Saturday, February 18, 2017

Change of Plans

I've been talking with people on Facebook. That's about the only place I do talk with people. Just sayin'... but we been talking about some stuff and how I always wanted to write an "outtake" scene from Offside Chance. I have that in quotes because it's not an actual outtake. It was never written to begin with. I mean, that book was from Jude and Slayer's POV. They wouldn't have known what happened in the limo after they were dropped off that night after the Super Bowl/retirement party.

I've always had the burning what happened in that limo question blazing in my head. I mean I know what happened. Or would have happened. I just never had a place in which to write it. It didn't fit in OC and didn't further Jude and Will's story. It didn't happened during Sidelined and Last Man Standing isn't even about any of the four in the limo. And Levy wouldn't have included that in his biography because it was private and served no purpose. He didn't speak of much in the current affairs category.

But that limo scene... what if I wrote that limo scene as just that, a scene?

Everyone is getting a Patreon account. Everyone is creating extra content for their Patreon supporters. Out take scenes... ficlets... stuff. I'm not interested in running a Patreon. I do have payhip. I do have the ability to offer extra content without forcing people into a monthly subscription to read it. I could write all kinds of extra content that doesn't fit into a book... and is 99 cents too much to pay for a 10 or 15 thousand word scene? I mean, most short stories are between 15 and 20k words right? It will not be cannon. Cannon means it happened in the book therefore it is real to these people. If they choose never to discuss what happened... it never happened. Right... but it happened just not in the books. And will not be eluded to in Blindsided.

Which brought this incredible scene from the scrapped Sunday Schooled to mind. The night Bo met Livy. For real. And that is cannon. It has been discussed in Sidelined and Offside Chance. So I wrote it. And it was incredible.

I scrapped Sunday Schooled for several reasons... the first one being, that I'm trying to tell a very large encompassing story to include Bo and Dylan's POV during the books in which they aren't part of the main story. I went back to long before Six Ways from Sunday. The first half that is finished ends after Dylan is rescued...immediately after. Sunday Schooled as written is more Bo and Levi's story than Bo and Dylan's. Bo and Dylan's lives are separate. Their POVs are skewed to their lives and their situations. Dylan in the military. And Bo in football. And the men they allow into their lives as place holders for the other.

I scrapped it because I felt like the Bo and Levi story isn't one that has been well received by many fans of the first book. I scrapped it because I'm not finished with the main story. I scrapped it because I'm not sure I can write Dylan's recovery. I need to write his recovery. Writing his death again in greater detail was painful enough..... I am not sure that I will ever finish that story, but I might one day... but I have this beautiful story already written that will never be read. And that night that Bo met Livy for the first time is so good.

What the hell do I do with the first half of Sunday Schooled? I looked at taking just that scene, but you lose so much context. You lose how Levi and Bo became friends. How Bo found his house. Some of the football scenes that drew Bo, Levi, and Will together. So much back story is lost.

And it's cannon. All of it.

I'm not going to write Dylan's recovery. I'm not going to skip it either. I have 55 thousand words that starts they day they meet for the very first time and ends the day Dylan is finally found alive, barely.

So what do I do with it? I need some of it for Blindsided. That's why I wrote it in the first place.
I could post that scene, unedited, out of context, as an outtake scene from a scrapped book. Or I could re title the first half and publish it with a disclaimer.

If I finish the story, it will be as Sunday Schooled and take us to the end of Bo and Dylan's story after Blindsided.

Blindsided has been pushed back until later anyway. Much later.

I'm just brainstorming.

I know there are people who hate the Bo and Levi relationship aspect of the books. That's been made very clear.

I'm not really asking for opinions... mostly just putting out a warning. Because I think that's what I'm going to do. And yeah, it will have the ultimate non-cliff hanging cliff hanger ending ever written.

This is not in place of Blindsided. And it doesn't mean Cold Shadow is not happening. This is something extra. And will be published to Amazon. But that limo scene... yeah, that's just going to be on payhip as an extra extra.

So that we're all on the same page.

Nope I don't have any dates. I'm playing all this by ear.... or making it up as I go along.
Or really, I have no damned clue what I'm doing so just nod and play along.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day... A gift from me

I wrote this short V-Day story years ago. Hope you enjoy a blast from the past.

Chocolate Kisses
By Mercy Celeste

Valentine’s Day may as well just give all us singles a bouquet of thorns so we can slit our wrists. Okay, so I’m not exactly in the best mood to deal with the most annoying holiday of the year. You could say, I’m jaded, or just plain old cranky, whatever gets you through the day. I personally believe that I’m a realist. And honey, right now is as real as it gets.
A year ago I had a boyfriend. A year ago there was chocolate and wine and tulips because roses are trite and so overdone. A year ago there was a diamond in a small box and a giggly I do on my lips. But that was before the accident.
After the accident, well there’s just me and frozen pizza. If I’m lucky I’ll remember to stop by the corner store and grab a bag of chocolate kisses. If I’m lucky I’ll remember what kisses other than the chocolate kind taste like, someday.
Not today. Today, I pulled a double shift, and being the kind of person that I am I let the other nurse go home early so she could go out with her husband. Today it’s just me and the new guy. Doctor Hotpants. Okay, that’s not his real name, but that’s what all of us call him behind his back. And let me tell you the way the man fills out a pair of scrubs—what was I saying? Oh yeah, Valentine’s Day. Just another corporate holiday to make us singles feel left out in the February cold.
“Looks like it’s going to be a quiet night, Ash.” Speaking of Doctor Hotpants, he stepped into the nurse’s station and my heart did this peculiar little jump. It often did that when he showed up unexpectedly.
I masked my reaction by looking through the main doors to the rapidly darkening sky and the empty parking lot beyond. Technically we weren’t really open for business, but with the loss of our answering service to budget cuts the old doctors decided we needed to keep an on-call staff during the early evening for emergencies. “We should be so lucky, Dr. Andrew.”
“Just Drew, Ash. Just Drew. Sometimes I get so tired of hearing doctor, didn’t think it possible, but there it is.” He sat on the corner of my workstation, one leg swinging his white sneaker bright in the fluorescent lighting. I could see his thigh muscle straining beneath the thin layer of cotton.
“Not exactly as glamorous as you thought it would be huh?” Did I mention that I was feeling a tad bit jaded? The medical profession looked really good on television, but the reality was snotty noses and blood, and other varying types of bodily fluids and that was from the adults. Lots of people get it into their heads that it’s a cesspool of gorgeous young doctors just looking for a Mrs. Doctor. Or that the money is easy, and there is time for golf on Wednesday. In reality, most of us are just too tired to do much more than fall in bed face first at night. And glamor, yeah, navy blue baggy scrubs are just the epitome of glamor. Maybe on the crazy ward over at the hospital.
“I don’t know, maybe, sometimes though I feel like when I signed the oath I signed away my real name and my real life along with it. Okay, that didn’t sound right, it’s not like I lead some kind of double life, I’m pretty boring actually. I just like to think I’m still the same person I was before all this. Does that make sense?” He tapped out a rhythm on the file folder next to him, his fingers were long, tan, the nails rounded but not manicured. I liked that.
Wait, stop looking at him like that. Office romance is strictly forbidden, as per your own rules. Dolt, ninny, chucklehead. But he did have pretty hands. I forced my gaze to roam the room, looking for anything to take my mind off how nice he smelled, how close he was and how long it had been since I’d had anything between my legs that didn’t run on batteries.
“I can understand that, I guess, though it’s not like I have a fancy title in front of my name to confuse people, Ashley Daws R.N. doesn’t have the same ring to it. Nurse Ash, either. So, okay, no sympathy from me on that count, Doctor Drew.” I tried to laugh it off, but damn I was babbling, and I knew it. Damn, and double damn, he didn’t have to smile like that.
“Why don’t you have plans tonight, Ash? As good-looking as you are I’d think you’d be beating them off with a stick.”
I stopped pretending to find the clock interesting and looked at him. I mean really looked at him, as if I’d never laid eyes on him before. He was blond, but not the kind of blond that makes you think of impossible Nordic Gods. But the type of blond that looked at home on a beach or a surfboard. His eyes weren’t blue, but an odd mix of brown and green, not quite mixed enough to called hazel. Sort of two toned. And the lashes that rimmed his eyes were a stunning pale shade that made my toes sort of tingle. His nose was not quite straight, looked as if he’d broken it at some point in the past but not so crooked that it was immediately noticeable. The stubble on his chin was blond lighter than his hair but not pale. And that chin, oh my fucking god, the cleft in it was the stuff of fantasy.
“You know if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were flirting with me,” I said as calmly as possible, I wanted to sound like I was in control, but swirly things were going on in my belly that had me sweating.
“What if I am? Okay, this isn’t coming out right? I, uh, you intrigue me, Ash. With your sad eyes, I can’t help but wonder what your story is? Why you look so lonely?” He looked away, but not before I detected a trace of a blush.
The swirly thing became a huge spinning whirlpool of something I didn’t want to think about. This is not what it sounds like, stop reading more into this. Stop it. Now. Fool.
“I’m just not into the holiday, leave it for the lovers.” The trouble with me is that I rarely follow my own advice. “Why are you here instead of out there romancing some pretty girl? I bet you broke a couple of hearts tonight by volunteering to stay late.”
“Maybe, or maybe I just like being alone. Call me a buzz kill, but I never really knew how to romance anyone. Besides, I’m too busy to think about it anyway.”
Wrong answer. I shivered as the whirlpool became a full-blown cyclone of desire.
“My fiancĂ© was killed the week before our wedding in a car accident. He proposed on Valentine’s Day last year and I just can’t face the idea of dating just yet. So there it is, my story, the game ball is now in your court.” It was reckless, I knew, I just didn’t really care. I was sloppy with the possibility of an end to my dry spell and guilt ridden for even contemplating what his lips would taste like if I let him kiss me.
“Is this a game?” He looked stunned for a moment the nervous drumming stopped as I watched him. “I’m not good at games.”
“What is it you want from me then? I’m not a toy, Drew, to be played with and put back on a shelf when you’re through with me. And honey you are throwing off some pretty serious mixed signals right now.” A strange calm settled over me, I don’t know why, if he wanted something all he had to do was ask. I wasn’t in a mood to say no.
“I want to know what you taste like.” He went three shades of red. Oh, shit, that made the swirling desire in my belly go red-hot and syrupy. “I’ve wanted you since I came to work here. I just never had the courage to approach you.”
“So what changed?” There were rumors, of course, I’d heard them before but paid very little attention to them. Rumors in this industry were rarely ever made fact.
“I took a position at the hospital, pediatric surgeon. I’ve been after it for some time now but didn’t have the credentials. Tomorrow is my last day.”
I couldn’t breathe. After tomorrow he wouldn’t be one of my bosses. “So you thought a one night stand with me would be a good send off?”
“When you put it like that, well, no. I sort of, just, want to get to know you better, maybe take you out to dinner after the shift. I don’t know, god this worked better in my head.”
I had to smile, oh fucking hell, he was actually nervous. The pink that infused his cheeks had me feeling all gooey inside. “I’d like that.”
But after that comment about tasting me, I wasn’t exactly in the mood to let this thing play out. I stood up too fast, my chair rolled against the desk behind me and bounced back against my legs but I ignored it as I stepped close to him. His thigh against mine was hard, I could feel the heat emanating off him, and hear his breath catch in his throat. “But you know what, I’m wondering how you taste now.”
“Really?” He gulped, his lips shimmered a delicious shade of red. His long fingers slid over mine, caressing my knuckles then my wrist and slowly up my arm. I shivered.
“Really.” Oh holy hell, this was not the time. It was too soon. “I’d like you to kiss me.”
“I think I’d like that.”
“Really?” I whispered. I was dreaming. Of course, I was dreaming. Pretty doctors liked the pretty girls, the sorority, cheerleader kind with the big boobs and tiny waists. I didn’t have either of those things.
“Really. You have beautiful hair, I’ve always wanted to see it down.” He eased his hand behind my head his fingers splayed in my hair, the elastic holder slipped free and my hair fell around my face. “Oh, god, you smell so nice.”
“So do you.” His face loomed near mine, his breath was minty, warm, so sweet my knees threatened to give out. And then he kissed me and my knees trembled and I leaned against him. “Oh god, you taste so sweet.”
“Ashley?” There was a tremble in his voice. A need that I felt clear to my toes. I ignored the warning bells going off in my head. “I want to make love to you.”
“Before dinner or after?” I knew I was playing with fire but it had been so long since I was with a man I wanted everything I could get. I didn’t really even care if this was a one night stand I just wanted to feel him inside me so badly it hurt to think of anything else.
“Both. And in the morning and maybe every morning after that.”
“That’s going a bit fast don’t you think? I mean I could be bad in bed. I probably snore and I know I hog the blankets.”
“I want to learn all that about you first hand, baby. I love your smile and your laugh. I love listening to you talk to the patients, your voice gives me goosebumps.”
“Why Doctor Hotpants, I am so hot for you right now you could probably tell me the moon was square and I would believe you.” I touched my tongue to his, the little thrill of his gasp making me bold enough to draw it into my mouth and suck.
“Shit, Ash, do that again and I might lose control. I’m trying hard to keep my hands to myself. I want to romance you. Buy you things. Make you happy.”
“Baby, that will keep until later, I promise. Right now, I just want you to make me feel good. “Oh Christ, I had lost my mind. I knew it was coming, this overwhelming urge to do something stupid and right now this was about as stupid as anything I’d ever done. Probably the most stupid thing I had ever done.
He touched his forehead to mine and just rested it there for a half a minute, his gaze locked with mine, I saw the need he kept on a leash, and I saw love too. It punched me in the gut. He didn’t even know me. How could he?
I was so wrapped in what his eyes were saying to me that I missed the slow caress of his hand over my stomach, the pull of the drawstring at my waist was whisper quiet. His hand between my legs had me gasping. He held me like that, one hand in my hair holding my face close to his, his eyes connected to mine, while he stroked me.
I was so wet, impossibly wet, but despite that, I cried out when he eased a finger inside me.
“You’re so tight.” He stroked me deeper making me slippery with need.
“It’s been a long time.” I held onto his shoulders to keep from falling, my knees were shaking. “Oh god, that feels so good.”
“How long?” He eased a second finger inside me.
“Shit. Ten months. Ten long months. Don’t stop, that feels—I’m going to come.” It was too fast, way too fast. It slammed me like a brick wall. Hot and hard and fast, but before I went over he withdrew his finger and pulled me tight against his body.
The erection between his legs had me purring. “Don’t stop.”
“I won’t baby, we just need to move someplace more private.” He straightened my pants and waited until I was steady on my feet before he led me to one of the exam rooms.
“Wait.” My brain functioned enough to stop at the supply closet and grab a handful of the condoms we kept on hand just in case.
“Do you think we’ll need all of those?” I liked the way he laughed, almost as much as I liked the way he blushed and ran his hands through his hair.
“One, ten better safe than sorry.” Jesus that was stupid. I followed him into the room and let him close the door even though we were the only ones in the office.
I kicked my shoes off and before I could even think to say anything else he dragged my shirt over my head. His mouth on my nipple was so hot. He nipped me with his teeth, making me beg for more. Shit oh yeah please more.
“I want to go slow.” He whispered against my mouth.
“Slow is nice, I like slow.” I slipped my hand down his pants, he was so damned hard. “You feel so nice. I can’t wait to feel you inside me.”
He made a delicious growling sound in his chest just before he lifted me onto the table his large hands pushed my thighs apart. His mouth on my heated flesh nearly pushed me beyond the brink of sanity. I held his head, his hair sifted through my fingers like fine silken threads. “Drew.” His name felt wicked on my tongue. I couldn’t stop saying it. “Drew. Oh fuck.” I was so damned close. The swirling fiery sensation grew in my belly, spreading out, settling between my legs. “Not yet. Oh god, not yet.”
He stood up, smiling as he plucked one of the condoms off the table where I’d left them. “Not yet,” he said but the urgency in his eyes told me it would be soon. For both of us.
I cried out when he eased inside me. Testing, teasing, stretching me. Oh god, it felt so good to have a flesh and blood man there again. He pushed my legs wider and held me open. “That feel so good.”
I knew I was repeating myself, but it did feel good. Better than anything I could remember, to have his slick cock inside me, loving me until every nerve ending on my body was screaming for release. “More. Faster. Please. I can’t take much more.”
He laughed, the sound wrapping around me like velvet and I forgot my own name. “Oh baby,” I said more than once. And then all I could do was hold on for the ride.
“Come for me, baby.” I heard him say. His voice had gone harsh. “Come with me.”
He eased his hand into that area guaranteed to push me over the edge, and stroked me, urging me to climax while his breath grew more ragged with each thrust. His hand wrapped around me, squeezing me as he pumped me, Jesus. Christ. It was more than I could stand. I shattered, body and soul, climaxing around him, his cock inside me gone rigid told me he went over with me.
All I could do was lie there trembling as he withdrew and in a move I didn’t expect he leaned over and licked my stomach before he kissed me. The taste of my own cum salty on his tongue. “For a shy boy, you can be nasty.”
“Was it too much?” He said the blush spreading across the brim of his nose. That he chose that moment to kiss the head of my cock made me forget what I was saying.
“Do I still get dinner and romance?” Oh god, I wanted romance. I needed romance.
“That was the plan. This was more than I hoped for.” He touched the head of his cock to mine, swirling our mingled juices together.
God I was hard again in a matter of seconds. “Oh, baby, it wasn’t enough. Not by a long shot.” I sat up on the table and wrapped my legs around his waist. “I want everything you can give me. And in return, I’ll give you everything I have.”
“Is that a promise?” His lips were tentative when he kissed me. His sweet eyes, alive with love and desire, told me everything I needed to know. His entire soul was there for me, only for me.
“It’s more than a promise, it’s a vow.” I wasn’t prepared for the emotion that beamed out at me. Or the force of his lips on mine, it was like a one-two punch to the gut. “I’ve wanted you for so long. Wanted to love you. I didn’t think you knew I existed.”
“I was afraid to ask you out. I didn’t want to get involved with one of the nurses. I’m sorry it took so long. God I was so afraid you’d find someone before I could find another position. I was terrified I’d lose you.” The truth was shining in his eyes. The swirling sensation was back in my stomach, churning furiously. “I fell in love with you. I don’t know when. It just sort of snuck up on me.”
“Me too. Oh, baby. I have never been so happy. This is more than I ever hoped for. I want so much more of this. I want forever.” My own truth scared me, I’d loved before, and lost, but it wasn’t like this. Never like this.
“I can give you forever. I want to give you forever.” He licked my neck, his body responding to my fingers as I caressed him and pulled him tight to me. “Starting right now.”
“I’d planned to stop at the store and pick up some chocolate kisses to get me through the night. But this, this is so much better.” And I kissed him for all I was worth.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Beginnings and Endings

Every time I start a new story the very first line I type is the date. I don't know why I do this. Maybe it's a holdover from school when we had to put our name and date at the top of the page. I just don't know. But I do. I've always done it. 

I finished the first draft of Cold Shadow last night. The epilogue took me ten hours to write. It's not that long. About five thousand words. I type thirteen hundred words an hour. It shouldn't have taken all of yesterday and some of the day before to write the damned epilogue.

I suck at endings. I do. It's damned hard to end a story. I can start five million stories a year. I've very good at beginnings. I love beginnings. Slogging through the middles is like slogging through an alligator infested swamp with a butter knife. But I can slog a middle with the best of them. Endings... I suck at endings. I guarantee you that I won't spend more than five seconds rewriting the beginning of this book but I will spend five days rewriting that epilogue. I will second guess it. I will delete it. I will scramble to find the deleted words. I will re arrange paragraphs. I will slash it and fix it and in the end it will say almost exactly what it says right now.

Supernatural season five episode 23 Swan Song: 

Chuck Shurley the Prophet, writer of  The Winchester chronicles narrates what was supposed to be the final episode of the series. That episode has always stayed with me, not because of the series, which I love, but because of something he says toward the end. 

"Endings are hard. Any chapped-ass monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There's always gonna be holes. And since it's the ending, it's all supposed to add up to something. I'm telling you, they're a raging pain in the ass."

Ending a story is damned fucking hard. Ending a series is something that terrifies me. Writing a series is terrifying enough. I mean ending one book is hard enough. How do you end the second book or any middle book in a series without actually ending it, but ending it enough to say, this part of this story is done for now. I'll see you later down the road. Hope you don't hate me for not tying up all the loose ends and maybe this one didn't end the way you wanted it to, but it ended the way it's supposed to end...and maybe it would be better if they all just... fell into the deepest chasm in the universe never to be heard from again... and yet years later there's still an ending and a new beginning and it all starts over again every single day.

Endings are hard because stories never really end. People still get up and go to work and pay bills and love and laugh or fight... endings are endings. Endings are divorce and death and falling down chasms and shit. How do you end a life in progress? That's exactly what ending a book is like. 

You've created this life, these lives, this world, from nothing. You big banged these people into existence and you put them through literal hell for a few pages of their lives... lives that were probably moving along quite swimmingly before you interfered and threw them into this damned chasm...and then when you're done giving them all of the ecstasy and the agony that you can possibly throw at them in those few pages you get to some spot where you have to walk away from them. They lived. They survived. They have to go forth and pay bills and cook dinners and live and love on their own now. You gave them the tools. Now you have to disengage. You have to leave them. But you have to leave them in a way that feels right. Not like you tossed them out on the street with the clothes on their backs and closed the door in their faces.

Yet it always feels like you shoved them out and slammed the door. Or you didn't untie the apron strings and you're just dragging along behind them begging for one more paragraph...just one more chapter... just don't leave... please... don't leave it like this.

So you epilogue. Past is prologue...what the hell is epilogue... the please don't bug me for a sequel future? And epilogues are so damned final. Unless they are a light flickering on outside of a suburban tract house with a soulless man staring into the window one last time.

Beginnings are easy:

March 18, 2011
Cold Shadow of Doubt
By Mercy Celeste
Chapter One
          He’d forgotten how much he loved Tennessee in the summer. The deep green of the trees seemed so much greener here than in DC. He missed driving dirt roads that wound through overgrown fields and past rambling shacks that had once thrived with life. Abandoned farm equipment sat alongside the road, baking in the sun, the vines sneaking over their mechanical skeletons for whatever nefarious reasons only the weeds knew. 

 Endings: Not so much:

 February 12, 2017
Cold Shadow
Mercy Celeste
He’d forgotten how much he loved Tennessee in the summer. Seems like it had been years since he’d last come home. Instead of just a few weeks ago. Seemed odd that he was back here. Like he was called. Something inside his chest felt tight and congested until he crossed the Tennessee state line.

Cold Shadow by Mercy Celeste

March 14, 2017