Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Surprise in the Mist Writing Prompt

This seems like an odd photo to post on such a sunny day, but I love the mood of it!

Imagine yourself standing on the edge of this foggy lake. You think you see something moving in the mist beyond the bend. Are your eyes playing tricks on you? You squint and see someone - or something - you never expected to find there. Who - or what- is it?

And before you take off, I have a quick announcement. The BestsellerBound Short Story Anthology, Vol. 1 was just released as a free download yesterday! I'm a member of the BestsellerBound forum, a support network for indie authors, and a few other members put their heads and skills together to get this off the ground. It features 10 short stories from various genres, including my story, "Stained." Please support these authors by downloading the anthology (totally free) on Smashwords.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The New Title Showcase at BEA 2011

My friend and fellow author, S.C. Harvey, and I took a day trip yesterday to New York City to check out the New Title Showcase at the 2011 BookExpo America. Her first release, Sand Castles & Seashores, is featured as part of the Trafford Publishing display. I wanted a glimpse of the action and I have to say it was well worth it!

Sam with her new book!
The energy and activity at the center invigorated me to get to work. So when I got home, I pulled up my upcoming novel, The Jester's Apprentice, and finished revising the ending. I still have a lot of editing ahead of me, but taking a little time out to pop in at the BEA stoked the fire to revise and make plans for the release!

Activity around the New Title Showcase

Now I wish I'd gotten a photo, but outside the front of the center they were giving out free mini red velvet and strawberry whoopie pies to promote Sarah Dessen's new novel. The strawberry one was delicious!

Later this week, you can catch the next chapter of Decode and see how Veronica does with her first spying attempt!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Decode, Chapter 7: Business Affairs

Chapter 7: Business Affairs

Lieutenant Guarini sat in Maddox Felton's office, admiring the way the sunlight lit up dust particles floating through the air. Without the light, you'd never know they existed. Maddox crashed into his chair, the wheels squeaking as he pulled up to the desktop. Guarini observed that Felton had no photos, no memorabilia, no awards. Just the desk, a wall-sized book shelf, and two chairs for guests. It was modern and stylish, but hardly the plush CEO office Guarini expected. Maddox apologized for the wait, and they got down to business.

"David was an efficient project manager," Maddox said, folding his hands on his desk. "And well-liked, near as I could tell."

"Did you like him?" Guarini admired Felton's tone-on-tone shirt and tie and thought he should try that look sometime himself.

Maddox tilted his head quizzically but his chiseled features stayed neutral. "Of course. I wouldn't say we were friends, but we got along just fine."

Guarini nodded. "Did you know David had some financial problems?" Guarini watched him, but if any recognition crossed his eyes, he'd missed it.

"No." Maddox laughed quietly. "I can't imagine he would have told me."

"They had incurred some major debts after building a new home. David had taken on a second job to keep them afloat."

"I had no idea."

"It seems to me this kind of financial desperation could lead to other activities."

"You mean illegal activities."

"If not illegal then let's say unethical. What would an unethical business practice be to you, Mr. Felton?"

Maddox kept his eyes on the Lieutenant while he processed his question. Guarini admired his unflinching stance, but really just wanted into his mind. "I would have to say using others to get ahead."

"Good answer. But I'm thinking along the lines of selling company secrets."

Maddox' eyes flickered. "That would qualify," he said calmly. "Are you suggesting David was involved in something like that?"

Guarini shrugged. "I can't really say. I'm just looking at the evidence and David's life and your company and thinking corporate espionage for some reason."

Maddox smiled. "Sounds glamorous."

"And expensive. You go to a lot of trouble to keep your employees quiet."

"Containing what we develop is a non-stop project in and of itself. But I take care of my employees and I trust them not to share what they know with our rivals."

"Do you?" Guarini checked his notes. "I guess that's why you have everyone sign multiple confidentiality agreements."

Maddox laughed. "It's still a business."

"Very well. Business for me is questioning every one of your employees."

Maddox nodded and stood up. "Then I'll let you get to it."

Pick up Decode from the beginning here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Decode, Chapter 6: Secrets

Chapter 6: Secrets

Seeing Jesse made Veronica feel all the import of the last day. It felt like they had talked years ago, not days. They swapped stories while walking the quiet side streets near Veronica's home. Though the sun burned, she could still see her breath blow out in white clouds.

"You're not kidding about Guarini," Jesse said, running his hands over his curly brown hair. "He brought up my arrest and inferred that I hacked into the systems at Maddox Tech and stole information to sell it."

"I'm not surprised."

Jesse shifted his gaze, looking at her suspiciously from the side.

"I mean, they would know your background and all." Veronica cursed herself for speaking so quickly. Her boyfriend knew nothing about her meetings with Maddox Felton and she couldn't tell him she was going to spy for him. Not if the spying was going to work anyway.

"I was seventeen!" Jesse shook his head. "I didn't hack into anything. And Guarini's a fool if he thinks Felton would keep anything that secret around to take in the first place."

Veronica's heart stung with that assessment of the Lieutenant. Not that she'd had the best feelings of him either, but still. "He's doing what he's paid to do. Besides, part of the process is elimination and that means asking tough questions."

Jesse scowled. "Where's the love, V? I haven't seen you in a week!"

"You haven't given me much to work with either." She gave him a sharp look out of the side of her glasses. "I did hit someone with my car if you remember."

"I know. But he was already dead."

"And that makes it okay?"

"No, but you didn't do anything wrong so what difference does it make?"

Veronica flung around. "What difference does it make? I discovered the body of a human being. That's a big difference!"

"Okay, okay. You don't have to freak out. I'm just saying everything worked out fine in your case. You're best friends with the Lieutenant now and no harm's done. But I'm not out of the hole yet."

Veronica examined him coldly. "No, you're not."

"You know, I should be mad at you. Why didn't you call me about what happened until today?"

They stopped walking and Veronica scanned through her memories, wondering how to explain without mentioning any of the real reasons. "I was just...." She sighed. "I was kind of worn out and didn't want to talk anymore."

"Well, you talked to somebody. Who?"

"You know, my brother, sister-in-law...Guarini."

"And you couldn't squeeze me in?"

Veronica licked her lips. "Honestly, no. But that's why I wanted you to come over." She could feel her ears turning red and hoped her hair covered them. "So let's stop fighting and you can tell me more about all the conspiracy whisperings at work."

Asserting it was all nonsense, Jesse still went on to relay everything he'd heard since learning about their colleague, David Moore's, death. Veronica listened more intently than she ever had to his office gossip, hoping that hiding what really happened the day before would pay off in the long-run.


If you're just joining Veronica's story, catch up with the previous five chapters right here.
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