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Hey there! Glad you could join me again on the blog. You know how much I love my song titles, and Be Yourself by Patti really embodies what I’m feeling right now.
Writing is a solitary experience, for the most part, which is why many of us turn to Facebook and other social media outlets to give us a little pick-me-up between the stretches of hard work we are putting in on our writing.
And don’t be fooled by our whiny complaints and over-indulgence in coffee, wine, and journals. We love what we do, or else we wouldn’t do it.
But, as with any industry, there are those who treat it simply as a business and not as personal expression. These are the authors who use ghostwriters and manage to churn out a new release every other week (or so it seems!). Meanwhile, I’m sitting here tip tapping away on a story that will probably take me more than a month to finish.
I could look upon these authors with jealousy, disparage their methods, and make fun of their stories. I could be envious of the thousands of dollars they pull down every month and salivate at the screenshots of their earnings. It would be so easy for me to do.
But I won’t.
Patti’s song says “everybody’s got a heart that knows the truth“. No matter what you do, you’ve got to know your heart. Now….I’m not going to lie and act like I don’t want that payout…who couldn’t use a little extra scratch? However, what would be the point? Why do I need to imbue myself with poisonous, negative thoughts, good for nothing more than souring my heart, raining on my parade and harshing my mellow?
No and nope. I’ve got a heart that knows the truth, and the truth is, I love what I do and how I do it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m running my own race and working my own plan. And having a lot of fun doing so.
Could I be running my author life more like a business? Sure! Could I write more “to market” stories that readers will snatch off virtual shelves? Of course! But…to do so would turn me away from my vision of writing story for my soft black girls, my geeky gals and my quirky heroines. And that’s the reason why I got into writing: to write the stories I wanted to read.
Be yourself, like Patti says, you can’t be no one else.
Til next time!
You know, there comes that time in the week where you need that kick in the pants to either start you up or keep you going. Usually it’s Monday when you need that “start me up” motivation to dive in and get moving. But I think anyone can use motivation at anytime. Long story short, though I may call it Monday Motivation, hopefully you can use this any day of the week.
Y’all know how much I love my found footage movies. And you also know there is sometimes a huge difference between what a writer writes and what actually ends up in the final copy of the book. Today, I have a little twist. Found Footage is a new feature that I’m implementing which showcases scenes that I wrote, that didn’t make it into the final copy, or may not have even made it to the draft I sent to my editor.
Today’s found footage hails to you from Loving Among the Dead, my first “love during a zombie apocalypse” story. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know where it fits. If you haven’t, I promise, it’s not a spoiler. Without out further ado, let’s roll tape!
For the fifth time, he touched the butt of the gun shoved into the holster at the small of his back. Having it there made for easier carrying and the barrel didn’t poke at his hip every time he took a step. While it was a little difficult to draw, most of the things he was shooting at didn’t move very quickly anyhow.
Mosquitoes buzzed around his head. He swatted at them and then swiped at the perspiration that ran down the back of his neck. It wasn’t the heat that was driving him crazy, it was the humidity.
The two woman stood beside Jude, while the gravely injured man leaned against the wrecked car and wheezed. He didn’t really like the desperate looks of the women, but Jude could handle herself.
“Take them inside.” He gestured at the women.
One of them spoke. “Our names are—”
“Shut up.” He had no patience with niceties, knowing what he had to do. He put his hand on Jude’s shoulder and squeezed. He hadn’t known her long, but with things how they were, quickly getting in tune with new companions was a matter of life and death. As he watched, her expression run the gamut of fear, uncertainty and finally settled on brave determination. “Go inside.”
She nodded. “All right.” Her curls bobbed with the movement of her head. “Be careful.”
“Always,” he said and winked at her. Though his own guts churned with fear, he wasn’t going to let on. “I’ll be back soon.” With his arm under the man’s shoulders, Brian, he said his name was, he began to walk.
Only a few crickets sent out a chirp or two in the silence. Jude told him she was the only one left in the neighborhood, at least the only one alive. The rest of them were either dead, or neither: reanimated corpses that existed only to feed on human flesh.
And the man he was walking with, had been bitten.
As far as he knew, no cure existed. The only way to stop a bitten human from turning into a zombie was to kill them before they changed.
“……been married long?”
“What?” Sky brought his attention back to the man. “Didn’t hear you.”
“I said have you and your wife been married long?”
Sky considered the question. Truth was, he’d only known Jude for little over six weeks, not much more. But Brian wanted to talk. He wanted to hear a story before Sky shot him in the head and left him in someone’s backyard.
Sky quickly turned his mind away from the thought and scrambled for something to say. “We’ve been married for about six years,” he said. The lie rolled easily off his tongue. “We met at one of those speed dating things and we just clicked. We didn’t even bother going through with the rest of the dates.”
Brian laughed, then coughed up some blood, which he spat in the street. “Left everyone else hanging, huh?”
“Yeah. We were banned from attending any more events, so it’s good we got married a couple of weeks later.” He swallowed. They had reached a good enough distance from Jude’s house where the gunshot wouldn’t be heard. He stopped and knelt to tie his boot.
The message was not lost on Brian. He pointed. “Let’s go sit on the porch. Never seen a porch like that up in my area.”
The porch was a large, wraparound structure that was obviously an add-on since no other house on the street had one as extensive. Both men climbed the steps.
Brian settled on the top one and grinned, showing teeth stained with blood. “Couple weeks? You move fast.” He laughed a little, then coughed.
Sky walked the length of the porch and peered around the corner. There was even more room there, enough for five or more people to gather. He blinked back the sudden sting in his eyes. Right now, he missed his mother the most.
“Yeah,” he said, coming back to the front door and lifting the mailbox lid. A few yellowed envelopes lingered in the box. He let the lid drop. He would have preferred a magazine or even a catalog. Anything new to read.
Brian coughed, an extended string of strangled, hacking noises that set Sky’s teeth on edge. Not only did the man sound like he was coughing up a lung, but a liver and a spleen too.
“Yeah,” he repeated a little louder. “She’s real…. shy. Didn’t want to go to bed with me until we got married. It was funny because I’m the one who’s Catholic.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wondered why he’d said them in the first place. The last time he’d gone to Mass in New Jersey was so long ago he couldn’t remember.
Brian wheezed and nodded. “What’s her name?”
“Judith. But she likes Jude. Never Judy. I learned that the hard way.” Sky pulled the gun from the holster and held it at his side, the barrel pointing downward. “I called her Judy once and I was sleeping on the couch for a week.” He paused.
The lies flowed so easily he was beginning to believe them himself. He and Jude, meeting at some speed dating event in the conference room of a hotel in an office park. So taken with each other that they left the event, not needing to look any further. Chaste until marriage and the biggest fight they’d had was over a nickname.
God damn. If only it were true.
“She seems like a feisty one.” Brian was saying now. He paused. “I’m not one for praying, Sky, if that’s what you’re waiting for. I’ve made my peace. You all thinking of having kids?”
“Maybe one day.” Sky raised the gun and was surprised to see how steady the barrel was. Hail Mary, full of grace. If Brian wasn’t going to say a prayer, then it was up to him. “She wants two. I want three.”
“Well, unless you’ve got great powers of persuasion, looks like you’ll have two.”
Our Lord is with Thee. “Guess so.” He released the safety. “She might change her mind.” He curled his finger against the trigger. “You never know.” Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
“No. You don’t.” And in a quieter voice he said, “Good luck, son.”
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Sky squeezed the trigger and shot him in the back of the head from two feet away. The report made his ears ring and the recoil stung his hand and wrist. The toes of his boots had the spray of blood droplets. Amen.
After ensuring the safety was back on, Sky shoved the gun back into its holster and rubbed both hands down his face. His hand smelled burnt. His throat was tight, and he swiped angrily at his eyes.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered to the buzzing of the cicadas, who had emerged to sing their night song. “I’m so sorry.” Out of long ago habit, he crossed himself, something he hadn’t since high school, and then, only in Mass under the watchful eye of his mother.
He looked down at Brian’s motionless body. The force of the shot had propelled him off the top step to lie face down on the concrete path. His arm extended at a right angle from his body, crushing a plant with pink heart-shaped flowers. Bleeding heart, his mother called them. He made a harsh sound, something between a laugh and a sob. The plant wasn’t the only thing bleeding around here.
Sky descended the wooden stairs and stood next to the body. Wincing in disgust at the pool of blood speckled with flecks of brain matter, he shot him in the head again, just to be sure. As much as it hurt him to do so, he wanted to be thorough.
He sniffed and blamed it on his allergies. The symptoms were all there. Sniffling, watery eyes. Summer was the worst time for him. Seemed like anytime from here on in was going to be the worst times for him.
As he walked away, he wished he were taking a physics test, having a root canal, or supervising a Saturday detention with the worst kids in the high school. He’d even take the ones with ankle bracelets fresh from juvie.
Anywhere but here.
Find my story “Loving Among the Dead” in the Zombie Apocalypse Box Set here:
Featuring these STORIES:
Love & The Apocalypse by E.B. Black
Zombiesdidn’t scare her as much as falling in love.
Zombies, Humans, and Love by Jessica de Barra
Finding love at the zombie capital of the world? Killer.
Undeath Becomes Her by Erin Lee
The Dark Side by Jan Springer
Sheriff Windermere by Cate Farren
A Zombie Ate My Panties by Jocelyn Dex
Will her zombie eat her face or just her panties?
Deadies: Run For Your Life by Krystell Lake
Waking up to zombies was never the plan.
My Zombie BFF by Liz Hahn
Her First Bite by Krista Ames
Cherish the Carnage by Deelylah Mullin
I’m very excited to welcome author Lisa W. Tetting with her latest release: The Opposite of Hew. Read on for the blurb and a great excerpt!
The Opposite of Hew
A BWWM Novella by Lisa W. Tetting
Kay McQueen is different from the women in her family. She lives her life for her, not for a man. Though she enjoys an occasional romp with a sexy man, she is not looking for Mr. Right. Her goals in life are to build her home health care business, and to travel the world. Well, at least she has her business life together. The travel thing, not so much. That is until her favorite aunt passes away, leaving a journal with her final wishes.
As far as Kay knows, Aunt Gigi is the ultimate single girl, the life of the party, even pushing eighty years old. What she finds in Gigi’s journal causes her to rethink her position on love and marriage. She embarks on a dual purpose journey; to scatter Gigi’s ashes and to discover love. Along the way, she encounters a man named Heath who is tall, sexy, and has magical hands. His kisses set her body on fire, but when she finds out his true identity, she wants to set him on fire, literally.
Find out how Kay handles the situation and see exactly who Heath is and what it means to Kay’s family. When these two worlds collide, the outcome is explosive. Heath’s lies and deception finally catch up with him, as Kay finds that what she was looking for, she already had. Discover why Happily Ever After isn’t always what it seems.
Read an excerpt here:
I allowed my alarm to blare into the room for three minutes before I begrudgingly unearthed myself from the mountain of covers on my California King. My bed is super comfy, but that’s not the reason I didn’t want to leave it. This was the most dreaded day of the year! This was the day when ALL of my family members got together, for the sole purpose of finding me a man. The McQueen family reunion!
You may think I was overreacting, but I swear, ever since I turned forty they have been coming out of the woodwork. Aunties, uncles, cousins, play cousins, brothers that I don’t have and sisters that I wish I didn’t all congregated under the guise of family, just to torture me. If I had to hear ‘Kay, when are you gonna find you a man and have some babies?’ one more time, I think I might join a convent. That would shut them up. On second thought, the nuns would probably be giving me the side eye too.
I finally made it onto my feet in a standing position and stumbled into the bathroom to take care of my business. Before the water could even heat in the shower my big sister, Tessa, was blowing up my phone. Mind you, I had a gas water heater, so the water was always hot. I should let her old melon head go to voicemail, but she will keep calling until I answer.
“Good morning Tess. What’s good?”
“What’s good? What young boy did you learn that from? You sound like your nephew when he’s talking to his friends.”
“Did you call to give me lessons on millennial phrases and culture, or was there a purpose to this call?”
I rolled my eyes and removed my toothbrush from its holder, spreading toothpaste on the bristles. I may as well brush while she ranted. There would be no way for me to get a word in edgewise. Putting the call on speaker, I placed my phone on the counter so I could groom properly without being rude.
“Eww, who pissed in your cornflakes this morning? Anywho, I just wanted to make sure you were up. You can’t be late for the festivities this year. Auntie Gigi has been asking for you since everyone arrived last night. You should have seen that woman trying to twerk. I swear, Kay, if you don’t get your act together, you will turn out just like her. Old, sad and alone, trying to shake your behind with the young folk.”
Tessa never did get along with Auntie Gigi, but she was my favorite aunt. Somehow, Tessa thought comparing me to her would be an insult, but I would love to live the kind of life Gigi had. Pushing eighty years old and could twerk? Are you kidding me? #lifegoals
My older sister made a habit of asking me when I was going to settle down and get married. That was her way of showing me that she cared, but her inquiries annoyed me. As a forty something strong African American woman I did not need a man to validate my life! Though, if I was being honest, I definitely want one sometimes.
Available on Amazon , FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
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