The middle is not like an Oreo cookie…

In other words, lacking sweet sugary goodness. I’m talking about the middle of the story, otherwise known as the slump. Yep, I’m there. It’s the point when churning out words becomes just that–a churn, rather than an easy flow. I’m posting a bit of my WIP below as part of my Tuesday teaser (keeps me honest :)).

I pull back slightly so that I can see him before he can see me. He comes around the corner, wearing a faded olive green tee shirt and jeans. I notice the outfit, particularly the fact that the jeans look new, before I notice the other thing.
He’s not alone.
There are three other guys with him. Two don’t look like anything to worry about—they’ve got Hunter’s reedy build. But the fourth is big, football player big, with muscles that strain against the fabric of his tee shirt. My stomach drops, and I feel a cold tingle in my spine and palms. I glance up the street and wonder how fast they can run.
“Hunter!”
It’s not my voice, or any voice familiar to me. I look around and see a girl running across the street. She’s familiar, and as she gets closer to the boys I see why—she’s the one on Hunter’s Facebook page, the girl with her arms always around him, the girl Hunter’s always looking away from. And as I see his face now, I feel a sudden flicker of concern for her. He doesn’t even look her way when she reaches him, panting. “I was calling you, like, all afternoon! Why didn’t you call me back?”
He’s still not looking at her. “I’m busy.”
The other three guys peel off and move a couple of feet away. One of them—not the football player—laughs loudly. I see Hunter’s face darkening.
“Busy? Come on—you’ve been telling me that for, like, weeks.” She reaches for his arm—he pulls back slightly, then stands still. His lips curl back from his teeth. “Please, Hunter. I’ve wanted to see you…my mother’s, like, losing it completely and my dad’s about to move out…”
He finally looks at her. Whatever’s in his glance seems to hit her like a blow—she shrinks back, even before he says to her, softly, but not so softly that I can’t hear, “I don’t give a shit.”

So who’s got milk?

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The holidays are over…

More or less. Anyway, we held Passover and I didn’t kill the family with my overdone brisket or my underdone matzoh balls. Celebrated yesterday with Cadbury chocolate eggs coated in candy shells (sorry, Passover, Easter chocolate’s just better).

And in the category of great ideas I wish I’d thought of, I picked up these educational cookies at the supermarket yesterday. Yeah, you heard it right–educational cookies. These are stamped with images of U.S. Presidents. So far I’ve eaten my way through Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland and Richard Nixon.

And now I’m stretching my writing limbs for a stint at Camp Nanowrimo. Which won’t rid me of my post-holiday pounds, but should get me through my WIP (hope springs eternal).

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

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More Teaser Tuesdays!

As promised, this is a little bit (first three hundred words or so) of my new adult horror/suspense. At this point I’ve kind of stalled on it (finishing up the YA) but I hope to get back to it soon. Especially since I’ve just started on the romantic subplot.

My mother never came down the stairs in calm or civilized fashion. She bounced, she bounded, and she was usually shouting my name before she was halfway down. Considering that I spent most of my nights trolling the internet for the more interesting subspecies of porn when I wasn’t playing video games, her early-morning cheeriness was about twelve degrees below bearable. Especially when—as it had, lately—seemed forced.
“Gabe! Gaaabie…”
She’d called me Gabie since I was three. I was twenty-two. I cranked open one eye (the other was securely mashed into the pillow, along with one nostril and most of my slack mouth) and saw the sun peering aggressively through the blinds. “Jesus, Mom. Can’t it wait?”
“No.”
She cranked open the blind, and the sun hit me with full force. I groaned and rolled over. She sat on the edge of the bed so that I rolled right back.
“Look at this.”
I knew she wouldn’t leave until I did. I opened my other eye and saw that she was holding a sheet of paper torn from a newspaper. I took it and turned it over.
MILES FORTUNATO DOES IT AGAIN!
I didn’t know much about urban architecture, except for the little bits gleaned from the open house New York things my parents had dragged me to when I was younger and more willing to be dragged. But I knew the name. Miles Fortunato was one of those building-design hotshots whose name was usually quoted in the same sentence as Frank Gehry or Rem Koolhaas. He palled around with models, had just married some long-legged close-to-underage beauty from Bulgaria and was always screwing up the skyline in one way or another. The fact that I knew all this was partly due to my tenure in my parents’ basement, a tenure begun when I graduated college, couldn’t find a job, and had broken up with Amanda King, the love of my life. You had plenty of time to read shit like the Daily Mail and The Post when you had nothing to wake up to.

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Teaser Tuesdays!

I figure posting a little bit of what I’m working on keeps me honest (read–keeps me writing every day, more or less).  So I’m trying this whole Tuesday teaser thing with my WIP (I’m working on a couple–a new adult horror/suspense thingy, and a YA pre-apocalyptic sci-fi). The passage I’ve posted below is from the sci-fi, and it’s going to change a lot in the next month or so (my first drafts are–ahem–messy).

In the days following Yaz’s disappearance we’d had the police in.  One of the officers, a woman with hair worn pulled back in a bun, would talk to me at the oilcloth covered table over instant coffee.  I knew her theory—that Yaz had run away.  It didn’t matter how many times I said that she hadn’t been carrying a bag, that her clothes were right where she’d left them,  that her cell phone had somehow inexplicably ended up at the side of the highway leading out of town.  All their questions centered around a certain set of facts and contained a certain amount of presumption.  We were poor.  We lived in a trailer park.  Our father didn’t work, but he drank plenty.   Why would she stay?

                Why would she stay?    

                So I’d sit with the female officer, looking into eyes shadowed by the brim of her hat. 

                “Did she have a boyfriend?”

                “No one she was seeing steadily.”

                “Right, okay.  But was there anyone?”

                “No.”  If there had been she hadn’t told me.  I sometimes wondered if my being gay had something to do with it—she thought I’d pass judgment or something.  But none of that mattered now. 

                “Okay.  Was there anyone in the past?  Someone who she might have broken off with?”

                “No.”

                She’d tap her pencil on the table, as if thinking.  “Friends?  Anyone?”

                I’d rattled off a few names.  She’d written them down, even when I told her I’d called all of them and they were completely clued out. 

                Finally, “How did you and Yaz get along?”

                That was the one question that made the tears start.  I’d wiped them away and sat on my hands, not wanting the woman to reach out and pat my shoulder or touch my hand, any one of those gestures of faux sympathy.   “We got along.  I mean, sometimes we’d fight, but we got along.”

                “Okay…”

                I’d put up flyers.  Run off dozens of sheets with my sister’s birthday photo, her pretty face and overdone eyes smiling out of the frame.  I’d posted them up on every lamppost, the walls of every bus kiosk, the windows of the grocery, right next to pictures of runaway dogs and cats.  One day it rained, and I’d gone outside to see that most of them had turned to pulp, peeling off walls and windows and posts like dead skin.

 

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On short stories and contests…

Once in a while I turn my hand toward writing shorts. They’re not easy–you’re talking about creating a defined story arc with hook, strong middle and resolution, all in the space of maybe 5,000 words (more or less).

Anyway, I entered one of my stories in the ebookmall short story competition, which is being touted as “American Idol” for writers. It’s a cool idea–writers enter their stories, which are published and made available through the website. The end result is a combination of strength of story and strength of social media contacts. Social media and I are a little like oil and water (read–I almost never update my Facebook page and I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter) but there seems to be a stronger push nowadays for writers to maintain a social media presence.

So I entered. Hey, who knows? Maybe this experience will turn me into a Twitter guru :). My story can be found via this link: http://www.ebookmall.com/author/ann-mason. The download is free, and there’s a lot of great stories on there, so check it out!

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Summer doldrums

This will be a short post :). I’m trying to get up the energy to work on my SNI (shiny new idea) and all I feel like doing is sleeping. I’m guessing it’s the heat…

In other news, we’re looking at dogs. Really looking. As in thinking of getting. My problem is that I’m seriously allergic (and asthmatic–yay me!) so we’re probably not going to be able to adopt. I’m thinking terrier, since I adore those scrappy little breeds…

Hope you and your pets are keeping cool!

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Woot! Made it!

So here’s my query and first 250 for the blog contest…

Query

Little Girl Takes on Big Pharma. That’s what the papers said about Hester Lowell after she took on the drug company that killed her father. But when she tried to get evidence proving that they’d killed him, she ended up almost destroying the guy she loved.

And now she’d got more problems. The Havemeyer drug company is back, this time headed up by the dynamic Rick Shane. Who happens to be the new high school principal. Worse-who happens to have developed a drug to give to a select group of high school students. It’s called INSTINCT, and it gives the taker all kinds of abilities. Enhanced ability to see and hear, to move with the grace of a panther or the agility of a mountain goat, even to hold your breath underwater for hours. Oh, and it’ll make you pretty if you’re homely, slim if you’re heavy, more muscular if you’re weak. It’s no wonder that Hester’s two best friends-outcasts both-can’t wait to take it.

But when they begin, Hester realizes she has more to worry about than a few insignificant side effects. It’s her belief that Havemeyer’s experimenting on kids with something that can kill them. And when she and her friends try and prove it, she’s given a choice-to keep up her quest for revenge, or to try and save her friends from certain death. And neither decision comes without a price.

First 250 words

Little Girl Takes on Big Pharma.
That was me. Not something I was particularly proud of, but there it was. Written in the local paper along with a bunch of other words I learned to hate as the medical malpractice trial went on. Carcinoma, a pretty word for cancer, almost like a name. Carcinoma Jones, would you please stand up? And of course there was abattoir, so much prettier than slaughterhouse, the word used by a more literate news reporter when she’d described the scene at the Havemeyer pharmaceutical company right before it shut down. Rich words, rolling off the tongue, spelled over and over in the notebook I kept hidden from my fifth grade teacher when she went around checking our compositions.
And there was death too. Not nearly as sexy, but a word I knew well.
# # #
I plugged in my cell phone to recharge on the first day of school. I’d allowed it to run down over the entire summer, so there was no guarantee it would work now. Or so Father Dan, alias Father Jerkoff, had told me when I’d dug it out of the duffel bag I’d taken with me to Florida. He’d said it with the gentle smile he used when he was blessing us all at Sunday Service, and it had been all I could do not to tell him to go to hell. Even when he offered to buy me a new phone if the old one didn’t work.

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