Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Challenge

Some families start the count down toward Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is off the table.  Traditionally, in my house, that is exactly the case.  My tree is up the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Mostly because I can't on Black Friday as I am finishing up my shopping for the year. 

Some start it December 1st, like ABC Family, where there are 25 days of Christmas movies, specials, gifts, etc. 

I recently did some research on the 12 days of Christmas, which is well known as a song.  It's more than that, however, but its not what you think.  Commonly, it is known as the 12 days prior to Christmas.   There are calendars and Christmas knick knacks that have secret pockets in them for each of these 12 days available in stores.

Traditionally, the churches mean the 12 days of Christmas as a countdown from Christmas day to a day called Epiphany, which is January 6th.  Epiphany is traditionally celebrated as the day the Three Wise Men finally arrived with their gifts to Jesus and his family (a year after Jesus birth, of course, not less than two weeks). 

No matter how you celebrate it, the 12 Days of Christmas is about giving.  And that brings me to the challenge.

There is a beautiful foundation out there called " The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation".  What I am challenging everyone who goes to this blog is to spend the next 12 days performing a single act of random kindness to a perfect stranger.  There are many ways to do this.  Donations are most common.

For example, today, as my RAK, I left my $15.76 in change at McDonald's to be a Pay-it-Forward to individuals behind me waiting to buy coffee or breakfast this morning.  I don't know any of them, but I touched them positively today and that is what this is all about.

So, I ask this of all of you reading today, be a light.  Touch someone's life in a good way.  Give a little bit each day for the next 12 days and help this be a wonderful holiday for someone that could really use some good cheer.  Even if it means just buying something to put in a food drive, or a toy to be dropped in a Toys for Tots location, or even coats, mittens, or scarves as some banks ask for to be given to families in the local area that are in need, it is in the spirit of this challenge.

Each day, you can make one person have something a little bit better this season.  If you do this for 12 people, and your neighbor can for 12, and so forth, by the end of this, thousands could be blessed.

So, what do you say?  Are you in?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Screaming Sunday + ROW 80 Update

Keeping to the theme, and in honor of the previous posts, I am dubbing this Screaming Sunday (being the Sunday before Halloween).   And like screams, I'll try to keep it short and...well, just short.

I'm just going to dedicate this post to all the different kinds of screams.

At the fair, I scream in delight with my kids as we twirl in circles and get pushed by the gravitation within the Tilt-A-Whirl ride against our seats.

In my books, my characters scream in the throes of passion.

My grandmother screams in fear when she sees a spider.  My girls scream at the cats when trying to get into their room and at bugs in general.  I scream at scorpions and I'm glad Michigan doesn't have them.

I also have been known to scream in frustration when something is getting out of hand at home.  Well, it's more like a growl, really, but I think it could apply.

Now for the reader's turn:  What makes you scream?  Is it a positive or negative event that causes it?  Or both?  I want to know. 

Now for my ROW 80 Update:

Reading:  Finished Sookie #7 and #8, as well as Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe;
WIP:  Added 1,741 new words to my novel;
Exercise:  None :(
Halloween preparations with kids:  Finished carving pumpkins and got the "Ruby Slippers" for my little Dorothy.  Too bad my little Minnie Mouse is too sick to go Trick-or-Treating tomorrow.  Rotten stomach virus.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Slasher Saturday

I think I already mentioned this, but I don't really care for Slasher movies.  However, I'm dubbing the Saturday before Halloween, Slasher Saturday.  I'm on a roll and going to have fun with it.

Wikipedia defines "slasher movie" as "A slasher film is a type of horror film typically involving a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe."  No wonder I don't like them!  What the definition doesn't add is that a good portion of slasher movies, especially in modern times, also includes some voluptuous dingbat that is required, and shortly killed, to add titillation.  Something like this:

 That doesn't leave much for the imagination.  Copy and past the heavy sarcasm here.

The earliest slasher was called Thirteen Women which was released in 1932, according to my Wikipedia source (and how reliable is that?).  That was a long time ago!  Since slashers didn't seem to really take rise until the 1960's, this is probably a little known fact.

I'm sure some of you remember the classic Psycho or even its remake with Anne Heche in 1998.  For me Hitchcock's thriller/slasher movie is preferred because it left the viewer to try to come up with his/her own theories of what is happening until the very end of the film.   It was this mental titillation that I rate a movie on over the erotic titillation in modern slashers.  Keep me interested and on the edge of my seat and I'll enjoy the movie a little bit more despite all the blood and guts.

My sister and I tend to agree that the Scream movies are a little more along our preferences as well.  It has some campy, fun parts to keep you from getting too drawn into the drama and intensity of a scene.  How can you not laugh at Jamie Kennedy yelling at the TV for the girl to look behind her when he should be doing the same thing?  

So, how about my readers?  Are there any slasher movies you would sit down to watch in the bright lights of your living room in broad daylight or in the darkest of nights?  Any of you prefer to watch the classics or modern slashers?  Anyone like to have bouts of fright, then bouts of laughter?  Let me know!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frankenstein Friday

Another author in Twitter inspired me for today's random blog when they mentioned today as Frankenstein Friday.  I started doing some research online about Frankenstein and discovered something new about Mary Shelley, the author who created the Frankenstein monster.  Apparently there is such a thing as a "Frankenstein Moon". 

As the story goes, Lord Byron issued a challenge to those visiting him at Lake Geneva to write their own Ghost Story.  Apparently, Mary Shelley was having issues finding her muse until one night she had a vision or dream that inspired her story and opened her eyes to see the moonlight streaming in through the windows. 

I'm not entirely sure why physicists would be so interested in recreating that event or why it was controversial in any way at all.  Why would she lie about the moon coming in through her window?  And who cares if she were?  She's an author and has the right to embellish anything she writes.  It's how we are. We create and embellish to draw in our readers.  Sometimes we do so to draw ourselves into our writing too.

I'm curious about my readers and ask for you to participate.  Does any of you watch the classic horror movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman?  And, if so, do you like the originals or remakes?  Personally, I think Boris Karloff was an awesome make-up artist for his time and really enjoy the black and white classics (but I also am a huge fan of Young Frankenstein).

I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ROW 80 Updated for 10/23/11

I actually accomplished a goal that I didn't put on my list.  I took the girls outside - it was a beautiful day of sixty odd degrees and sunny - and had them help me dump some pots that were on the front deck.  I had one little girl go gun-ho and tried to rake a little, although the wind helped a great deal with that last week.  I even moved my raised bed box to the back of the house.  I feel so accomplished today.

Now for the ROW 80 Update.  Below are a list of accomplishments:

Reading:  Finished Sookie Stackhouse book #6; Finished Heart of Darkness anthology;
WIP:  Made some necessary cuts during editing and added 1,828 words;

On a side note, the book is really coming along now.  I have my villain's plot planned out.  I was making it way too complicated at first, hence the need to edit and hack out unnecessary parts to make the motive more simple.  Now I am developing minor characters and their roles in the villain's plan.  There is another villain - a minor one - that will be necessary for a change of location for another set of characters, but right now, I'm working with the villain who first challenges the heroine.  This first villain is less complicated as he tends to work in political and religious circles.  The minor villain will be a bigger challenge for me as he will be more barbaric.  It's a big strange even to me how I just classified them and their difficulty rating.  I would have suspected the one manipulating things behind the scenes would be harder to write, but he isn't.  It's the one where I need to create battle scenes for that will be more difficult.  

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My First Award!

I have just received my first blogging award!  I'm so excited.  Thanks, Angela!  Please do me a fave and check out Angela Wallace's blog: Angela Wallace ~Believe, Dream, Awaken.  She has been a regular follower of my blog and I really love stopping by her blog. 

This is all new to me, so I'll just follow the spirit of the acceptance of this award from the last two recipients. 

And since Halloween is almost upon us, I’m going to stick with the same theme as Angela and share 7 Halloween facts about me:

1. I love Halloween so much it's my number one holiday, making Christmas my number two holiday;
2. I hate horror movies, but I like paranormal ones - just not Paranormal Activity;
3. I love the candy called bottle caps which was good for me because my brother and sister hated them, so would give them all my Tootsie rolls and they would give me all their bottle caps;
4. I always laughed in the haunted houses - I never screamed once;
5. I find that graveyards are full of history and enjoy looking through them.  The older the better.  I once visited one that was actually segregated into sections by nationality, including Jewish (I know, not technically nationality, but you know what I mean), Dutch, and African American.
6. After watching Grudge, I couldn't look into dark doorways for a month, afraid the white face and black hair of that woman would be peering back at me;
7. My kids and I love singing a Nick Jr. song called I Don't Like Candy Corn which isn't true, because we love eating it.

Now it's my turn to pass this blog award on to other very deserving bloggers.  So here are my choices:

1.  Karen Mahoney ~Urban Fantasy Writer

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ROW 80 - Update on 10/19/11

List of accomplishments this week so far:

Finished Sookie Stackhouse book #5;
On Monday, added 397 new words to WIP;
On Wednesday (today), added 899 new words to WIP;
Read with my girls;
Put the girls to bed early (on-time, really);
Got the girls to school on time every day so far this week.

List of things still behind:

Overall, I'm not entirely disappointed.  Life just has to be more adjustable.  I appreciate my readers for checking in on me even though it has to be boring reading blogs that just talk about one thing anymore.  I wish I had the time to devote to having other blog posts, but just getting my WIP done in a day is a working miracle. 

In the mean time....Happy Reading!

Monday, October 17, 2011

ROW 80 - Update on 10/17/11 for 10/16/11

Ok, here I am again, late for my update.  I hope this doesn't become a constant.  Wait until you hear the worse news:  I didn't make my goals for this past week.  Instead of 1000 words, I only got in 564 words and not even a half hour of editing.  Looks like its time to re-evaluate my goals.

Using my Daily Planner Pad, I have filled out my weekly goals, then tried to put them into the days I intend to fulfill those goals, so it looks a bit like this:

Wed (Bring "P" item)
Tues Pink/Purple Day
Donut money

1000 words
1 hour edit
1 hour edit
1 hour edit

Girls Room (org.)

30 minutes (3x)

Sookie #5

Then for each day:

Update ROW 80
Laundry (towels)

Girls Pink/Purple Day
Girls Room (org.)
Read w/Girls
Donut Monday due
Laundry (whites)

Girl's "P" Item Day
King's Kids

Read w/girls

Girls Room (org.)
30 minutes exercise
Read w/girls

30 minutes exercise
Gull Meadow Farms
Read w/girls

30 minutes exercise

There's a lot to squeeze into your schedule when you already are working for 8-10 hours each day from Monday through Friday.  Some nights I come home and barely have any time to read with the girls and get to know how their day was before its time to get them into bed.  Often I am going to bed at midnight and waking up at 5:30am through the week as well.

I get gun-ho about my intentions with this project, but I am glad that I have the flexibility depending on how much I can put in or want to put in.  I have a Meijer recycle bag full of books to be read, hence the addition of reading the Sookie Stackhouse series in my weekly goals.  I get little else done when I get too involved in a book and this is an amazing series.

And, I have to admit, I was invited to a friend's house where there was a small group of people gathering for a Hunter's Party, which I wasn't figuring into my plans and goals.  Essentially, this is when Native American's get together to cook up stores packed away from last year (from the freezer) and have friends and family consume it so there is room in the freezer again for this year's kill.  This reminded me of all my stuff left in the freezer being forgotten and passed over again and again, so I did a lot more cooking this weekend that I originally intended.

Now, excuse me while I try to add more scenes and words to my WIP.  Thanks for stopping by and....

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ROW80 - Wednesday 10/12/11 Update

I found out that when given an hour of uninterrupted time to myself, I can easily get 1000 words into my novel.  While motherhood makes that nearly impossible, I am going to attempt some writing tonight - just not what I was hoping for.

While my goals aren't getting as far with the WIP, I have been getting other personal goals met.  I have been exercising more, keeping up on the household chores (instead of being buried in them) and having time with my twin daughters who are now in preschool and need the extra attention.  It's not easy for kids to have to wait so long for their turn to be the "special kid" for the day.  There are fifteen children in their class total, so they have to wait fourteen turns before they have a special day.  The Day Planner is really paying off.  Even my kids get excited when I pull it out and start telling them the list for the day.  Sometimes they even help out.

So, there is my Wednesday update.  Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

ROW 80 Update - 10/9/11

It's that time of year again.  Fall.  And with the fall, or other seasonal changes that can't remain consistent from day to day, I have my semi-annual headache.  You know the one.  Sinuses feel like they are ready to explode from the pressure; you are vampirically allergic to the light, especially sunlight; and standing up makes you motion sick.  The headache could last a day or a week.  It's throwing all my goals out the door so I can focus on not vomiting every time I move. 

I have put in a single hour of edits a couple of days ago; however, it took me three hours to get to that point.  My laptop is an old refurbished Compaq Evo N620c and it has a tendency to go through bouts of overheating.  I have to constantly unfreeze things by removing the overheated battery and let it cool enough to get things working again.  And, thanks to my cats bad chewing habits, the cord to the cooling pad was chewed through and I'm having a heck of a time replacing it.  If I'm lucky, Black Friday sales will have a reasonably priced laptop I can buy to replace this old one.

I'm going to try to get more edits in today, but it all depends on the headache and laptop.  Wish me luck!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ROW 80 Update for 10/05/11

Ok, update for my goals for ROW80.  I've completed my first goal.  Yay!  I just gave myself way too much time to complete it.  Makes me feel wonderful.  All my typed text in Microsoft Word has been transferred over to yWriter5.  Now I need to decide on a project to devote my attention to for the next goal.

Since I am ten chapters and 35,000 + words into Before Atlantis, I am going to work on that one first.  As I have been reading through sections to title them, I realized my deep connection to the story and characters and really want to begin the edits and fill in more of the gaps left in the story.  So, instead of adding so many words for each project, I'm going to try to add 1000 new words to this project each week and spend at least 3 hours a week on edits.

This is really getting me excited.  I'm even able to keep up on basic housework, my children's schedule, and ROW 80.  Now to see if I can get my 30 minutes of exercise in tomorrow.  Maybe since I'm getting a load of laundry done tonight, I can get a little ahead since I didn't schedule laundry until tomorrow. 

If I get time this weekend, I'm hoping to post some book reviews I have drafted and saved.

Almost done reading How to Date a Werewolf by Rose Pressey.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Official ROW 80 Round 4 of 2011 Post

Ok, I'm going to do it.  Here is my first set of goals:

Put the following three projects in my yWriter5 program to assist in outlining and editing:

Project 1:  Paranormal Investigator novel (Liz Lochran, main character)
Project 2:  From Night Into Dawn (working title of historical, Christian romance)
Project 3:  Before Atlantis (working title of Atlantean series, Book 1)

I'm giving myself two weeks to have this done.  Then I will focus on my next set of goals:

Project 1:  Add 1000 new words a week
Project 2:  Add 1000 new words a week
Project 3:  Add 500 new words a week

When I feel like I have finally finished a project, then I will change the goals to reflect edits and rewrites.  Since Project 3 is mainly a rewrite, that is why I decided on a smaller amount of words and this will be harder to track since I will be using previously written text along with new phrasing and scenes - or throwing out entire scenes to be replaced with others.

Maybe the goal seems unrealistic, but considering my need to work on multiple projects at once to keep my brain from getting bored, I thought this would be a good start.  I could always change these goals if I suddenly feel like it is too much.

We shall see.

On top of that, I always am setting some reading goals, just nothing too specific.  I want to finish at least one book a week, but I may have to make it one book every two weeks or more to have the time to blog, read, write, and take care of the multiple projects waiting for me at home (e.g. laundry, dishes, taking the kids to school to name a few).

If anyone has any suggestions for me, I am very willing to listen and eager to learn what has worked for him/her.  

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Still in the race, just lagging behind

Yes, this was exactly how I felt yesterday.

It was the first day of school yesterday and I was up since 5am that day.  Now I am dragging like I have a huge tortoise shell on my back.  The girls had a blast and I noticed they are the tallest girls in class by a good three inches, maybe more.  Only two boys in their class were as tall as them.  Somehow they came home with someone's clothes in their backpacks, too.

So, that was yesterday, which hasn't explained my lack of blogging all week.  I've been reading diligently.  It has consumed all writing time.  I apologize.  On the up side, my newest fave author and internet acquaintance, Angela Wallace, has introduced me to A Round of Words in 80 Days.  My next post will be this weekend after I have thought out my goals.  I need to be reasonable, since I'll be getting up four days a week at 5:00 am and not getting to bed until after 10:00 pm.  

I also have a Daily Planner Pad to help with my goals, appointments, and other commitments, so I don't forget them and become over-ambitious.

Now back to my goals, writing, bloghopping, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Moment

I finally had it. That moment of clarity I've been waiting for on one of the novels I am working on. I've been agonizing over the paranormal investigator novel because I really didn't have a defined plot yet, just all of these intense scenes flowing out of me onto paper. So, I sat down last night to really focus on character development.

By the time I got to the antagonist, I had an epiphany. The plot just grew out of the antagonist's part of the hero and heroine's lives.

It was an amazing moment for me. It was like I had blinders on all this time and could only see glimpses of a picture up close, then someone pulled me back to see the whole amazing piece of art. I was more in awe that the technique helped than the story itself coming to me. There are still scenes to write and more development to work on, but sitting down and just trying to see how everything connects was a simple, easy task to do in order to have a goal for this novel.

Now to work out an outline and piece the scenes together and write more to fill in the holes.

Note: On Chapter 11 of Phoenix Feather by Angela Wallace and I sum up my impression in the word, Charming.

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Working all Night, or Hardly Working

Doesn't Custard look so worn out from all the hard work at the computer?

I decided to post my progression on the four big novels I've been trying to work on. So, I will post the total words I have typed up without editing for each today.

Prequel to Atlantean series;
Current working title, non-creatively, Before Atlantis;
Word count: 34,766

Atlantean series, Book Three;
No working title;
Word count: 21,840

Historical Christian Romance;
Current working title, From Night to Dawn;
Word count: 15,149 (this is actually going through a complete rewrite)

Paranormal Investigator novel;
No working title;
Word count: 11,088

I need to make some goals. Unfortunately, because I'm still a pen and paper type writer, I go very slowly. I first write on paper my scenes, then I type them into Word and edit as I go. I still have to edit when I'm done and I am not printing and reading as may be an easier method, so I miss things often and have to edit again.

Not only that, but the scenes I am typing may not be in that portion of the book when I'm done. I have a tendency to write a scene here and a scene there that really isn't making much sense for the overall timeline; its just what I feel inspired to write at that time. Eventually things do piece themselves together - or get thrown out.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

By request

Ok, I had one reader ask, "Where are more excerpts of your writings?" So, here is my next sneak peak at a paranormal investigator fiction piece I am writing.

Note: Please take note that this is my own work from my own imagination. All characters are purely fictional and any resemblance in any way to anyone is merely coincidental. Any copying and redistribution of this material will also fall within copyright infringement.

Liz opted to stay in the car and listen to the radio in case the dispatcher needed a car in their area while her partner went into the diner to get dinner with his friend. She opened up a notepad and a criminal law book and began writing notes. She had been deeply immersed in her note taking for twenty minutes when a tap at the window broke into her concentration. She knew who it was even as she lifted her had to see. The door opened and she sighed softly as he slid into the passage seat.

“Are you avoiding me or just having a love affair with that book?” he asked too close to her ear.

“Both,” she said sharply.

“Ouch,” he muttered.

She glared up at him. “Not every woman is madly attracted to you, John.”

He chuckled. “Oh, you’re attracted to me; otherwise you wouldn’t be fighting it so hard.”

She turned to him, and by the look on her face, it was with the intent to deliver more sharp words, when her eyes suddenly widened and she grabbed for his head and shoulders. John thought she was going to kiss him until his head was pushed down until it hit the console between the seats. Ow, he thought, confused about how come his head was there instead of attached to hers at the lips when her breasts were pressing against the back of his head and her hands were against his back. Then he began to think she was going to skip the kissing and go straight to pulling off his shirt. He enjoyed that idea even better.

That idea was killed when a gun shot went off and the windshield shattered, spraying tempered glass over the both of them. Liz gently lifted her head to check where the gunman was and he heard tires squealing as someone peeled away from the scene. She let him back up and grabbed the radio. “Dispatch, this is car 22156. We have just been fired on at Tom Horton’s on Crawford and Elliot. Pursuit in progress.”

“What?” John demanded as Liz put the car in gear and turned it toward the getaway direction. “The windshield is out!”

She slid a disgusted glance at him and got the car going at an incredible speed, flipping on both the lights and the siren.

“Car 22156, did you get a visual on the vehicle?” the radio calmly asked.

She held the radio up to her mouth as she took a turn too fast for John’s comfort. “Black, four door sedan. Make Toyota; model Camry. License plate number Zed Alpha Fiver John Niner George.”

John looked at her like she had gone insane and waited until she cleared the radio connection. “There wasn’t enough time or light for you to have seen that.”

“But, I did, John,” she said calmly as she hit a straight track and sped the car up even more. She picked up the radio again and said, “I have a visual again. Suspect is heading east on Tecumseh.”

John’s head swung to the hole in the car where the windshield used to be and blinked in amazement. There in front of them was a black Toyota Camry weaving dangerously through traffic and flaunting a plate with ZA5J9G lit up below the trunk. ‘How did you catch up to them?” he yelled as he clutched the dash to keep himself more steady as she wove expertly through traffic.

“John,” she said, tossing the radio to him, “be productive and report the roads and direction to dispatch. I need to keep my eyes on the road.”

He gave her the look she always hated. The look that asked why she wasn’t acting like a normal person, but someone who was way more calm than any normal person should be. The look that silently declared that they thought she was insane. “Oh, and John? Put your seat belt on.”

A string of colorful curses came out of his mouth as he struggled to pull the seat belt over his body and not get the radio cord entwined in it. He glanced over at the speedometer and let out another string of curses. She reached out a hand and laid it gently on his knee. Instantly, his body lost the panic it was feeling, but not the urgency of the situation. He blinked at her as everything came into sharp focus. Inwardly, she smiled smugly. How many insane people do you know who can do that, she wanted to project to him.

Instead she said, “Concentrate, John,” her eyes never leaving the road. “We can’t lose them now or justice will never be served. I need you to help dispatch with the location of the pursuit so they can send us backup.”

He knew all of this, but how she was doing what she was doing seemed impossible. But, the panic from the unknown left him and he was once again able to help with the situation. How, he couldn’t say, but he’ll ask her about it when this mess was over. He plucked the radio from the floor where it fell and began naming streets as they turned.

They wove through traffic without hitting anything, while the car ahead of them hit other cars, ran into trash cans and mailboxes, and narrowly missed fleeing pedestrians. Liz stiffened in her seat, then grabbed John again and pulled them both below the dash. Several shots rang out and the back window shattered. Liz released him and grabbed the wheel to avoid hitting a car trying to cross the road. The car swung around the vehicle with amazing accuracy – or John just witnessed some strange quantum physics being used – then continued the pursuit.

Liz pulled her gun from the hip holster and released the safety while John reported shots were fired and their newest location.

“Have they sent backup?” Liz asked over the roar of the wind streaming through the car.

“Hold on, I can’t hear anything,” he said, leaning forward to turn up the volume. “Dispatch has two cars in the area on an intercept at Huron Church Road.”

“Good,” Liz said as she raised her right arm and pointed the gun out the window. She let up on the accelerator and aimed at the tired. “Get ready to run, John. They’ll rabbit as soon as their car is out of commission.”

“What makes you think they won’t engage us?” he asked. “They have guns and already showed us they mean to use them.”

“Trust me, John, they are going to run.”

The shot from her gun overpowered the wind’s roar and John hoped she didn’t say anything more while his ears muted everything down. The shot went over the car and hit the connector of a street light which fell onto the hood of the Camry. The Camry’s windshield cracked in a spider web pattern and the engine smoked beneath the dented hood with the street light still embedded in it and further obstructing the view. The car swerved into oncoming traffic and a delivery truck side-swiped it, shattering the passenger side window and taking out a brake light and side mirror.

Liz pulled the police car to a stop and exited the driver’s side with her pistol raised and aimed at the suspect’s car. John reported the incident before flipping the safety off of his gun and exiting the car cautiously. He trained his gun on the passenger side door and slowly approached.

“Come out of the vehicle with your hands visible and empty,” Liz said as she slowly approached the Camry. John could see her out of the corner of his eye and struggled against his need to protect her by pulling her out of the way of harm. Liz slid him a glance accompanied with a scowl and he got the impression she could sense where his thoughts went.

The car door’s creaked and John realigned his sights and his focus. The doors burst open on both sides of the car and individuals bolted from the interior, fleeing in opposite directions. John let out a sigh and began pursuing the one who left the passenger side.

Liz bolted after the driver. He was young and had a longer stride than Liz, but she was a toned athlete who paced herself and wore practical clothing. The young man ran holding his oversized pants up and getting blinded by his flapping hoodie.

“Halt!” Liz shouted as the boy dodged into an alley. Her instincts told her he had a destination in mind now that he realized he couldn’t out run her. After she got a clear view of his intentions, she took a couple of different turns, put on even more speed to get ahead of him, then backtracked to cut him off.

He let out a yell when she suddenly jumped in front of him. His momentum drove him toward her and she side-stepped, keeping a foot out to trip him. Between her foot and his own pant cuff, he stumbled, hobbled, twisted, and finally sprawled across the ground. Frantically, he tried to untwist from his own bulky clothes to find his gun. Liz crouched beside him and held the point of her gun toward him, but used her free hand to pull the hood off his face so he could see what she was doing. Instantly, he stopped what he was doing, his attention riveted on the point of the gun.

Liz smiled gently. “Look at me,” she said softly, like a mother to a child. His dark eyes shifted to hers and his body went completely still. “I don’t think I need to use this, and neither do you. You are going to cooperate with me and we’re going to sort this whole mess out tonight like adults, right?”

The boy was nodding as soon as she started talking and whimpered when he finally said, “Yes.”

“Good,” she cooed and saw his body relax. “I’m going to cuff you now, ok?” It sounded like she was telling a child she was going to put a scarf on him for his own good. “Can you help me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said in a small, little boy voice. He didn’t break eye contact as he sat up, then stood with his hands behind his back. Liz put the cuffs on, removed his gun, and gently took his arm to lead him back to the squad car. She heard sirens approaching her abandoned vehicle and she reached out with her senses to see how John was doing with the other suspect.

She could feel the rush of the adrenaline pumping through him as he ran after the other boy. His attention was split between the pursuit and how she was doing. Worry was pushing him to catch the boy so he could go help her. Images of her shot and left bleeding in an alley was going through his mind to help push his speed even higher. John had a lot of bulky muscle to push. The boy he was chasing was a lot leaner and had it easier pushing up his speed due to less mass – although his over-sized clothing created some drag.

Liz decided to push a thought into John’s psyche to assist him in his pursuit. John, I’m safe and have my suspect. He’s docile and cooperative. Right now, I’m beating you back to the car. See you there.

She could feel his shock at hearing her voice in his head, but the images stopped and his focus was no longer divided. A soft sigh escaped her. She knew he’ll want an explanation later, too. For some reason, he wasn’t as easily swayed toward forgetting things. Others she had little problems with planting suggestions of other probable events so they would just drop the issue or create their own version of what happened. John always remembered every detail. She learned to just avoid him for awhile until he would drop it. The Lady had begun to question Liz’s abilities with mental manipulation. She was beginning to believe the Lady didn’t want to accept the obvious – John was immune to her ability to manipulate his thoughts. What she just did was talk to his mind instead of implanting an idea. Amazingly, he believed her and accepted it as truth.

The car came into view and she was getting the boy into the car when John came into view tugging a handcuffed boy with him. It appeared like he was getting less cooperation from his suspect. Of course, Liz had the advantage of being able to charm people into a trance where they did whatever she asked of them.

After John got the other boy into the car, he looked at her. His body was completely tense, but he remained still while holding her with his gaze. It was dark and completely focused, unwavering. Suddenly, Liz heard his voice in her head. It’s a tie. Shocked, she could only stare at him and wonder if she picked up an internal thought or if he was really able to put his voice into her head intentionally.

Cars pulling in around them registered to both of them at the same time. “John,” she said as he approached her.

“We’ll talk about this later,” he said as he came to her side. His brown eyes bore into hers a moment, then turned toward the officers coming out of the cars.

She continued to stare at him, sending small probes at him to see if he was more than he appeared – just like her.

“Whatever you are doing,” he growled, “stop. It’s distracting.”

For the first time since she was eight-years-old, Liz experienced uncertainty to the degree it felt akin to fear. Maybe not fear, but definitely in trepidation. Was John one of the Halflings she had to police in her off-hours of policing humanity? Was he demon possessed like the man she found a month ago attempting to feed on a kidnapped child? Why was it that every time they touched something inside of her turned off and she felt an inner peace she hadn’t known since her parents died? Was John human or a being between worlds?

She was so distracted by her thoughts, she hadn’t heard the string of questions thrown at her. “Lochran!”

Liz jumped and looked at the older man before her. His face was ruddy, his uniform was stained with coffee and his eyes had dark circles under them. She flushed when she realized her superior was talking while she was internalizing. She didn’t bother looking at John. She could already feel his eyes on her, wondering why she was so unusually unfocused at the moment. Little did either man know – was John a man? – she was a police officer for their world and one that humanity was unaware of.

“I’m sorry, Captain,” she said in an even tone. “I was reviewing everything you asked in order to answer sequentially.”

Thankfully, that threw her superior enough that he finally said in exasperation, “Just tell me what happened, Lochran!”

She nodded calmly and proceeded to relay events like she was either reading or writing a report on it – minus all the paranormal portions, of course. Still, the captain’s face expressed incredulity. He turned to John and asked for his version. Liz listened to the account and realized he described it the same way a person recounted a movie scene. He included his feelings and raw perceptions without giving away Liz’s strange skills. He made her sound intuitive and intelligent instead of weird. She found herself staring wide eyed at John, who would steal glances at her through the corner of his eye without breaking eye contact with his superior.

“Why didn’t either of you think of getting the senior officers you are assigned to first?” Captain Peterson asked.

Liz shook off her amazement and answered. “Because the suspects would have gotten away.”

“You had the license plate number,” he pointed out. “Other cars could have been dispatched in pursuit while the other informed your senior officers.”

“Dispatch cars to where?” Liz interrupted and stiffened when John put a hand at the small of her back in warning. She stepped away from him, shot him a scowl, then returned her gaze to Captain Peterson. “Even with video feeds, a license plate is useless when there is no clear direction to locate them. By the time all feeds north, south, and west of the original location were viewed, it would have been time for breakfast and the suspects would have had time to ditch the car, clean it, and found another.”

Captain Peterson grew more irritated with each point she made. “Finished?” he asked, his face flushed with his barely concealed anger. When she nodded, he said, “Good. You’re suspended for three days. Give me your badge and gun.”

When he thrust out his hand to her, she looked at it, then slowly raised her eyes to his. He nearly took a step back, but stiffened his back to keep himself steady. John snagged her elbow and swung her toward him, releasing her when her gaze met his. “Don’t,” she warned him in a hiss and swung her gaze back to the captain. “Because of the choices I made tonight, you have two suspects in your custody who were planning on and willing to kill a cop tonight. And they were unlucky in targeting me,” she said as she removed her gun belt and badge and put both into his awaiting hand. “And now our force is a little bit safer with them in custody where I put them. And you can take my statement to the review board.”

She turned and started walking down the street, fury etched in her face while her steps remained measured. Once she rounded a corner, lights played in the shadows and she could hear soft cheers. “If any of you try to meet out more justice on humans tonight, I’ll wrap you in iron,” she hissed softly at them. The lights fluttered off in panic. Several blocks later, the Lady stood in her way. While she smiled warmly at Liz, her dark eyes remained cold.

“You did well tonight, daughter,” she praised.

Liz stopped walking once she saw the Lady appear and watched the Lady with all her senses on the highest alert. “I am not your daughter,” she replied stoically. “I should not have done that and probably lost my job as a result.”

“You have other work,” the Lady gently reminded.

“It doesn’t pay,” Liz snapped back. When the Lady was going to remind her of something else, she jumped in. “For my grandmother’s medical expenses, nurse, and utilities, not for me. Some day, some ancient being is going to rise up and have the ability to strike me down and where will that leave her? She took me in when I had no one, and I will return that kindness even if you don’t recommend it.”

Liz sighed and moved around the Lady to keep walking. Her fury burned up too much energy and her shields were failing. She could feel the unchecked restless energy building behind the weakening walls, needing an outlet. After several blocks, she felt like the Lady had decided to finally leave her alone, but another presence was fast approaching.

“Great,” she muttered. While a good fight would help her spend the excess energy, she really wasn’t in the mood to risk herself again. What if this time, she didn’t go home?

She moved into the shadows of an abandoned parking lot in a dark business district and waited. The pounding of shoes on concrete got louder and soon became accompanied by heavy breathing. Liz held a hand out in front of her with its palm up. She siphoned off enough energy to create a small yellow ball of light in the center of her palm, then curled her fingers around the warmth. A tall masculine shadow came into view, running in her direction. It slowed and she could make out the head swiveling from side to side as though scanning the area. The runner stopped, turned in a slow circle, then faced her directly. She started feeding more energy into the small sphere in the center of her hand causing it to grow until her fingers could barely conceal its glow.

“Are you going to stand there and stare at me all night or can we talk about what just happened?” John’s voice said from the shadows.

Liz gasped and she snuffed out the energy ball in her hand before walking toward him. “Travers, I could have killed you,” she said as he came into view.

“With what?” he challenged. “You handed your gun over, remember?”

“How can I forget?” she muttered, rubbing at her neck.

He quietly watched her, then moved closer and put a restraining hand on her hand that was working the muscles of her neck. He pulled her hand away and replaced it with his own. His long, strong fingers brushed across her neck seeking the tight muscles and gently rubbing them in a circular pattern, gradually deepening to loosen the tightness. His touch brought back the serenity she was always lacking, but the gentleness of the massage was causing her bones to liquify. Her eyes drifted shut and she swayed on her feet. His other hand came up to cup her shoulder to steady her.

“Better?” he whispered.

Although she didn’t want the massage to stop, she nodded and took in a deep breath to prepare herself for the headache that always crashed down on her when his touch was removed. His fingers continued the languid massage and she forced her eyes open to see why he hadn’t stopped yet. His chocolate brown eyes were mere inches from her face and she could see gold glinting in their depths.

“Good,” he said and smiled. The laugh lines crinkled around his eyes and she felt a strong pull to be closer to him.

She swayed toward him, closing her eyes and feeling her cheek connecting with the rough fabric of his uniform.

“Oh, Liz,” he groaned, cradling the back of her head and gently holding her against him. His heart thundered against her ear. She could feel his excitement and tried to rouse herself from this strange sluggish sensation to see if they were in danger.

“Shhh…,” he said gently. “Everything is fine. Just relax, Liz.”

And, she believed him. They stood like that until the predawn lightened the shadows around them. Liz tried to gently remove herself from the embrace, but John refused to let her go. A couple of times, she could feel his erection brushing against her abdomen, which shocked her. She knew he was attracted to her, but she thought it was because she was unattainable. She thought he only pursued her because she was something to chase, not really desirable to him.

“John,” she began.

“You have no idea how much I love hearing you say my name,” he growled.

She cleared her throat. “Travers, it’s nearly dawn and I’m pretty tired.”

For a moment his arms tightened instead of loosened around her and his heart rate picked up more speed. His whole body tensed and it was triggering her fight or flight response.

“Travers, it’s time to let me go,” she said sternly. She was beginning to feel trapped, even though it didn’t feel like John meant it that way at all. All the work ahead of her today was coming up from the recesses of her mind and she had to be rested and prepared to take on her paranormal work.

“What if I don’t want to,” he said closer to her ear. His breath brushed against the sensitive shell and her stomach tightened. “What about coming home with me? I’ll make sure you get the rest you need.”

She could feel the underlying truth in this words. A part of her wanted to smile, but another wanted to push him away in disgust. Why did sex have to ruin the moment? Liz steeled herself and put both palms against his chest and pushed gently at first then with growing conviction. “No, Travers. Not tonight, nor any night. I can’t allow myself to get comfortable. Too much is at stake. I have work to do.”

“What ‘work’?” he asked, dazed by her sudden change. She broke free of his embrace and walked backwards, facing him. “What do you mean, Liz?”

“Call me Lochran,” she said, stonily. “It helps.”

She turned and loped off. John watched her, confused by her mixed signals as much as her cryptic message. “But, I like Liz,” he muttered.