Excerpt from Tethered

I am so excited to be able to say that I finished writing Tethered after midnight on Tuesday morning. I sat back, clicked “save” and looked around the room like I had been somewhere else for a while. I really have been somewhere else…lost in my characters and their story. There are still revisions to make and lots of polishing up to do, but I wrote a book! And there are plenty more stories and characters rattling around inside this mind of mine. I’m not quite ready to leave Arc and Celeste’s world, but I have many other stories to tell and it makes me supremely satisfied to feel this burning addiction to storytelling.

Here is another excerpt: (Thanks for reading these and for all of the great feedback!)

In what she considered a potentially very stupid move, Celeste looked over her shoulder to see the man making great long strides with a fierce hunter’s look on his face. She actually sobbed out loud. This was so not good.

“Arc, please. Come and find me!” She said it out loud with tears forming in her eyes. She was about to break out in an actual run when a hand clamped down over her shoulder and her mouth at the same time, preventing that well planned scream for help. She still had the pepper spray in her hand and she twisted around with so much force that she loosened his grip enough to bite his hand. This surprised him and she twisted away far enough to get out a burst of pepper spray in his general direction. The stream of spray didn’t hit his nose or eyes directly, so there wasn’t much stopping power with the defense. And unfortunately, he seemed even more interested now, the thrill of her fighting back wetting his appetites. Bile rose in Celeste’s throat and her headache threatened to send her to the ground. She felt like the world was tilting and rotating around her. Why isn’t there anyone else on the street to help me?

He grabbed her again and pushed her with so much force that she flew into the alley they were walking by and she stumbled to the ground. This time she got a good long scream out which elicited a hard, backhanded slap from her assailant. She saw nothing but bright light for a split second and then when she could see again she looked up at him and saw, for the first time, his large, shiny knife.

Then it seemed like the whole world exploded around her as her eyes were blinded by a white light accompanied by the most intensely crippling pain her brain had ever endured. Celeste was sure she was dying, that the murderer had sliced her throat or stabbed her in the face with his horrible knife. She couldn’t imagine ever surviving pain of this magnitude. The headache that had plagued her since she got to New Mexico was going to be the disabling factor that lead to her death. Unable to defend herself, she was certain that this was the end. Miraculously, the light faded to reveal that she was seemingly alone and she looked around her. What is that humming noise? Celeste lifted her hand to her head. The pain had been replaced by a drone of noises that she couldn’t place.

Unbelievably, her attacker wasn’t there anymore, threatening to kill her. Could she dare to hope that he was gone? Celeste shook her head feeling dazed but no longer in such horrid pain. She was panting and still lying on the street, but she wasn’t cut or bleeding. It was after a quick assessment of her condition that she warily looked around to get her bearings and twenty feet away she saw the strangest thing she had ever seen. The taxi driver was lying on his back, his panicked, flailing limbs held out in an “X” pattern and Arc was kneeling on his chest, head thrust back, mouth open and a serene look on his beautiful face.

Excerpt from Chapter One of Tethered

Chapter One
Albuquerque, New Mexico
September 5, 1999

The bar was packed for a Wednesday night, making it hard for Celeste to get the scary looking bartender’s attention amidst the throng of bodies crushed against the smoky bar. Celeste adjusted the comfortable, yet frilly, tank top that she was sporting this evening. It was dusty rose, form fitting and had a built in bra that her, larger than average, chest kept wanting to mutiny from. Her jeans were a little too big and long for her, even though she was five feet, eight inches tall, but she tended to couple one tight piece of clothing with one baggy piece. She liked the juxtaposition—imagined that it was sexy. Her multicolored, patched handbag was slung casually over her right shoulder and laid on her left hip but it contained nothing other than a four-year-old cell phone that her mother had made her take, a simple hair tie that she would pull her long dirty blonde locks into at some point this evening and a wallet full of nothing much other than her ID and a few small bills. She was good at hiding valuables. Being a world traveler at the age of twenty-three made you astute and congenially suspicious of your fellow man.

Everyone was clamoring for each other’s attention and laughing, pushing forward trying to buy bottles of beer and glasses of cheap well drinks. As she folded her twenty dollar bill lengthways and stuck it out to make her alcohol buying intentions better known, she glanced back at Padma and Joshua, her new friends from the Albuquerque City Youth Hostel, where they were all staying, a few blocks from the bar. The cramped dance floor forced the two of them to stand very close to each and they were cutely awkward about it. Celeste smiled. She liked these two and she could tell, in that way of hers, that they liked each other too but were too shy to do anything about it. It was decided—she would have to make the first move for them. Of course, it would be clandestine enough to make it seem like their idea. Happily, they seemed inexperienced enough to probably not notice her meddling…

…Padma’s open beauty transcended age and her kind manner made her even that much more likable. Her attire tonight was much the same as every other time Celeste had spent time with her; flowing skirts, lots of chunky jewelry and finely polished hair and nails. She was eccentric, yet stunning. And she had the natural kindness that could win over the most hardened cynic and Josh, in his plaid shirts and combat boots, had come across as a cynic right from the start… But Padma was totally the opposite and once she understood Celeste’s needs, she had said that the three should combine all of their ingredients to make one big family meal. Upon hearing that suggestion Josh looked like he was about to burst a capillary or run away screaming but by the last drop of after dinner cardamom and cinnamon tea, compliments of Padma, he was laughing and acting like they were all old friends. After that night together there had been a new and completely different look in his eye every time he was around Padma.

The bartender shouted at her and she turned to lean over the wooden bar and yell her order at him over the loud music and raucously lively bar sounds. With not so much as a smile, the efficient seeming bartender was off to fill her order. Celeste could only assume it was the demands of a busy day that created his unfriendly attitude since he took two more orders as he quickly moved around the inside of the large bar. She watched him reaching into the cooler, grabbing bottles and throwing the handle of the keg to fill a glass and decided that he was just no non-sense, hard working and possibly the only bartender working tonight, so she decided to give him a good tip.

While she waited for her drinks, Celeste let her gaze sweep around the bar, imagining what all of these moving bodies really wanted out of this place. She just wanted to get to know her friends a little better and have an experience worthy of recording in her daily travel journal when she got back to her room. She spotted a mysteriously handsome man leaning on the far wall near the back entrance and did a double take. He was that hot, albeit weird, guy from the train. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized that his gaze was fixed directly on her. That couldn’t be a coincidence.

This guy was seriously good looking, like Hollywood gorgeous. Most of the guys that liked her were nice, smart college-bound type guys. Attractive, but not really the kind of guy you liked for his overt sexuality or heart throb exterior. Celeste knew she was considered pretty, if you liked that sort of thing, but she wasn’t the kind of physical beauty that solicited deep soul crushing stares like the one this guy was throwing her way. In all honesty, it was more odd than it was flattering. Despite this illicit attention from such a stud, she was distractingly aware of a weird sensation starting in her head, sort of behind her forehead. She touched it absently wondering if she was developing a migraine.

The bartender thumped three heavy Newcastle’s on the bar in front her and she jumped, startled into turning her attention to the beer delivery. She handed him the twenty and held up her hand to show that she didn’t want any change back. He broke a quick smile of gratitude and then stalked off to fill more drink orders. Celeste had waited tables for about five seconds in college and she knew what it was like to work in this sort of environment. Poor guy probably wouldn’t get a break for another five hours. As she grabbed the beer bottles by the neck, she dared another look in the direction of the hot guy. “Yep, still watching me. Damn this is weird.”

Excerpt #2 From the Prologue of Tethered

Lying on the ground in his long dark coat, looking up at the sky, expecting to die at any moment, even though he knew that wasn’t possible, slow recognition began to creep into his mind. This pain was familiar. He had felt this before but realizing that did not make him feel any better. In fact, it enraged him. As the pain subsided again, a new sensation replaced it. An itch. An insatiable, infuriating itch behind his forehead, deep in his brain. This time he cried out, not in pain, but with terrifying anger. He slammed his fists and forearms into the earth beside him to propel himself back into a standing position and glared into the night, allowing himself to feel the itch spread from a pinprick sensation to the size of a dime and then a quarter and then it was in his entire brain. He knew the only way to really scratch it was to open up to what was trying to force its way in. But this he refused to do.

He absolutely despised the fact that she had found her way back into his brain. For years he had built the wall, brick by brick, kill by kill and the wall had never been breached, until tonight. Rage festered and oozed within him. She no longer belonged in his life, in his world. It had been a long, long time since he had known her and he wasn’t ever letting her in again. Never. He would never allow it.

And then, as if he had no choice, there she was…in his mind whispering his name with her beautiful, angelic, human voice. He swore aloud. He couldn’t remember how to keep her out once she was there, but he could put an end to her life. That would do the trick. He smiled a crazy, ferocious smile as he scratched the space between his eyes and let out a low, animal snarl. Finally, he would find the will to finish what he could never finish before.

And then there were just the two bodies, the smoking fire and a cool Rocky Mountain breeze. The ghost of his snarl lifted up and away on the tendrils of smoke.

Another Song Inspires My Writing

"Bullet in My Hand" by Redlight King

I just love how music inspires me, and so often while I am driving. I can write a whole scene in my mind as I am driving to or from work. This particular song is edgy and creates a mood of redemption and possibility and is helping me to write the last few chapters.

I can’t wait until I have the book done, so I can print it off and start editing it on paper and in real time, rather than back and forth as I write out of sequence. It is interesting to me how the story unfolds for me, the writer. Sometimes I feel like I am the reader and I don’t know what is going to happen next and then, suddenly, there it is appearing on my computer screen.

I must post another excerpt soon!