What's new with me? I've been furiously working on things with follow up books and my first complete stand alone of 2014. I'm excited about this book. It was a book inspired by a friend of mine that will remain nameless. I love her dearly and she is a magnanimous woman for all that she does. She is truly appreciated. I hope that she knows that I am forever indebted to her for putting up with me and the insanity that comes with having to daily deal with an author.
Most don't know what it takes to be an author. Inspiration hits us at the most insane moments. We HATE deadlines but work best when we have one. The voices that we hear give life to characters that make our readers weep, scream, fuss and keep coming back for more. We tend to eat, sleep, drink, dream and breathe our characters. When we are in a zone please, please do NOT bother us. It is so NOT pretty. Indie authors tend to have an added thing. We have a community within our social networks that we feel strongly about. Most of us have followers that we love dearly and have a better relationship with then the people we share our homes with. I count myself blessed because of this fact.
I have so many ideas and I feel as if I put my writing on hold for so long that I want to just keep pumping things out. I was well and truly checked for this thought pattern. I am going to take a break after The Discovery of Me. I published my first book September 2013 and I have kicked out eight novels and a novelette in nine months. It boils down to I have produced a book a month. I can't believe it myself. While I am taking my short break, I am going to work on the next books in my series and develop some other things, like my editing company. I will also catch up on the reading that I have yet to do. I have some amazing author friends that have equally amazing books and I need to read these books.
Speaking of, here are some of the authors that I know with recent releases:
Nicole Garcia: Saving Private Blue http://amzn.com/B00KYGD3YK
Melanie James: Accidentally Leigh http://amzn.com/B00KY7EAG4
Danielle Stewart: Settling Scores http://amzn.com/B00KYWRUY8
Ruth Cardello: Come Away With Me http://amzn.com/B00J0CAR16
Abbie St. Claire: Consolation Prize http://amzn.com/B00KH6Q2KE
Isabella Rose Norton: Singling Out Sable http://amzn.com/B00KCEIFYC
Holly Trent: A Demon in Love http://amzn.com/B00JX12L40
Eva Pohler: The Gatekeeper's Secret, Book 5 http://amzn.com/B00JDL4FK8
Shawn McGuire: Sticks and Stones http://amzn.com/B00KZ0D2TQ
My latest release: Zoie, Book 2 http://amzn.com/B00KOQMFC6
Here are Chapters 1 & 2 of The Discovery of Me.
I hope that you enjoy. It will be released in the next few days.
Chapter 1: Left Behind
Have you ever had a moment where you didn’t know exactly how you ended up where you were in your life? Have you taken a look back and wondered where did you go wrong? Do you see it and find yourself confused? I don’t have this problem. I look back on my life and I know exactly when my life changed. I know exactly when everything flipped for me. It was the day my husband told me that he was leaving. It was actually the day that he left. His bags were packed and already by the front door.
“Evelyn? Evelyn Marks? Where are you?” his voice lowered as he mumbled, “I don’t know why we had to buy this cavernous house. We only had the three kids.”
“It wasn’t for lack of trying, Connor. You bellowed?” I wipe my hands on the towel then freeze as I notice the bags by the door. “Ah, so you’re going?”
“How…I think it’s the best thing, don’t you? I didn’t think I was that obvious about my intentions,” he said as he lifted one bag then another.
“Obvious? Did you think that you were being stealthy? You’ve been pacing in the back room for over an hour. I thought you were going to wear a hole in the carpet. Tell Lacey I said hello by the way. You can leave the key in the tray by the door,” I say to him then start back towards the kitchen.
“Is that it? It’s been twelve years and that’s our goodbye?” he seems genuinely upset.
I laugh. I mean what else could I do? I just laugh and shake my head at him.
“Let me get this straight. Last night you announce to me, after making love to me, the perfect time for such an announcement, that…” I start ticking off the list using my fingers. “…One, you are not happy in our marriage. Two, you are not in love with me anymore. Three, you are moving out today. Four, not only are you doing all of those things but you are with someone else who’s pregnant. Last but not least, you want to give your relationship with her a chance. You now want our “goodbye” to be more. Connor, you’re lucky I’m not my aunt. If I were then you would be holding your manhood in the palm of your hand. You should probably leave now and put the key in the tray.”
I turn to go into the kitchen before he can say anything more but not before I see his hand move over his manhood. The gesture makes me smile. I didn’t think that I would be able to smile today. When Connor’s announcement finally registered, I stopped all physical reaction to him. Everything just locked up. The jackass was attempting to still have sex with me because it couldn’t be making “love” if he didn’t love me. I pulled back and punched him in the gut. His “oomph” response was music to my ears. The fact that he kind of slumped to the side was a sight to behold. Connor has me by about a foot, is about twice my size in mass and strong enough to toss my little self across the room if he wanted to. The satisfaction I got knowing that my tiny little girl fist caused his big self to react that way should be a bad thing. I couldn’t find fault with it though. Thinking about it again just made me smile all the more.
“I really didn’t mean for this to happen this way. I always thought you would be enough. I thought that you would be enough to satisfy me. How was I to know that you weren’t,” his voice carried to the kitchen.
Before I know what I am doing, I am back around the corner and hurling the macadamia nut cookie dough balls at his head. The first one hit him right smack in the middle of his face. The second hit his hand. I lobbed five at him before he got the door open. The last one beaned him in the back of his head.
“I can’t believe you had the audacity to say that to me. If you wanted a reaction out of me then that was the way to get it. You sorry, pathetic excuse for a husband. I hope you junk falls off…while you’re still in her…and she swells up,” I scream as I slam the door.
I start cursing under my breath in the Irish dialect that my mother used to use. I hear through the kitchen window, “I didn’t mean anything by my comments. I’ll be by on Thursday to pick up the kids. I know you’re cursing me out in that cute way you do. And I know I’m an ass who’ll get a clue later. Okay, I’m going.”
Therein lays the rub. It is the reason that I can’t ever bring myself to stay mad at him. It’s the reason that we are amicably separating. It’s also the reason that I’m making cookies for a woman that I should by all rights hate with every fiber of my being. I don’t though. I so don’t. I love her for making him realize that he needed to let us go. I should probably have my head examined, regularly.
I’m happy that he’s no longer here, taking up my space and making our lives in this house miserable because he is. I am now that is. I thought I was happy for him then. It’s been a year since that day. I can’t even believe it. A whole year has passed and all of it is still fresh. All of it is as real as if it had happened a matter of moments ago and not so many moments ago. I didn’t think then that I would ever be in the position that I am in now. I didn’t see this curve ball coming.
As I stand in my kitchen again, I look down and shake my head. My frustration level grew as I realized exactly what I’d done.
“Dammit, now I have to make some more mix for the cookies,” my eyes settled on a tray with only one cookie dough ball left on it.
I popped the last one in my mouth as I looked around again. The other four trays would not be enough to make what Sophia would need for her class. Yet another thing that man has inadvertently ruined.
Chapter 2: Support
Over the last twelve years, I have had one constant outside of my husband and my children. My constant has been Samaris Nicole Crawford. My thirty six year old best friend, that is my perfect counterpart, has been there throughout all of the crazy that has been my life. Where I am meek and mild mannered, she is outspoken and outgoing. Where I am laid back and easy going, she is boisterous and flamboyant. Sami has always had a very ebullient personality. Her “go getter” attitude is what called her to my attention and got us talking in the first place.
A fifteen years younger Sami had just walked in to the office where I was preparing to interview. I’d been so nervous that day because I was interviewing for the first time ever, in my life. I was set to interview with Waltham-Smythe’s Publishing Company. It was set to be a big deal for me. During that time, I was aspiring to become an editor that would then become a bestselling author. I was beside myself when I received the phone call that they wanted to meet with me. I hadn’t expected a call back.
I was sitting in a smart navy suit with matching jacket and a white blouse. My pumps were the standard patent leather style shoe for a young woman on a budget. My mother and father had both taken turns sending me pictures of how to dress for the interview. They’d been so proud that they were able to attach the files all by themselves and of me, of course. I was going over some of the finer points of my minimalistic resume and looking around the empty space of the office when Sami walked in. The receptionist that had greeted me so warmly and told me that they’d just moved to this building, which explained the shell of an office, actually rolled her eyes when the bombshell walked in.
The woman that breezed into the space was gorgeous. She looked like she could give Catherine Zeta-Jones a run for her money. The long dark hair, deep brown eyes, full lips and rocking body that was poured into an ensemble that could make grown men weep was standing on six inch heels. She had very little make up on her face and had to stand at least five foot seven without the killer heels. I pulled my eyes away when I noticed the responding glare from the pretty lady at the door.
“Ms. Gallagher, I assured you last time that you were not needed on this project. Mr. Foster will be here in a moment to escort you back out of the building,” the receptionist stated as she turned to pick up the phone.
“Marianne, you might want to check your calendar for Mr. Crawford’s updates. It might enlighten someone that would otherwise be lost without her…guiding staff,” the young woman stated in response as she sat directly across from me in the only other chair in the room. “Hi, I’m Samaris Gallagher. I do freelance work for the company as well as promotions. You are…hmm…here to interview for a job. Do you want a little assist with all things W.S.P.C.?”
“If you don’t so you want it she’ll give it to you anyway. Some people don’t understand what it means to NOT solicit others,” Marianne piped up as she pulled her dark brown shoulder length hair back into a ponytail. “I don’t know how you pulled it off…”
“…oh you know full well how to pull things off. It’s what you’re best at. As to the matter of my being able to get a meeting with Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Pinters, I have the uncanny ability to use my brain to get me ahead and not what’s quite a bit further south. If you don’t want all of your back tales told then I would advise you to stop talking, Marianne Destiny Edwards,” Ms. Gallagher spoke in a tone that stated she was done with the back and for the with the receptionist.
“Samaris Nicole Gallagher, you do not treat a sorority sister the way that you have treated me. You knew that I was interested in that party and you still went there,” Marianne evidently was tired of the pretense and decided to put all of it out there.
“I’m sorry. Forgive my soror. Evidently it’s air your dirty laundry day here in the reception offices of our place of business. The advice that I was going to give you has to do with what you are wearing. You don’t want to come across too buttoned up. You might want to undo the first two buttons on your shirt. May I see your portfolio?” she was up and moving before I even responded.
I placed the black case in her outstretched hand. The way that I saw it, it couldn’t hurt to get another’s opinion. If she already worked for the company and with the very people that I was trying to impress, what could it hurt?
“These are some great pieces. Do you mind if I take a moment to do a switch-a-roo? I think the works on the family and poverty living will be best toward the front and the pieces on the school’s sports teams should be toward the back. You have some amazing articles. Whoa! Wait a second. You edited C. J. Montgomery’s first novel?” she appeared genuinely surprised.
“We were in the same classes at school. It wasn’t a big deal. He’s a really good friend,” I told her as she moved the signed letter of recommendation to the front of everything else.
“That whole adage of save the best for last is garbage. In this business, you put your best foot forward and use whatever you can to make you stand out from the rest. You will not speak, Marianne,” she threw out as she finished rearranging my portfolio.
I watched as Marianne sat back in her seat and mumbled something that neither of us could make out. She answered the phone and keyed something into the computer before she stood up.
“Ms. Gallagher, they’ll see you now,” the two shared another irritated glare then Ms. Gallagher walked towards her bag.
Nothing was said as she was buzzed into the door. Neither said another word until they were out of each other’s presence. I could hear Ms. Gallagher speaking professionally to a man then a woman. Marianne turned to me and shook her head in frustration. Her light brown eyes flaring with her slightly suppressed anger. The brown of her skin was fused with red as she looked over apologetically at me.
“I am so sorry for that little exchange. We went to college together and she and I have had our differences over the past year or so. I don’t usually behave that way,” she looked around then back at me. “I know I gave her grief and said some really rude things to her and about her, but she’s really good at what she does. If you ever repeat that to her then I will vehemently deny it, but girlfriend knows her stuff. Whatever she told you to do, you might want to do it. She isn’t head of Marketing and Promotions for nothing.”
With that little revelation, she returned to her desk. I was stunned stupid for about a minute and a half. The way they interacted I never would’ve suspected that she was important to the company in any way. She must’ve been. I was preparing to ask some probing questions when my name was called.
“Ms. Stone, please do come back,” an older woman with slightly graying brown hair, light blue eyes and the most pleasant smile I’d seen on a CEO called to me. As I cleared the glass doors and kept pace with the woman who told me her name was Mrs. Pinters she said, “Evidently you’ve made quite the impression on one of the members of our staff who has the ear of all the right people within the company.”
“Really? I only spoke with…” my words were cut off as we rounded the corner and four sets of eyes looked back at me, one being C. J. Montgomery.
He walked over and gave me a hug then introduced everyone including Samaris Gallagher, Director of Marketing and Promotions, Carter Thompson, Head of Human Resources, Beatrice Pinters, Ceo and Richard Crawford, Editor-in-Chief. I was originally set to meet with Mr. Thompson and now I was meeting with a team of individuals that basically ran the company.
“I didn’t know that you were even interested in working at a publishing company. Had I known, you would’ve been in this conference room two years ago. I can’t wait to work with you again. This one is a gem guys. You’d be crazy not to have this one on your payroll. Beautiful girl, I still haven’t found someone to put me in my creative place the way you did. Five books later and I still don’t feel the pride I felt putting that first book out. Have Marianne send me your contact info as soon as you’re set up here,” C. J. turned to the group, gave them a “thumbs up” and headed out the door. “I’ve got a manuscript to finish. I want her eyes to be the first to see them.”
“Ms. Stone you have just received a glowing recommendation from one our most popular authors. I don’t believe you applied for the right job when you filled out your application,” Mr. Thompson stated, his studious eyes narrowed as they looked me over with suspicion.
“I’ve not seen him that eager to work with anyone including me and we’ve known each other for years,” the sexiest voice spoke and my entire body seemed to respond.
I found myself moving towards him and hadn’t realized that I had taken a step. His curly jet black hair fell to his ears, his eyes were a beautiful grey that seemed to sparkle all on their own yet entrance the person that was silly enough to make contact with his. He stood tall enough to be toe to toe with the gorgeous bombshell that was slowly making her way around the table towards me. I watched as Mr. Crawford’s lips tilted in the corner as if there was some joke or something he knew and no one else did. It was sexy as hell. His suit was tailor made for his athletic build of a body. He was walking perfection. My perusal was interrupted by Ms. Gallagher’s whispered words in my ear.
“Down girl, that one is very much so taken,” she sat down next to me and turned her attention back to the rest of members of the meeting.
I watched as Mr. Crawford’s eyes lingered on Ms. Gallagher’s for a moment too long then turned to me. He actually blushed. The rest of the meeting went great. I walked away with a new position, a developing friendship with Samaris Gallagher and my first major project as Interim Editor.
Samaris was the one that followed up with me and made sure that I was up to speed with what was going on around the office. She and I spent quite a few lunch sessions hashing out the upcoming events, new authors and her developing relationship with a certain Editor-in-Chief. Within six months, we were completely inseparable except those nights that she was with Rick, Richard Crawford. I also found out she and Marianne had both been interested in the sexy E.I.C. but he approached Samaris who was now my Sami. Things were going well for them. They had plans to move in together. All of our lives seemed to be moving forward, careers growing. I loved my job. I couldn’t believe I was doing what I most loved to do. I tried not to envy the relationship that Sami and Rick had, but it did a little something to me to see them together and so happy.
Who would’ve thought I would’ve given all of that happiness up and pushed it to the back recesses of my mind? Who would’ve thought that the promise I held would be thrown away for a man? I never thought that I would’ve been the type. I did what I thought was needed for my children. I made the choice to accept Connor’s offer to stay home and raise them. I was the one that said that I could always go back and just never did. As I thought that over on the night after Connor left, I ended up spending it crying myself to sleep, Sami lying next to me in bed with a pint of ice cream at the ready.