Monday, June 29, 2009

A Treat for You!

Since my awesome news last week, I guess I got really lazy and forgot to post. So, I have decided to post 2 new chapters for your enjoyment...Sorry, they are so short. Let me know what you think! :o)

Chapter 2

Meanwhile, Terry Marks walked into Nelson Pierce’s office. Nelson Pierce was the chief of police, the man to go to when you wanted or needed something done. He had been with the force for going on thirty four years and still had quite a bit of fight left in him. Terry had barely opened his mouth and the gray haired man could already feel his blood pressure rising. Not something that he needed this early in the morning. “Pierce, sir, did you hear about the stunt Hemmington pulled this morning?”

“About pairing you up with Devyn Williams? It’s not like she’s a rookie or anything. Terry, this better not end up like your last partner,” Nelson started.

Terry mumbled something under his breath

“What was that?”

“Nothing, sir.”

“It must have been something important or else you wouldn’t have said it out loud,” Pierce said calmly. “Is it worth getting in trouble for, Terry?”

Terry shook his head no.

“Then what did you say?”

“I said ‘This is bull--” he started before he was cut off.

“Do you really want to finish that, Detective?” Pierce asked, leaning back in his plush leather chair.

“If you didn’t want me to repeat it, then why did you ask?”

“Because I didn’t hear you! You’re in enough trouble as it is. You do know that if you screw up one more time, you are gone, right?” He asked raising his voice, something he didn’t do very often, only when someone wasn’t listening to him. That someone was usually Terry. “Do I make myself clear?”

Terry rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders.

“That was not an answer, detective! Answer me like you’ve got some sense or hand over your badge and gun right now!”

“Yes, sir,” he replied with some hesitation.

“Good, now get out of here and stay out of trouble.” After saying that, Nelson put his glasses on and turned his attention to the stack of papers in front of him. Terry left his office quite upset, but he didn’t care. He wanted to get rid of him anyway. Besides, Nelson wasn’t here to please Terry.

Chapter 3

When Devyn walked into the house through the front door, the house was almost empty with the exception of a couple people from CSU and a young woman crying in the front room. It was a quarter to nine and still no sign of Terry. Not that she was complaining or anything. Not in the mood to wait for him, she walked up to one of the CSU techs and asked, “Where exactly was she murdered?”

“In the living room, which is right around the corner there,” the tech replied, pointing her in the right direction.

She walked into the living room, which looked like a tornado had come through. This room looked like it was normally kept clean, books and magazines were thrown all over the floor, and chairs and a coffee table were overturned. All of this meant that Thelma Wheats was, by all means, a fighter to the end.

Terry walked into the house twenty minutes late, purposely. He was still mad about what happened earlier this morning and on top of that, just didn’t want to be here at all. Before he came, he talked to Detective Brian Miller, his college roommate and former partner before Miller got in trouble with the department. Brian shared Terry’s belief that women shouldn’t have the same jobs as men and both of them had gotten into plenty of trouble because of this many times before and nearly lost their jobs. They had acted out their beliefs and several women had quit or requested to be transferred to another department or precinct entirely because of them in the past three years, but still they weren’t satisfied.

James Cooper, one of the techs, walked up to Terry and asked who the newbie was. “They say she’s my new partner,” he told the man as he glared at Devyn who was standing across the room. She was talking to the young woman who had been crying ever since she came into the house and it turned out to be Thelma’s daughter, Theresa, who had called 911.

“Would you mind coming to the station later on this afternoon to answer a few more questions?”

The young woman nodded. She had stopped crying after Devyn started talking to her and calmed her down. There seemed to be a connection between the two women, but neither of them was sure what that was. Theresa was escorted home and from what she was told by one of the other officers, there would be someone by her side at all times. She and Devyn agreed that they would talk again at three thirty at the precinct before someone took her home.

Devyn went back to the living room and looked at some of the fingerprints that had been lifted from one of the tables, but it didn’t tell them anything new. Still, they bagged the evidence and moved to another area of the room. She and Terry stayed until eleven o'clock without saying one word to one another. There was no point if they couldn’t get a long.

Note: I wanted to post more, but it wouldn't let me. :o(

Monday, June 22, 2009

My First Acceptance Letter!

Earlier this evening, I received a letter in the mail. It was from one of the publishers that I submitted the first final draft of my book to a couple weeks ago. I really thought that it was a letter telling me that my work wasn't what they were looking for and good luck with it. Not the case this time. Instead, it was a letter saying that the editorial staff had reviewed my book and that they were pleased to inform me that they thought my work would make a positive addition to their list of titles! It's been four hours since I read that letter and I'm still somewhere between shocked that it was even considered and excited that this is even a possibility.

Okay, back to reality. There are some pros and cons to this. This particular company is a subsidy publisher, which means that they don't invest their money in the book....I would. Plus, its not cheap and it depends on the length of my book when its all done. There are a few good things about this company though. (Come on now....did you really think that I would waste my time on a company that didn't have any positives?!) They do work for the money that you spend by doing the editing, publishing, promoting and shipping as well as other stuff. Only scary part is that I would have to do book signings...eeks!

According to the research that I've done in the past few weeks, I have found that now a days the traditional publishers, they invest their own money...not you, aren't accepting work from new writers whose work hasn't been published. So it's recommended that new writers should either self-publish or go through subsidy companies, sell a certain amount and resubmit their work to a bigger company. Self-publishing is more expensive and I would have to do all of the work myself, like marketing. So subsidy publishing would be a "better" way to go.

So for now, I'm going to keep working on my book and keep submitting my work. If it's meant to be, then I will have this company publish my work, but I'm not going to settle. All in all, it helps to know that my work has potential. Definitely a great way to end the day! :o)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chapter 1

Who knew that the beginning and the end would be the easiest parts to write? Going through and fixing a few words here and deleting a chunk there, there were a few moments when I really considered tossing the computer out of the window and be done with it, but there would be no fun in that. Well, maybe a little! :o)

After getting over my last bout of frustration, I decided that it was time to introduce you to a few more characters (including one that made me sick from the start) and post a new chapter. As always, please comment and know that this is still a work in progress.

Chapter 1
Six Years Later
Waking up from the same dream for the fifth night since she moved back to Chicago two weeks ago, Devyn shook it off and got out of bed. Before standing up, she looked at the picture of her and her parents in Paris shortly before they divorced almost ten years ago. Saying a short prayer, she got ready for her first day at the Chicago Police Department as a homicide detective.

By six thirty, she was on her way to work with no expectations whatsoever. She had almost forgotten how bad the traffic was since she moved to Seattle, but hadn’t missed it one bit. She finally parked her Ford Escape in front of the precinct at ten after seven. She walked in and asked the man at the front desk what floor the homicide division was located and was told that it was on the fourth floor.

When she finally reached her floor, she started to go into the Captains office, but when she heard the voices inside she stopped.
“I am not working with her, Trey!” a voice yelled. “There has got to be someone she can work with ‘cause I’m not!”

“Terry, you’re going to work with whomever I tell you to work with and it’s not like I’m telling you to work with some rookie. According to her records, she was trained here and sent to Seattle for four and half years ago before requesting to be transferred back here. So what’s your problem?” Trey asked the younger man.

“Trey, I don’t care about her record. You already know how I feel about working with women and then you pull some shit like this! Why?” Terry asked.

“Because maybe you’ll learn something, but even that seems damn near impossible,” he said. “If there is a problem, I will have your badge and gun taken away temporarily or even permanently. It all depends on how I feel that day. Are we clear?”


There was a knock on Trey’s door and when he said come in, a young black woman came in. “I was just told that I could find Trey Hemmington in here.”

“That would be me and you are?” Trey asked the woman as he stood up behind his desk.

“Devyn Williams, sir,” she said. The other man in the room stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

“Well, please sit down, Miss Williams,” he said, sitting down himself. “Oh, and that guy who just left is Terry Marks and will be your partner.”

“It doesn’t look like he is in favor of your decision.”

“He’s not, but I am not here to please him.” Changing the subject, he asked, “What did you think of Seattle? I mean it’s probably nothing like Chicago.”

“It was calm and took me a few months to get used to since I was used to the busy lifestyle here,” she told him.

“Is that why you wanted to be transferred here?”

“Yes and no. I wanted to come back to my hometown. You see, I was born and raised right here in Chicago before I went to the police academy.”

“For personal reasons?”

“I guess you could say that.”

Nodding his head, Trey handed her a file folder and said, “Here is the case that you will be working on.”

Devyn recognized the name on the folder right away because it had been all over the news for the past ten months. “Is this the same William Carson who killed, what, eight, nine people within the past ten months?”

“Yeah, but it’s no longer nine. Last night, Thelma Wheats, who just divorced her husband after 23 years and lived by herself, was murdered at her home. Her daughter, according to the reports, was visiting her mother and is the one who called 911 this morning. So far, that’s all we know until you and Terry go to the scene in a few minutes.” Trey handed her the address to Ms. Wheats home and after showing her around, showed her to her desk.

Before going back to his office, Trey handed her a card and said, “If there are any problems with Terry, call me.”

“Okay.” She put away some of her stuff and opened up the folder to see what she was dealing with before checking out the crime scene. The file consisted of crime scene photos and the information about information on each victim with a half page of what they knew about Carson. She thought that because no one had seen him; he left no witnesses. She looked up to see Terry glaring at her from across the room.

What is his problem? Devyn wondered as she looked at the pictures of the other victims. Carson carefully stapled each of his victims mouths closed and tied their feet and wrists together. After that was done, Carson must have sliced them open and…and then what? She didn’t know what killed each of them besides the fact that they all bled to death. What had Carson done that the paramedics couldn’t control until the victims reached the hospital where the doctors could treat their wounds?

Devyn pulled out a notebook out of the top drawer of her desk and wrote down that Carson might have some knowledge in medicine, is a perfectionist, and has nothing to lose, but his freedom. She wondered why each of the murders was exactly a month apart. Were they randomly picked or did the victims know Carson before the night they were murdered?

“Hey, you! Hemmington wants us to go to the Wheats woman’s house,” a voice said. She looked up to see Terry glaring down at her.

She rolled her eyes at him and said, “Yeah, I know. He told me while I was in his office and--”
Before she could finish her sentence, he abruptly turned and walked away.

“Asshole!” she whispered under her breath and looked at her watch. She grabbed her jacket and headed to the newest crime scene.

TGIF! :o)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rewriting realizations and thoughts

The other night, I decided to move up the chain of events after....well, let's just say the flow was kinda messed up. In my head, (not that this is a good place to be sometimes) I knew what had to be changed and to make sure that I didn't miss anything, I even wrote down the details. It all sounded great on notebook paper. It even sounded fine when I put in the new opening and made the first few changes. It was the end of the second week and beginning of the third that I realized what I had done or what I was going to have to do.

Changing the date on a piece of paper or a regular document..simple. Not so much with this. I am now going to have to go back and rewrite some scenes, which isn't entirely a bad thing. Again, maybe its the critic in me, saying, "You would think by now, you would have figured all this out." If so, whatever. I was really hoping to post a new scene in the next couple days. If all goes well, it might just happen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Note to Self: Keep that Notebook in Your Purse!

While I was out today, an idea for the opening chapter hit me. It was almost strange, if not frightening, because I wasn't me for some time, but my main character. I could hear the sounds she was hearing, smelling the smells and the fear....well, I think you get the point. I think I freaked a couple people out when I went to the information desk to ask for a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget my fabulous idea. (I'm not quite sure why I walked out of my apartment today without my notebook.) Eh, they'll be fine!

Now, once I got home from hanging out with a friend of mine, I put the final touches on the opening chapter. So, since you have all been waiting oh, so patiently, here it is.

Devyn Williams, a young black woman currently attending the nearby police academy, walked into her dad's house and immediately felt that something was off. Putting her purse down on the table in the foyer, she walked toward the living room where she heard the TV playing. Her dad was probably just watching a rerun of the Dead Zone, she thought to herself as she turned the corner and walked into the room. She noticed that there was slight metallic smell as she entered the room and got stronger with each step she took. That voice in her head telling her that something was wrong was only getting louder.

She expected to see her dad, Darnell, and godfather, Clayton Ford, sitting on the couch, like she left them a few hours before. Instead, she saw no one in the room. When she walked around to the couch to turn the TV off, that's when she saw it. Her dad was lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood. His mouth was duct taped shut and his normally warm brown eyes were dilated and glazed over. Her hands flew to her mouth and she fell to her knees in shock. Her dad was dead, stolen from her.

After what seemed like eternity, she ran to the other room to call 911, Clayton and her mother. Since the room was now a crime scene, she sat on the front stairs to wait. Clayton showed up just as the police and other emergency arrived. As soon as he ran into the house, Devyn ran into his arms and finally cried. He had been a huge part of the family and helped raise her.

“What happened?” he asked the young woman.

Between sobs, she replied, “I don't know. I just found him like this.”

Before he could say anything, a police office walked over to ask some questions. As she told the officer what she knew and how she found her dad lying there, she watched a couple morgue workers put her dad in a body bag. When it was being pushed past them, Devyn asked them to stop for just a moment. Unzipping the bag to see her dad one more time before they took him away, she started crying again. His skin was so cold and his lips were purple.

Clayton pulled her away, saying, “You don't need to see him that way. Your dad wouldn't want you to.”

She just nodded and let the morgue workers push the body out of the house. Her mother, Lane, finally showed up as they were loading it into the van and ran to her daughter. The officer from earlier reintroduced himself and asked the three of them where they were all coming from and how they knew the deceased. At that word, Devyn lost it. The attempts by Clayton and Lane were fruitless and she finally had to be sedated before being taken to the hospital herself.

The weeks leading up to Darnell's funeral were tough for Devyn. Between being questioned by the police if she knew anyone who would want to her hurt her father, supporting her mother, who was still in love with him despite the divorce, and the thought of burying him, she wasn't sure if it would be possible to even continue at the Academy. Seeing this, Clayton took on the responsibility of burying his old friend.

Two weeks after they buried her dad, Clayton told Devyn that his job was offering him a spot in their New York City office and he was going to take it. “I think this will help me focus on something other than your dad's death.”

“But what about me? You said that you would always be there when I needed you,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You can't leave.”

Wiping the tears from her eyes, he said, “I will always be here for you, no matter where I am.”

A week later, he was gone. Less than two years later, her mother was killed in a double hit and run while she was on a business trip in Milwaukee. The day of her funeral, Clayton never showed up, but sent a bouquet of twelve red roses and one white rose in the middle with a note attached in his place. The note said:

Don't give up. I'm still here!
Uncle Clayton
Devyn had never felt more alone.

The only thing that I ask is that you remember two things:
  1. This is still kind of rough and nothing is set in stone.
  2. Please comment. I would like some feedback on this and every part that I post.

Thanks! :o)

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Touch of News

So, last night I told you about how I submitted my work to a couple publishing companies just see if they would even read my work. I had a few minutes between projects at work, so I decided to check my email and in there was an email from one of them saying they had received my manuscript (sounds a little more important...ha!) and were going to get back to me in the next 2-4 weeks. I'm trying not to get excited about this, especially since my writing is still quite rough. Still though, I took my first step and put my work out there! That's the exciting part.

NBA Finals, Life and Research....

Okay, anyone who has access to the Internet, a TV or newspaper has heard of the whole LeBron James fiasco with him walking off the court after losing to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. I, personally, have never been a fan of his and this incident didn't make him look any better in my eyes. Anyway, I thought the NBA Finals game 1 would have been more interesting, but as always, I was wrong. Disappointed? Yes, but I really do think Howard and the Magic can still give Kobe and the Lakers a run for their money.

Being the oldest, I thought there could be nothing that could shock or amaze me until this past Wednesday night. If you don't already know, I watched my sister graduate from high school the other day and for a couple hours, I felt like a proud parent. Thank God I'm not one, though! I don't think she would have made it this far in life! (That's beside the point!) As I watched her walk across the stage, I could only think of her as a toddler during her first birthday party, months after biting into a glass ornament like an apple. She was sitting in a high chair with cake smeared all over her face and clothes and a pan of leftover cake in front of her. 17 years later, seeing this same girl walk across the stage to get a diploma made me so proud. Even to see some of her friends graduate was a little crazy. Then, of course, there was that one kid who decided to do a back flip when his name was called....It wouldn't be a graduation without the extra show!

To the real reason we're all here. Instead of going through my semi-finished book and reading the self-editing book that I bought, I opted to do more research on editing/ publishing companies. YIKES! No wonder most people either opt not to have their work published or publish their work themselves. Between the costs and the odds of them actually getting their work even considered by a publisher, which are slimmer than a semi decent player getting into the NBA during this years draft, is kind of depressing. In my search, I found several sites that said on the home page that they were no longer accepting any manuscripts, especially if it is from a new author! Hmm, I guess that's useful information.

Not everything was a failure, I promise. Just playing around to see if I would get a response from even the smaller publishing companies and see if they would even consider reading my work, I submitted either a very, very small chunk of it to one of them and the most recent version to another. Since this was done electronically, I am supposed to hear something in the next couple weeks. It should be interesting.

In the next few days, after I either rewrite the opening chapter (again!) or tweak it to my liking, I hope to post it for you to read.....Eeks!

Be safe over the weekend! :o)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Frustrations of self-editing

So I have been done with the second draft of my book for less than a week now and have since bought a book (Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell) that gives great advice about self-editing and how it's the best way to go. I'm pretty much in agreement with this author, since there are companies out there who charge an arm and a leg to do it for you and can do more harm than good. (Okay, I totally just strayed from my point...sorry!) So far, I'm think that this is great, since, for the most part, I'm on the right track. Here is the problem: I only said "for the most part". The other parts that I am off on, I am WAY off on. In less than two pages of reading, I wrote down over a page and half of notes where things will have to be changed. During this same chapter, it made me really start thinking of whether to cut at least one character out or not. This is, also, on top of a second version of my opening chapter that I just wrote Monday night/ Tuesday morning.... Oh boy! (This will come later.)

I'm trying to figure out if it's the critic in my mind coming out saying, "Why are you even putting yourself through this?" or if the author of this writers "Bible" is telling the honest to God truth and is really trying to make my (in this case) work better. When I started this book years ago, I knew how the process worked, but actually going through it is something totally different.

To those reading, if you haven't already noticed, you will be reading the random thoughts that I have while going through this process. Maybe in the end, my frustrations will all be worth it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let me introduce you to....

The characters that wouldn't take no for an answer when I didn't want to tell their story.
  • First is Devyn Williams, the main character. She is a young black woman who lost both of her parents to violent deaths while still at the police academy and lost the last person that she called family to a job transfer. Despite the fact that her own father was murdered, she refuses to see herself as a victim.
  • Miles Jackson is Devyn's partner. He is few years older than her and is trusted by their superiors to help finish a case that started several years before
  • Williams Carson, a charming older man with a past. He is the hardest one to really describe because then I would tell too much. There were times that I hated him to the point where I considered changing the ending. Once I got to that point though, I almost felt sorry for him. Not enough to change the ending.

These three are probably the most important characters in the book. There were times when I really hated one of them, laughed and cried with them.

My own worst critic...

They say that everyone has something to say, a story to write. Does fiction count too? Over the past few years, the words that you will later read, made a home inside my head until I finally wrote them down. Once on paper, I always wondered if my story was worth putting on paper or the time that it took to write. After being rewritten over and over, I am finally presenting to you the thoughts in my head.