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Excerpt from “Leather”

Posted: October 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Excerpt from “Leather” Book 2 in The Ridge Falls Series

Brian’s hand landed sharply on his shoulder. “Hey, fridge magnet, are you gonna stare at yourself all day or are we gonna go inside?” Tanner swore his heart jumped out of his chest and was laying on the concrete, beating in the dust.

“Dude, you scared the shit out of me. Did you see that? In the window?”

“What, dozer boy, your ugly face? Yeah, I saw it. So what? Are you done jacking off?” Brian’s blue eyes glittered. “Wanna go in now? I think I see the open sign.” He cupped his hands on the huge window’s darkened glass.

“Um, I don’t know, Brian. Maybe we shouldn’t go in yet.” Tanner felt his knees weaken, remembering the teary plea in the eyes of his older self. He shivered again. “I don’t really feel that good. I don’t think I should have eaten that banana this morning.”

“Really, Tanner Sheehan? Are you bailing on me?.” Brian’s incredulous tone ended in a squeak, “Are you gonna chicken out? You make me get up early on a Saturday to race you down here, just so you can chicken out right before we go inside? You little fuck. What the hell, dude?”

Brian followed Tanner as he backed away from the store. “Honest, Brian, I’m really feeling sick to my stomach. I feel like I’m gonna puke.”

He turned and grabbed his bike, saying over his shoulder as he settled his foot on the pedal, “I’ll call you later, man. I really don’t feel so good.”

He raced away, feeling Brian’s consternation follow him. The words hung inside his mind as he pedaled “Don’t open the door.”

He didn’t see Brian turn back to the store front.

He didn’t see the ornate wooden door open invitingly.

He didn’t see his friend pause, look over his shoulder at him retreating, then shrug and walk into the store.

He didn’t see any of it and he never saw his friend Brian again.

The big bay window absorbed the light, reflecting darkness.

My thanks to Angela! Our cover reveal…

go to https://www.facebook.com/RidgeFalls
to follow the going’s on..

Angela McPherson Romance Author

IntoTheDarknessFINAL
Welcome to Ridge Falls…
Where a person can die, but not really.  Where survival means the unimaginable.  Where the reservoir holds a horrific secret, not everyone is prepared to face.  A boy’s fascination becomes a moving massacre.  A young woman’s sacrifice turns hairy, a narcissist meets the ultimate dance partner, and much more.

Welcome to Ridge Falls… 

Once you step Into The Darkness, you’re already gone.

Book 1 of the Ridge Falls World
 
1 Author Bio
cappic1
Marlie Harris spent her youth reading Anne Rice, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and then later graduated to Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft and Mark Twain.
She has been writing for most of her life while exploring various careers from grain elevator operator, concrete finisher, and ambulance driver to administrator of a Home Health Agency, project manager, and analyst for a Top 40 Corporation.
When Marlie is not writing stories and poetry, she runs her business…

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A to Z ChallangeWhen I first made my blog II titled my blog “Don’t Open That Door….” with a sub line “See now you did it.” At the time, I thought it was a great way to convey the horror/mystery genre of writing that I am doing. Then I realized something, It also had to do with exploring my own inner self, too. I’ve been on this journey for about six months seriously and a lifetime, truthfully. The journey to accept my introversion in a world that didn’t celebrate it. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins, the idea of extroversion is great and the only way to be has been around for a very long time. I never fit into it. But I was taught that there was something wrong with me if I didn’t fit in, so I better make myself fit in. Sort of like coming out, in a way, the process has been long and, at times, tortuous.

I am an introvert, but I love change. I thrive on new challenges and if I can’t get new challenges in my life, then I get bored. When I get bored, bad things happen. In the past, boredom caused me to drink and do drugs, almost to excess, but then I was given a challenge that totally consumed my time and I didn’t need those crutches anymore. More challenges came, I overcame them, excelled at them, mastered them as far as I wanted, then got bored…and well, you get the picture.

Some people called it looking for greener grass. I called it keeping me sane. Monotony drives me completely, utterly, and destructively insane.

Then came the chance to write. To explore new territories and challenge my resources and abilities every single time. Every. Single. Time.

After over 40 years of searching for that one thing that would keep me occupied and not bored, and therefore not self destructive. I’d found it and at the same time, I realized something. Being an author, just like every other thing I tried, is a business. It’s a small business.

That’s what I’m going to blog about (mostly) in April. Introverts guide to small business according to Marlie Harris. There might be some other posts sprinkled in, but that’s my main focus. So wish me luck!

My grandfather used to say something to the effect that if you aren’t making mistakes, then you aren’t working. Kristen’s point here. Just keep writing!

M.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, via Stupid.Photos Image via Flickr Creative Commons, via Stupid.Photos

Much of any kind of success is related to attitude. We can’t control the weather, the future of publishing, the global economic conditions, but we can control our attitude. To be successful at anything, there are a few core principles we should embrace and work on every day. These are muscles of character.

We have peace, joy, patience, self-discipline. Those things are already inside of us. However, we must choose to work on them and do our part to strengthen these “character muscles” to enjoy their benefits.

Ignore Happiness and Strive for Joy

I don’t care for the word “happy” or “happiness” because it’s tethered to other words like “happening” and “happenstance.” Happiness is one of those things that’s easy dictated by what is happening. Joy, however, is a constant and something we can choose.

If you’ve been writing any length of time…

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Sometimes we need motivation to write.

It’s not that the ideas are not in my head.  No, they are floating around in there, taking up valuable space. Space that could be used for something productive, like deciding to do the dishes, or how to start a novel.

The story idea bubbles in my head bump into and absorb all regular thought bubbles that normal people have bouncing to and fro.  Instead of popping and disappearing, my story idea bubbles incorporate regular thought bubbles into themselves.  Yesterday, when we first started NaNoWriMo, I had no clue how to start my novel.  I’d read that you should start out with a question to answer.  I can’t remember where I’d read it.  There have been so many blogs, articles, and books I’ve read lately to prepare to start my writing career that I can honestly say, I would have to go back and re-read everything to be able to quote anyone.  So I’m not going to quote.  I am just going to say that I’d read it.  Because I did and it stuck in a thought bubble in my head.

So this thought bubble Nano story that I’ve been outlining and researching had no real start.  Where was I gonna get the first sentence?  How the hell do you start a novel?

Yes, I did think those things.  Even though I’d read a lot about how to prepare, get through writer’s block, and sell a novel, I didn’t really read anything about how to start the damned thing.  Except that one time, when I’d read that you should start with a question.

That’s the thought bubble I woke up to yesterday.  What question should I start my novel with?

When I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, my eye’s were puffy, because I’d tossed and turned all night.  I’d thought, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

And that was it!  That’s the bubble that got sucked into this soapy story idea  My main character, looking into the mirror, puffy eyed, and asking, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

Easy, right?  I guess, but up until that second, I was panicked that I wouldn’t have anything to write.  Now I’ve started and I’m still panicked.  But today, it wasn’t so bad.  I just asked myself, “So, what happens next?”

I’d looked at my outline, and away we went.  But there was one more thing that motivated me today.

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Yup, Chocolate.  The other motivator.

If I could at least type the minimum of 1,666 words, I’d get that piece of chocolate.  Not just any chocolate, either.  Hershey’s Dark Chocolate.

I typed 2,035 words.

Yay, me!

Let’s see what tomorrow’s motivation will be…

M.

I woke up to the alarm at four thirty this morning.  I deliberately set the alarm sound to be something soothing last night, so I would be gently awakened.  Well, let me just say that last nights soothing sound is this mornings niggling warble.  And I think I’ve said it before.  I hate niggling.

My bleary eyed self tried to get dressed in the dark.  It’s not very easy.  So I turned on the flashlight of my phone.  Too bright, I think I burned my retina’s.  I turned off again.  Who was the idiot who thought getting up at four thirty in the morning was a good idea?

Oh yeah, me.  Why?  Because I had to make the word count.  Remember back in the late eighties and early nineties when Dunkin Donuts had the commercial with the surly, pudgy baker waking up early?  He would say, “Gotta make da donuts.”  That was me this morning, surly, pudgy and saying, “Gotta make da word count.”  NaNoWriMo started today and I’d told myself I was going to get up early and attend the first write-in.  That was before I actually had to get up.  That was when I was brightly awake and blithely ignorant of the consequences to my body and mind.

Now I was up, dressed, and on my way, driving six miles to the first write-in at a Starbucks near the mall.  I was late.  The stupid phone navigator took me to some suburb.  I cursed the male voice.  Yes, I had changed the female voice on my I-phone to the male voice.  I thought it would be cooler because the lady just got on my nerves..  I was wrong again.  At five o’clock in the morning, driving through fog, trying to find civilization and maybe a cup of coffee, the male voice pissed me off too.  I can’t win.

I got there late.  I ordered and received my coffee, prepared my laptop on the table, said a sleepy hello to everyone.  They replied in turn, sleepily.  And then I began to write.  Somehow during those first few moments as the caffeine hit my system and my thoughts turned to my characters and their world, I found alertness.  Everything around me sort of fell  into the background and in my mind’s eye I saw my main character brushing her teeth.  Surly, not pudgy, but nonetheless, bleary eyed.  She was wondering why in the hell she got up so early…

And the next thing I knew, I looked up and it was an hour and a half later.  I glanced at my word count.  2,038.  I still had more to say about this world I was in with my characters.  So much more.  I had barely gotten started.  What the heck?

I closed everything down and put it away.  It was time to head home and maybe write there.  As I was walking out, someone mentioned that their hands and arms were sore from typing.  I realized that mine were sore too.  I was just like the other writers.  It hit me.  I was just like them.  I am a writer.  I smiled as I got in my car, started it up and drove home through the lifting fog.

I am a writer.

The adventure begins.caffeine powers..

M.

It’s almost time to start the race.  The NaNoWriMo race.  I’ve been perusing some writing blogs I follow and they all seem to have opinions of the process.  Whether good or bad, they have opinions.  Some have experienced it and others haven’t.

However, the event is affecting many individuals.  That’s amazing to me.  Until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of it.  That doesn’t say much, but, it just seems that even if you don’t like the idea, it’s still something you’ve put thought into writing a blog post about.  That’s powerful.

I am going to write a novel in 30 days.  Let me rephrase that.  I am going to write a rough draft novel in 30 days.  I don’t expect it to be perfect or publishable.  I will just have a pile of words, thrown together in some form of flow that I can then go back and edit, polish, and otherwise hack to death. Sort of like a cord of wood, piled in my driveway.  I’ll have to split and stack it later, but it’s got to get off the trailer and into a pile near my porch.

But it’s still a pile of words, which is more than I have now.  The story needs to be written.  It’s in my head and until I am able to get it out, it will sit there, festering and niggling me.

I hate niggling.  I really hate niggling.

One blogster (is that even a word?  it is now.) wrote that they hated this part.  The fun part was putting the words together and making a beautiful story.  Another one said they loved this part, just blithely using the creative process to build a world that is chaotic and wonderfully insane.

Either way, I am going to do it:

  1. because I can.
  2. because I want to.
  3. because it just needs to be done.

T-minus two days.  The adventure begins.  The players will belly up to their keyboards, Ipads, legal pads, or whatever and wait for the gun to go off at 12:01 am on November 1, 2013.  The race to 50,000 words will begin.  Even if we don’t win, all of us are part of something big.  Something that is talked about for awhile throughout the blogging universe.  Good or bad, it’s going to happen.

Wish me luck or don’t.  I’ll see you on the other side.  I’ll be the one with the cord of words in my driveway, near my porch, ready to be split and stacked.

M.

Of course a horse is a horse, unless it’s a horse named “Ed”, the talking horse.  I remember that show in re-runs.  I’m old, but not THAT old.  The show was about a talking horse who helped is buddy and various and sundry others.  That’s not really why I picked today’s post.  But then, you know me, I’m thinking one thing and typing another.  If you don’t know that, well, you will soon.  My fingers have a tendency to type what they want, not what my mind tells them.  Thank goodness for backspace buttons.

Back to a horse.  More specifically, writing about a horse.  In my story, the main character comes across a horse in a field.  She’s very tame, yet, not.  She has a mind of her own.  Now as a writer, you are told, “Write what you know.”  If you don’t know about horses, then, how do you write about them?  I’m lucky, I grew up on a ranch.  There were lots of horses, cows, dogs, pigs, chickens, and some things I’m afraid to name.  My uncle thought of himself as a sort of animal husbandry expert, even though he had never passed the eighth grade.  He was a very smart man, don’t get me wrong.  He just wasn’t very intelligent by today’s standards or yesterday’s standards.  He never let that get him down or keep him from trying.

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But I digress.  I have experience in horses. Even though I have experience, there is a niggling idea in my head regarding this special pony.  She is probably not very beautiful in a sense that she doesn’t really look sleek and healthy.  She is very healthy, yet she might not necessarily look like it.  She’s a diamond in the rough, just like our main character.  She has a strength, intelligence and tenacity that isn’t necessarily seen at first glance.

So how does one write to describe this type of horse?  Well, my first thought was to look on the internet (isn’t that everyone’s first thought?).  I could find pictures of horses and describe something from there.  That’s how I came upon the above picture.  Nah, my special horse isn’t like that.  That’s too flashy.

Then there was another one…..

Image

Well, number one, it’s a male.  That’s okay, I can describe this photo and change the gender.  But it’s a little too cocky for our special horse.  She needs to be confident, but in an understated way.  And number too, again, too flashy.  She needs to be a diamond in the rough sort of horse.

Then I found these…

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Now we are getting somewhere.  I  think we can make this work, don’t you? My uncle would be proud.  I have effectively “blended” breeds and created a horse of my own.  What shall we call it?  Breed Marlie?

“Hi, yes, that’s my horse.  The breed?  why it’s a Marlie, of course.  Very rare.  Only one in existence that I know of,” I smile demurely, “Thank you, yes, she is beautiful, isn’t she?  In an understated, intelligent, diamond in the rough sort of way.”

That’s what I love about writing.  I can create whatever I want and no one can tell me it’s wrong.  This is my world, if you don’t like it, go build your own.  But I would never turn you away, my friend.  You are special, in an intelligent, understated, diamond in the rough sort of way.  Come on in, I’ve got a place for you right here.

M.

P.S.  If you liked this post, use the buttons below to say so. I encourage you to follow me on this blog, Facebook, and Google+.  I always enjoy making new friends.  Take care, M.

P.P.S. All images are the property of their respective owners, I do not lay any claim of ownership to them.

How many times have you been watching a movie and had the insane urge to scream at the screen, “Don’t open that door!  The bad guy/monster/ghost/boogie man is behind there!”  And then the blonde/brunette/redhead disposable actor does it anyway, then they get killed, and you say, “I told you so…”  We feel all superior in our knowledge that we’d never do something like that if we were ever in that situation.  I know how you feel.  I said the same thing.

Notice that I used the past tense.  I don’t say that anymore.  Let me tell you a story of why I don’t.

The year was 1980, I was 14 going on 15 and my brother and I had decided to see a Friday night movie.  The only movie playing in the small Wyoming town we lived in named Pinedale was a horror b-movie classic called “Prophecy, The Monster Movie“.  It turned out to be a bad take on what happens when there is too much mercury in the water.  A giant trout jumps out of the water of a beautiful backwoods lake, the animals all go crazy, but the worst part was the bear/pig/skinless monster thing that is a female looking to protect her family of monsters.  Talia Shire and Armand Assante don’t make it any better.  But to a fourteen year old’s limited exposure to horror, it was terrorizing.  The movie wasn’t particularly gory by today’s standards, however, I had to leave the theater and peek through the curtain to finish the movie.  It scared me more than I’d ever been scared before.  The ride home with my brother in the back of the little red Toyota pickup was cold, silent, and watchful.  We both knew at any minute that monster would come through the back window and kill us all.  Needless to say, nightmares ensued for a few days.

But that’s not the real change, no my friends, I still made the same comments as I grew older and watched more horror movies.  With false bravado I would say, “Don’t open that door!”

A couple of years passed and we’d moved from a ranch in Pinedale, Wyo. to a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo.  I had been driving for two years.  I was sixteen and as all sixteen years old who drive, I was very cocky and sure of myself.  It was a mid-winter night.  Jackson in mid-winter in 1982 was bitter cold, frosty, and deep in snow.  The snow was piled high on the banks of the road going into the ranch.  It wasn’t too late, close to midnight.  My brother and I were coming home from watching a horror movie that was even more forgettable than the one in 1980.  We were reminiscing about that time in Pinedale, when that movie had scared us so bad.  I drove down the packed snow road through the ranch in the same little red Toyota pickup.  The snow plows had piled the snow high enough on the banks that the darkness coupled with the dim head lights created a sense of driving through a tunnel.  The only true clear vision of what was ahead of me was the packed snowy road and the sides rising up like frozen stalagmites around a cave.   Dimly I saw  the outlines of forest trees passing by just past the banks.  Perhaps I was going a little too fast for the conditions, perhaps.  But, we were discussing the funny way we were so afraid back then and how we weren’t afraid of it now.  I haughtily made the comment that if I’d been the one driving the truck when the monster burst out from the brush in the dark, I would never have stopped like Talia Shire did.  No, I would have just hit the gas and run that damned monster over.  We both agreed that would be the case.

Within seconds, at the very edge of the dim headlights, a huge, dark figure burst from the side of the snowbank into the middle of the road.  It’s gigantic burly head swung in our direction and dangerously glowing red eyes gazed malevolently at us.  I saw the bear/pig skinless female monster roaring with grotesquely crooked teeth, ready to rip out our throats.

What did I do?  What would you do?  I gripped the steering wheel tightly and slammed on my brakes.  I slammed those brakes hard.  So hard that we went into a slide, slowly gliding closer to the evil monster thing.  We were helpless now, I had no control of the truck and I was going to die.  I just knew it.  I glanced at my brother.  His hands were braced against the dashboard and his eyes were bulging out in fear.  Our little red Toyota pickup slid closer.  The monster became clearer as we slid closer and came to a gentle stop probably 15 feet from it.  I had just done what I’d sworn I would never do.  I had stopped.  Now we were dead, just like in the movies.  I blinked rapidly still seeing the monster for a second raising it’s wrinkled pig/bear head to roar at us.

Then my vision cleared and I saw what was truly there.

The biggest male elk I’d ever encountered was huffing energetically in front of us.  His nostrils were blowing steam puffs into the cold.  He stood tall and broad-shouldered in front of us, regally daring us to come closer and taste the death of his antlers.  We didn’t take the bait, so he shook his massive head, turned and leaped up the other side of the snow bank back into the darkness.  The little red Toyota pickup, my brother, and I just sat there.

The silence was only broken by the warm idle of that little red Toyota pickup.  I looked at my brother, back at the empty road, then back at my brother.  He looked at me.  We burst out laughing.  Probably a little too hysterically and with huge relief.  We couldn’t help it.  We laughed for at least three minutes.  I shifted into first gear and slowly drove the mile and half home.  Neither of us said a word on that drive.  I parked in the driveway.  We both got out of the little red Toyota pickup.  We went inside and went to bed.

We didn’t talk about it again until after many years had passed.

But that’s a different story.  The point of this one is that I decided at that moment to never say “Don’t open that door..” again.  Ever.  I’d learned my lesson.  Art does have a basis in reality and horror can make you do things you wouldn’t ever think of doing if you were just watching it.  Like an outsider looking into a movie safe and warm in your chair.

Hence the basis of my novels.  What would happen if you put a normal person into a horrific situation.  Would they always do the wrong thing?  Or would they act with the same detached insight we have in our haughty chairs?

Let’s go on this path together and find out.  Will you join me?

M.