Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Guest: Max Raku & Aesop Magazine

My Guest on this week's blog... is not a writer. However he brings some superb practical advice and a wonderful opportunity for readers and writers alike. Intrigued? Ladies and Gentlemen...




Max Raku
(Aesop Magazine)



3 Short Tips
to Improve Your Writing


To begin with, I think it worth mentioning that I have the utmost respect for the dedication of all writers to their craft and adoration for the phenomenal literature that all too often emerges as a result. 

Aesop Magazine website
Great fiction breaks down barriers by offering a window into the minds and thoughts of others. It reveals not only the ways in which we diverge from one another, but also our interconnected aspirations, intrigues, fears and sensitivities - played out inside an innumerable multitude of characters and scenarios.

Though you will find no published novels or short stories with my name attached, for the topic of my guest post, I thought it only logical to offer up a few insights on writing that I have gleamed over several months spent as editor of the soon to launch short story magazine 'Aesop Magazine'. I hope that my experiences in selecting and editing stories for publication will prove invaluable to novice and expert writers alike in honing their skills.

The first and foremost piece of advice I would like to offer up is to have confidence in yourself and to write to your strengths. Use insights gleamed from your own experiences to help shape your narrative and share your work with others to gain feedback and criticism.

The difference between an award winner and unpublished author is all too often vanishingly small, and in a fiercely competitive industry, minor changes can lead to drastic differences in the reception of your work. 

To me, the best fiction should have the capacity to immerse the reader inside itself. The more contrived a story feels, the more detached the reader will become. While this is certainly not saying that a story needs to be grounded in the real world, inside the world of the narrative itself, events, characters and interactions should feel plausible and conceivable, no matter how shocking or surreal they might be. 
 
Alice in Wonderland may have little correlation to our everyday experiences of the world, but its success was in no small part due to the understanding by Lewis Carroll of the kind of world he created and the implications of this for his characters and their interactions with one another.

Having talked about the importance of staying true to the world you have created in your writing, it is also worth mentioning that the rubber [Eric: that's eraser for those across the Atlantic] is far more important than the pen(cil) for any writer in bringing their stories to life. And this is a point I have found to be equally true for writers of all abilities and most definitely of myself.

Whether it's a sentence or paragraph that drags on for too long, an over abundance of particular words in close proximity to one another, or inconsistent spellings of names and places, there are literally thousands of small ways to break immersion with a story. 

Though you might not catch them all, if you can minimise their frequency, the result will invariably be a better flowing narrative that will hold your readers' attention for longer - giving you an edge against others, who have been less scrupulous in their self-censorship. 

For shorter chunks of text, there are several great (free) websites that can help with this kind of thing. Wordcounter is just one example and provides all sorts of useful information. By copying and pasting in your text, it can instantly tell you your most frequently used words and how often they appear, how long your sentences are, how many paragraphs you have and more. 

If, like me, you're in the habit of writing long sentences with lots of clauses, or paragraphs running into hundreds of words, then tools like this can serve as a great reminder to go back and break up your work - making it more approachable to the casual reader.

As this article begins to creep ever closer to the thousand-word mark, it seems an appropriate moment to offer up one final pearl of wisdom. This is that brevity is key. 

Although there is nothing wrong with fleshing out the world you have created, extraneous 'filler' content should be avoided at all costs. Writers often feel compelled to include various forms of deviation from the central plot. While they can serve to enrich your story, it is worth taking the time to ensure that they don't do the opposite. When it comes to the world of writing, particularly with short fiction, it is all too often true that less is more.

If you are unsure about a segment of your story, the safest bet is to remove or reconstruct it, rather than leaving it as is.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all who have taken the time to read this far, but particularly to Eric for offering me this slot and taking the time to curate this wonderful blog. I hope I have provided some small insight into the thoughts and considerations at play when selecting a story for publication and that as a result you will notice a subtle, but visible improvement in the quality of your work - and successes with future stories.

For those who are interested, you can subscribe (for free) to Aesop Magazine via our website, or submit a story to appear in one of our future issues. I look forward to reading any submissions you might make and hope you'll love the final product as much as I've enjoyed making it.



Aesop Magazine will appear MAY 4th. Watch out for it if you are on the London Underground, or order your free electronic copy from anywhere else via the link below.


Bio:

Following the completion of a Masters in Cultural Studies in 2012, I worked as a copywriter, and subsequently as an executive at a branding and design agency. As rewarding as these jobs were, I decided to pursue my dreams and in September of 2014, the idea of the free to read short story magazine 'Aesop Magazine' was born. For the past several months, I have had the pleasure to work as editor of my own magazine, and am currently in the process of orchestrating the final details before the inaugural issue of the magazine is launched.


Important Links:


Subscriptions for electronic copies: http://www.aesopmagazine.com/home-1.html

Submissions for future issues: www.aesopmagazine.com/submissions


Thanks, Max, for those useful tips. I wish you the greatest success with this endeavour. I expect to see thousands of copies of Aesop Magazine in the hands of commuters on the London Tube soon,,and for those of you not on the Underground, get your free electronic copy via the subscriptions page on their website.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Guest: Fiona Quinn

My Guest this week is a fellow thriller writer who also believes in getting the details right in her books. But I'll let her tell you more. Ladies and Gentlemen...



Fiona Quinn



If Your Character is a Monkey,
He’s Going to Act Like a Monkey



Last Saturday night, I attended the annual cotillion dinner for eighth graders. Every year I have a standing gig teaching a three-hour tutorial dinner on how not to eat like a monkey. Here in southern USA, cotillion in a social rite of passage.  It’s an opportunity for young ladies and gentlemen in middle school to learn social graces – how to ask a lady for a dance, how to escort her onto the floor, and how to shuffle around in such a way that it might be construed as dancing. And after I get through with them, they also know it is improper to eat with one’s feet or to swing from the chandeliers.
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Back in the day, when I went to a ladies’ finishing school - yes, I know, jaw dropping - I danced with many a gangling boy who spent all of his concentration on what the hell his body was doing and none of his attention on me, his graceful dance partner. Sigh. I spent my dancing time watching the boys like microbes on a petri dish, developing some of my boy-theories (of which I have many). One of my theories leads me to state that within a few seconds of dancing, I can guess what sport a man has played the most. Seriously.

Our bodies do what our muscle memories feel comfortable doing. Given a lack of dance classes to teach a new set of feel-good moves, a body under stress will drop to its lowest common denominator.  You played baseball? You’ll roll your hip towards your dance partner, put your hands together like you’re swinging a bat (2x), and then twist to the other side and repeat. If basketball was your game, you’ll square off and be light on the balls of your feet with bent knees and some shoulder pops. Martial artists will keep their hands in fists and do a series of arm blocks and low kicks. And wrestlers? Don’t even get me started.  
When I met my husband, it was on a dance floor.  He was the kind of guy who liked to live life on the edge, and he thought I was pretty edgy and probably high on acid. But that’s a different story for another day. Let’s just say I was burning through some stress. So here he comes inviting himself into my dance space to dance with me. Fine. First thing I did was check out his moves to determine his sport, and I have to say the man had me flummoxed. His feet were parallel and stationary, his hands in light fists in front of him, body swaying from the knees to the melody. Yeah, that one took me a while. Finally, it dawned on me. I leaned in, “So you’re a skier?”

He looked at me dumbfounded. “How did you know?”

I tapped the side of my head. “I’m a mind reader. I’ve read your whole story. In fact, I know everything there is to know about you.”

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He stopped dancing and blushed. That was pretty cute. I wondered what I could possibly have read in his mind that would turn him that shade of pink. Then he grabbed me up, spun me around, and dropped me into a dip. “Well,” he said, “whatever you read in there you must have liked ‘cause you’re still dancing with me.” It was a cocky as hell answer.  Coupling that with his lopsided one-dimpled grin, along with his Texas drawl meant that it wasn’t a surprise that I gave the man my phone number. The rest is history.

By now you’re wondering just what this article is all about; it’s all about muscle memory. I told the kids at the cotillion dinner that my approach to etiquette had to do with my interest in self-defence (yes, most of our standard polite moves are all about staying alive) and an interest in behaviour. I explained that it is imperative that they work to build good etiquette into their muscle memory for several scientific reasons.

1.                  In times of stress – when someone most wants to impress the love of their life, get the job, or just feel comfortable in a social situation – anxiety will cause the blood from the head to go to the feet and hands to prepare for flight or fight. That’s right; no blood in the head means very little thinking is going on.
2.                  You never know when you will be confronted with that time of stress when you just need your body to function correctly, darn it! And it takes 21 days to form a habit. So if that dinner is tomorrow, you’re out of luck.
3.                  Just because you’ve seen it and you cognitively know the rules doesn’t mean you can do it. My daughter is a nationally ranked Irish dancer. I have sat through hundreds and hundreds of hours of dance classes, rehearsals, and performances. I couldn’t jig my way out of a box if my life depended on it. The body takes time and repetition to move the information from short-term to long-term memory.  And until that move is made, your muscles will want to revert to the path of least resistance, that is what it already knows and is comfortable with.
4.                  Lies are hard to maintain.  A mind that is busy remembering all of the details of the lies it just told (as in new body movements that are not part of the body’s normal repertoire) is a busy mind indeed. And it shows. The face becomes plastic, affects a disingenuous smile, and sticks there. Your character will give other body “tells,” that inform the person on the receiving end of this display that there is something not right going on and on a subconscious level the recipient of the lie-behaviours begins to feel that, “Hey, this guy isn’t trust worthy.”

As a writer, why do you need to understand this? Well, your character does certain things with his or her body. And that’s what that body knows how to do.  If you set up a fight and the hero has never fought before, he’s going to fight BADLY. He’s going to throw wild hay-maker punches; he’s going to kick with a floppy foot and probably break his toes. If your heroine has never held a gun before, she is not going to get it on target. She’s not. She won’t jump out of her bedroom window and scale the side of the building along the window sills and jump and roll to safety. Because – no matter how many times she’s seen it on TV - jumping and rolling is a skillset. An instructed, practiced, and executed again and again and again skillset.

If you want to write your characters right, and make them truly believable. Think about the lives they’ve lead up until that point. Think about what their bodies know how to do and what they do not know how to do. Remember what the mind can conceive does not mean their bodies are able to achieve. Unless you send them to training - and remember that 21-day thing – it takes time to build muscle memory.

Best of luck as you plot along. You’ll find helpful “how to write it right” articles on my blog site www.ThrillWriting.blogspot.com  My website is www.FionaQuinnBooks.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest you’ll find me at Fiona Quinn Books.
Cheers!

Bio:

Canadian born, Fiona Quinn is now rooted in the Old Dominion outside of D.C. with her husband and four children. There, she homeschools, pops chocolates, devours books, and taps continuously on her laptop. She is a contributor to Virginia Is for Mysteries, the author of the Amazon bestseller 'Mine', and 'Chaos Is Come Again', and is the creative force behind the popular blog ThrillWriting. This spring she will be launching her Lynx Series with Book One, 'Weakest Lynx'a Kindle Scout book, 


Thank you, Fiona, for a brilliant article. I fully endorse all the points she made about the importance of getting the details right in fictional novels. If you write, or are just curious, I would strongly recommend you check out her blog - there's some amazing stuff there you won't find anywhere else! 




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Guest: Ronel Van Tonder

From Sunny South Africa, my Guest this week is a writer who brings some interesting solutions to an issue true to the heart of any author. Ladies and Gentlemen...



Ronel Van Tonder


How to get Constructive, Unbiased Critiques

What's one thing all authors have in common? We all want feedback. You wouldn't be an author if you didn't want someone else to read your work and experience some form of an emotional reaction.
That's why, whether you're a new writer or an established author, having your work critiqued is a crucial element in the writing process.

So what's critiquing?

Critiquing is allowing someone else (be they a casual reader, another author, or an editor), to read your work and provide feedback on it. Critiquing, if done right, can provide a plethora of useful information about your writing to help to improve your craft.




Critique & Improve

As an author, critiquing can answer many pertinent questions for you, as critiquing can be both constructive and unbiased.

Critiquing answers important questions about your writing, such as:
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Does your plot make sense?

Is your writing coherent, and how can it be improved?

Are your characters captivating?

How realistic is your dialogue?


Does your novel begin/end in the right spots?

Are you formatting your novel correctly?

Are your funny bits actually funny?

And are your sad bits indeed sad?


Although there are several hundred critiquing groups in existence, here are two that I highly recommend:


Scribophile (http://www.scribophile.com/)

Scribophile is an online community that allows you to critique other writers’ works, as well as submitting your own for critiquing. It also contains forums with genre and topic specific groups. The feedback you receive is plentiful, concise, honest, and unbiased.

You get "Karma" points for every critique you do, which allows you to then post your work for critiquing. It's a "pay it forward" system that really works.

Here are some of the highlights:

Free and Paid membership options


The free version limits the amount of "works" you can have at any one time, as well as the amount of private messages you can store. But it still provides valuable feedback, and can really help you understand both the weaknesses and strengths in your writing.

Forums & Groups

Scribophile’s forums make finding the right critique group very easy. There are all sorts of critique groups, ranging from short stories to genre specific and even writing prompts if you’re in need of creative inspiration. Joining a group helps you to target your critiquing. This in turn provides niche-specific feedback which is invaluable, especially to genre authors. 

Very detailed, online critiques

The Scribophile website comes with three different critique types: inline, template and freeform. The inline version is fantastic, because you can highlight words or sentences and make suggestions, corrections or notes. It makes figuring out the critique a lot easier.

Here’s an example of a piece of my work that was critiqued by a fellow forum member

Here’s an example of a detailed rating provided with a critique

Message system


With Scribophile, you can send personal messages to other members, or write on their Scratchpads for the world to see. You can also send gifts to members, which use some Karma points.

Profile

Authors can add their social media links and a host of other information to their profile pages.

Bookmark & Set Reminders

If you see a chapter/work you'd like to critique, you can easily bookmark it and read it later - great for when you're in a hurry and want to come back later to read a piece.

Reputation Points

You also receive reputation points for interacting with fellow community members by responding their queries, liking their work and sharing critiques.

Contests

Scribophile also runs competitions from time to time.

Conclusion

If you want an online community that’s passionate about writing, improving their work and providing honest and unbiased feedback, then Scribophile is for you.





Wattpad is another online community that I discovered which allows for critiques. Members here are more concerned about the essence of your work than its structure and form.

You’ll find Wattpad members commenting on sentences they liked, what intrigued them about a character, or specific points about your story they enjoyed. With a sophisticated story structure that allows for chapters, covers, media and votes, this is a great way to get feedback from a diverse community.

Although usually not as concise as Scribophile, Wattpad is still a great way to collect unbiased critiques that will help you polish your writing and pitch future novels to potential readers.
Here are the highlights:

Story Structures

Wattpad allows for chapters or parts for every story along with basic formatting. It also provides writers with the tools to add a cover and other media to the work. 

Votes & Statistics

Statistics can always shed a light on which demographics enjoy reading your work, along with a host of other items.

Readers can also vote if they enjoyed your writing, and leave comments. Published works can be edited and published, giving you complete control over your writing. 


Communities

Wattpad had a thriving community that share a deep passion of the written word. There are groups which can assist genre-specific authors with getting targeted feedback from fellow group members.

Mobile App

Wattpad also provides a mobile app, which makes it easy to check up on notifications, read other authors’ work, and reply to comments.

Competitions

There are a few regular competitions running on Wattpad such as short story competitions and the like. Most aren’t for cash prizes, but every bit of exposure helps!

Conclusion

Wattpad is a great place to get feedback on your story as it develops. It’s also a great place to upload complete works and short stories to provide additional traction for your priced titles.



In Conclusion

There are many other critiquing groups and platforms out there, but these two work great and are easy to use. With their large communities and host of functions and tools, these two websites have become firm favourites when it comes to critiquing.

What critiquing sites can you recommend? 


Bio:


Ronel is a brand-spanking new indie author. She loves creating fantastical worlds set in the future, the mythical, and the horrific. Translate: She writes science-fiction, fantasy and horror novels.

Her life story is not particularly fascinating, but her love of technology, PC games and writing is. Beside writing, she spends her time slaying rendered baddies in the form of robots, gangsters and aliens - with any weapon that happens to be at hand.

When she's not writing, she's gaming, and when she's not gaming she's either sleeping or eating, as these are prerequisites for a continued life on planet Earth.

Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/Ronel-van-Tonder/e/B00O8XAJVU

Thank you, Ronel, for providing us with plenty of food for thought. If you haven't read any of her sci-fi novels yet, check them out. I had the privelege of reading 'Compile: Quest' a few months ago and it's on a par with works from some of the classic sci-fi authors such as Asimov and Herbert whilst reflecting 21st Century writing styles. Don't miss them!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Guest: Seumas Gallacher

What can I say? My Guest this week is the inimitable Scot who entertains daily on his renowned blog and electrifies his fans with gripping thriller novels. And... he's got some interesting news...
Ladies and Gentlemen, Lads and Lassies, I give you...




Seumas Gallacher

…one simple step for a Blogger… 
one giant step for a self-publishing Author…


…January 27th, 2015 is unlikely to go down in the history books for future generations to marvel at its significance… but for this ol’ Jurassic quill-scraper the date is laden with various emotions… it marks the first day when my wee Jack Calder crime thriller masterpieces saw the light of a Publisher’s beacon… the good folks
Amazon Link
at 

Crooked Cat Publishing, Stephanie and Laurence Patterson,  have contracted to re-launch my entire series to date, with the likelihood of further titles to follow… the emotions are mixed, Mabel, ‘coz it means that all of the Master-Gallacher-solo-driven initiatives in the self-publishing universe now have a formal partnership… the six years of exhorting, complaining, and, yes, whining, like a Missed-An-Oscar-Award-Actress, that nob’dy in the publishing industry LUVS me or my WURK are now over… the incredible range of fantastic literary pals include many who have already slung their hammock over to the Crooked Cattery… and they all speak well of their experience… I’ve been asked several times ‘why go with a publisher after all this time, and after yer successes to date with 80,000+ downloads on the Great God Amazon?’… well, I could give yeez plenty of so-called ‘logical explanations, Sherlock’, but it boils down to this… it feels right, it feels ‘time’, it feels good… and the wunnerful thing is that I realize that any author, self-published or ‘housed’, is still expected to bear a significant amount of the SOSYAL NETWURKIN activity that is so inured in the ‘business of writing’ for a scribbler these days, in my not-so-‘umble opinion… and as many of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land know, I rejoice in being a part of the Web WURLD…and here’s the clincher… the Patterson duo as publishers ‘get’ the modern reality of hybrid offerings to the reader market… eBooks and print, and oh, by the way, they have the ability to get my stuff into many other distribution channels that my single brain and one pair of hands simply could never find the time to do, and write… watch this space… yeez will be kept informed… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!...



Bio:


Seumas Gallacher was born in the cradle of the Govan shipyards in Glasgow in the so-called “bad old days” which were in reality the greatest of days, where everybody was a real character of note. An early career as a trainee Scottish banker led to a spell in London, where his pretence to be a missionary converting the English locals fell on deaf ears. Escape to the Far East in 1980 opened up access to cultures and societies on a global scale, eventually bringing the realization that the world is quite simply one large extended village. The lifelong desire to write resulted in a series of thriller novels. Seumas says that finishing that first novel was one of the best feelings he has ever experienced in a life full of rich emotions. His other novels, "The Violin Man’s Legacy” and "Vengeance Wears Black" will be following shortly, also from Crooked Cat Publishing so watch this space for an update and links in short order. 



Here are the other two thrillers NOW AVAILABLE from his new publishers:

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Thank you, That Man, for sharing this great news with your fans. Best wishes for this new stage in your writing journey. I've read all three of Seumas' books and am eagerly awaiting the fourth, 'KILLER CITY', out later this year.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Guest: Kim Carmichael

My Guest this week has a secret to confess; but I'll let her tell you more about that. Ladies and Gentlemen...



Kim Carmichael

"Those Books"



Yes, my name is Kim Carmichael and I write "those books". 

Not only do I write "those books", but I am damn proud of them. 

Romance books.

The books women used to hide behind decorative quilted paperback covers, but now can hide on their e-readers and no one is the wiser.

So, yes, I write those books.  The ones with the hunky hero (or heroes if one is so inclined) and a heroine who is lucky enough to snag the man all wrapped up with a nice happily ever after at the end.
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Outside of my writing friends, when I tell people that I write romance I get one of three reactions:

1. Men universally smile, and maybe give me an eyebrow raise as if we are speaking a secret language.  Some will ask if I write "naughty" scenes.  When I say yes, the smile gets bigger.

2. Some women nod and ask where they can get my book (All authors should always carry tons of swag in their handbags for just this opportunity).

3. The rest of the women scowl and ask if I write "those books".



Here is what I would like to tell the rest of the women about “those books”.

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a)  Yes, we have plot - Writing romance is much more difficult than one would think.  It is not simply a sex scene wrapped around some thin plot.  (Well, maybe some are but I digress.)  True romance writers agonize over their characters, their goals, motivations and conflicts.  We make sure that every scene is there for a reason, that everything we write will pull the story forward and we even have a team of people who will test drive the story for us to make sure it’s working.  We write for hours to make sure that when you turn the last page you can take a deep breath at having been taken on a satisfying ride.

b)  The sex scenes are the hardest scenes to write – And as someone who writes two- flame to five-flame scenes, let me tell you that the more flames the harder it is to write.  There is far more to a sex scene than inserting tab a into slot b.  The sex scenes require that we use all five senses in our writing, deepen the point of view, and yes – make sure that the sex scene moves the plot forward.  There is also the task of making sure the sex scene is actually something that one can accomplish in real life.   If you are writing sci-fi or paranormal, this may not be such an issue, but in contemporary romance, we need two regular people to be able to perform the feats we see in our head, then we have to accurately describe it so it makes sense to our readers.  If we are not aroused by our own sex scenes, something is definitely wrong and you won’t be turned on either.  Sometimes the scenes are so hard to write, I skip them and save them for the end.

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c)  I actually studied writing – When I decided that I wanted to be a romance writer, I wasn't one of the fortunate ones who just decided to pick up a pen, wrote my novel and had it accepted (but kudos to anyone who did).  I worked like a dog studying point of view, story structure, character journeys, showing and telling.  I learned from anyone willing to teach me and I got rejected until I was good enough for an acceptance. 

d)  Romance sells – Be it a bodice ripper or a contemporary, romance fiction sells and is over a billion-dollar industry.  "Those stories" make money, people!  Someone must be reading them.  (Source – RWA)

e)  Our readers have better sex lives – Women are stimulated emotionally, and it is agreed that readers of the romance genre have better sex lives, so much so, that therapists often use "those stories" as part of their treatment.  (Articles Factory, 4/3/2006)

When asked what I write, I hold my head up proudly and say romance novels.  Men can continue to give me the knowing glance, and I may make a few new readers, but when faced with the few who look down at me and "those books," I will just nod and smile.


Bio:

Kim Carmichael began writing nine years ago when her love of happy endings inspired her to create her own. 

A Southern California native, Kim's contemporary romance combines Hollywood magic with pop culture to create quirky characters set against some of most unique and colorful settings in the world. 

With a weakness for designer purses, bad boys and techno geeks, Kim married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running and finally admitted handbags were an investment. 

Kim is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as some small specialty chapters. A multi-published author, Kim's books can be found on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. 

When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.


Website:  www.kimcarmchaelnovels.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kimcarmichaelnovels

Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Carmichael

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCarmichael4


Thanks, Kim, for sharing your secret with us. Like an extract from 'On the Dotted Line'? Read on...

“I have a charter plane at my beck and call.” He lifted his head. “And I have you.”
Everyone had their certain moments in life they would always remember. Some of these moments were shared with the world such as man landing on the moon. Other moments like special birthdays or life changing events one was supposed to keep forever. Then there were the moments, little flashes that stuck with someone for the rest of their lives but would be meaningless to anyone else.
Randolph mentioning her, marriage, and a charter plane together qualified as one of those moments in her life.
She forced herself to take a breath, move, react in any sort of way to his idiocy. “I think the fever is getting to you. Maybe you need to go home.”
“Actually, I feel surprisingly better. I think what you gave me worked.” He tilted his head, his curls tumbling off to one side with the motion.
“So says the naysayer.” No one was ever surprised when a prescription worked, but everyone was amazed when what nature doled out did the job. Actually, she was amazed he gave her remedy a shot.
“Maybe you’re on to something.” He pointed at her. “At last my head isn’t pounding. You did that.”
“Then I need to go home. I think I’m going to be sick.” She needed to go anywhere deemed a Randolph-free zone. She walked down the alley toward her store, the gravel digging into the bottom of her sandals.
“Lest you forget you don’t have a home.” He called after her.
“Don’t let him get to you,” she mumbled and forced herself forward. He must have continued to eavesdrop on her and Jade.
“How much longer are you going to be able to put off not paying your landlord?”
His words hit her, and nearly knocked her over.
“You know you may have something I need, but the street goes both ways.” He followed her down the alley.
Not wanting to hear whatever argument he spewed, she continued her trek.
“What is it you want Willow? What if I told you I could make it happen?”
“I just want to be happy.” Her steps slowed.
“You know, if you married me I would get the rent current within three seconds of saying yes and you would never fall behind again.” The man continued. “I could also make sure you never had to buy anything but the best ingredients for your store. If your headache remedy is any indication, they work.”
Her mind yelled for her to keep walking. At the end of the alley she would be at her shop, go up the flight of stairs, make a cup of tea and get rid of his bad vibes.
“I can make you happy. I have the money and the connections. You would be set, all for only three hundred and sixty-five days of your life.”


Eric @ www.ericjgates.com