Thursday Writing Quote ~ Close

Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. ~ Chuck Close (painter)

Nuggets for December

I'm not crazy about the first item on the list, but I think #2 is a wickedly brilliant way to build a mailing list.

Trying to get your ending right? This may help.

How do you deal with a character telling things to another character and keep it interesting?

Writers hate writing blurbs and queries, but this will help 

Do you know when to start a new paragraph? Are you sure?

See you next year! 

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Higgins Clark

Writing a first draft is like clawing my way through a mountain of concrete with my bare hands. ~ Mary Higgins Clark

Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ The Martian

I'm sure everyone has heard of The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir by now. I'm especially curious to read it because it started life as a self-published novel. So let's get to it.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

  I'm pretty much fucked.
  That's my considered opinion.
  Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life, and it's turned into a nightmare.

  I would only be "in command" of the mission if I were the only remaining person.
  What do you know? I'm in command.

Okay, yes, I fudged a little. It's three sentences. And they weren't randomly selected. I was going to abide by the rules, but when I hit this at the 2% mark and it made me laugh (which I hadn't expected,) I knew this was what I wanted to share.

Have you read it yet? Or did you just figure you'd see the movie?

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at:

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Gaiman

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins. ~Neil Gaiman

Next Up? More McKnight Fun

So Liar, Liar, Heart's Desire is off to the editor, which means I'm done with it until it comes back. It also means I'm thinking about the next project.

So what's the next project? Frankly, I'm not sure. I'm trying something a little different this time, seeing if I can find a way to be more productive. You see, a lot of my writing is done somewhere besides the keyboard. At least, that's how it works when things are going well. I think things through or come up with a snippet of dialog and a goal for the conversation, and then I start writing it. If I have to do that at the keyboard, it starts to feel like pulling teeth. Working away from the keyboard seems to allow things to bubble up from my subconscious better, and I've learned my subconscious is where my muse resides. It can be a slow process sometimes. So that's why I'm working on two projects. I'm hoping that while I'm working on one story, ideas for the other will be percolating down below and that will keep my momentum going. Sooner or later (probably later), I expect one of the stories will take off and become The One. Until them, I'm in the Fun-and-Games portion of writing where I'm less concerned about how to resolve the story than I am with just playing with scenes. This is the part of writing I love.

So which stories are on my plate?

Both of them are McKnight stories. White Knight is Ezra's story. He's the McKnight sibling who lives in New York City and works at his Aunt Esther's modeling agency. Hard to imagine one of the McKnight boys living in NYC, isn't it? There's a really fun scene where he gets sucker into a charity bachelor auction. Yup. Catnip for the ladies.

I don't usually share first drafts with anyone, but I wrote this yesterday (which means it's very rough-draft.) It's a scene from after the bachelor auction. Ezra is at a friend's house for their monthly poker party.

   “You’re late,” Keith said when he opened the door. “We been waiting on you.”
   “I got hung up running an errand for Esther,” Ezra said.
   “Come on back. We’re in the kitchen.”
   He couldn’t be too late then if they were still beering-up. Julian “Jules” Cohen, Leon Sutton, and Reginald “Heck” Heckly—all regulars—were all strategically clustered around the island in the center of the kitchen where small bowls of mixed nuts, chips, and olives sat next to a silver platter that held alternating rows of sliced salami and cheese and Ritz crackers. Half the tray was already empty and Heck’s shirt was dusted with cracker crumbs.
   “Wanna beer?” Keith asked, his head in the fridge.
   Silly question. “Sure,” Ezra said. “What’s the flavor of the month?”
   “Harp.” Keith handed him a longneck.
   “Great,” Ezra said. Keith was a premium beer connoisseur. The last time he’d hosted the poker party, they’d all been drinking Löwenbräu. Ezra liked the Irish beers better. Not that he’d admit any of them were better than a Lone Star. But they didn’t share his bias; Lone Star didn’t taste like home for any of them.
   “Where’s ZZ? Out with the girls?”
   “No, she’s at the hospital. She said—and I quote—‘Working the ER on a full-moon Friday night is better than listening to you and your yahoo friends belching and telling dirty stories.’”
   “Wow. I didn’t realize she knew us so well,” Leon said with a grin.
   “I don’t belch,” Jules said. “It’s unladylike.” He followed the statement with a loud burp that cracked Leon up. Jules pressed his fingertips to his lips and said, “Excuse me,” in an exaggerated fussy tone. Leon laughed even harder.
  Ezra sometimes wondered about the two of them. Like so many men who worked in fashion, Jules was apologetically gay. He flaunted an effeminate manner that he made Jack from the TV show Will and Grace look butch.
   Leon was Jules antithesis. A big, black man with massive shoulders and biceps, he looked like the poster boy for construction work. He had, in fact, walked steel girders for ten years before deciding to specialize in demolition because he liked making things “go boom!”
The first time they’d met, Jules had dropped his keys and asked Leon to “be a dear and pick them up for me.” Leon had scowled before bending over slowly to retrieve the keys, but before straightening, he’d wiggled his butt which had sent everyone there into hysterics. It had been the beginning of a close but sometimes bizarre friendship.
   One that didn’t amuse Jules boyfriend Peter.
   “Everyone ready now?” Heck asked.
   “Hold up there a minute, Pigpen.” Keith grabbed a handheld vacuum from the broom closet. “ZZ will kill me if you leave a trail crumbs through the house.” The vacuum came to life and Keith ran it down the front of Heck’s shirt. When he was done, he slapped Heck’s cheek lightly. “Now you’re good to go.”
   “Aw,” Leon said with mock admiration. “You’re going to make a wonderful mother someday.”
   “You wanna change my diaper, too?” Heck asked.
   “I told you to go before you came over,” Keith said.
   “Oh, man. He really does sound like someone’s mama,” Leon said.
   “Y’all are gonna need a mama,” Ezra said, giving his Texas twang free rein. “Coz I’m gonna take all your money and send you home cryin’ like a redheaded stepchild.”
   “Whoa,” Keith said. “That’s big talk for someone who lost his ass last time.”
   “I didn’t lose my ass. I gave y’all early Christmas presents.”
   “And you’re gonna give us another one tonight,” Leon said.
   “When y'all are done trash talking, maybe we could move to the poker table,” Jules said. “Because Daddy needs to buy his sweetie something pretty for his birthday, and I’m counting on you guys so I can make it something nice.”

And then there's Knight Vision. That's what I've been working on today. You may remember my hero Gideon from A Dark & Stormy Knight. He's the brother with a touch of the second sight. He's also a farrier, so he spends a good part of his weeks traveling around. He's a bit more reticent than his brothers, but in his own way, he has a wicked sense of humor.

It's really more of a snippet. Keep in mind, it's severely stripped down, which means it's nearly all dialog. Gideon is shoeing a horse at the horse rescue where his sister Daisy volunteers when she stops by to chat with him about a woman (Skyler) who owns a horse barn.

  Daisy plopped down onto a bale of hay. “Skyler seems nice,” she said a little too casually.
  “Yup,” Gideon said as he aligned the iron shoe on the horse’s hoof.
  “Her sister too.”
  Daisy pulled a straw from the bale of hay and started chewing on one end. “You courtin’ her?”
  “Now what makes you think that?”
  “Well, you don’t offer to paint all your customers’ houses. Seemed like you’re kinda goin’ that extra mile for her.”
  “She needed help.”
  Daisy grunted softly. That was one of the things Gideon liked most about her. She could be girly sometimes, but mostly, she was as down to earth as any of his brothers.
  “Well, I think you’d make a handsome couple. And she likes horses, so she’d fit in good with the family.”
  “Yup, she would.”
  She breathed out loudly through her nose. An exasperated sound. Gideon kept his head bent to hide his smile. Daisy was the most direct of his siblings. She didn’t have the patience to beat around the bush for long. Any second now, she’d change tactics. Three . . . Two . . . One . . .
  “Gideon, are you listening to me?”
  He wiped the smile off his face before he looked up. “Sure am. Skyler’s nice. So’s her sister. She likes horses.”
  “Then why aren’t you courting her?”
  “Since when are you so concerned about my love life?”
  “I’m not.”
  “Coulda fooled me.”
  “It’s only . . . It seems to me someone needs to take an interest because you sure don’t seem to be.”
  “Don’t seem to be what?”
  She made a noise that seemed to come from deep in her chest. It sounded like she was hacking up a lugee. “Taking an interest in your love life.”
  “Trust me. I take an interest.”
  “Not so’s anyone would notice. I’ll bet Skyler doesn’t even know you like her.”
  “Did I say I liked her in a love life sort of way?”
  “Ha! You can deny it all you want, but you ain’t foolin’ nobody.”
  “Didn’t you just say I was being so obscure no one could tell?”

So that's what the first draft of my scenes looks like. Not that it will make one iota's worth of difference (because it's really up to my muse), but which one appeals most to you?

And what do your first drafts look like?

Thursday Writing Post ~ Goldman

You have to protect your writing time. You have to protect it to the death. ~ William Goldman

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Nabokov

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~ Vladimir Nabokov

Tuesday Teaser/Opener ~ The Jesus Cow

I love Michael Perry's nonfiction, so I've been dying to get my hands on his first novel, The Jesus Cow: A Novel. When it went on sale at Amazon, of course I snatched it up. I'm very excited to start reading this.


Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”

Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door, and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a percentage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and raise enough money to keep his land—and, just possibly, win the woman and her big red pickup truck?

Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and t-shirts. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.

Opening: (Prologue)
  On Christmas Eve itself, the bachelor Harley Jackson stepped into his barn and beheld there illuminated in the straw a smallish newborn bull calf upon whose flank was borne the very image of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  "Well," said Harley, "that's trouble."

Harley liked few things better in this world than a good pair of boots. But among those things was a woman in a good pair of boots. Not spike pumps or furry winter clompers or thigh-high "bondage waders" (Billy's term), but rather sturdy wafflestompers with some scuff on them.

I just love how Perry takes the image of this woman who's not remotely a seductress and makes her the ultimate sexy woman in Harley's eyes.

Would you keep reading?

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at:

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Eight Sentence Sunday ~ LLTW ~ Suicide Watch


Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer is live on Amazon. To celebrate the occasion, here's eight sentences from Cleo's first day on the job.

  “Contemplating suicide already?”
   Startled, Cleo jumped upright, nearly tipping her chair over backwards. She grabbed the desktop with both hands to keep herself from going ass over teakettle. When she was sure she was no longer in danger of showing the world the color of her underwear, she discovered that, sitting in her chair, her eyes were level with Alec’s crotch.
   He apparently found uncoordinated women a turn on, because he either had a hard-on that would choke a giraffe or he stuffed his pants with rolled up socks. Given their environment, her money was on the socks.
She forced her gaze up and found herself staring into his dark eyes. He looked as if he halfway expected her to reach into her handbag, pull out a gun, and shoot herself in the head. “No, I’m not suicidal. Not yet anyway.”

Here's the blurb for Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer:
Investigative journalist Cleo Morgan’s stories have created Pulitzer buzz, but circumstance push her into a lucrative but career-destroying job writing for a tabloid.

Alejandro Ramirez is blown away by the new star reporter. There's definitely chemistry. Except she thinks she's better than everyone at the tabloid where they work. That grates on him since she's going to be writing stories about aliens and Elvis sightings just like the rest of them.

In spite of the chemistry, she doesn't want to have anything to do with the smug news whore she thinks he is. Except she's already having fantasies about this hot Cuban ex-pat who's showing her the ropes at her new job. Before they have a chance to make this attraction work, Cleo's mother, an ex-Vegas showgirl, is charged with the murder of a Las Vegas casino owner. To clear her mother, Cleo will have to see that Alejandro hasn't sold out, and he will learn that she really is as good as she thinks she is.

You can also read the opening scene.

And don't forget, Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer is currently available for the introductory price of 99 cents. Get yours before the price goes up.

To see other eight sentence sample for other writers visit:

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Tchaikovsky

A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. ~ Peter Tchaikovsky

Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ The Short Drop

This week I'm reading The Short Drop by Mattew Fitzsimmons. The book was one of the four monthly freebies available for Amazon Prime members to choose from. I've gotten a bit leery of these books because they're not always well written and sometimes the story jumps the shark. (They all seem to be published by one of Amazon's publishing arm, so . . .) Some months I pass on all of them, but I'm so glad I picked this one. It's well written and I'm invested in the characters. This is the author's first book, but I think Amazon's found a winner. It's also just the break I need from plowing through The Game of Thrones books.

A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.

For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.

Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard’s bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.

Gibson Vaughn sat alone at the bustling counter of the Nighthawk Diner. The breakfast rush was in full swing as the customers milled about, waiting for a seat. Gibson barely registered the crescendo of knives and forks on plates or the waitress who set his food down. His eyes were fixed on the television behind the counter. The news was playing the video again. It was ubiquitous, part of the American zeitgeist—dissected and analyzed over the years, referenced in film, television shows and songs. Like most Americans he couldn't look away no matter how often it aired. How could he? It was all he had left of Suzanne.

"Entitlement breeds laziness, which in turn breeds decline. But of course with enough money, it is possible not to notice for decades that your family name is gathering dust."

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at:

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Release Day Minus Seven

In just a week, Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer, the first book of the Liar, Liar duology, will be released. To celebrate, I thought I'd share the opening scene from the book. Hope you enjoy it.

   “So that’s her. The great Cleo Morgan.” Alec had to admit she was a looker. Light brown hair tumbled down her back in soft waves, and the skirt of her red power suit ended at mid-thigh, accentuating tanned legs a mile long.
   As if that wasn’t enough, her full, lower lip made him—and every other guy there, he was sure—want to suck it into his mouth as he rolled her back on her heels.
   Half a dozen of the staff—mostly men—were hanging out in the open area at one end of the bullpen that served as a break area-slash-kitchenette, getting coffee or shooting the shit, as Nigel Delaney, the tabloid’s managing editor, led Cleo Morgan on an introductory lap around the office.
   “The Old Man’s lost his mind for sure,” Alec’s buddy Jackson said. Not loud enough to draw anyone else’s attention, of course, since, presumably, he liked his job. “So she can write good copy”—Jackson made a face that said big deal—“and she can get down and dirty doing investigative journalism. Doesn’t mean she can write an Elvis story worth crap. But I heard the boss is paying her a small fortune. She even got a signing bonus like she’s some sort of first-round draft pick.”
   “Oh? And where did you hear that?”
   “Lisa told me on the down-low.”
   Even as he shifted his attention to Jackson, Alec kept Cleo in his peripheral vision. “Lisa in accounting with all the baby pictures or Lisa in legal with her nose in the air?”
   “Lisa in legal.” Jackson’s smile spoke volumes about where else Lisa’s nose might have been lately.
   Damn. “You took her to bed.” Alec didn’t know why he was surprised. Women tended to fall all over Jackson when he decided to break out the charm. He’d thought Lisa was different and had been enjoying himself immensely as he watched Jackson work hard—and fruitlessly—to overcome her uncanny resistance.
   “Well, no. I didn’t take her to bed.” Jackson looked crestfallen at the admission, but it only lasted a moment. A gleam appeared in his eye. “I took her to the back file room. Have you ever done it where your boss could walk in on you any minute? Let me tell you, mi amigo, that is some of the hottest sex you’ll ever have.”
   “I don’t believe it. You didn’t―”
   Jackson made a discreet slicing motion, and Alec cut off his comment. Introducing Cleo to the other staff, Nigel had worked his way almost to them. Shelving Jackson’s sex life wasn’t too difficult when Alec had Cleo to look at. Which brought him back to the question of why she was there.
   It was most likely the money. Tabloids paid exceptionally well, since any reporter who worked for them was committing professional suicide as far as “respectable” media was concerned. So it made sense they were paying more than the proverbial penny, bright and shiny as it might be, to get a reporter with Cleo Morgan’s credentials. It had been her story in The Tucson Sun that had blown open the corruption on the country’s southern border two years ago. Her investigation had exposed a string of misconduct that netted not only dozens of Border Patrol agents and the head of Homeland Security, but had brought down a sitting Arizona senator.
   And earned The Sun consideration for a Pulitzer.
   Nigel and Cleo moved to the guy next to Jackson. Alec took the opportunity to check her out at closer range. She had a nice rack. Full and firm, just the way he liked them. He wanted to nudge Jackson and ask if he thought they were real, but she and Nigel were too close.
   “And this is Jackson Palmaroy.” Nigel’s high-tone accent made Jackson sound like he was someone who should have gone to Oxford instead of the University of Florida. “His speciality”—pronounced with five crisp British syllables—“is alien abduction stories.”
   “Yeah, this week the president is being controlled by a receiver put in his brain by little green men,” Jackson said without a trace of irony as he shook her manicured hand.
   “We’ve already run that story, Jackson,” Nigel said.
   “We did?”
   “Last administration. You should know that. You wrote it.”
   “Well, hell. Guess I’ll have to get more creative. Wanna help me out, Cleo? Care to have an alien baby?” Jackson tugged on his belt with both hands, a gesture that tightened his pants over his bulging crotch.
   Yeah, charming. But only when he wanted to be. Exactly how much were they paying her? Whatever it was, it hadn’t endeared her to Jackson.
   Cleo didn’t even look down. “Can I get back to you on that? I’d like to settle in a bit before I make a commitment that serious.”
   Jackson was unfazed, but Alec had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling. Damn. He didn’t want to like her, but he couldn’t help appreciating her coolness under fire.
   “And this is Alec Ramirez,” Nigel said, moving things right along. Cleo stepped left as though she was moving through a receiving line, her gaze shifting to acknowledge the introduction. Her lips stretched into a stiff, obligatory smile, but from the look of her flat, cold baby blues, Cleo Morgan would happily be hung, drawn, and quartered if it could only happen somewhere—anywhere—other than The Inside Word’s office.
   Bitch. The thought was there in an instant. She thinks she’s better than we are.
   “Alec is our Jack of all Trades,” Nigel continued as though unaware of the sudden crackle in the air. “Writes a bit of everything.”
   Maybe everyone was reacting this way to her. That would explain why she and Nigel seemed oblivious to the hostility Alec felt pouring off him.
   Like an automaton, she held her hand out for him to shake. His mind was working itself into a fever pitch of resentment toward the woman in front of him, but his body responded the way it was conditioned to when face to face with a body like hers. He didn’t even realize he’d clasped her hand until her eyes widened and a spark drove away the emptiness that had been there a second before.
   In the same moment, a charge shot up his arm and blew out all his circuits except one.
   Fuck me. Please.
   Like every other man in the room, he’d been semi-hard the moment she came into view. Now, touching her hand, looking into eyes that had come to life with intelligence, natural curiosity, and more than a modicum of sexual awareness, he graduated to an oversized railroad spike trapped in too-tight denim. And he wanted to nail her with that spike in the worst way.
   The desire to step forward, to thrust his fingers through her hair until he bent her head back as far as it would go, was almost overpowering. He’d suck on that pouty lower lip, teasing it with his teeth before taking possession of her mouth; he just knew she’d taste like sex. Then he’d push that short, tight skirt of hers up and ride her on his thigh until she begged for more.
   He was almost up to the pounding-his-chest-like-Tarzan part when Jackson dug an elbow into his side. Alec forced himself to shake off the fantasy.
   Nigel was looking at him with narrowed eyes as though he had some kind of idea what had just happened. If he did, Alec wished like hell Nigel would explain it to him because he felt like he’d been hit by a semi truck speeding through Nevada on the driver’s eager way to the Mustang Ranch.
   “Writes a bit of everything,” Nigel repeated as though the words contained a slowly dawning revelation. His gaze shifted to Cleo. A smile Alec didn’t like spread across his face. In as hearty a voice as Alec had ever heard from the ever-efficient Brit, Nigel said, “So he’s the perfect one to show you the ropes. He can teach you our style and demonstrate how to take a seed and grow it into our kind of story.”
   Nigel’s words were like a dash of cold water in Alec’s face. Sexual attraction was one thing, but he’d be damned if he was going to be saddled with this too-good-for-everyone, I-almost-got-a-Pulitzer bitch. Unh-uh.
   “Nigel―” Alec tried to interrupt, but his boss was on a roll.
   “We can restructure the cubicles, so you two have a place to work together.”
   I won’t be just saddled, I’ll be shackled! “Nigel―” Alec said in a louder voice.
   “And I think we’ll put you out in the middle, so you absorb the atmosphere better and other staff can help you along as well.”
   In the middle of the room? Hell, no! He’d fought too hard for the corner farthest from the coffee machine for a reason. He had to stop Nigel before it got worse. Alec wasn’t sure how it could, but he’d worked at The Word long enough not to underestimate his boss; Nigel was a master at thinking of ways to make it worse.
   “Nigel!” Alec yelled.
   Nigel was also a master at ignoring his staff when he chose to, so when he turned his attention to Alec and, in a far too reasonable voice, said, “Yes, Alec?” Alec found his mouth opening and closing like a broken trapdoor.
   Jackson unexpectedly came to his rescue. “Are you sure Alec is the best one to shepherd our prize reporter, Nigel?”
   Good old Jackson. Alec mentally promised his buddy a six-pack for coming in swinging on his behalf.
   Jackson slid half a step closer to Nigel. His voice dropped as though speaking confidentially, but not enough to actually exclude anyone in the immediate vicinity. “I mean, with her background, she’s gonna wanna see his green card, and then she’ll be calling the INS―”
   “Hey!” Alec protested. “I was born here!”
   “Yeah, but your folks were illegals―”
   “They were political refugees from Cuba, you asshole.”
   Scratch that six-pack.
   “Yes, quite so.” The light in Nigel’s eyes might have been amusement; it was hell working for someone with that dry British humor Alec didn’t always get. “Sorry, Jackson, but I think we’ll see how Cleo works with Alec. If she kills him the first week, well then, we’ll let her have a go at you.”
   Nigel glanced at his watch. “I’ll take you down to HR to fill out your paperwork. After that, our editor-in-chief, Mr. Phillips, will welcome you to our happy little family.”
   Slack jawed at how quickly his opportunity to head off this babysitting assignment had vanished, Alec watched them depart for Human Resources. Nigel certainly knew him better than to think it was a done deal he’d give up his corner spot.
   “You okay?” Jackson asked.
   “Yeah, sure. Why wouldn’t I be?” Alec said, distracted once again, this time by the swing in Cleo’s backside as she walked away.
   “The way you were staring at her when you shook her hand, I started thinking you’d had a stroke. Not that she couldn’t give you one”—Jackson’s gaze flickered toward the disappearing Cleo—“but I figured it would take more than a handshake.”
   “Of course, it would,” Alec agreed, though who knew what went through your mind when you had a stroke? It was a not-unreasonable explanation. But he didn’t want to talk about any fantasies starring Ms. Hoity-Toity, so he changed the subject. “I can’t believe you got in Lisa’s pants. I really thought she was immune to you.”
   “It turns out she has a bigshot boyfriend.”
   Alec shot him a questioning look.
   “Who cheats,” Jackson said with a grin.
   “Ah. Revenge sex. I thought you were better than that.”
   Jackson added a shrug to his grin. “Sometimes you gotta take what you can get.”

So there it is. And you still have a week to get it for the pre-release price price of 99 cents.

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Hemingway

I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday Teaser/Opener ~ Game of Thrones

Because I can be terribly impatient when I want to read a book and because the second and third books of the Song of Fire and Ice series (but not the first) came into my hands years ago, I started reading this series with book two. (The story was remarkably coherent given how much happens in book one.) Having finally started watching the HBO series, I decided it was time to go back and read the book that started it all, so I'm reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer. They set forth at daybreak to see a man beheaded, twenty in all, and Bran rode among them, nevous with excitement. This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his lord father and his brothers to see the king's justice done. It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran's life.

In that instant of sudden terror, the only lesson Arya could remember was the one Jon Snow had given her, the very first. She stuck him with the pointy end, driving the blade upward with a wild, hysterical strength.

My biggest complain about these books is that it become difficult to keep all the characters straight.

Have you read this? Or watched the series?

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at:

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea