Monday, March 31, 2014

The Doe Network

Years back, I stumbled across The Doe Network

From its mission statement:
"The Doe Network is a volunteer organization devoted to assisting Law Enforcement in solving cold cases concerning Unexplained Disappearances and Unidentified Victims from North America, Australia and Europe. It is our mission to give the nameless back their names and return the missing to their families."

Admittedly, I haven't really been back there much since I first found it.  As a hermit, I can't really provide much help.  And honestly, the reason I found it in the first place was it seemed like a wealth of story ideas. 

Still, while you're strolling through its archives, check the areas you've been in your life and see if you might know anything about the unsolved cases in its databases.  Check to see if you recognize any of the unidentified souls.  You never know.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fabulous Photo Friday or Yuck?

I'm not sure this is "fabulous" but this is a shot I'm considering blowing up to a big print.

I think I'd think it's kind of beautiful…if I didn't know it's the surface of the lake.   Yuck!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Here's Thursday Again - How Would You Off Someone?

JB's up to her ass in alligators and I'm still in vacation mode, so today's fun and enlightening post has been postponed.  Everything should be back on schedule for next week.  :crosses fingers:

Meanwhile, here's a quick question for y'all.  If you had to kill one person on purpose, what would you use to get the job done?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Do the Tough Stuff

I've taken to literally writing (by hand, shocking right?) "I do the tough stuff" ten times every day.

 I know it sounds stupid, or maybe crazy, or maybe like a giant waste of time, but it works for me.

 Call it a mantra, a reminder, a pep talk, a kick in the ass -- whatever… it's necessary… not to write down, but to do.

And not just for me…but for YOU.

 This has become apparent in the past couple of weeks when it seems like everyone I know has told me about things they've avoided/are avoiding doing.

 Don't get me wrong. I don't do ALL the tough stuff. I don't have the energy, or time, or motivation to do it all. But I do make a conscious effort to do a lot more of it. 

Tough stuff is different for everyone.

 For writer it could be these kinds of things:

 If you'd rather play on Facebook than write, forcing yourself to reach a daily word count goal might be tough for you.

 If you've never joined a writing group, or attended a conference…that might be tough for you.

 If you've never had a critique partner, that might be tough for you.

 If you hate edits, that might be tough for you.

 If you hate marketing, that might be tough for you.

 But here's the thing: YOU'VE GOT TO DO THE TOUGH STUFF or you're not going to grow.

 I'm pretty sure no one has ever moved forward by staying where it's comfortable and safe.

 I know it's scary and uncomfortable and misery-making, but you've got to do it.

  So tell me: What's tough for you? And what tough stuff are you going to tackle?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not a Teaser Tuesday - The Long Road Back

Hi Folks.  Today I decided that instead of a teaser, I'd give you the preface of a memoir I began but never finished.  (Yep, I have a lot of books I began but never finished.  I consider them flexing the writing muscles.)  I may finish this someday. Then again maybe not...  My old writing professor once told me that in order to write well about a sensitive event, you need to achieve distance.  Unfortunately, some things never quite get to that point where enough distance is achieved to write a good book.  Part of me still feels this is a book that needs to be written and another, larger part likes to think I've moved past it.  If anyone ever can move past something this monumental...

The Long Road Back
First, let me begin by saying that this is a fictionalized autobiography.  That is to say that while this is the story of a part of my life, I’ve had to fill in the gaps in my memory to the best of my ability.  While I’ve tried to stay true to the reality of the events, not everything is as clear as it ought to be.  Traumatic brain injury has a tendency to do that.
Additionally, in this litigious world, one has to be careful what one says about his fellow human beings, because, no matter how true the words may be, someone somewhere may try to sue you over the reality of their actions.  I don’t make the rules; I just try to play within them.  Therefore, as the saying goes ‘names have been changed to protect the innocent’—namely myself.  Unfortunately, this also protects the not-so-innocent, but I think they know who they are and reality will catch up with them sooner or later.
Second, I’d like to cover my reasons for writing this book.  I’m sure that many people would prefer to hear that I wrote these words for some ‘noble’ (i.e. altruistic) reasons.  They’d like to read that I am endeavoring to help my fellow TBI survivors understand what’s happened to them, and thereby find a way to enrich their lives.  They’d hope to know that I am somehow educating the masses of the world and thereby turn their ignorance (and its ugly step-child, prejudice) into a warm and fuzzy understanding for the brain damaged populous around them. 
The real answer is: none of the above.  I wrote this book for myself.  I needed to get the memories down on paper; I needed to speak my piece.  If this book somehow helps other TBI victims better deal with their situation—great.  If this book somehow diminishes the world’s ignorance—wonderful.  Icing on the cake, so to speak.  I hope the story of my experiences does help people.  But I want you all to understand that it wasn’t my goal.
TBI has been with mankind since the first caveman who tripped and smacked his head on a rock outside his domicile.  Back then, he probably died, albeit after a long, slow, agonizing headache.  It took many millennium to progress beyond that point, but eventually we did it.  I never really thought about it.  Chances are—neither did you.  Why would you?  Unless something happened that made it necessary anyway.  This is the story of why it became necessary for me, my family, and my friends. 
This, I hope, isn’t a story of suffering.  I hate those.  In my opinion, there are far too many people whining about their lot in life already.  Oh, there was suffering to be sure.  I suffered, my family suffered; a whole section of the population suffers from TBI every day.  In the whole scheme of things, though, the suffering is non-essential.  For me it served only as a catalyst and has no importance beyond that.  Placing any larger importance on suffering—no matter what the cause is—only ever impedes the recovery process, but I’ll get into that later.
This is a story that, unlike most stories, doesn’t necessarily follow a straight timeline.  Some events are jumbled in my brain and are difficult to sort out which happened when.  Other events only came to light after investigation, and while they may have happened first, I didn’t learn about them until later.  Hopefully, I’ve presented them all in a fluid enough manner that you won’t get lost along the way. 
I’d like to begin at the beginning, which for me wasn’t until a couple of weeks into the whole story.  The real beginning—January 11, 1994—I will get into later.  My life, for all intents and purposes, began on January 28th.
It all started with a dream—a dream I remember with startling clarity despite the ravages my memory endured.  It is a dream I remember so well because it was never a dream at all.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Go Home, Muse. You're Drunk.

Sorry I was quiet last week.  I went on vacation.  We came back on Friday.  Unfortunately, I think my muse took the opportunity to ditch me during our layover in Atlanta and she took my gumption along with her as a drinking buddy.

She came back Saturday night, drunk off her ass.  I was nestled down for a good night's sleep in my own bed for a change, when she burst into my brain whispering plot twists.  The bitch.  Lucky for me, she hammered at me so hard I remembered most of what she said.  She was drunk, but she was genius.

Now I just need to coax out of her where she left my gumption.  She gave me these awesome ideas but without the gumption, I can't do a damn thing with them.  I suspect she ditched him, too, and he has to walk back from wherever she left him.  Here's hoping he doesn't wake up hungover in a dumpster outside Vegas with his wallet missing.

That's the sort of thing she'd do.

I wish she'd taken my self-doubt instead of my gumption.  But then again, who wants to party with Self-Doubt. She's a bitch.  ;o)

Oh, and while I was in Florida, I finally got to meet my fellow Killer Chick.  JB is as awesome as she seems online.  I'd post pics, but I didn't ask her first.  Plus, she's got the photos of the two of us on her camera.  I just have shots of her.  Maybe next week I'll talk more about the trip... If I can get my damn muse sober enough to write a coherent post. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fab Photo Friday - Feeding Time

Every morning my husband loads three buckets with food - 2 whole corn, one chopped corn - and goes outside to feed the deer.  Some mornings they don't show up until after he's gone, but some mornings, he finds them waiting for him.  They usually back off a few yards at first.  Then they stand and stare while he rounds the front of the house.

Once he's gone, they head on down to the feast.
And then everyone's happy...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

National Goof Off Day

Okay, so National Goof Off Day is officially on March 22nd.  How do you like to goof off?

B.E.:  For me, goofing off can be spending the whole day in my pajamas, reading and eating finger foods.  Read a little, eat a little, read a little, eat a little.  With the TV on in the background.  It's a total immersion in vegetation.  Another fun way to goof off is to hop in the car and drive with no destination in mind.  We stop at whatever looks interesting, or not.  And we end up wherever.

JB: For me goofing off means leaving the computer turned off. If it's on, even on an "off" day, I usually end up doing some work of some sort. Sleeping late (a concept the dog hasn't mastered) and take-out are other great ways to goof off.  :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Questions OR Answers?

My apologies for this short post, but I'm tired. Emotionally and physically, AND quite frankly, my brain is fried. Questions or Answers I'd rather plot than write. Yes. You read that right. I think it's WAY more fun to plot than write. This really hit home a couple of months ago when I helped a friend (a former pantser) plot a novella she was planning to write. I had a ball asking her questions. She did all the work, coming up with answers. Then she did more work and actually wrote the thing. (I read it this weekend and I happen to think it's pretty awesome.) I totally get why James Patterson farms out his novels. It's way more fun (for me) to ask questions, to make plot decisions, to play in the broad stroke playground. I'd guess that my friend, who is brilliant with all the little detail stuff would say that coming up with the answers is more fun. Tell me Killer Friends: What do you enjoy more: questions or answers? **A big congrats goes out to former Killer Chick Jennifer Hillier on her Vegas wedding!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sweet and Sexy Romance -- Spring Fling with Clarice Wynter, Virna DePaul and others

Former Killer Chick Clarice Wynter is part of the Sweet and Sexy Romance Spring Fling boxed set, so we thought we'd tell you all about it. Her contribution AN AFFAIR IN APRIL is part of her yearlong Spring River Valley series. While each book stands alone, who can read just one?
The best way to beat the winter chill and start warming things up is with a bundle of sweet and sexy romances from five up and coming romance authors.



 Spring Fling: 5 Sweet and Sexy Contemporary Romances

Passionate rivalries, friends to lovers, scandal, redemption, second chances and a marriage in trouble.

Five hot romance authors steam up the pages of this collection with heat and sweet, a perfect combination of stories for you to fall in love with this spring.

Wild for Mr. Wrong by Virna DePaul
Can an uptight prosecutor with a dark past and a laid-back, southern defense attorney find love despite their opposing agendas?
She’s determined to keep her distance. He wants to pull her close. Together they’ll find their place in each other’s hearts.

Rough Ride by Keri Ford
Lane is torn between which part of his heart he should follow. There’s the side that’s falling for Gretchen. She’s funny, sweet, and everything he could ever want from a woman. But staying in town for her means facing his brothers every day. He’s been holding a secret about their mom for years and seeing them daily makes the guilt hard to carry. If he stays, he’ll have to tell them and risk losing them forever. Or he can leave and lose Gretchen.

The Sweetest Seduction by Crista McHugh
Adam has spent years trying to convince world famous chef Amadeus Schlittler to open a restaurant in Chicago, but he wants the prime location held by Lia. Business has always come first… until sparks fly when Adam meets her. When things get hot outside the kitchen, though, they’re both in danger of getting burned.

An Affair in April by Clarice Wynter
Reporter Evie Prentice lands in the arms of sexy self-defense instructor Tanner Croft, a man with a reputation for charming all the ladies in town. Tanner relishes the challenge of convincing the prickly journalist to take a chance on him, but when Evie gets the opportunity to grab a front page headline, the connection they forged is threatened.

Between Then and Now by Zoe York
Ian Nixon is juggling the family farm and a second job, his kids are a crazy handful and every time he gets close to his wife, she snaps at him. Carrie knows she's being too hard on her husband, but eight years ago she had a one-night stand that turned into a lifetime of diapers and dinners. She can't shake the feeling that she wants more, or the fear that her husband won't understand. They've always had a sizzling physical connection. Now they need to find a way to leverage that into reconnecting on a deeper level.

 You can get your copy here!

Monday, March 17, 2014

What's On Your Desk?

I rearranged my office space last week.  It used to look like this...

Now it looks like this:
One thing about both these pics is that my desk is curiously clean.  Trust me, it doesn't look like this most of the time.  In the first pic, we'd just moved in and I hadn't had time to properly mess the place up yet.  In the second, I just moved it and cleaning was necessary. 

Right now?  It still doesn't look too bad.  I've still got my three containers for writing implements - an actual writing utensil holder for pens and pencils (and my scissors) shaped like a stack of books, a coffee mug from my old days working for WNMU full of black markers, and one of those sleeves for keeping your beverage cold, now with various highlighters.  The mug says "20th Anniversary All Things Considered" on one side and "Public Radio" on the other.  The sleeve says "You're Definitely NOT One of My 3 Wishes" on the other - in honor of my genie books.

You can also see my coffee mug.  (In the old shot I had a glass of Mtn. Dew - but that was an afternoon shot.  About noon, I switch from one caffeinated beverage to the other.)  The orange thing beside my keyboard is my lighter, and behind the pen holders is my ashtray.  (Yep, I sometimes smoke in my office - right next to the computer... I'm a rebel.)

Today, I have two other lighters as well... because I'm notorious for setting lighters down and then just grabbing a new one out of the drawer until eventually I have a pile of lighters all in one place.  I also have a small notepad and a pad of sticky notes.  Under my monitor I have a stack of business cards to remind me of things that need doing - like the doctor's appointment I need to make for week after next, and the card to my new hairdresser. 

I also still have a picture of my parents in a clear plastic frame, sitting right in front of my computer.  Every once in a while I'll look at it and say 'Hi' to my Dad.  (I say 'Hi' to Mom all the time on the phone, but Dad's gone now, so I only get to talk to his pictures.)

And of course, there's the computer.  Desktop model, flat-screen monitor.  It works for me.  I could get a laptop, but I like the big clunky computer with the standard keyboard and the mouse.  And until they stop making them, I'll keep working the way I work best.  Right here, sending words out into the world.

So, in the fashion of the credit card commercials, but slightly less annoying (I hope)... What's on your desk?

Friday, March 14, 2014

I was going to post a pic, but it's Pi Day!

And since it's Pi Day, I thought I'd ask: What's your favorite?

Key Lime is mine. But not green versions.

What's your fave?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jewel Day

Today's supposedly the day to give or receive jewelry (depending on who you are, I guess), but we're gonna take it literally here at Killer Chicks today.  Jewel Day ought to celebrate jewels, right?  So what is your favorite jewel?

B.E.:  I know they say diamonds are a girl's best friend, but I've always been partial to emeralds.  They're my birthstone, after all, and they are my favorite color - green!  I also like sapphires, rubies and amethysts.  Give me all the colors, baby! 

JB: Hmmm…I'm not much of a traditional jewel gal. I tend to gravitate toward things like amber, ammolite, turquoise and opals.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Words and Music

When I first started writing, I couldn't bear to have any distractions.  Of course, at that time, I was a stay at home mom whose daughter went off to school every day.  Within a year, I made the decision to homeschool and the idea of writing in complete solitude started to fall apart. 

That's when I started to write at night, but that comes with its own set of distractions.  I had the husband home from work by then and the neighbors doing their nightly stuff and the traffic noise escalating because school was out and teenagers can't drive without their bass cranked all the way up.  To escape, I started playing music.

I even made a mix tape of my old favorites - what I call 'harsh alternative'.  But Hubs does not have a fine appreciation for that stuff and I'd rather not subject him to Bush and Pearl Jam and Nirvana.  So, I discovered Pandora.

With the headphones on, I can lose myself in the words and the music.  Half the time, I don't even pay attention to what's streaming into my ears.  The beat just flows through me--especially when the music I'm listening to dovetails with the story I'm writing.

Sure, every once in a while, a song will come on that totally throws me out - usually because I have to sing along - but for the most part, the music keeps me focused.  I can't hear the baseball game on in the background.  I can't be distracted by the boom-boom-boom of a passing car.  I'm just in my own little world.

Right now, as I'm writing Djinn 3, I'm back to my 'harsh alternative' again.  When I wrote Wish in One Hand (Djinn 1), I was listening to what I call 'angry girl music'.  For Wrongful Termination, I totally needed something a little more folksy and created a station off Mumford & Sons and Delta Rae.  For the fantasy I was writing last November, I was lost in 80's music like Howard Jones and Crowded House.  It all depends on what's getting me in the groove.

What about you?  If you write, do you listen to music?  If you don't write, do you need music in the background while you're working?  Does it help or is it just a distraction?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Cut and Dried

Time to tease you with something you can't buy again!  Sorry about that.  And not only can you not buy this, but I never even finished it.  I think I might love it a bit too much to ever see it in print.  I know I love it too much to ever get a chance to finish it.  Every time I go back and try to read through it so I can get working on it again, I laugh too hard, get distracted and never go back.

Anyway, here's the beginning of my funny detective story - the first in the Jordan Almond books - Cut and Dried.  (Yes, in my head, this is a series... if I ever finish this.)

I’ve heard it said there are a million stories in the naked city.  I don’t know about the naked cities, but here in Flint, nothing is as obvious as that.  Of course, if things were laid out for anyone to see, I’d be out of a job. 
You see, I’m a private detective. 
I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, I’m not living the dream.  I mean, it pays the bills, and I could be doing a lot worse things with my life, but to paraphrase an old country song I hate, ‘Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be P.I.s’.  It’s harder work than it sounds, and sometimes you piss people off enough to want kill you.
Seems to happen to me a lot more than I’d like, but that’s the way life goes sometimes. 
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not in this for the money; I’m not in it for the prestige either.  This business isn’t as rich and glamorous as Hollywood would have you think, which is too damn bad.  There’s a silver lining here somewhere.  I haven’t found it yet, but a gal can hope, can’t she?
Who am I?  The name is Jordon Almond.  Yeah, yeah.  I’ve heard all the jokes, so don’t bother.  My parents thought it was funny.  I don’t. 
From what I was told, the name was actually Allman up until the ‘60s when my father took a bad trip and ended up changing it to something more in tune with Mother Earth.  After he woke up a few years later, he kept it Almond because he thought it was a good joke.  Now I’m stuck with it.  I would’ve changed the name years ago if my father hadn’t made me promise to keep it.  He knew I never broke a promise.  I wish I’d remembered my father’s sense of humor before I agreed.  He up and died before I could wiggle out of it.
He also roped me into the family business, but he did that after he was gone.  His last will and testament said that as soon as I finished college, the whole kit and caboodle was mine.  So I stepped off the platform—degree in hand—and right into the gaping hole of my future as a private detective.
Now you see why I never bothered to change the name on my office door.  Even after my father died, I left it like it was:  Eddie Almond Investigations.  Hell, even in the crappy neighborhood where Eddie bought this office, I don’t want to take a chance on someone stopping in to buy candy.  I don’t do candy.  Hell, I barely even eat the stuff. 
Not that taking over the family business was the worst day of my life.  Oh no.  I’ve had plenty of worst days in my thirty-five year existence, and most of them had nothing whatsoever to do with dear ol’ Dad.  In fact, one of the crappier days I couldn’t really blame on Eddie at all.  If I had to blame it on anything, I’d blame it on my own desperation. 
You see, it was like this... 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Baton Blog Hop

I was invited to the Baton Blog Hop by the awesome romance author Debra Kayn. (Seriously, she's awesome. Check her out if you don't believe me.) The way this works is that I answer the following questions and then pass the baton on to three other authors. Hopefully without dropping it…I've seen enough Olympic races to know that dropping it is a distinct possibility.) Here we go! 

  1. What am I working on?

I'm working on book seven in the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series.  I've tentatively titled it THE HITWOMAN & the 7 COPS. As usual, Maggie's up to her eyeballs in trouble, but as always she's got her talking pets God, DeeDee, Piss and her sexy murder mentor, Patrick, backing her up. 

2)          How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've got a sympathetic hitwoman as my protagonist (not an easy feat to pull off). The talking animals not only add humor, but heart to the stories.

3)          Why do I write what I do?

I write what I want to read. I happen to enjoy a good farce and I like exploring how far characters will go for those they love. I love that one scene can make me laugh out loud, the next can break my heart, and the next has me cheering my heroine on. Plus, at this point, I'm so deeply invested in Maggie's world that I can't imagine giving her up. (Also, I MAY at times ask myself what God would advise in any given situation. Then I make sure NOT to say that aloud.)

4)          How does your writing process work?

I'm a plotter. I learned how to write screenplays before I tried my hand at novels, so I plot everything out like it's a movie before I sit down to write. (Which isn't to say I'm never surprised by unexpected twists that show up in the writing.) I'm big on white boards, spiral notebooks, Post-Its and index cards.yes, I'm still a pen and paper gal.

Okay, it's time for me to pass the baton to these authors. Go visit them, next Monday, March 17th!

Take a walk on the dark side with SILVER JAMES

You just know that someone who's been a forensic fire photographer, crime analyst and technical crime scene investigator has GOT to be a cool writer. If you like paranormal/romance/mystery/thriller/fantasy Silver's got something for you!

If you're a fan of alpha males and feisty females, it's time you met Karyn Good.

Think romantic suspense with "lots of high-stakes danger" and "really evil bad guys". (My kind of books!)
Learn more about Karyn's books here.

Currently in my TBR pile: Sandy Parks

I met Sandy at Sleuthfest a couple of weeks ago and now I have an autographed copy of her aviation caper REPOSSESSED in my To Be Read pile. Unlike me who makes everything up (I swear…I've never killed anyone!) Sandy is a pilot and world traveler who uses her real-life experience to make her fiction pop! Seriously…check it out!

Okay Killer Friends, your turn to pass the baton: What authors do YOU recommend checking out?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fab Photo Friday

I call this one 'Buddy Contemplating Suet'.

It's actually a red-bellied woodpecker, but since we can't tell one from another, we call them all 'Buddy'.  When we had the feeder up on the porch, they would always visit and every time I'd see one I'd say 'hey, buddy'... and the rest is history.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Frozen Food -- Yay or Nay?

It's National Frozen Food Day so we looked into our freezers and what did we see?

B.E.: Let's see...  I have a couple half gallons of chocolate ice cream and a couple of vanilla, 3 pork ribs, a half a beef roast, scads of pre-patted hamburgers along with several packages of hamburger meat, a bag of frozen chicken tenderloins, half a package of bacon, two pepperoni pizzas, a thing of corn, a thing of teriyaki veggies, a thing of rice with veggies, french fries, meatballs, raviolis and three tubs of homemade soup.  Out here in the country, I buy in bulk and freeze food, or buy frozen food.  Dang, I just realized I'm out of frozen concentrated juice...

JB: In my freezer I've got: Leftover lasagna, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, peppers, a bag of cranberries, a bag of mixed berries, and a loaf of bread. What a boring freezer I have!

Tell us Killer Friends: What are some of your favorite frozen foods? What's in your freezer?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Random Sleuthfest Observations

This weekend I attended Sleuthfest 2014 which is run by the Florida chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. It's a well-organized conference for crime writers and its attendees range the gamut from raw newbies to best selling authors.

I met some wonderful people and attended some informative workshops.

Here are some random observations (which could be applied to any conference):

-- I don't have the attention span to sit through an hour and fifteen minute workshop in a cold room.

-- 45 minutes is too short for a workshop.

(I suspect that one hour would be my Goldilocks "just right" time limit.)

-- An ill-prepared or self-important moderator can make a panel discussion feel like torture. A good monitor can make a panel magical.

-- Many crime writers have/had really interesting day jobs. 

-- Male authors look A LOT more like their author photos than female authors.

-- Act like a jerk in my vicinity and I'll NEVER buy your books.

-- Act like a mensch and I'll make it a point to check out your books.

-- Wear layers and order the vegetarian meal choice.

-- Sit in the back of the room so that when you're bored out of your mind during a workshop (or a speech by a guest of honor)  you don't have to feel guilty about walking out. (Not that I'D ever do anything like that.)

-- If you're not multi-published NO ONE wants to hear your opinions.

-- If you're not published, stop trying to sell your book. Just shut up and listen.

-- Don't waste your time talking to people you think are jerks. Make an excuse and move on to someone who might be more interesting.

-- Be open to everything. One of the most interesting people I met isn't even a writer.

-- It's bizarre and annoying to have to listen to "Oh The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. (But to be fair, I've never been a Seuss fan.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

This is from a romantic suspense novel I've been trying to finish for years. I'm ALMOST there.

Hannah Maitland, the missing girl, lived in a beige Cape Cod in the middle of town. It was the section where the lawns were kept tidy by the homeowners instead of day labor hired help and seasonal decorations were put up and taken down on schedule.
            Coop knocked sharply on the front door and then took a step back so the he could be seen clearly through the peephole. He glanced sideways at Kimberly who was fidgeting uncomfortably. She’d been quiet and withdrawn since they’d left the river.
            The woman obviously had a lot of issues. While understandable, they were another reason to stay away from her. He had enough baggage of his own to drag through life, he didn’t need to pick up anyone else’s, which is why he’d told her he had to think about having a fling with her.
            Sensing him watching her, she flashed him a half-smile, a mix of trepidation and hope flickering in her gaze. His intention to stay away from her evaporated and he was forced to accept the reason he hesitated about having a fling with her was because he wanted so much more.
            The door opened revealing a small woman with pinched features.
            “Mrs. Maitland?” Coop asked.
            “Miss. I’m not married to that s.o.b. any longer.”
            “My apologies,” Coop replied smoothly, noting that the divorcee was just as hostile toward her ex-husband as DeSousa had indicated. “My name is Cooper Washington. I’m a private investigator and this is my associate Ms. Richardson.” He handed her a business card. “The District Attorney has asked me to assist the police in the search for your daughter.”
            She scanned the card suspiciously.
            “May we come in and ask you some questions?”
            Nodding slowly, she shuffled backward. They followed her into the house. Every flat surface was covered with photographs of the missing girl.
Noticing a playpen set up in the far corner of the living room, Coop asked, “Hannah is your only child?”
            Indicating they should sit on the sofa, Miss Maitland sank into a chintz-covered armchair. “I have a son.” Her voice was oddly flat.
            “And how old is he?”
            She spent a long moment calculating. “He turned two last month.”
            Coop stiffened, fighting the urge to look over at the playpen. What kind of mother had to think about how old her child was?  Something about the situation felt wrong, very wrong. “What’s his name?”
            “John.” Something in his voice must have given away his suspicions because a note of defensiveness sharpened her tone.
            “Are Hannah and John close?” Kimberly interjected pleasantly, diffusing the tension.
            Miss Maitland looked over at her daughter’s photos adoringly. Tears welled in her eyes. “She’s a sweet girl. Good to him. Too good. Such a treasure, my little angel.”

            Coop leaned back in his seat, hoping that Kimberly would understand he wanted her to keep questioning the mother.