Headphones was an experiment, a story written in "snapshots", a serial, a comic in word form-- call it what you will. It ran for one year plus one day-- January 1st of 2015 to January 1st of 2016. It was the story of a group of friends who took in a damaged girl and helped her find herself. But on the way, she helped them fill the holes in their own lives. I've pulled it now with the hopes of rewriting it into a book. Each day was matched with a music video and each month's mixes are still here. So if you've stumbled in, enjoy the music, and hopefully I'll be able to post updates occasionally!

Monday, August 14, 2017

As The Country Goes To Hell

First order of business. I was never overly happy with the title Sleep Dream Silently Scream, at least not for this particular story. It was just a title I was playing with at the opening of the July CampNaNo and I used it, not really meaning to make it permanent. So I'm playing with some different ideas: Parking is Limited, Permit Parking Only, Blind Ante, Bluff Induce. If you have any ideas, put them in the comments. I'm looking for something having to do with parking (because Jordan lived out of his car for so long and doesn't want to go back to that) or something to do with Poker/Blackjack. Some titles are obvious and already used multiple times, titles like Ante Up, and Cashing Out. Hopefully, we'll discover something original.

And now for the regular update: So, I had planned on doing word sprints over the weekend and getting my word count over 30K. The plan is still to hit around 40K and my hope is to finish the first draft in the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the weekend events in Charleston (and now around the country) have me rattled. Hopefully, I'll get back on track within the next couple of days. I did manage to make my minimum word count goal for the week, actually finishing at 5094. That doesn't include notes I spent some time typing up, plus working on a scene from the final chapters. I keep reminding myself that it's going fairly well for a story that I've been totally pantsing (also known as 'winging it'). Only time will tell if it's actually coherent!

This week's excerpt:
“Shit, Jordan. You’re drunk. Don’t you have to work tomorrow?”
Jordan sat back up and one side of his mouth curled while his eyebrows rose high into his forehead. “Oh damn. Yeah.” Before Reese could say anything, Jordan lost interest in the conversation and ripped off his jacket. “Dude, it’s hot in here.”  
A chill of dismay ran through Reese as his hand shot out to grab Jordan’s wrist and pull it towards him into the light. It wasn’t dismay so much as a combination of horror and anger and worry.  “What the fuck, Jordan? What did Jeb do to you?”
Jordan tried to tug his arm back, but Reese wouldn’t let go. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“This isn’t nothing!” Reese hissed. Some of the other patrons were looking their way in interest, wondering if the stories were true after all. Reese didn’t want to add to the rumour mill, but this couldn’t be ignored. He tightened his grip and gave him a pull, directing him around the end of the bar. From there, he pulled him into the storeroom where they kept the extra kegs and liquor.  
“Reese, let me go,” Jordan pleaded, his eyes wide in panic. The drunkenness that was evident only a few minutes earlier was completely erased from his features.
“What is this? Tell me! Jeb did this, didn’t he?”
“It’s nothing, Reese. I swear. Just tape.”
“Why did you have tape around your wrists?”
Jordan stood up to his full height and stared at Reese, sucking in his cheeks while his eyelids got heavy. He smirked as he said, “Because I like it.”
Reese let go of him and stepped back. “What do you mean?” Jeb’s comments from that first night began to replay themselves in his mind. He hadn’t believed it then, but Jordan’s sneer confirmed every word.
“Because pain is such a rush.” He said it like he was trying to get a reaction. “I like a little pain with my play and Jeb...gets into that.”
“Oh, fuck,” Reese choked out. If Jordan was trying to get him to respond, he was succeeding.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekly Update

     The last week went well at 5931 words, bringing the current draft to 24660.  My word count goal for this MS is 40K, and I plan to have it done by the end of the month, which is very doable if I meet my 5K word goal each week. The problem with that? There are some submission calls going on right now that I'd like to enter, but I'm not ready. So now the question becomes, do I stick to my original plans: finish this MS, hit the edits for this and Embers and Flame, do some suggested edits to When Silverfish Dance, and start the rewrites for Headphones? Then start querying the collection at the first of the year? Or do I shuck all that, at least for the next few weeks, and jump in feet first? Argh! I'm so very confused on what to do next.

this week's excerpt:

           Reese froze in the bathroom doorway when he heard a moan. He waited, almost afraid of what would follow as he pictured Jeb coupled with Jordan on that small bed, but the next sound was closer to a sob than a cry of ecstasy and he left the warmth of the steam-filled room and moved towards Jordan’s door. The sounds coming from his room were definite words now. “Stop. No. I’m sorry. I won’t. Dad, I won’t!” He tapped on the door, but when no answer came, he pushed his way in. A strip of light fell across the bed, enough for Reese to see Jordan with his blankets kicked off and his hands clutching at the bottom sheet as if he was trying to hang onto a rocking surface.
Reese sat down at the edge of the bed and reached out a hand to give him a gentle nudge as he said Jordan’s name simply because he was afraid of his reaction if he woke to find someone standing over him. Still, Jordan yelled and cowered as he came awake. “It’s just me. It’s Reese.”
“Reese?” Jordan’s voice cracked as he looked around the room before they settled on the man sitting on the end of his bed, his eyes wild and huge with too much white showing.
“You were having a bad dream,” Reese offered, as if Jordan didn’t know it.
Jordan didn’t say anything as a sob tightened his throat. The bed was shaking; he was trembling so hard that Reese could feel it. “Come on,” he said as he laid his hand on Jordan’s where it lay, still twisted in the sheet.
“Where?” he asked as Reese took his hand and tugged at him. Their palms slipped and Jordan almost pulled away to wipe the sweat away but it was as if Reese could read his mind and he tightened his grip.
Reese didn’t answer. Once Jordan was up, he led him down the hall to his room and pulled his blanket back, nodding his head towards the bed. For a moment, he thought Jordan was going to argue, but with a sigh, he crawled in and rolled up into a ball. Reese went around to the other side and slid in between the covers after he turned off the small bedside lamp. He rolled towards Jordan. The younger man was still trembling, so he smoothed his hand up and down his back, rubbing at his shoulder and neck until the shaking stopped and his breath became soft and even.
“What was that about?” he wondered as he rolled onto his back, putting a few inches between them on the bed. He lay awake for the next hour, thinking back over the last month. He had become so comfortable sharing his space with this man, even though they rarely spoke about anything except what was going on in their present. And yet, Reese had found a contentment in his life that he’d never had. There was a different ambiance in the trailer now, something stable that he hadn’t noticed was missing until now. Even when Jordan wasn’t there, when he was at work, Reese felt his spark, his energy. He wanders the house and yard restlessly in the mornings, tinkering and piddling around, looking for anything to occupy his time as he waits for Jordan to come home. He gets anxious when he’s late. He’s not sure when it happened, how Jordan has become more than a homeless kid who needed a place to stay and is now an integral part of his life. 
His quiet calm, his low chuckles when they watch movies, the way he quietly moves around, singing softly as he cleans, have permeated the tin can and made it into a home, again. It hadn’t felt that way to Reese since his grandparents died. It had just been a place where he slept from time to time. A place where he kept his clothes. He didn’t know what it meant or why he was only then starting to realize it, but the question was his last thought as he finally fell asleep to the sound of Jordan breathing next to him.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Weekly Update

The week started strong but then I lost some momentum as I switched computers. I figure I have another week or two before I get everything set up the way I want it. On the word-count front, I ended up with 3833 words- a little lower than I wanted but I'll get there. Ideally, I would like to get in a minimum of 5K a week. After I hit my CampNaNo goal, I set a new one for the month of July, working towards 20K. Of course, I then looked at the calendar wrong and thought I had until tomorrow! I may not meet it today, but I'll be close. Goal for August? Another 20K to finish on my current WIP. And then the edits begin!

This week's excerpt:

He sat with his head down, staring into what was left of his beer, when an arm was thrown over his shoulders and a voice he hadn’t heard in over a year was whispering into his ear. “Hey, baby boy, fancy meeting you here.”  He tensed, refusing to turn his head.
“What are you doing here?”
“You don’t call, you don’t text. Why, I’m beginning to think you didn’t want to see me anymore.” The teasing tone grew harder and lower. “Give us a kiss, Jordy. I've missed you.”
Reese interrupted. “Can I get you anything?” Jordan’s eyes widened and his chest heaved in panic as he stared up. The bartender gave him a questioning look before looking back at the big man that was draped against him.
“Yeah, I’ll have what my Jordy has here. And get him another.”
Reese met Jordan’s eyes again, not moving away until the kid nodded his head, a small movement to let him know he was okay. Possibly no one else would have noticed, but Jordan could see the stiffness in Reese’s back and shoulders, the questions piling up but unasked. He sat the beers down and didn’t move away, even though he had customers waiting. “Going to introduce your friend?” he asked Jordan.
The answer was almost too low to hear over the jukebox. “Reese Daniels, meet Jebediah Walker.”
“No reason to be so formal.” The man stuck his hand out. “Everyone calls me Jeb.”
Reese returned the handshake reluctantly, and as expected, Jeb gave an extra alpha-male squeeze, a subliminal attempt at intimidation. “How do you two know each other?” he asked, turning his attention back to Jordan, who sat with his head down and his posture sunken.
Not that Jeb was going to give him a chance to answer. “Oh, me and Jordy go back a few years. He used to follow me from job to job like a little mutt in heat. Couldn’t get enough of his Big Jeb. Could you, baby?” Jordan flinched when Jeb gave his shoulder a tight squeeze, but he didn’t pull away. “Kinda lost track of each other after that Minnesota job last year, though. But I knew you’d find me again.”
He turned his attention away from Jordan and gave Reese a once over. “What about you? You his Big Chief now?” The hinted slur was intentional but Jordan had dealt with bullies for most of his life. He recognized Jeb’s type; he was the kind of man that would use his good looks to charm his targets even while he used his bulk and tattooed arms to frighten and bulldoze anyone he saw as weak or inferior.
Reese unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled up his sleeves to the elbow, his own tattoos clear under the hanging light that ran the length of the bar. He never broke eye contact with Jeb as he considered his answer. The toolpusher was the first to break the connection, tipping up his beer in an approximation of indifference. “We live together. Now, if you two will excuse me, I need to get back to work. Nice to have met you, Jeb.”
“Oh, I’ll be back. We’ll be here for at least a month and I like your little drinking hole.” He turned his attention back to Jordan, giving him a tug that almost had him sliding off the stool. “Come outside with me for a minute, give us a chance to catch up. It’s too loud in here to talk.” Jeb gave Reese a wink as Jordan stood and pulled away from his grip, but he followed the man, looking over his shoulder once before he stepped out into the night.