Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – I’d Kill For You by Alan Plessinger

Chapter 2: A Detective, pursuing a lead not likely to produce significant results, comes upon a young girl needing to solve a certain mystery of her own, and upon interrogation finds her life to be not quite an open book, if not yet a fully closed one.

After reading and memorizing the case file that’d been faxed to the office, Riley grabbed the key to his residence for the night, the apartment of a lovely blonde secretary named Karen. He also grabbed his overnight bag with a few essentials. He left the office and took a cab out to her place in Tribeca, let himself in, and crept silently to her bedroom. A light was on. He eased open the door, and found that she had fallen asleep with the lamp on and a book in her hand, waiting for him. He took off his clothes as silently as possible, but not silently enough.

She woke up and asked what took him so long, but it was plain to see she had no real interest in the answer. He smiled, crawled across the bed, and kissed her.

When they were finished making love, Riley got up and took a shower, taking a moment to flush the condom down the toilet. After the shower he dried off and took a moment to use his beard-trimmer and then brush his teeth with his toothbrush from the overnight bag, things he liked to take care of at night. When he finished, he returned to the bedroom and sat naked on the bed, finally ready to get some sleep. Karen was lying there, looking at him, smiling, her arms and legs relaxed, her body contented. Before he could lie down, she crawled across the bed and hugged him.

“I’ve got some bad news, Riley,” she said, kissing him on the shoulder. “I’m taking myself out of the harem.”

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that, Karen. Why?”

“I’m getting married.”

“Really? That’s great! Congratulations!”

“Thanks. I’m really sorry, honey, but you can’t stay. He’ll be here in a few hours for a breakfast date. You’ve got to be gone.”

Riley was a little taken aback by being thrown out unceremoniously, considering they’d just made love. But he didn’t want to be a nuisance.

“Couldn’t I get some sleep on the couch? I can be your cousin from Schenectady.”

“Honey, I’m marrying the guy who gave jealousy lessons to Othello. You can’t be anybody’s cousin.”

Riley sighed a little and said, “OK, Karen, if that’s the way you want it. I’m sure you two will be very happy together.”

“Thanks, honey. Let’s hope so. I’m not starting things out too well, I know. I should’ve stopped you. I should’ve told you about him, but I had to have one last little taste of the Riley.”

Riley had the unpleasant reaction most men would have, hearing the word little used in any context during pillow talk, but he didn’t complain.

“I take it you never told him about us?”

“Us? There is no ‘us,’ Riley. One day a month does not an ’us’ make.”

Riley smiled. She intended to enjoy dumping him, getting some of the power and control back for the first time in a long while. She continued.

“Honey, how long do you think you can go on this way? A lot of the girls in the harem are worried about you. You’re knocking on forty, you know.”

“Please don’t call it a harem. If you call it that, I might start calling it that. I started this arrangement because I was tired of everybody hating me for having a lot of sex with a lot of different women. I’m tired of being the bad guy. I don’t like people acting like I’m a predator. This way at least there’s no lying, and everybody knows where they stand.”

“Plus you don’t have to pay rent.”

“Yeah. That’s nice.”

“And when’s the last time you told any random woman about the arrangement?”

“I’m discreet.”

“Because you know any woman who hears about it is going to hate you.”

“I wish women could be a little more understanding about this. You’ve never had any cause to complain, have you?”

“Honey, I’ve been a part of the arrangement for more than two years now, and I look forward to the twenty-fifth of every month like a high holy day. You never disappoint. But I never kidded myself for a second that this was a real relationship. Don’t you want a real relationship? Don’t you want to get married one day?”

“I’ve never understood the point of marriage, at least for me. You’re getting married; you explain it to me. What is it for?”

“Lots of things. Companionship. Not dying alone.”

“Oh, what’s the big deal about dying alone? If a couple is married for fifty years, unless they die together in a car accident, at least one of them is going to die alone. Right?”

“So you really don’t ever want to get married?”

“I really don’t. I don’t even like dating. Seduction kind of bores me. I really think I don’t have any ability to fall in love. But maybe some day I’ll meet a woman who might change my mind. I don’t want to say it’s totally impossible. It might happen.”

“Not if you never date, it won’t. Honey, I’m not kidding. A lot of the girls are worried about you.”

“Do you all get together and talk about me, or something?”

“There’s a Web site.”

“Of course. Of course there is. Please don’t tell me the name.”

She kissed him on the shoulder again and said, “Your clothes are hanging up in the usual place, Riley.”

“Thanks. Your fiancĂ© didn’t find them?”

“If he’s checking out the clothes in my closet, we’ve got worse problems than you. Forget the dry-cleaning bill, OK? It’s on the house.”

He stood, turned, and leaned down to kiss her good-bye on the lips, but she gave him her cheek.

“Denied!” he said.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Murder / Mystery

Rating – R

More details about the book

Connect with Alan Plessinger on GoodReads

Steven O’Connor – Indie publishing

      Indie publishing: A direction in which I was pushed. And so I jumped

      by Steven O’Connor

      I am one of millions of readers who also write. No one’s counted, but I’m quite sure that’s how many we are. We’re like the countless music lovers the world over who also play an instrument or sing (to varying degrees of success). Our pens and pencils, our scraps of paper, our notebooks (paper-based and electronic) and our keyboards – these are our musical instruments. We are everywhere and we stretch from those who are happy to simply bash out something and immediately publish it – in a wild breeze of confidence – to those who toil hard to hone what they produce, in the desire to create something that will be seen as unique and memorable. Most of us who work hard to improve our craft sit somewhere around the center of those two points.

      For me, writing is the completion of a circle. We are all consumers. We consume food. We consume art and music. We consume stories. Some of us continuously consume stories! Movies. Books. News. Even gossip. But we are creators too. To me, it feels wrong not to want to also produce something, if I can. (And hope it is good enough for others to enjoy. That would be nice too.)

      I do slip into sleep more easily at night when I feel I have created something that day. It’s very satisfying. And I know others feel this way too. I meet them every day on Twitter. Writers like me. While having an audience is not an essential element to the creative process, it still feels good to know others might be interested in your creation. And the opportunity has never been greater to put our creative works out there and invite others to come and see. The publishing industry has split open and millions are pouring in. Myself included.

      I am also grateful that I had the opportunity to traditionally publish – however brief. EleMental was written on a first-generation laptop back when laptops were as heavy as milk crates, and long before ebooks were a reality. It took one year to write the novel but nearly ten years to get it published, even though the manuscript had won a national scholarship award early on in the proceedings. Does that seem like a long time? It’s a common story.

      I present to you now, in one fast paragraph, my one-and-only experience of traditional publishing…

      EleMental was published by Pier 9/Murdoch Books (one of Australia’s major publishers) in 2010. The staff publisher who bought my book subsequently left Pier 9, the company dropped its young adult fiction list, which had been that staff publisher’s baby, and the whole publishing house went on to be bought out by Allen and Unwin. The end.

      As delightful as the people were that I met during that brief experience, perhaps you will understand why I say after nearly ten years of trying to get there, it felt a bit of a letdown. Hence, like countless other writers, indie writing has been a direction in which I feel I have been pushed. And so I jumped.

      Self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. At least it isn’t, if you do it properly, never letting go of quality. Indie writing is a valid, exciting new route to publishing – one that can also include traditional publishing in the future if that option opens up for you and you want to take it (sometimes called the hybrid approach – sounds like a car, or a rosebush).

      The indie approach can be exhausting as you have to steer all of your own promotion. Imagine taking that task on immediately after self-publishing your book, with all of the work it entails. And it can be lonely when you know of no one else – outside of the virtual arena – also pursuing this route (it’s yet to catch on in Australia in a big way, unlike the UK and the US).

      But it has one very distinct advantage: you are in control. I am still new to indie-publishing, but my experience of the traditional publishing process has given me an appreciation of the importance of control, one I would not let go off lightly if ever I found myself traditionally publishing again.

      Another significant advantage of indie publishing is speed. Don’t get me wrong, you should never take shortcuts with your writing just because you’re indie publishing. You must be as slow as you need to be. But traditional publishing, that’s another story, it is so slow. Apart from it taking a long time to break into traditional publishing, it also takes a long time for your manuscript to shuffle through the publishing process.

      I would love to have published EleMental soon after I’d finished it, even a year or so later. I absolutely believe the book still depicts a fun, tongue-in-cheek future. But some aspects are no longer as interesting as I would have liked. Video gaming, on which the futuristic plot is based, has come a long way since I wrote ‘The End’ after the last line (I don’t really write that). When I finished the final draft, the world did not have consoles like the Wii or the Xbox, or online console video gaming, or the iPad. That last one is particularly irking, as both EleMental and its follow-up, MonuMental, feature something very like an iPad – called a Zeepad. I’ve a hard time convincing people I came up with my Zeepad before iPads emerged to rule the world (for the time being).

      However, the professional social work influence that I have in my writing remains as pertinent as ever, sadly – the human condition does not date like technology, even if we wished some aspects did, such as addictive behavior.

      All writing is a lonely business. But there is a flourishing indie writing community on the internet with numerous collectives. I belong to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), a global collective based centrally in London, but (thanks to the internet) present everywhere.

      I still have a lot to learn about the indie approach, particularly around marketing and business management, neither of which comes naturally to me, but also around social media. And there always seems to be something new to learn about information technology! To be honest, it never seems to end. But I have become far more aware of how to step up and be counted amongst the countless other indie writers out there in the world. I meet with many of them every day through Goodreads, through Twitter (especially through twitter), through Facebook, and through numerous other social media avenues.  The important thing is to remember why you are there in the first place. You have enjoyed creating something and now you’re jumping into indie publishing to say to the world, Come and see what I’ve made. I hope you like it.

      Don’t forget to drop by sometime and say hi. I’m always around and love to chat – on twitter, on my website, on Goodreads, on Facebook…

      Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenWriting (@StevenWriting)

      StevenWriting website: http://stevenoconnorwriting.com/

      Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5189661.Steven_O_Connor

      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/StevenWriting/140091559338623

      Little Readings: http://stevenoconnorwriting.com/little-readings/

      Steven O’Connor writes young adult fiction with a futuristic bent. His writing is influenced by Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Blade Runner, Dr Who, and just about every sci-fi film and TV show you could possibly think of. His EleMental and MonuMental ebooks are available through Amazon.


      Buy Now @ Amazon

      Genre – Young Adult / Science Fiction

      Rating –PG

      More details about the author

      Connect with Steven O’Connor on Facebook & Twitter

      Website http://stevenoconnorwriting.com/