Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Riley, the Loner

Whew!  I feel kind of like Ash over there right now. I’m happy to say I have finally realized why Riley’s been resisting as I’ve progressed through Reaching for Beyond.  What I’m not happy to say is it will push back the release for a bit while I do rewrites; however, it will be a much better book for the delay.  The good news is that the work is progressing more rapidly than it has in a while, so it will be coming up soon.

See the problem is that Riley is a loner, and I’ve been trying to force her to be with people most of the time, and it’s apparently been driving her a little batty. I’m looking forward to seeing her individual approach to more of the events in the book.  The rest of the crew is still around, and are big parts of her life, but as you know, and as she reminded me, Riley is well able to take care of herself without being with someone all the time.  

Jason and Cam

She and Jason work together, but they work best when they each pursue their different approaches to each individual case, and then come together to compare notes and bounce ideas off each other, so I’m going to let them take their preferred approach, and see if it doesn’t flow better. 

The relationship between Riley and Cam will change and develop in this book, but I have no idea which direction they will take.  They haven’t let me know yet what they want to do, but I’m sure they will.

Other Characters

Some of the other characters from Digging Up the Past will be in Reaching for Beyond as well, and there will be some new people to meet, but where they will fit into Riley’s life remains to be seen. She tends to try to keep people at arm’s length because people around her often die.

I don’t know why I suddenly failed to listen to her about how she works best, but there it is.  It’s a mistake I will not to make again, but since I tend to try to take control of situations, I can’t make any promises, so I’m sure Riley and I will but heads again before the series is over.  I’m sure the payoff for this conflict will be more interesting books for you, and it will certainly be a wild ride for me, and probably for both of us. Enjoy! 

Reaching for Beyond: Excerpt

Dark energy, dark and somehow slimy energy slithered over my defensive shield and down my spine.  I shuddered.

My stomach churned. The blood and death were bad enough, but the smell of werewolf, and Lilin combined with the dark energy that I couldn’t identify emanating from the house concerned me more than the smell alone. The dark energy seemed to seep through my shields, and the effect it was having on me scared the crap out of me.  I could feel anger rising.

I wished that Sam, the DUE wizard, or my partner, Jason, who wasn’t in town yet, were here, for moral support if nothing else, but maybe by the time I talked to them, I could figure out how to explain it, and even more importantly, maybe I could figure out why it was making me angry. It wasn’t emotional energy. It was just dark. Even so, with my training and shields, it shouldn’t have affected me at all, much less so strongly. The only benefit I could see right now from either my training or my shields was that I realized what it was that was making me angry.  Knowing that helped me know how to push it back and not take it out on the people around me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell exactly why it was making me angry, and it didn’t seem to be connected to the Lilin or Werewolf energy.  It might not have helped if it was connected to one of them, but at least I’d have a place to start.

 “Are you alright?” One of the uniforms asked me. He was young, and probably had never been to a scene like this before. He also looked like he thought I was going to contaminate the crime scene, but I was willing to bet he still hadn’t been inside, and it would probably be best if he didn’t go.

“No. Let’s get this done.” It came out sharper than I intended it, but the anger kept rising, pushing me to lash out. Knowing what was causing it helped some, but the urge to punch someone was increasing. When an empath lashes out, our emotions spill out over everyone. If I wasn’t careful, I could start a brawl at the crime scene. Not particularly helpful when trying to solve a crime and a good way not to be invited back.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Developing New Ways to Express Creativity:

I am all about creativity.  At work there are often restrictions on how far you can take that creativity, even if you’re in a creative job like mine.  I always tell people, “they pay me to write and take pictures, and it doesn’t get much better than that.”  However, when you work in Law Enforcement, you can only take that creativity so far.  Choosing the right word, and taking the best picture you can while dealing with topics where it is critical that truth and formality is maintained most of the time can sometimes feel a bit limiting at times when you’re like me and like to make things up.  

This week, on the other hand, I’ve been developing a new skill that while you are still seeking the truth of your best interpretation, you still expend more creativity in the creation of what you hope is a good likeness, composite drawing.  You are working from a description, and possibly pictures of facial features, to help get an accurate impression of a person’s face.  I’ve always enjoyed drawing, but since I’ve never had any classes, it generally takes me longer than I have time for to get a drawing to a point where I’m even remotely happy with it.  This class cut down on that time considerably while giving me focused skills for drawing composites.  

I also feel like you just can’t have enough skills, and you should never stop learning, so this class filled both those criteria, and took me out of my comfort zone it an excellent direction.  I am now a composite artist, albeit a new one, who is still perfecting her skills, but I believe that all forms of creativity merge, and the more you exercise your creative muscles, the better honed they become, just like your physical muscles. 
I’m hoping this will also speed up my progress on book two of the Tales from Atlantis.  It’s in revisions, but there’s something, I just can’t put my finger on yet, that I need to change, and I will not put it out until I figure it out.  I want you to have only the best of me and my work.  I will include an excerpt that I’m good with for a bit of a teaser. 

Excerpt: Reaching for Beyond

Even when I pushed past the emotions permeating the room, the blood and the darkness were still there. Blood had soaked in to every visible surface in the bedroom, and darkness flooded the place, reaching for me, trying to soak me in its slimy energy. More blood stood in puddles where the floor and furniture had absorbed all they could. What was left of the body was lying on the bed in another pool of blood, and that increased my anger. It was hard to tell, but I thought it had been a young woman. She didn’t look much more than twenty, but it was hard to tell with her face distorted by her screams.
The fact that the body was in pieces made it more difficult to tell for sure the victim’s gender or age, but her head had fallen back when her throat was torn out, and even though the killer had eventually severed it from the body, the head, still seemed to be leaning back, screaming. Somehow, the killer affixed the head to the headboard.  Her torso was lying in the center of the bed.  I couldn’t really tell what color the spread had been.  It was all dark red now.  Her stomach was ripped open, intestines, and internal organs spilling from it like so much spaghetti. 
It was almost a warped parody of the human form.  The heart had been extracted from the torso and placed on top of it. The heart and torso, lying on the bed in the center of the room, looked more like a gruesome centerpiece than something that had recently been part of a human being. The arms and legs were almost shredded, but you didn’t notice at first because they were separated from the rest of the body.  At first it looked like the victim had been pulled apart because of the way all the pieces were separated.  Body parts lay on the bed, on the dresser, in the corners of the room, and under the window.  As I focused on the heart, a pattern began to force its way through my appalled senses and into my consciousness. The body hadn’t just been pulled apart.  There was method in this destruction.