm my newbie nerves.  Kentuckiana was my very first author event and I was a nervous wreck.

Without further ado, I am honored to share with you the cover reveal for my friend Miranda Lynn’s newest book:

ROOK

Black Mountain Pack

Book 2

Coming April 2017

rook

Come join us as the story of the Black Mountain Pack continues. Follow Rook as he takes on the challenge of helping Mack and Casey repair the South American Pride.

Rook heads to South America and finds his hands full with bringing the Pride out of the dark ages that Tomas had kept it in for years under his malicious ruling. He reunites with a few old friends and discovers a dark and twisted world he never knew existed behind the closed doors of the Alpha’s house. With the help of old military buddy Jonah he guides the Pride onto the path of a happy and fruitful living.

Fate has other plans when Rook is blindsided with the fact that his true mate had been kept in the clutches of the former Alpha. Locked behind doors and used as an object to be shared rather than respected and revered as all female shifters should be.

Will he be able to cull the evil from the Pride and make it safe enough for Casey to lead without fear? Will he be able to help his mate heal from the hell she has been put through and coax her cat to come out and play?

Find out this coming April!

 

About the Author

miranda-lynn

Time Travel and Paranormal Romance author. Her Destiny series takes you on a roller coaster ride through time with sexy Highlanders and sassy female heroines. If shifters are your kryptonite, then check out her Black Mountain Pack series which throws a twist on the traditional shifter lore. Miranda is a mother to two teenage boys who are sure they know it all, a 75lb lap dog, a 15lb foot warmer, and a cat that most days plans her demise. She is thankful her husband doesn’t mind the extra voices in her head. Miranda is an only child who grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois which left her plenty of time to make up stories in her head for entertainment. She currently resides in Tennessee where she wonders if Mother Nature will ever stop with the hormonal mood swings. She fuels herself with coffee, chocolate, and wine.

Make sure to follow Miranda Lynn to keep up to date on Rook and all the other players in the Black Mountain Pack.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MirandaLynnBks/

Join her readers group for sneak peaks and exclusive giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/groups/367841766921211/

Website: www.mirandalynn.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2ldOuDe

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaLynnBks

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Time Travel and Paranormal Romance author. Her Destiny series takes you on a roller coaster ride through time with sexy Highlanders and sassy female heroines. If shifters are your kryptonite then check out her Black Mountain Pack series which throws a twist on the traditional shifter lore. Miranda is a mother to two teenage boys who are sure they know it all, a 75lb lapdog, a 15lb foot warmer, and a cat that most days plans her demise. She is thankful her husband doesn’t mind the extra voices in her head. Miranda is an only child who grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois which left her plenty of time to make up stories in her head for entertainment. She currently resides in Tennessee where she wonder if Mother Nature will ever stop with the hormonal mood swings. She fuels herself with coffee, chocolate, and wine.

Make sure to follow Miranda Lynn to keep up to date on Rook and all the other players in the Black Mountain Pack.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MirandaLynnBks/

Join her readers group for sneak peaks and exclusive giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/groups/367841766921211/

Website: www.mirandalynn.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2ldOuDe

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaLynnBks

One Phone Call


I have spent the last two days on the phone trying to find out information on the exact requirements that I will need to fulfill for my job. I don’t know about you but waiting on hold is one of those time-wasters that I could do without. It’s that feeling of helplessness, this is out of your control, and you are at the mercy of the person on the other end.

If everything could be straight forward, the instant response then things would go much smoother. But, alas it isn’t to be. The forces that be have decided that it is a requirement to be put on hold for an untold specified amount of time. Please tell me that I”m not the only one who is impatient with these things!

In the meantime, while I continue my quest for answers, I thought I might share a teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues. Since phone calls seem to be first on my mind,  I thought I’d share this brief opener.

~~~~~~~~

One phone call can change your life forever.

I’ve heard it said many times and I get it. If you are a ball player waiting for that call to the majors, if you are waiting for the call that you got that job that you were hoping for. I always thought however, that most people are just being overly dramatic and using that as a cliché’ statement.

What if you didn’t get this job, but instead got a call from a different company that ended up being a better job? What if, as a ball player you didn’t ever get called to the majors but stayed in the minor leagues and ended up being a top-notch coach? What if that call was the worst thing that could happen?

It’s always been my view that there are multiple paths that our lives could take. There are multiple opportunities presented to us and that one phone call bit was a bunch of hogwash.

Until today.

Until I received the phone call that without a doubt, changed my life forever.

DO you want to read more? 

I”ll share a bit more soon . Until then I have to get back to my search.

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

 

Inquisitve Minds


apple-tree-image

 Writer’s are innately curious, you do understand that, right?  It’s an insatiable drive that urges us onward constantly asking why. If your child is asking you questions like “What did little red riding hood have in her basket? Did she forget her glasses that she couldn’t see that it was a wolf instead of Grandma?  How did Peter fit his wife in the pumpkin shell? Was she a fairy?”

My mother quit reading me fairy tales quite early, relegating that task to my sisters. I was a wiz at reciting my nursery rhymes just like I was taught.

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,
with little bo peep! 

Wait, that isn’t how you learned it?  Yeah, my sister’s had a wicked sense of humor. When I started asking questions of why, my mother deferred me to my siblings who are much older than me. They were quite creative in their answers and the more inquisitive I was in a line of questioning, the more abstract the answer would become until it satisfied my mind. At times I was slow to catch on because as a child I was naive and trusting.

I learned rather quickly that the things I had been taught, the answers I was given were rarely the correct ones. I also learned cynicism and sarcasm at an early age as well.

Why is the sky blue? Because God ran out of green after painting all the trees.

Why don’t apples grow in the garden like cucumbers? Because if they did, the rabbits would get fat. 

Why do fish eat worms? Because they like their insides tickled. 

Seriously, who does this to a child??  The thing is, most of the population accepts things on blind faith. Creatives, on the other hand, question everything. My mother had little tolerance for questions of any sort. The most common answer was ‘because I said so that’s why’.

In this vein, I made a point to answer my kid’s question to the best of my ability.

So what does this have to do with anything? It has everything to do with writing. If the person can’t ask questions,  they will never come up with original story ideas. You have to know facts before you can deviate from them. For instance,  gravity makes everything fall down towards the earth. So, if some alternate force were to be in effect, then objects would either float in the air or accelerate towards the sky.

From asking why is how abstract thinkers get strange, unique ideas for science fiction and fantasy. Romance writers have a different angle in their creativity. We have to come up with relational issues, not alternate laws of physics. Any writer takes the opportunity to ask what if, creating chaos for their characters.

Which leads me to my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Originally posted on Storytime Trysts as Oral Dilemma, I’ve been revising that hot mess to be something a little more substantial than serial posts to fill a time slot. I’m fairly pleased with some of the scenes as I hope you will be also.

Last year, I participated in a snippet share on Sundays with some blogger friends. I decided that on Tuesday I would share teasers from the WIP as those Sunday posts seemed to be a big hit but I am often not online on weekends. Here’s a little teaser for your pleasure:

“You’re up next Ms. Winters. Can I get you anything while you wait? A water with lemon? Hot tea?” David motioned a stagehand over towards us then instructed him to bring a chair for me while I waited. “Have a seat while Cameron finishes his set.”

I gladly took the offered seat, my legs were like jello in the platform heels. I was about to achieve a long time dream and to top it off, Devon was by my side. If I died today, I would die a happy woman.

What does all of that have to do with what I’m about to do now?

Everything! It’s not the string of bus stops along the route, it’s the entire journey. Allow me to share from the point where it really started.

I know, it’s just a teaser. Let me know what you think. Are you curious to read more? Would you like longer teasers? stick with short? Talk to me!

I’ve got a  schedule for release in my planner, a date that I am shooting for. I am really trying to focus on one project to completion this year. Hopefully, it won’t be too painful of a transition for me to actually be productive.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Sunday Snippet – The End Is Near


Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

Last week’s schedule went from normal to off the charts in 3 hours time. Amongst the other items on my todo list, we discovered termites. GAAAAAHHHH!

Priorities – this suddenly became first and foremost on the list. We can’t have our house come crumbling down around our ears. Once that was addressed, it was time to drive south to pick up our daughter for Spring Break. Drive time is a good brainstorming time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any way to write my thought down while driving.

I’m just about to the point  of sending this to my Beta readers. I’m going to do something that I swore I would never do – share the ending.  This part doesn’t give away the ending, exactly, . . in that sense  . . . but I am pleased with this bit that leads into  the second book.

 

Aella knelt on the dewy grass, brushing his hand over the thick green carpet. He’d forgotten how good it smelled, how soft it could feel, the vibrancy of colors. His senses were overwhelmed with everything at once. A lone tear trailed down his cheek, his jaw clenched in the realization of the time he found himself in.  The ache in his heart grew into a painful chasm: a chasm beyond time, beyond reality or the dreamworld, beyond his comprehension. Clutching his sword against his heart while bowing his head, he  knew he was truly alone.  

The Valkyries  that stood beside him, the men that were gathered there were strangers to him. Foreigners  in his land but  ones that rescued him from the Netherheil. He swallowed hard, tasting the bile that rose from his gut while at the same time tasting the salt air. The flood of memories washed over  him, nearly causing his knees to buckle. Slowly he rose to his feet, his eyes fixed on the water’s edge below.  With a great heaving sigh, he moved forward accepting whatever his future held.   

“Aella! Where are you going?” Helena took a few steps towards him.  He’d been surly, angry, a pain in her backside but  he was now a part of her circle.  He had the ancient knowledge that she needed and as much as she hated to admit, he’d grown on her. She knew that she  could help him adjust to this time. He couldn’t just walk away.  

Aella stopped,  staring out over the fjord before slowly turning towards her. “I have a debt I wish to repay. A debt of honor.”  

As the group turned  to watch him, Aella trudged down the hill towards the water’s edge.  Fate had spared him this time.  

You can skate on over to VL Locey’s sinful pleasures  with hot hockey players on and off the ice at VLLOCEY and then skip on over to Cathy’s Romance, where you can find your next book boyfriend, then check out Author Misty Harvey‘s latest!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Sunday Snippet – Proverbs


Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

I’m at a point of fine tuning my prose to the point that I am happy with it. Turst me,  I’m hard to please especialy with my own writing.

This past week I have been adding my epigraphs and chapter titles. The snippet that I am sharing today is one of the epigraphs.

The blood of the ancients thrums within my veins.

Pounding a tattoo in my head that demands I follow.

My course is set, my sails are full, and the wind is at my back.

Whether I live or die, destiny has called

with the many voices of my ancestors.

It is my turn to carry the torch.

-Skarsgal Saga Hustad

 

You can skate on over to VL Locey’s sinful pleasures  with hot hockey players on and off the ice at VLLOCEY and then slide  over to Cathy’s Romance, where you can find your next book boyfriend, then take your flashlight with you before entering the dark lair of  Author Misty Harvey‘s latest!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Sunday Snippet – Tunnel Vision


Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

Last week I took a break from the snippets simply because I was drowning in my to-do list. OK, that and we had company.  It was nice to unplug  and make progress on other goals.

I won’t waste a lot of time  jabbering on about what I did.  I know that’s now why you are here.  Who clicks on a link that says snippet if they aren’t planning to read a snippet, right?  So let’s get right to it.

Leading to a critical moment:

Helena grabbed the rifle and handgun and set them both in the small cage of the four-wheeler and took off in a rush. The tires spat gravel as she gunned the engine. She spun to a stop, taking her flashlight from her belt.

Where was he? She shone her light in the direction of the tunnel and two coyotes scurried away. She strapped the gun over her shoulder, tucking the handgun into its place on her belt. “I’m not in the mood to be playing games with saboteurs.”

She rang Scott, no answer. She rang the local

She rang the local authorities and got an answering machine. She left a hurried message, “ This is Helena Eskildson from the University of Wisconsin, in coordination with the Denmark Association of Archaeological research. We have an intruder at our site: white male, long blonde hair, mustache. He is on the premises now. I’m going in.”

It wasn’t the smartest thing she could do by any means. It would be best to wait for some of the guys, or the officials but she was ticked. This was her dream project, discovering a site that had to do with her family’s heritage.

She stomped over the clumpy grass to the entrance of the tunnel, shining her light down the tunnel as she squatted down. “Hey. I know you’re in there. Come on out now.” She waited for a few minutes with no response.

She said a little louder “Hey! I know you can hear me in there. I saw you on the monitors. This is a closed site. You need to get out of there now.”

She waited. ‘Right! He just had to be difficult.’ Helena stepped down into the tunnel, her flashlight in her hand, cautiously moving forward. She passed the first set of aged timbers supporting the tunnel. Flashing the light behind her, then back in front of her she eased forward slowly. Her foot caught on a stone in the floor and she tumbled headlong down the incline, ramming her hand into the next set of timbers.

“Ow! Ow! “ She groped on the floor for her flashlight that had fallen out of her hand. There was a large cut on the back of her hand, blood trickling down. Two of her nails had been broken, and the skin just above her cuticles had been scraped, blood welling in the spots. She stood, placing her hand against the tunnel walls for support. She took two cautious steps forward and her flashlight died. No matter how hard she beat the thing it wouldn’t work. She clicked it on and off, but nothing. “Of course!”

Easing forward even slower in the dark, she felt along the damp, cold wall of the tunnel. Her hand hit the next timber support, and it moved. As it shifted, a huge chunk of dirt fell from the ceiling, along with the sodded grass from above. A few meager rays of bright moonlight filtered in showing her clearly the stone wall less than five feet in front of her. ‘Where did he go? She hadn’t passed him. Maybe he ran out before she had arrived. That would be about her luck.’

She glanced around, seeing nothing but the wall, and turned to leave. As she did, she lost her footing in the dirt and clumps of grass and tumbled back toward the wall. Frantic she turned to catch herself, landing palms first on the stone wall. Only it disappeared and she fell through it, landing at the feet of the intruder.

You can skate on over to VL Locey’s sinful pleasures  with hot hockey players on and off the ice at VLLOCEY and then skip on over to Cathy’s Romance, where you can find your next book boyfriend, then check out Author Misty Harvey‘s latest!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Sunday Snippet – Red Wine


This weekend is the anniversary takeover celebration for Eclectic Bard Books.  In honor of that,  my snippet today will be from Red Wine & Roses.

Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

This is from Chapter 20  Wine Women & Jackowski:

“What do you see in her Derek?” Ashleigh took another bite of the chicken.

“The future.” He cleared his plate and added it to the stack of dishes piled in the sink.

Her fork stopped halfway to her mouth. Was he serious? A future with Julia?  She was nothing. She was less than nothing and by the time she was finished with her plan, he would see it as well.

Derek wasn’t about to make it any easier on her end of the bargain. He reached under the sink for the detergent and the scrubber, and then set out the drainer. “Oh, did I forget to mention that my apartment doesn’t come with a dishwasher?”

“You mean I have to wash all of those by hand?”

“Afraid so princess.” He grabbed a beer and headed to the living room.

She took another couple of bites then scraped the rest into the trash. With a big showy sigh, she stepped out of her platform heels. “I did agree to clean in exchange for the place to sleep.

“That you did.” He clicked through the channels. She was already annoying him. He had forgotten the little things that Ashleigh did that got on his nerves. The constant sighing over anything that took a little effort on her part, the way she would flip her hair over her shoulder in an exaggerated movement to draw attention to whatever it was that she did, the running dialog when he wanted peace and quiet, they were still there and annoying as ever. Nothing about Ashleigh had changed in their time apart. It was apparent in the contrast of how he felt around her and the way he felt around Julia. When he was with Ashleigh, he couldn’t wait to get time away from her with his friends. With Julia, he lost track of time and often wanted to forego time with his friends to stay with her.

“You know, I don’t mind doing this. I was prepared to do this with you.” Ashleigh slowly transferred the dirty dishes from the sink to the counter, holding them delicately in her hands as if they were poisoned with a disgusted expression. “Does she know what a slob you are? Or that you are afraid of long term commitments?” She turned towards him as she filled the sink with water and began with the glasses.

“I’m not a slob. It’s been a long hectic week and I have barely had time to eat and shower. You asked for a place to crash and offered to clean so have at it. As to the scared of commitment, I’m not. Never have been. It was you that accused me of it because I didn’t want to rush things.”

“This is disgusting, I’d call it being a slob. you worked all the time and never had time for me.” She turned towards him, her best doe eyes and added. “I still love you Derek. I was frustrated that I was never at the top of your priorities.”

“Yeah, I know. You’ve told me, repeatedly. Right before you ripped my heart out. Oh, and moved to New York with that photographer.”

“How many times do I need to say I’m sorry? How many times do I have to admit I was wrong? You and I were great together Derek. We can be again.”

He slammed the rest of his beer down. “You don’t need to apologize anymore. You have said it enough. I’m going to run out and get some wine. You want anything while I’m out?” He grabbed his keys and stuffed his wallet into his jeans.

“Wine? Could you get white zinfandel?” She reached for the towel to dry her hands but he was already out the door.

Ashleigh walked to the door, opening it to catch him before he got on the elevator.

“White zinfandel, I heard you. Anything else?” He glanced sideways at her, his hand on the elevator door.

“No that’s all. Thanks.” She ducked back into the apartment and retrieved her phone.

“Hey it’s me. I’m in. He is going down the street to get some wine for us for the evening. Score!” Ashleigh made a fist pump with her free hand. “OK, well I have to get back to the dishes. I think he dirtied everything up just so that I would have to clean them. No, it was part of the deal of him letting me stay. Hey, if it works then it will be worth the dishpan hands. Keep your fingers crossed. Talk later.” She smiled moving back to the kitchen, tossing the towel in the air and catching it.

“Yes, indeed. If this works, it will be worth every dirty dish that he can throw at me.”

 

Derek jammed his hands into his pockets and walked down the sidewalk. Not sure where the sudden animosity came from towards Ashleigh, he figured it was best if he got out of there before he started a big fight. He didn’t want to fight with her, he didn’t even want her to suffer for the pain that she had caused him. Perhaps it wasn’t too late for him to give her the cash and send her to the hotel. He kicked a rock out into the street. It seemed strange that he resented her presence.

What was he afraid of anyway? If he didn’t have any desires for Ashleigh, then her staying there shouldn’t be a big deal. Jogging across the street to the bench that sat facing the water, he sat down. His feelings were for Julia, not for Ashleigh. It wasn’t even a matter of testing his resolve. He dialed Julia.

The phone rang several times before connecting to her voice mail. “Hun it’s me. I was thinking about you, about that picture you sent me, and thinking how much I miss your kisses. I can’t wait to have you in my arms again. Missing you Jules.”

It wasn’t a test of his character; there wasn’t a desire for Ashleigh. He was simply helping a friend. That was all.

Derek rose and walked the next block to the corner market. He grabbed a bottle of the red moscato that was Julia’s favorite and a bottle of the white zinfandel for Ashleigh. He grabbed a bunch of bananas, a couple of apples and a package of brownies from the bakery, wishing that they were some of Julia’s. “You’ve released my inner fat man Julia. It’s your fault. I’m probably going to need to buy bigger suits when we get married.” He grabbed the package of apple strudel for in the morning as well. Moving toward the front check out, the weight of what he had absentmindedly said registered. “Married.” He turned down the next aisle, glancing over the shelves as he thought.

When had he mentally made the decision to marry instead of move in together? He grabbed a box of snack crackers. The words that Kevin shared from his father’s advice had made an impact to be certain, but how did that translate to marriage? He knew his parents wouldn’t be in favor of moving in together, they were of the old-fashioned sort.

~~~~~

Do you have an elderly man in your life that has given you sage advice?

Go check out my friends links for Snippet Sunday as well!

Cathy Brockman 

Vicki Locey

Write on my Friends, write on!

Ellie