Friday, December 18, 2009

The Office - Chapter Five

John didn’t wait; he swung his bat and knocked the gun out of the man’s hand.

Celia screamed again at what she saw next. “John, look out!”

The man had produced a three inch switch blade and before John could dodge he had buried it to the hilt between John’s ribs.

Celia was too terrified to scream. She looked on in horror at the red blossom growing ever larger on John’s shirt.

“Nobody move, police!” Two policemen arrived on the scene just as the man was coming at John a second time. John had raised his arm to fend off the attack this time, earning him a nasty cut. With his other hand, he was trying to stop the bleeding in his side, a futile endeavor.

The man who had attacked John turned on the police, brandishing his knife. One of them shot him. He went down.

Celia ran to John. “We need an ambulance. Please, please hurry.”

The second officer called it in while the first checked to ensure that the man he had shot was still breathing.

Celia’s neighbor, Teresa, picked that moment to show herself. She made such a scene that she was almost arrested. Then she calmed down and gave her statement. The children came running out of the bedroom to their mother. Celia and John were also questioned while they waited for the paramedics.

Celia thought John was beginning to look pale. She felt his face and it was clammy. She willed the ambulance to hurry. He just seemed to be losing so much blood. Half of his shirt was soaked with it.

The man, Thomas, was taken to jail for breaking and entering, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to do grave bodily harm and other assorted charges.

When the ambulance finally arrived, Celia was allowed to ride with John to the hospital. With the IV giving him fluids, he began to look a bit better.

“Your neighbor put you in great danger today Celia.” John said softly. Celia imagined it might hurt to talk, as if taking too deep a breath was painful. “There’s no telling what might have happened to you if I hadn’t been there. You mustn’t let people take advantage of you like that.” He made a face, but Celia couldn’t tell whether it was the pain or disappointment in her. Either was bad.

“But John, you were there.” Celia took his hand carefully. “You were amazing. I’m just so sorry that you got hurt.”

John squeezed her hand. “You should have someone to look out for you Celia. You’ve got a brother in town don’t you?

“No, but he helps me a lot anyway. He’s great.” Celia wondered what John was driving at. Did he think she couldn’t take care of herself?

John looked at Celia’s sweet face and could practically read her thoughts. “Celia, I think you are too trusting and na├»ve for your own safety. Where do you think your neighbor went when she dropped the kids off with you? Not to the police, obviously. Seriously, did you ever ask yourself that question?” John started to cough. It clearly hurt him. The paramedic told him to stop talking. Celia never let go of his hand.

At the hospital, Celia had to wait in the hall for them to check John over and stitch him up. Celia didn’t wait well. She paced. She thought about how smoothly John had reached over and zipped her dress earlier, as if it was something he had done a lot. Had John been married? Celia was bothered again by the fact that she knew nothing about this increasingly amazing man. When did he stop being that sweet nerd? There was nothing nerdish about the John she had come to know in the past several hours, just the opposite. The doors opened and John walked out with a nurse. She handed him to Celia.

Celia was glad for the physical contact. “What did the doctor say?”

“That I was very lucky. The blade only grazed my lung. I will be extremely sore for a while, but I’ll mend.” John smiled down at Celia who was obviously holding her breath. “Breathe Celia. I’m alright.”

Celia laughed. Nervous energy bubbled to the surface and turned to giggles. She clamped her hand over her mouth.

John burst out laughing then cursed softly when the pain hit.

“I’ll call us a cab.” Celia pulled out her cell phone and called directory assistance. It was getting late. “Are you hungry? We can pick something up, or I can cook for you.”

“I think you’d better do something about the door to your apartment first. You may already have been cleaned out.” John said sadly.

Celia did her best not to react. Everything she owned was in that apartment. What was she going to do? “I’ll just go see and then come right back to you. I’m sure the police put up some sort of barrier, right?

When the cab came, John gave them Celia’s address. They both went up to her apartment. The police tape had been torn aside and her place had been ransacked. Celia burst into tears.

John pulled her into him with his good arm. “Let’s look around. Maybe there are some things we can salvage.”

There wasn’t much left, a few dresses, some shoes. Her underwear was strewn all over the bedroom. She was too distraught to be embarrassed. Someone had even gone through her pictures. She gathered them up lovingly.

Celia grabbed a tote and started stuffing the clothes and shoes into it. She checked the bathroom closet for her favorite 450 thread count sheets. They were amazingly untouched.

All of the furniture had come with the apartment, so she now had everything she owned in one large tote bag. Celia didn’t realize she’d been crying steadily until John handed her several tissues. “John,” she whispered, “They took everything.”

He reached for her. “Celia, I need you to know …”

©2009 TSW

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Office – Chapter Four

This is the fourth installment in a serial story that I have been writing for some time. To read Chapters One through Three, just hop on over to Serialstory99 or click the title above and it will take you right to it.

Thanks For Reading!

The Office - Chapter Four

When they reached the alley, John turned Celia to face him and said…”Celia, you mustn’t repeat any of what you have seen or heard today. My work for the Preservation Society is, well, a sideline, if you get my meaning.” He did not release her, but continued to regard her as though gauging his chances that she’d reveal him.

“You mean you actually work for them? And Stone doesn’t know it? John, you could get fired. What are you thinking?” Celia disengaged herself from his grip and walked briskly toward the exit, only then recalling her dress. She turned quickly, her face as red as a beet.

John just smiled and put his jacked around her again. “Let’s get you home.”

Celia forgot to be ashamed the minute she saw the laughter in John’s eyes. He had the most amazing hazel eyes and she’d never noticed them before. What planet have I been on?

John took the driver’s seat again; Celia didn’t complain. She just explained to him how to get to her little apartment, all the while going over in her head whether she’d put everything that could possibly embarrass her away.

At the door, Celia fumbled with the keys. She felt awkward like she was on a date and this was the kiss – no kiss moment. She was immediately greeted by a mewling cat. John reached down and picked Mr. Baby right up and began to pet him. Mr. Baby didn’t usually like strangers, but he certainly liked John.

Celia ran to her room to change. “I’ll just be a minute, John.”

Before she could get her blue dress zipped all the way up, someone started banging on the door. John opened it. A woman with tears streaming down her face stood there holding onto two small children.

Celia ran to the door when she heard Ester’s voice asking for her. “Celia, I prayed you were home. He’s drinking again. Please take the children. Please.”

“Ester, I have to go back to work. I just came home to change my ripped dress.” Celia held her hands out to the woman.

“Please Celia, you know what he will do. You are the only one I trust. Please keep my babies safe.” She gave the little ones a push and they both ran to Celia and wrapped their little arms around her. Then the woman was gone.

John reached over and zipped Celia’s dress the rest of the way up.

“John, what am I going to do? That man would hurt these children if he knew where they were. That’s why she brings them to me when he’s passed out.” Celia ran her fingers through the children’s hair and cupped their little faces with her hands.

“You’re just going to have to call in sick for the rest of the day. Do you have the time?” John was reaching for the phone.

“Yes, but I have a project due in two days for Mr. Stone.” Celia was deathly afraid of the elder Mr. Stone.

John was dialing. “You’ll get it done. I’ve never known you to miss a deadline.”

Celia was flabbergasted! How did John know about her work habits?

“Hello, this is John Tucker. Celia Brown has taken ill and won’t be able to return to work today. I’ll be taking the rest of the day myself. Thank you Olivia.” John said to the human resources clerk.

Celia didn’t know how to react. What was John doing?

John turned from the phone and looked at the children. Then he looked at Celia. The look was…protective. “Celia, whoever this man is, the one you hide the children from, he’s obviously dangerous. I can’t have you here alone in this apartment if he comes looking. I mean, look at your locks Celia! They wouldn’t stop me if I really wanted in. You need to secure this place a lot better.”

“I’m moving to the co-op on 42nd, remember. It’s nice and has lots of security.” Celia didn’t know why she felt so defensive all of a sudden.

John walked to the door and turned all the locks. Just as he did, something bashed into the door. John jumped back and got between the door and Celia. “Go get in the bedroom and lock the door.” He whispered.

Celia ran to the bedroom. She got her brother’s baseball bat and told the kids to lock the door behind her. Crying softly, they nodded their little heads. The youngest got under the blankets on the bed, eyes wide. Celia stopped and kissed them both. Then she ran out.

“I told you to get in the bedroom!” John hissed.

“I won’t leave you.” Celia brandished her baseball bat.

John smiled. Celia couldn’t categorize that smile, but she liked it – a lot.

Something bashed against the door again and the wood around the hinges began to splinter. Celia was scared.

“Call 911 Celia; do it now!” John stood unarmed before the door.

“What is the nature of your emergency?” The 911 operator asked

Celia tried to stay calm, “someone is bashing down my apartment door!”

While Celia was on the line with 911, she tossed her bat to John. And none too soon. With one final bash, the hinges gave way and the door broke in.

Celia screamed. A very angry man with a metal post had just broken down her door and now he had produced a gun.

John didn’t wait; he swung his bat and knocked the gun out of the man’s hand.

Celia screamed again at what she saw next. “John, look out!”

©2009 TSW

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday Flash

For the next several weeks, Im going to be writing episodes for my serial story, "The Office", that has been languishing over at serialstory99. Check out the first three episodes so you'll be up to date on the story. Don't worry, they're short. Thanks for reading!

See you on Friday Flash!

I Did it! I "Won" NaNoWriMo.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update

Here's a little update on my NaNoWriMo Progress for any of you who may be interested.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

What Goes Around

They sat around the fire listening to the snaps and pops as the wood was consumed.

“Someone tell a scary story,” Elizabeth suggested.

Corey shifted on the log and held his hands out in front of the group. “It sat perfectly still on that cold October morning, its bright orange body in sharp contrast to the sugar white snow that had been falling all night. And it was quiet, waiting for that singular moment when,

‘Mommy, I found one’, said little Timmy.

‘Good for you.’ said Timmy’s mom.

So they loaded up their treasure and headed home. Suddenly, the one who had been sleeping woke to trembling movement. If felt the pain of something sharp poking into its underside.

‘Here we are said Mom. Why don’t you do it right away Timmy?’

Without warning it felt hideous pains in its sides. One, two, three places. One, two, three more! Then continuous stabbing pains in its lower side that went on for an eternity. It was in agony. At last the pain subsided.

‘Mommy will you help me with the top?’

The stabbing began again. This time on top of its body. But at least it didn’t last as long. It was beginning to grow numb to the pain. No, something was happening at the top of its body. It didn’t hurt, just felt wrong.

‘Here Timmy, I have all the insides scooped out for you.’

Then the pumpkin felt no more.” Corey grinned and the firelight flashed off of his perfect white teeth.

“That wasn’t scary,” complained Elizabeth.

“It will be when you go to carve your pumpkin tomorrow.” John tightened his arm around her in the deepening cold. Perhaps it was time to call it a night.

Sherry sat quietly sipping her cocoa. “I don’t know. The thought of scooping out pumpkin brains is kinda cool.” She dropped a kiss on Corey’s cheek.

Corey shifted his weight again. Sherry noticed, but continued to sip her chocolate.

Abruptly, Corey began to make strangled noises. Sherry dropped her cocoa. “What is it baby?”

He seemed to be choking on something. Within seconds he was turning blue.

Elizabeth panicked and kept dropping her cell phone trying to dial 911.

John was trying to see if he could clear Corey’s airway. What he found made him jump back. Stuck in Corey’s throat was the stringy insides of a raw pumpkin. John immediately reached in and began pulling them out as fast as he could, but there was so much. Corey was choking to death and there was nothing they could do about it. John just kept pulling frantically. Corey began to thrash about making John’s job harder. Finally Corey passed out, but John kept working. When he’d removed the insides of a truly large pumpkin it stopped. He and Sherry gave Corey mouth to mouth. Corey started to come around.

“Thank God.” Sherry held Corey’s head in her lap, tears streaming down her face.

Sherry started to gag. John and Corey freaked out. They immediately began clearing her airway of the offending material. With the two of them working it went faster this time.

Elizabeth was having a meltdown.

When they finally cleared all of the pumpkin from Sherry’s throat, they had to give her mouth to mouth as well.

By this time the paramedics were arriving. They checked Sherry and Corey over.

“Damn kids and their pranks. What will they do next?” One paramedic muttered to his partner.

As the paramedics were leaving the scene, the kids heard, “Man down, request additional assistance!”

©2009 T.S.Witt

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Perpetual Non-exclusive Publication Rights

And the answer is, perpetual, non-exclusive publication rights. It is supposed to be only the winner's who give up these rights, but that is not the way the provision is currently worded. And until they upgrade it, I'm afraid I won't be entering this contest. Such a pity as I had worked so hard and come up with a pretty darn good story too. Even so, I don't think I would be too keen on giving perpetual rights to anyone, even if they are non-exclusive. It just doesn't "feel" like a wise thing to do.

I Won't Give You That - Publication Rights

Well I discovered something interesting and I hope I can get it cleared up before Nov. 2. That's the deadline for the Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. According to the official rules, the winners give Writer's Digest one time publication rights to their stories. However, at the end of the sign up process online, before you can submit your entry, there is a box that says you give perpetual non-exclusive publication rights to your story when you sign up. Now that's a big difference. I deleted my entry when I got to that point. I'm not giving anyone perpetual rights to my story. Also, it wasn't limited to just the winners. I hate stuff like this; it's enough to make you pull your hair out. Now with only 4 days to go, and one of them a Sunday, I had to send an email to Writer's Digest to try to get this worked out. What do you suppose my chances are of getting a response in time. There is a phone number, and I will call tomorrow, but, I need something in writing clarifying the error. It also doesn't make sense for those who mail their entries in to get one set of rules, and those who enter online to get another. We'll see what happens. Wish me luck.

Attention Published Authors

You can help U.S. troops and promote your books at the same time. To learn more about this program see How it works is you send your books to a military serviceman or woman and they get to enjoy reading it. Then they give it to someone else to enjoy. Your book gets passed from person to person and brings happiness to those posted so far away from their homes. It’s a great program. Everybody wins. Apparently romances and the like are not allowed, but other genre are welcomed. See the website for more details. Note: The mailing deadline has been extended. I just got an email from ODS and they still need 11 more people. They mailing deadline is now Friday, October 30, 2009. I hope you will check it out and participate if you can in this worthy cause.

NaNoWriMo Cover Art

Well, I've finally hit upon something I like. My model has given me the go ahead, so I'm posting it. NaNo is only 4 days away, I'm still outlining and I only just realized a few days ago that one of my bad guys is already dead! Ha. Ha. Time to raise up another boogey. It's all in good fun. I certainly intend to have some.

Publishers and Agents

Wow, this can be so confusing. I've been reading about them for some time this morning and I still don't really know that much. It does appear that most if not all of the major publishing houses won't accept a submission unless it's through an agent. There are alot of other publishers who will, but it's hard to know much about them, even if they have great websites. They certainly paint a bleak picture for first time authors. And then there's that pesky Platform business popping up again. How does a fiction writer really get the kind of followers you need to qualify as a "platform"? I admit that I'm a bit lost when it comes to that whole concept. I mean, between freelancing and writing, I don't have a lot of time for playing around on the social networks. But I guess I'd better find it if I want to sell my book. The problem is, you can't print excerpts because some publishers don't go for that, so how do you get people interested in your book? I was amazed at how much the agents took. They really take a bite out of whatever royalties you get, unless that percentage is just for the advance, but I doubt it. Yeouch!

Upcoming Writer's' Digest Competitions

The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards – Deadline November 2, 2009
The Writer’s Digest Short Shorts Competition – December 1, 2009
The Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards Competition – December 15, 2009

Pitch Rate

Here's a tip, if you want to market your book for free, go to Pitch Rate. They match authors with reporters looking for experts or specific stories. Check it out.

Writing Again!

I've had two freelance jobs in the recently that have kept me hoppin' and writing! It's been great. The best part is I finally opened up that dusty file with my book in it and started editing again. I got so into it I forgot to eat and had to have cereal at like 10 PM. lol. Then I kept at it until I couldn't see the page any more. If I didn't have other work to do today, I'd be at it right now. I'd forgotten how much I love my characters, my people. They're so real to me. I hope that means they will be real to my readers too. I'm thinking of posting some teasers to see if anyone has anything to say about that. My friend and author of seven, soon to be eight novels, Jason Gehlert, used that method and it worked well for him. In fact, he posted one whole novel once - a chapter at a time as he wrote it. Isn't that cool? You can keep up with Jason and all his work at He's got a new novel just coming out called Europa: Rise of the Carnelians. You can find chapters and character bios on his website Jason was also insrumental in getting me through my writer's block. I don't think I put that specifically in my 10 tips to beat writer's block, but talking with other writer's can really help to get you motivated in your own writing. Gotta go, lots of writing to do. Look for those teasers soon.

Writer's Block is More Than a Loss for Words

I was thinking this afternoon after my second trip to the grocery store and while I was taking my first walk in, well, forever, that writer's block is also about being blocked in other areas of your life. For instance, if you aren't physically healthy, how can your writing be healthy and robust? If you are constantly worried about finances, how can you create a new character? If you are just plain weary, how can you convey energy and zest in your writing? So, I've decided to improve myself in as many areas of my life as I can and see if my writing doesn't also improve. As part of my plan, I went to my storage unit and dug out my copy of Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" and I'm totally committed to listening to all six CDs. It may sound hokey, but if it will improve my writing, I'm all over it. I know that walk I took was a direct result of being motivated by one of those CDs. I'm willing to bet that healthy habits, for body, mind, and spirit, will make for very healthy writing. Let's find out. Maybe Tony Robbins will become one of my heroes - that is the theme for this month's NaBloPoMo. I think I'll go turn on the CD player for a while.

Heroes - Your Don't Know Me

I just joined National Blog Posting Month. It's not like NaNoWriMo in that there is no specific month in which it is done. This month, the theme is hereos.

I'd like to start off with a poem based on an unfinished poem that I found in my desk recently. Of course I promptly lost it again. :-) So, I'm going to write a new one now.

This is for all our troops abroad.

You Don't Know Me

You don't know me.
You stand in line for your new clothes
a uniform you will wear with your unit

You don't know me.
What do you think as they issue your gun?
Do you think of Dying? Killing?

You don't know me.
Your family sits home and worries
tears no cloth can dry

You don't know me.
But I know who you are
I think of you every day

My heart aches and my tears flow
I know what you do is for me
You are my Hero.

©2009 TSW

10 Tips For Breaking Writer's Block

1. Find a challenge group - many social networks like Gather have them and write to the prompt. It works!

2. Find a writing group in your home town and join it. Preferably the one you choose will share their writing every week so you will be motivated to have something to share yourself.

3. Think of a word or phrase, anything, and challenge yourself. Write a story or a poem or even an article around that word or phrase. Don't think about what you will write when choosing the word - just look around you and pick.

4. Read the headlines and/or the current news. Write about something that raises your blood pressure. It can be a blog, an article or even a fiction story.

5. Enter a contest. This one will really get you going if you're up for it, especially a contest such as the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or Script Frenzy where you have a fixed length of time to complete your work.

6. Look at a piece of art or a painting and imagine the story being told by it. You could write a story, a poem or even a whole manuscript!

7. Go through your old work and write a sequel, even if that work is a poem you can follow up on the story it was telling or the emotions it was describing.

8. Take a walk, not only will it help clear your head, but you can work through scenes as you walk, talk out the problems in your piece.

9. Talk about it. If you're stuck on a particular scene or you can't find an ending to your book or story, talk about it. Even if you only have yourself to talk to. Speak out loud so you can hear the scenes, hear the dialogue that is the problem. You are much more likely to be able to work your "kinks" out this way.

10. Find a writing buddy. If you just can't seem to put pen to paper at all, find someone to write with. You can motivate each other in many ways.

Now Go Write!

Falling Into A Creative Black Hole

Like many of you out there, I'm completely blocked. I haven't written anything creative in many months. I'm afraid I've just let life's demands get in the way. My house needs work before I can sell it - which needs to be soon - and I'm home schooling my son. I've begun I feel guilty if I'm not pursuing one or the other of those two endeavors. Hence, no writing is getting done. I even feel guilty doing this now, but I need an outlet - a way to vent my frustration. You see, I have already written a short book, for NaNoWriMo last November, and it's screaming at me to work on it. It needs revision and fleshing out. It's absolutely languishing! Worse, I realize just how long it has been since I have written anything new, original. I did write a couple of stories last month for a man, but the character was his, I just made up the story within his preconceived world. I haven't written a poem in so long, I'm not sure I remember how. I shut down my popular poetry challenge group to spend more time on the house and I dearly miss it. At least with that I got to read other peoples' creative work once a week. I'm going to have to start writing again soon or things are going to get ugly.