A Snippet of Things

When you write – okay, when I write a story, there are always pieces that are left on the cutting room floor. Scenes that are deemed useless or redundant, or sometimes little paragraphs, or even full pages and chapters of things that I create for no other reason than to build a backstory for my characters, or to delve deeper inside their heads.

The main character of my next novel, The Half Killed, is complicated. She hears voices, and she has the ability to get into other people’s heads, though it’s not a gift she enjoys. I spent a tremendous amount of time creating her life, her world, and her history. What follows is a small bit penned with the sole purpose of allowing me to see where she came from and what she’s gone through. It’s not the most polished bit of prose in existence, so forgive me if there are any errors present that I missed.

And enjoy.

The Family

They gave you your own room, up at the top of the house, and after all of the fuss and the crying, you were glad to be away from the rest of the family, away from your cousins, the twins, who pretended to be afraid of you when their parents were present, but liked to pinch you and call you names when they thought no one was looking. But your Aunt Dancy indulged them, giving them all sorts of cakes and things, and you wondered that they weren’t ill from devouring so many sweets, but instead they ran and jumped and screamed until their father threatened them with his belt, and then they were quiet, for a time.

The bedroom was large, but empty, and with only your little bed and the dressing table beneath the window, it would’ve been an easy thing to fancy yourself locked away in another world, a world so much bigger than your own. But the window was so high that you couldn’t see out of it, and all of the noises of the house seemed to carry up the stairs to rattle the walls, until you thought you could see the dust shuddering through the air. And then the twins came up when only old Mrs. Prim was there to watch after them, and they pushed things through your keyhole, and laughed when you yelled at them or threw something at the door, until you understood their ways and learned not to pay them any attention.

You wore the one dress that Aunt Dancy bought for you, and it was black, and she refused to curl your hair but made you wear it in a braid that ran down the middle of your back. She said that the black was less punishment than you deserved, but when you asked what she meant, she only shook her head, muttering your mother’s name on a soft breath that sounded like a prayer.

You were to stay in your room when visitors came to call, and you knew how they spoke of you, of how wicked you were, and that Aunt Dancy hoped you would not have an ill effect on the twins. The twins never stopped with their tricks, and when one of them bellowed out that you were a murderer, you smacked him hard, even though you were sure that your Aunt would find out. And when she did, she locked you in your room and threatened to let Uncle use his belt on your backside. But Uncle never came with the belt, and two days later, when you were let out again, Aunt Dancy declared to have had enough, that she’d done her part as your nearest relation, but there was nothing of her sister in you, only wickedness. And didn’t she have the twins to think of? So she sent Mrs. Prim to pack up your belongings, the old woman glaring at you through a wrinkled, narrowed set of eyes.

For Mrs. Prim had the bedroom nearest to yours, and no doubt she heard what happened after the lamps were put out and the fire burned down to its lowest embers. But you’d tried not to sleep when it was dark, only grasping a few hours of rest once the sun came up, but even then, she must have heard when the dreams visited you, though you’d taken to sleeping with your face buried in your pillow, your head hidden beneath as many layers of blankets as you could tolerate without fear of being smothered. And you knew she kept an eye on you after the downstairs maid found the dead cat on the back stoop, it’s neck torn open and bits of bloody flesh beneath its claws. Even the girl who came to build up the fire looked at you differently after that, but she said nothing, and always scurried away as soon as her task was finished.

Aunt Dancy didn’t say goodbye, and Uncle was off at the bank for the day, and no doubt the twins were thrilled to see the back of you, though they were losing a great deal of sport now that you would no longer be around to taunt and tease with their vile words and pinchings. But Aunt did say that she would visit, her gaze pinned to the floor as she spoke. You told yourself that they would not visit, and you hoped that they would not, even though you confessed that you would very much like to see her again. Her eyes flickered then, and no doubt she guessed the lie. But then the cab came around, and Mrs. Prim said it was time to go, and her hand was at your back, her split nails digging into your dress as she picked up your bag and pushed you out the door.

***

The Half Killed is available for pre-order on Amazon and you can add it on Goodreads!

Not Quite the Weekend

It’s Friday. In fact, it’s such a Friday that I have misspelled every attempt to type “Friday” thus far. Even that one. I feel like a monkey with boots on its hands, though my brain feels a bit less civilized.

It was one of those weeks where you start to rethink your plans of having more children. My son ended up covered in red nail polish when my four-year-old decided to turn him into Iron Man.

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He’s no longer red, though he is sporting some pink streaks in his hair.

I also just misspelled “hair” and had to fix it. *sigh*

There was also glitter spilled everywhere, a leaking tub (that decided to dribble through the ceiling and into the living room below), a broken vacuum (which is now fixed, but I’m out of vacuum bags), and baby lotion squirted all over clean sheets.

Which is why this is today’s breakfast:

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On top of this, my father is in the hospital, my mother is struggling to latch onto a vehicle that actually runs and will take her to Johns Hopkins and back without dying on her, and other stuff. So much other stuff.

I’m also still plugging away with writing. I’m on a two-week break from teaching dance, which is giving me a chance to at least plan out what I want to accomplish over the summer. I have an author newsletter to bring into being (“Give my creation… LIFE!”), bloggers to email for reviews of The Half Killed, another manuscript to edit and finalize the cover for, a book launch party (I just wrote “lunch” there, which should tell you where my brain currently is) on Facebook to organize, and possibly a shower or a nap in there somewhere. Maybe.

And yes! The Half Killed is now available for pre-order!

And yes! You can now find it on Goodreads!

And yes! You can still read the first three chapters here!

Now, tomorrow I have to take my oldest to sign up for the summer reading program at the library, and my four-year-old wants to see Jurassic World. Which will be nothing without Dr. Ian Malcolm. But still we trudge forward.

That’s “forward”, Quenby. Not “froward”.

Dangit.

The Half Killed – The First Three Chapters!

So I’ve been extraordinarily busy lately. My daughters had their gymnastics show last weekend, and my dance school had their performances this weekend. My father is in the hospital, so I’ve been back and forth visiting him, and there is the usual craziness of having three kids and finishing up this year of schoolwork and trying to sleep at some point in there, too.

And I also not only received an update on when my next novel will be released (August 25th! Pencil it in, people) but the long, agonizing march of pre-orders and marketing and interviews and reviews is about to begin.

This also means that I am free to post the first three chapters (yes, that’s right – CHAPTERS – not pages) of The Half Killed for you dear folks to peruse at your leisure. Because I’m good like that.

First, here’s the self-marketing bit.

*ahem*

Hey! My new novel, The Half Killed, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Don’t know what it’s about? Here’s the back cover summary for you:

Dorothea Hawes has no wish to renew contact with what lies beyond the veil. After an attempt to take her own life, she has retired into seclusion, but as the wounds on her body heal, she is drawn back into a world she wants nothing more than to avoid.

She is sought out by Julian Chissick, a former man of God who wants her help in discovering who is behind the gruesome murder of a young woman. But the manner of death is all too familiar to Dorothea, and she begins to fear that something even more terrible is about to unleash itself on London.

And so Dorothea risks her life and her sanity in order to save people who are oblivious to the threat that hovers over them. It is a task that forces her into a confrontation with her own lurid past, and tests her ability to shape events frighteningly beyond her control.

Interesting? If you think it is, then take a gander at the first three chapters, and see if they tempt you. 🙂

Continue reading “The Half Killed – The First Three Chapters!”