X-Team Three-Part Four

I hold my hand up, signaling to Cora and Amelia to stop.  My senses are peaked, trying to locate Jocelyn and her ex Jeremy.  Right now, though, I’m sensing the heat and tell-tale light, sweet scent of an innocent, human female.  Seeing as we’re deep in the back country of northern Wisconsin, I think it’s safe to assume we’ve found Jocelyn.  I signal to Cora, and she appears out of thin air at my side.

“What’s up, Az?” she asks, her eyes sweeping the landscape around us.

“I’ve found Jocelyn,” I say.  “About fifty yards that way.”  I point off to the northeast.  “I think she’s alone, but just to be sure–”

“I’ll go on ahead,” Cora interrupts.  “I was going to anyway whether you wanted me to or not.  The last thing the girl needs is another evil male sneaking up on her.”  She smirks as her eyes run down my body.

“I’m no more evil than you or Amelia,” I retort quietly.

She begins to fade as she sashays away, grinning.  “I see.  That’s why you can wield the universe’s most evil sword, right?”

I pull the demon blade from its sheath across my back and cradle it like an infant.  “Don’t listen to the mean lady, baby,” I whisper lovingly to the deadly piece of aspelantium in my arms.  “She’s just jealous.  Every woman wishes they could have a piece of what I can wield.”  I hear Cora make a vomiting sound in the distance and smile.

“You are such a pig, Az,” Amelia states as she drops her backpack at the base of a maple tree a ways behind me.  She sits down and leans back on it, closing her eyes.

“That’s all you got?” I ask, setting my bag down next to her.  “I’ve been called worse.”

“I know you have,” she mutters.  “Cora’s got quite the vocabulary when it comes to you.”

I plop down and pull my right boot off, shaking it out.  About half of the forest we hiked through pours out of it:  sticks, leaves, and even a spider.  It scampers off into the undergrowth, undoubtedly confused as to why biting me hurt it more than it did me.  I sort of feel bad for the little guy.  Instead of him filling me with poison, it’s the other way around.  I estimate he’s got about another thirty seconds before he kicks the bucket.  You dont bite a demon.  Bad things happen.

“You know, I’m not as bad as you ladies make me out to be,” I say as I slip my boot back on.  “It’s not like I harm any of the women I’ve had, um, relations with in the past.  They all know I’m a one night stand.”

Amelia snorts.  “Oh, so you’ve told them all what you are then?  My mistake.”

I scowl at her.  “Of course I didn’t.  How could I?  You know what would happen if it got out that I’m a demon?  I’d have every damn woman in this world chasing me.  I’d never get anything done.”  I watch her slowly open her eyes, and my scowl rises into a wide grin.

She raises her head, and the dirty look she gives me begins to tremble until she can’t hide her smile any longer.  It flows across her pixie-like face, brightening it even more than it already was.  She is a truly beautiful woman.

“There is something seriously wrong with your head.  You know that?” she asks, kicking me lightly and giggling.

I chuckle and lean back against my backpack, laying my demon blade across my belly.  All this ribbing from them doesn’t really bother me, but I do wish they knew me when I was in a longterm relationship.  I am capable of love.  I’ve felt it a number of times.  From what I hear, I’m quite the catch, too.  Not to toot my own horn.

“I do have to say, though, that this team would suck without you, Az,” Amelia says, closing her eyes and resting her head back against the tree again.  “You’re a great guy to be honest.  ‘Course, I am just speaking for myself.  Cora may have a different opinion.”

Cora and I might not get along as well as me and the others, but she has my back and I have hers.  That’s what counts.  We’re all one, big, happy, demented family.  I don’t know where or what I’d be without them.

A few quiet minutes pass between us, the only sound being the wind in the trees.  I can still smell Jocelyn in the cold breeze and take a deep breath.  The scent of an innocent woman to a demon is like the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies to a human.  I don’t want to eat her, but it calls to my inner evil that I keep carefully buried.  Demons have always been attracted to beautiful souls, more to defile them than anything else.  But because I’ve changed my ways, it’s a comforting scent.  Innocence and righteousness is a good thing.  It gives me hope for the world.

“What’s it like, knowing you’ll never die?”

Amelia’s voice breaking the silence surprises me, and I actually flinch.  That’s a rare thing, catching me off-guard.  But I think about her question and sit up.  “I don’t know,” I say, pulling my knees up and wrapping my arms around them.  “I’ve never known any different.  I don’t have anything to compare it to.”

Her eyes open, and she stares up at the canopy.  It’s on its way to changing colors with the oncoming fall.  “Well, I mean, you said you’ve had relationships before.  I’m guessing they’ve been with humans.  Didn’t it hurt to live past their deaths?”

I shrug my shoulders, gazing in the direction of Jocelyn’s scent.  “It sucked, yes, but I knew it would happen so I was prepared for it.”  I turn and look at her.  “Why do you ask?”

“I don’t know.  Just curious I guess.”

My dubious glance is lost on her as she’s still not looking at me.  No one’s ever asked me a question like that, and I honestly wouldn’t expect it from little Amelia.  Something must be bothering her.  I’m about to ask her about it when I catch the scent of death in the air.  It’s weak, as if it’s coming from miles away, but it’s definitely there.  And it’s nowhere near human.

Jeremy’s getting close.

I leap up, surprising Amelia who jumps, glaring at me.  I don’t want to scare her with this new observation.  She’s been trained in fighting techniques, but she’s nowhere near a warrior.  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if she got harmed when I could’ve avoided it.  I need to get to Cora and Jocelyn.  I can’t leave them without my help if Jeremy finds them.  Cora is human.  She can’t sense that he’s out there.

“I’m tired of waiting,” I say, lifting my backpack over my shoulder.  “Let’s go.”

Amelia sits up and regards me with a bit of anxiety.  “We can’t go.  Cora hasn’t come and gotten us yet.  We’re supposed to wait for her.  You know that.”

I turn away from her in case she catches the uneasiness in my expression.  “I don’t care.  Let’s go.”  I take a few steps in the direction of the shack, waiting for Amelia to follow.  I hear her jump up and grab her things.

“Dammit, Az,” she snaps.  “Cora’s gonna be pissed.”

“She’ll be pissed at me.  Not you.”  I try to keep my pace relaxed, but the ominous scent of a vampire in the distance has me on guard, and I automatically start to hurry.

I have to get to Jocelyn.  The need is too great to ignore.



Shoulder’s good!

I had this awesome blog post typed out and, of course, the internet had a hiccup and I lost it all. Long story short – my shoulder is feeling better. I can type again. Also, the next part to X-ray Three will be posted tomorrow barring any unforeseen internet issues. It’s been awhile so if you need a refresh, reread part two, Az’s story. I’m going to stick with him for now because I get a kick out of writing him. He’s got a great personality.

Anyway, I’ll see you all tomorrow. Have a great night!

I’m soooo ready for December to end

As far as I’m concerned, I’m screwed. I fell last Sunday at work, and my right shoulder has been bothering me ever since. It got so bad today that I ended up having to call off the rest of my shift. I reported the injury to my employer, and now we just wait. I’m praying it’s nothing too bad. I’m hoping that all it needs is a few shifts off and I’ll come back 100%.

The worst part about all this:  it hurts to type. I don’t know why, but typing on my computer hurts my shoulder. That means I can only write in spurts. I’m going to have a ton of time off work and I can’t write.

I’m in hell.

Have a good xmas

Working today. Thankful that I still have a job. 🙂 Currently, my partner and I are on our way back to the station from Rush in Chi town. God, this city’s beautiful.

Anyway, I’m going to take xmas off from blogging and updating the website. I’m spending some much needed time with my family.

So, I’ll see you all on Friday! Have a Merry Christmas!

Blessings come in small packages

I’m a terrible worrier. Always have been. Probably always will be. It stems from my horribly strong pessimistic side.

But, today, my blessing came with the first day of sunshine we’ve had in weeks here in Chicago. It was so symbolic that it gave me the chills.

I had a work meeting to go to this morning that had the possibility of ending with me jobless two days before xmas. I was terrified.

The meeting wasn’t what I thought it would be. My job was never on the line. When it was all over and the weight was released from my aching shoulders, I stepped outside, raised my face to the warm sunlight, and smiled.

Today was one of the best days of my life because my clouds parted, allowing the sun to poke through. I shut my pessimistic side up, calling it all sorts of nasty names, and it ran off, chasing the clouds.

I may have to work tomorrow on xmas eve, but I have a job. A job I love. It makes me count my blessings. I tally them up quite often, but it was different today. My entire heart was in it. I was as warm as that sunlight.

Ah…life is good.

The lessons I’ve learned

I’ve had a pretty rotten December.  A number of people I know and love have.  And today, I had some time to sit and think about things so I thought about all the lessons all of my mistakes I’ve made in my life have taught me.  And I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  So, I started compiling a list of all those lessons I’ve learned the hard way, or some of them were even easy.  This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some big ones I thought I’d share with you all.

You can change your hair color.  You can change where you live.  You can change your career.  But there are some things you cannot change.  No matter how hard you try or how much you want it.

Family is everything.  Many people come and go in your life, but you’ll always have your family.

The past is the past.  There’s nothing you can do about it now.  It cannot be changed.

You are your own worst critic.

You are the only one who can truly hurt you.

Relationships take work.  No relationship stays easy and simple.

We all will die eventually.  The sooner you come to terms with that, the happier you’ll be.

Debt sucks.  Don’t go into it, or if it’s too late for that, get out of it as soon as you can.

If you don’t have something, don’t use it like you do.  This goes for money as well as people.

Mental illness is just that.  An illness.  It is not who you are.  Do not let it define you.

Every day is someone’s worst day of their life.  Think about that the next time someone cuts you off.  Who knows?  Maybe today is theirs.

There is no greater sound in this world than your own child’s laughter.

Be careful.  Anything in your past can always come back to bite you in the future.

Everything you do has the possibility of affecting someone else.  Good or bad.

The old adage “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is a load of BS.  If a woman asks you if her butt looks big in those jeans and it does, tell her.  If she gets offended, that’s her problem, not yours.

You truly can accomplish whatever you want.  Sometimes it takes a lifetime of effort, but it can still be accomplished.

Everyone ages.  There is nothing to be ashamed of.  Hair goes grey and wrinkles form.  You can cover it up all you want, but you cannot change your age.  Why not embrace it and be happy?

If all you see in the mirror is ugliness, don’t fret.  All your husband sees is beauty.

And last, but definitely not least, don’t live every day like it is your last.  Live every day like it is your first:  with fresh, new eyes, and a hunger for possibilities.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had this much fun

Seriously, though. I’ve made some nice characters in my time (at least I think they’re nice) but working with the two protagonists in the current novel I’m writing is an absolute blast.

Creating characters has kind of been a chore for me up until this point, and I really don’t know why. I think I may have been trying too hard. With these two, I let go, and their personalities are so colorful that I’ve actually cracked myself up a couple of times.

I created a lot of conflict with these two, and I’m sure that’s helped. The two main characters in my first novel are kinda, well, boring in comparison. Bland. With as much fun as I’m having with this pair, I may have to go through and morph some things with the first novel. I know my test readers are going to scream when they hear that, but I honestly think I can make it better. We’ll see. For now, though, I’m having so much fun smashing these two together that it seems to be making writing even more fun than it has been for me.

I hope that when this novel gets published, and you all get to meet these two, you’ll think the same. Until then, I’m going to go now and make more fireworks with my leads.

Modern technology

On a normal day, you can find me lost in some romance, horror, or paranormal novel, completely oblivious to life around me as it passes by. Notice how I didn’t say “with my nose stuck in a book?” The days of walking into someone’s house and seeing a bookcase filled with paper and binding symbolizing their interests and personality are on their way out.

We can fight it all we want. We can say “Yeah, whatever. There’ll always be paper books around.” And we’ll be right. I believe there always will be, but if you think about it, there’s nothing except posterity standing in the way of the ebooks. They’re paperless–no more merciless tree death, they’re cheaper to produce and buy–you don’t have to pay anyone to go out there and chop those trees down, they’re easier to carry around–tablets and smart phones anyone? And they’re more private. I read the majority of the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy at work, in hospitals. You think I’d do that if I had to hold a relatively small but blaring sign in my hand that displayed to everyone I’m reading what this generation has deemed “mommy porn?” NEGATIVE! I’ve got a job to think about! But now, I just have to load the book up on my handy Samsung Galaxy S5 and read to my heart’s content without worrying that I’ll lose my job for reading something like that in a Catholic hospital. *gasp*

Anyway, my point is that times are changing and if you don’t keep up, you’ll be placed right alongside those dusty paperbacks hanging out and forgotten on that bookshelf in the far corner of the room that’s used more for storing those items you have that don’t seem to belong anywhere else. So what’s the problem with all this technology that’s making life easier for the standard novel reader? Oh, let me count the ways.

1. Battery life–I could sit in that Catholic hospital all day reading my mommy porn…until the battery dies on my phone. Then it’s a scramble to get it charged, and God forbid the outlet is in a spot that makes reading while charging impossible.

2. It’s cheaper–Why is this a problem, you ask? It’s only a problem for the authors. They don’t get paid anywhere near what they got paid before. When your book can be sold for .99 on Amazon ebooks instead of 6.99 on the shelves of your local Barnes and Nobel, you don’t get much of that after your agent and the ebookstore takes their share.

3. There’s just something about flipping paper pages in your hands. Don’t ask me to explain that because I can’t. I can’t be the only one that feels that way, though.

4. Corrupted files, viruses, failing programs, etc, etc, etc–The massive boon to modern technology and mankind, a simple little virus.

5. Guess what happens if you drop a book? Not much unless it’s hard cover. Then you get a couple dings. What happens if you drop a 500.00 tablet? You just lost 500.00. Hope you had insurance on that sucker. Could you imagine taking insurance out on a paperback?

Anyway, I could go on all night like this, but there’s a four year old in a bathtub next to me who’s getting pruned fingers. Basically, choose your side and choose wisely–old but reliable or modern but comes with so many issues it’s almost not worth it.

Oh, and by the way, I wrote this whole post on my phone. Amazing!