Sample chapter

Well.  Bite Sized is done.  I’m putting it through the process on Amazon, for both paperback and Kindle (and yes, it will be available Kindle Unlimited).

Without further ado, here’s the sample chapter.

Mr. Humpy Has a Lie-Down

 

The smell of fresh, hot blood led me down the alley between the trendy, women’s-only gym (lose pounds and inches in half an hour a day!) and the family-friendly ice cream shop (try all thirty-four flavors!).  Of course, idiot that I am when I’m hungry, I investigated.  My sharper-than-human vision let me see what was going on down the alley: a large man wearing jeans, work boots, and a heavy flannel shirt—and a greasy, dark mullet!  Ew!—had a fat girl in purple sweats, pants shoved halfway down to her knees, smashed face first up against the rough, dirty wall of the ice cream shop, fumbling with his pants.  Normally, I’d think hm…sounds like some kinky, kinky fun, but the whimpers choked by his forearm pinning her face against the wall (and probably cutting off her air), and the blood dribbling down her face and dripping off of her chin from a busted nose and split lip told me that she really wasn’t into it.  So did the scents of fear and revulsion.  Like burned vomit

I smiled.  Looked like I had a twenty-ounce steak dinner coming up rather than the take-out Chinese I’d planned.  And I wouldn’t be hungry thirty minutes later, either.  Probably wouldn’t be hungry for a couple of nights, after dealing with this.

I put on my ditz act, slipped up the alley and tapped Mr. Humpy (who towered over me by more than a foot) on the middle of his bicep.  “Excuse me, but do you know where I could get a really good banana split?”

“Huh?” Mr. Humpy gaped over his shoulder at me.  He looked confused, which was miles away better than raping the brunette he had pinned to the wall.  “What the fuck?”

“Well, I’m not impressed with the service, around here!  I don’t like your language!” The ditz act may have covered the sarcasm, but I don’t know.  Didn’t really care, as long as the girl got turned loose before I got mine.

“You wanna meet your maker, you dumb bitch?” he growled, turning muddy brown eyes a little more toward me.

As his attention had shifted from his intended victim to me, she wrenched away and went running back up the alley, hitching up her sweat pants with one hand and wiping the blood from her upper lip with the other as she went pounding past full speed.  I had a brief glimpse of hazel eyes under a short, dark, bob haircut with bangs.  The cute little face was tear-streaked, but nowhere near as terrified as I’d expected.  Mr. Humpy yelled wordlessly and started after her.  I grabbed him by the mullet and swung him into the wall he’d just had the fat chick pinned against.  His breath, when it exploded out of him from the impact, smelled of Rocky Road ice cream.  His legs went out from under him as his head hit the wall with a hollow thud.

“I’d love to meet my maker,” I said as I put a foot in the middle of his back and yanked, bowing him backwards to bring his carotid artery down to where I could reach it.  I leaned in and inhaled the scents of cheap cologne, body odor, and terror oozing from him.  “I owe the sonofabitch a kick to the balls so hard that his grampa feels it.”

And then I bit him.  And it was like the best steak, the best chocolate milkshake and the best sex you’ve ever had in your life, all rolled into one.  Details jumped out at me—the feel of Mr. Humpy’s nasty, greasy hair wrapped around my fists; his semi-hard body, muscles under layers of fat, struggling fruitlessly against mine; the hum of traffic, not too far from the entrance of the alley—

—and the fat chick in her purple sweats less than six feet from me, the blood from her face haphazardly smeared on her sleeve, with an aluminum bat sagging in her grip.  Burned vomit smell replaced by a stale popcorn smell of stunned surprise.

I startled, pulling away from the now-dead rapist’s carotid artery.  I let the corpse slide down the wall to hit the ground with a wet thud as the smell of feces and urine filled the air.  I glanced down, glad his sphincters hadn’t released until I’d let go.  It got really gross when the timing was off.  I’d have to remember to thank the fat chick, if she didn’t brain me or run off screaming.  “Um…”

“It doesn’t look like you needed help after all,” she said.  Her voice was a little breathy with surprise, but was much stronger than I’d expected.

“Yeah…” I said faintly.  “Not so much.  Are you okay?”

“A little bruised, a couple scrapes, a bit shaken, and really grossed out,” the chick replied, shuddering.

“Sorry about that,” I said.

“Don’t be.  That doesn’t gross me out,” she said, pointing at the corpse.  “What grossed me out was that he was all over me, hadn’t bathed in days, stunk, and I’d just gotten out of the shower.  I’m glad you were here to help.  Otherwise…” her voice trailed off, and she shuddered.

I nodded.  Then I squatted down, and rolled the corpse over, plucking his wallet out of his right back pocket, and flipping it open.  Only five bills in the wallet.  I pulled them out, folding them up without looking at them, then put the wallet back into his pocket, avoiding the lumpy pile of excrement in the back of his jeans like the pro at this that I was.

The fat chick—I really had to learn her name—edged over a little closer, looking over my shoulder.  “Um…is he dead?”

“Yep,” I said, rolling him until I could get my hand into his right hip pocket. Managed to not get piss on my hand, too.  Keys, and a pocket knife.  “If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s a rapist.” My satisfaction definitely bled through in my voice.

“Are you robbing his corpse?”  She sounded like she wasn’t sure if she felt horrified or fascinated as she kept drifting toward me.

“Yep,” I replied, rolling him to the other side and fishing out a wad of cash that could choke a mule from his left hip pocket.  Under that was what felt like a Ziploc bag with crushed herbs in it.  The smell of pot clung to my fingers as I pulled away.  “Why not?  I’m only taking the cash, and it’s not like he needs it anymore.  Besides, it’s more than likely the local police department would call it drug money and confiscate it anyway.”

The fat chick stepped up right beside me, rolled dead-boy over, and gingerly fished his wallet back out of his pocket.  “What are you doing?” I asked curiously.

She picked up the untucked tail of the corpse’s flannel shirt and held the wallet carefully, flipping it open and rubbing the shirt over the inside, where my fingers had brushed over the edges of the drivers’ license and credit cards.  “Making sure you didn’t leave any fingerprints,” she said shortly.  “It’d suck if you got arrested for killing someone saving my non-existent virtue at least, if not my life, and I let you go to jail because you didn’t clean up after yourself.”

I raised an eyebrow, turning to look at the chick, and noted that she was pale and clammy (as well as bruised and bloody on her right cheek and the side of her nose—but the split on her lip had stopped bleeding, and she no longer had blood oozing from her nostrils, either).  “That’s a really interesting reaction,” I said.  “In fact, all of your reactions to me have been really interesting.”

She glanced at me, then back down to the wallet.  “Yeah?” She flipped it closed, then tucked it back into the corpse’s back pocket.  “How do people usually react?”

“They run screaming, then convince themselves that they didn’t see what they thought they saw,” I said.  “They don’t come back with a baseball bat, ready to brain a would-be rapist, don’t stick around while I’m feeding, and they definitely don’t stick around after the corpse hits the ground.”

She shrugged one round shoulder.  “How many have you saved from being raped?”

“A lot.  Mostly stupid coeds,” I admitted.  “I tend to hunt rapists. I don’t kill them, often, though.  Look, you’re still shaking.  Why don’t you head inside and get some ice cream?  I’ll wait for you on that bench over in front of the gym.”

“Okay, but what about the stuff in his other pockets?” she asked.

I held my hands up in front of her.  “I don’t know if you can see it in the dark, but I don’t have fingerprints.  They started to disappear a few days after I woke up in the morgue, and were completely gone within a week.”

She pursed her lips, eyes sparkling with the same type of odd, dry humor I had.  “So, me wiping down the inside of the wallet wasn’t necessary.”

“Nope.”  I stood smoothly, and offered the chick a hand up.  She accepted, and gasped as I pulled her all the way to her feet more quickly than she’d expected.  She was a lot taller than she’d looked, pinned against the brick wall by what turned out to be a very big man.  She was probably about six or eight inches taller than my five foot even.  “Name’s Meg Turner.”

“I’m Andi Donahue,” she replied.  “I’d love to take you up on that ice cream, but I don’t have any ice cream money.”

I fished the bills I’d taken out of dead guy’s wallet out of my pocket and glanced at them, peeling them apart and counting them quickly.  Four hundred-dollar bills, and a twenty.  I peeled the twenty off and handed it over.  “Go get something chocolate.  It’ll help with the shakes,” I said before I jerked a thumb toward the bench in front of the closed, college print shop just on the other side of the ice cream place.  Closed, but the lights were on inside, and shone out through the window reassuringly.  “I’ll be over there.”

 

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Quick question

I included the first chapter of Bite Sized at the end of Normalcy Bias.  I can re-post it here, for free, or not, if everybody that’s interested has read it.  Let me know, either in comments here, or through my Facebook or MeWe pages.

In any case.  I’m just about finished with the last edit.  I’m going to try to get it out next week, sometime.   If people want a sample chappie, I’ll post that a couple days early.

Cheers.

Wow.

Two weeks ago or so, I was contacted by a former coworker* about maybe doing a bit of paid editing for a friend of a former student of hers.  I figured, why not.  I’d charge a little bit so I’d be taken seriously (and seriously, money’s nice), but not going rates since I’m not a pro editor.  I thought it’d be a quick job–maybe a hundred pages, double spaced, of grammar-nazi-ing the ramblings of an old man.

What I got was 299 pgs of 5×8 formatted CreateSpace template memoir.  Double spaced.  With formatting as well as grammar issues.

It was…a lot of work, and was well worth it.  The gent had had a shit childhood, then spent time in the Navy in the 60’s on, including on the contractor side.

I don’t know if he and his family are planning on publishing this for sale.  I do know that his kids and grandkids wanted it done, and wanted to be able to put a print copy in his hands before he moves on to his reward.

I am seriously, deeply honored to have been able to be a part of that project.  And I wish I could meet the old fellow whose life I just finished reading.

 

 

*My coworker hasn’t taught in a few years.  From what I gathered (unofficially), she quit teaching about the time she started feeling as if she had to teach with a security guard in the room because of threats from a specific demographic because she wasn’t rubber-stamping their work with A’s, and she was only a woman, and shouldn’t be judging their work to begin with.

Okay, then.

I’m still working on Bite Sized.  Last week wasn’t a good one, health wise.  I’m hoping this week will be better.

That said, when I started the revision, the book sat at 43.2K words.  I’m just barely over halfway through the rewrite, and it’s busted 50.5K words.  Yeah, I’ve added 7K words in less than half the book, fleshing things out that seemed to need it when I did my read through.

I’m sure my beta readers will have bits they want fleshed out, too.  By the time this sucker’s done, I may have added half again what I wrote in my first draft.  Or more.

I have a few photos for cover art.  They are below.  I’d like feedback over which one would be best for a vampire/buddy PI novel.

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Call ’em 1, 2, and 3–top to bottom.

Editing phase

I’m doing two things this week: I’m editing and revising (and wow am I revising!  I’m only 1/4 of the way through the draft, and I’ve already added over 2K words of description!), and I’m looking for stock photos that can be used as cover art.

Because my favorite cover artist has something MUCH better to do with her time: she’s been cast as Pinocchio in the local little theater’s production of Shreck: The Musical.  Full-time day job plus rehearsals equals no time to create cover art.  (She’s brilliant on stage, by the way–she was Morticia Addams in a different local theater’s production of The Addams Family: The Musical last year, and did a spectacular job).

I think I’ve found a few that will work; the next bit is figuring out filters and the like to tweak the photos to better suit the story genre and type.  I’ve been reading up on cover creation to help me figure that out.  I’ve downloaded a photo editing-type program, but can’t figure it out for the life of me, and I don’t really have time to play with it.

I’ve also checked out one cover artist who does specifically that…and got my hair curled.  I am NOT at the point at which I can afford to spend that much.  I can barely afford to spend fifty bucks.

So: free downloads of stock photos and tweaking to the best of my ability it is.

I should be finished with the first draft by the end of the week, though, and will be posting a sample chapter sometime this weekend, and shipping it out to my victims volunteer beta readers soon thereafter.

I am trying, and trying really hard, to get this done so that I can publish in May.  Partially so that I can keep to the (possibly too ambitious) schedule I’d set for myself, and partially because there are other projects that want to be written.

Hades is pestering me something fierce.