MJ Monday: Manuscript

As I type this blog, New York State is still “paused,” although that is scheduled to begin easing in some parts of the state at any moment.

I shared my day job situation in an earlier blog post.  One of the things I deal with every day at the day job is despair. Some of the accounts I handle are scared they won’t survive the Pause.

My husband comes home every night and turns on the news to hear the latest on the Pause and global reactions to the pandemic. More despair.

I am in despair overload. I cannot face the despair of my characters as they struggle to overcome adversity in the story, even though none of it is real.

I reached out to my editor and my publisher and explained the situation to them. They, being the wonderful people they are, completely understand.

I hope that you, my readers, will understand, too.

This doesn’t mean Besieged by the Moon has been abandoned. It means I want it to be the best book it can be, and right now, my brain isn’t in a place where I can make that happen.

MJ Monday-Manuscript Excerpt

Besieged by the Moon (tentative release date July 8, 2020)

The cool night air felt light, as opposed to the heavy, humidity-laden summer nights of Phoebe’s home. Nothing weighed her down, not even the awkwardness of her mating with Parker.

“Are you okay to walk?” Parker asked, as if she hadn’t already walked to the diner.

“It’s not the walking that has me dawdling,” she admitted. “Your friend’s mate gives off a lot of negativity. I’m not in the mood to deal with attitude.”

“Well, you and Ethan were giving off some strange vibes,” Parker reminded her.

“You thought they were strange?” Phoebe’s voice rose half an octave. “Try being on our ends.”

“I still don’t understand it.”

Phoebe studied the overhead sky. Too much ambient light in town dimmed the stars, even though she viewed them through the shimmer of tears filming her eyes. “He reminded me of . . . someone. I don’t want to talk about it.”

They walked in silence, their footfalls scuffing on the uneven sidewalks. Most of the houses they passed were dark. Here a backyard light was on; there the pale bluish glow of late-night TV illuminated a window. A string of early Christmas lights twinkled on the eaves of another dwelling. Dog droppings scented the air.

They rounded onto the block on which Ethan’s house sat. Phoebe noted there was only one other house on the block, and it seemed to glitter in the feeble beams of the corner streetlamp.

Help me. Please.

Parker’s head jerked up. “Did you hear that?”

Phoebe nodded. She tilted her head to get a better sense of the direction from which the plea came.

Please. Somebody.

“Over there.” She pointed to the sparkly house across the street from Ethan’s.

“Helga,” Parker muttered, and sprinted toward the house.

Phoebe followed.

“Helga?” he called out. “It’s Parker Rowe, a friend of Ethan’s. Are you okay?

“I fell,” came the weak reply.

He tried the doorknob. Locked. “I’m going to have to break down your door,” he said.

“Wait,” Phoebe said. Wasn’t it just like a male to be destructive when a little finesse would do?

She didn’t have her tools on her, so it took about sixty seconds to disengage the lock rather than the fifteen it should have taken, but nothing was destroyed in the process.

The look Parker gave her as she opened the door, was quick but disturbing. He rushed past her to the occupant, who was sprawled in the middle of the living room floor. “What happened?”

Phoebe followed, nose prickling at familiar scent of burnt sage clinging to the air.

“The batteries in my TV remote are dead, and I haven’t had a chance to get to the store,” an old woman whined, as Parker knelt next to her. “I was going to turn on the TV and fell. I hate getting old.”

Office Update

I’m making slow but steady progress in my quest to redo my office.  I’m cleaning out stuff that should have been cleaned out ages–even decades–ago.

Example. I had over twenty years worth of old Romance Writers Report magazines that I mean to go through, tear out articles I wanted or wanted to save because I’d finaled in a contest or something. That project was at least four years old with no progress. There were also six years worth of RWA national conference handouts in spiral notebooks. I had these stacked in the hall outside my office.

It took a couple of weeks, but I tossed it all.

I have plans for that space in the hall, so I needed to start clearing.

Step 1: done.

I

 

MJ Monday-Manuscript: Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt from the very rough draft of BESIEGED BY THE MOON, tentatively scheduled for July 2020 publication:

“So you’re doctor? My mother will be thrilled,” Phoebe lied.

Parker chuckled, the vibrations rumbling against her back. I’m an EMT, working toward being a paramedic. Big difference.”

“They have schools that teach lycan medicine? Doctors and nurses?”

“I’m not a doctor, and no, I’m not aware of schools for werewolf paramedics.” He rubbed his new erection against her bottom. “Homo lupus and homo sapien are close enough in basic physiology that I can adapt my knowledge to help my pack.”

He didn’t ask her a thing about herself. That was okay. The fewer lies between them, the simpler life would be.

“Does that mean you don’t want to play doctor?”

He didn’t react. Maybe he didn’t know the sapien joke. He was male. Males didn’t have to worry about sexual assault in any form, whereas she’d been raised to be always conscious of what males were up to, especially sapien males, no matter that age.

Dustin had taught her that.

“No, I’m an EMT. Long way from being a doctor,” Parker finally said.

She tried again. “You don’t want to examine me? See if I’m hurt?” She tried to sound playful or seductive, but neither role was in her repertoire.

“I hurt you?” He was immediately concerned. “Why didn’t you say something?”

And she was the one who thought she didn’t understand the meaning of fun. What was she thinking, trying to be playful and carefree with the lobo the Creator had chosen for her? One more sign, as if she needed another, that she was meant for other things. Joy and fun were not on her agenda, right along with passion.

“You didn’t hurt me.” She swallowed a sigh. “I was being frivolous.”

Focus. That’s what Corbie would say. Stop being distracted by the unimportant. How silly to have believed mating was important.

“I don’t understand.”

“Unfocused. The important thing is we’re mated. You’ve marked me. We are one in the eyes of the Creator.”

“The Creator?” Suspicion darkened his words. “What’s your pack again?”

MJ Monday-Manuscript: Excerpt

From my current work in progress, BESIEGED BY THE MOON, currently scheduled for July publication.

Phoebe wished she knew of a way to make Parker angry enough to stalk off and brood. To leave her alone. She didn’t want him around while she meditated. His presence was too disturbing, too disruptive to her calm.

She turned to face the hiding moon. Turned her back on her mate. He was throwing everything off schedule, off kilter.

Velvety ribbons of mist twined in the trees at the back of Helga’s yard. The air was heavy with a storm warning. The night should have been cool, but left-over heat from the day further weighted the atmosphere.

A sign, Phoebe thought. An omen.

“I’ll leave you alone to meditate.”

There might have been disgust in his voice. Distrust. He was one way with his friends, his pack, all show, but when they were alone, he changed.

She could let that bother her. They were mated. Neither of them could do anything about their status.

Inhaling deeply, she settled on the damp grass for a short meditation session. The neighborhood skunk had made his rounds and left his calling card. She placed her quarterstaff next to her. The meditation would purify her, remove the stain of her conflict with Selena. Many tasks needed to be accomplished this night. She’d sloughed off enough.