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Offline Leonardo

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First Book!
« on: December 15, 2017, 12:23:58 PM »
I am going through the final review of the manuscript to do one last check for grammar and formatting.  After that it's done and will be available on Amazon Books in a couple of weeks.

Here's my cover... hot off the presses!
It does have something to do with the medieval era, part of the book takes place in the 14th/15th century.


In case you can't read the cover, here is the synopsis on the back and tagline on the front...

Rebecca Doogan is a romance novelist with a problem… she has no romance in her life.  After a savage beating at the hands of her husband, Rebecca meets a stranger named Brendan.  Rebecca must decide if he is truly the man of her dreams or if she is slowly going insane and retreating to the make believe worlds that she creates in her novels.

Rebecca’s current novel is a love story that crosses the ages.  A man vows revenge for the death of the woman he loves and makes a pact with the devil.  He searches throughout time for the reincarnated soul of his lost love. Rebecca’s question is if a story is just a story…

Imagine being so completely in love…

…That you would sacrifice everything…

…For just one more moment…

…For just one last kiss...

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 03:14:36 PM »



CHAPTER ONE


The stone wall felt cold and damp to Rebecca's touch.   The light leading down the stairs of the tower flickered as the torches caught a light breeze.   Wailing and moaning could be heard from the other locked chambers.  Rebecca sat on the hard stone bench, cold and afraid.  She was alone, taken from her man while he was off to battle, and he could not save her, not this time.  King Malachi took a fancy to the beautiful maiden, and when Rebecca refused his advances, the King declared her a witch.   The trial was a quick one.  No one dared dispute the King, and Rebecca's fate became sealed.  She was to be burned alive… to purify her soul the King said.

Beams of morning sunlight made their way through the small window in the upper corner of her chamber and cut through the stale dungeon air.  Rebecca heard the rhythmic thud of footsteps coming down the stone stairwell.  The jailer’s keys rang out, sounding like chimes as they echoed off the stone walls.   She cried, and for a moment damned him.  Why did he leave her, why doesn't he come through the door and set her free, carrying her back to their house in the woods?  But he did not come.   The jailer stopped.  She heard his keys scrape at her door...


An electric alarm buzzed irritatingly on the nightstand. Rebecca fumbled with the alarm clock and finally managed to turn it off.  She sat up.  Her eyes had the beginnings of dark circles forming from night after night of restless sleep.
Slowly Rebecca got out of bed.  Still half asleep she began getting dressed.  Rebecca was normally a morning person.  She loved getting up just to smell the morning dew and watch the sun rise.  Lately however she found sleeping a difficult task. Most nights she would just lie in bed tossing restlessly, finally drifting off to sleep only a few hours before her alarm was set.
“Good morning princess.  Did you sleep better than mommy?” Rebecca said playfully to her cat.  Jasmine meowed as if she understood.

“I know honey, give me a minute to brush my teeth and I'll feed you, I promise.”

Rebecca picked Jasmine up, who immediately began to purr.  She smiled then kissed Jasmine on the top of her head.  Jasmine was more than a pet; she was a companion to Rebecca.  For a few moments Rebecca stroked her friend’s soft fur and for a brief time seemed to forget about the world and her problems.  Smiling again, Rebecca gently set the cat on the bed.

The house was small, some would say quaint, but that’s exactly what Rebecca was looking for.  When she bought the house she knew this was where she wanted to be.  What convinced Rebecca that this was the perfect place for her was more than the forty acres of land the house was built on; it was the lake, and when she first saw the full moon casting shimmering beams of soft yellow light on its surface, she knew this was the place that she could call home.

Rebecca entered the kitchen.  The layout was a simple one like the rest of the old country cabin.  Rushed, Rebecca finished buttoning her blouse.  She noticed she had buttoned her shirt wrong and began undoing the buttons to fix the alignment. Jasmine curled affectionately around Rebecca's legs, almost tripping her.

“I know sweetheart.  Just one more minute…” Rebecca said sympathetically.

Rebecca noticed the light on her answering machine flashing.  She pressed play and listened to the message while opening a can of food to feed her anxiously waiting cat.  The can made a loud metallic pop as the seal was broken.  Jasmine recognized the sound and meowed continuously.  Rebecca had to push Jasmine’s head away while she finished filling the dish.

The answering machine made a loud high-pitched beep as it queued up the message.  “Becca, this is Linda.  Pick up if you're there.”  There was a slight pause and the voice continued, “Come on Becca, pick up.  I know you're there.  Well when you get this message, call me it's important.  We have to talk about your upcoming deadline.”

The message was from Rebecca’s publisher Linda Weller.  Linda tended to jump to conclusions in Rebecca’s opinion.  She seemed to forget that it was Rebecca that turned her little known publishing company into a worldwide name when Rebecca’s first book went to number one and stayed there for ten months in a row.  When her next four books did just as well, Rebecca thought Linda would ease up a little, but she promised herself she wouldn’t count on it happening.

 “Damn, this is just what I need.” Rebecca said aloud in an irritated tone.  She rubbed her tired eyes then dialed the number to the publishing house and waited as the phone rang.

Rebecca began to calm down as the phone continued to ring.  She knew that it would get her nowhere if she had an attitude.  Linda was just too opinionated Rebecca thought.  One thing that Rebecca learned was that if Linda thought she was upsetting her she seemed to push even harder.

“Come on Linda, you called me, if this is so important you better pick up.”  Rebecca tapped her fingers on the counter, impatiently waiting.  Finally the ringing on the far end of the phone stopped.

“Good morning, you have reached Linda Weller of Romantic Hearts publishing.  May I help you?”  Linda’s tone was that of a polished professional.

“Hi Linda, it’s Rebecca.  Hey I just got your message, I'm kind of running late, but I wanted to return your call.”  Rebecca was calm but lying, she dreaded calling Linda when she was behind schedule.

Linda recognized Rebecca’s voice and replied in an almost parental tone, “Becca we need a copy of what you have so far.  You signed a contract you know.”

“Yes Linda, I know I have a contract.”

“Well then you understand that we need to read some copy of your new story.  You haven't even told me what it's about yet.”  Even though she knew Rebecca was responsible for making the publishing house an industry name, Linda felt that all writers were inherently lazy and needed to be pushed in order to get results.

Rebecca began to fidget and looked at the clock on the kitchen wall.  She replied in a rushed tone, “I had a small case of writer's block, but I have an outline now.”

“Well that's good Becca.  When do I get a copy?”  Linda was happier now to hear that Rebecca was working on a new story.  “Better yet, what is it about?”

Rebecca hesitated.  She only had an idea, and nothing actually written down yet.  She also knew that Linda would not like the idea that Rebecca was changing her writing style and would not be continuing the series that brought Linda’s company so much fame and profit.

“I want to do a gothic romance, one set in medieval times.”  Rebecca felt the nervousness in her own voice as she said it.  She knew that Linda would pick up on that and use it to try and manipulate her.

“Becca, why change your style?  The Victorian style seems to be what you're good at.”  Linda definitely was not pleased.

“Linda I really have to run, I'm already late as it is.”

“You’re three weeks late on your contract.  We need some copy by the end of the week.  I don't understand why you want to change your style, but hey, it's your career.” Linda was stern and wanted to let Rebecca know she thought it was a mistake.

“I really have to go Linda or I'll miss my appointment.”  Rebecca paused for a moment, “Hey, I always come through for you don't I?  I'll make you money don’t worry.”

“Appointment?  You better not be looking for a new agent, you're under contract, remember that.”

“Yeah yeah, everything's a contract.” Rebecca hated the way the industry sometimes seemed like it was only concerned about money, she paused, “I’ll call you.”

Rebecca hung the phone up. For a moment she stood motionless, deep in thought.  She grabbed her sunglasses and rushed toward the front door, then paused as if she was forgetting something. Rebecca stood thinking, knowing she forgot something, and then she returned to the counter to get her car keys.

Rebecca started her Jeep and drove down the gravel driveway from her house.  At first Rebecca was not sure if she liked the Jeep’s rough ride.  She bought the Jeep because the winters proved to be too rough on a regular vehicle trying to make it up to the secluded cabin.

She made her way down the country road and then onto the interstate.  It was only a short ride to town, but from where she lived it seemed desolate and far from civilization.  As she drove, Rebecca thought to herself how lucky she was to have found such an ideal place.

The yellow Jeep made its way off the interstate and through the traffic of the small town.  Rebecca pulled into a business complex.  The building almost resembled a series of small townhouses.  A sign at the entrance of the parking lot listed a variety of medical offices including a dentist, optometrist, psychiatrist, and a family doctor.  She parked and walked toward the door to the psychiatrist’s office. 
 
The office was a stark contrast to the exterior of the building.  The floor was covered in a maroon carpet that accented the cherry stain of the wooden furniture and wall trim.  Various diplomas were mounted on the walls, along with a painting of a country scene.  Hanging at the far end of the office, just above a large salt-water tank full of tropical fish was an old poster of John Wayne from the movie The Quiet Man.

Rebecca sat down in an overstuffed chair and sank into the cushions.  She sat across from a large desk where the nameplate Dr. Helene Brooks was prominently displayed.  The desk was meticulously neat.

Helene moved from her desk to another chair near where Rebecca was sitting.  She knew that people were more comfortable that way and it was easier to get them to talk. Rebecca lit a cigarette from the one she had just finished.
 
“So are we adding chain smoking to your list of problems now?  You do realize I don’t let my other patients smoke in here?”  Helene asked in a friendly but professional tone.  Rebecca ignored the comment and exhaled loudly.
“How have things been going?  I know a lot has happened recently.”  Helene started a voice recorder as she spoke.

“I'm still scared… a little.”  Rebecca’s voice was flat and distant.  She stared off into a void that only she could see.  After a moment she exhaled again and continued, “And I don't sleep well. I've been having these strange dreams.  Sometimes they seem so real they don’t seem like a dream at all.”

Helene uncrossed her legs and leaned forward a little, her voice was supportive and reassuring.  “Rebecca,” she paused for a moment, “all divorces are rough.  Any abusive relationship is even harder to deal with.  That's why we're here.”  Helene picked up a note pad and began writing notes to supplement the recording. “Tell me about your dream.”

“You mean dreams.”  Rebecca stopped to grind her cigarette out in the ashtray.  “Anyway, I'm still pissed off that he has a restraining order against ME.”  Rebecca’s voice was no longer distant, and her anger showed in her tone.

“We discussed that already Rebecca.  You have to take responsibility for your actions.  That little stunt you pulled didn’t exactly help your situation.”

“Have you ever been beaten?” Rebecca said frustrated as she lit another cigarette.

“No, and neither will you anymore, that's all in the past now.  Tell me about why you can't sleep, what are these dreams about?”

Rebecca took another drag on her cigarette, again exhaling loudly.  “Well, they seem so vivid and real, but they don't make any sense.  They're bits and pieces of images… images of me…” Rebecca fidgeted, she was visibly disturbed by the images she was recalling, “but I am some sort of prisoner.  I always seem to wake up before the dream ends, but when I go to sleep it's like it picks up from where it left off.”  Again she paused, “I'm so tired.”

“Rebecca we all have dreams.”  Helene’s tone was analytical and professional, but still friendly.  “Most of us don't remember them though.  You have to remind yourself that you have had a lot happen in your life recently.  We are all different, and people have different ways of dealing with things.”  Helene wrote more in her notepad.  “I interpret your dreams as a symbol of your feeling of helplessness and being trapped in an abusive relationship.”

“I hate that word.  I am not helpless.”  Rebecca was defiant and angry.  She stared off into the distance and took another drag from her cigarette.

“I didn't say you were.  Part of you feels that you are still trapped or at odds with things.  That is why you are having the dreams.”  Helene sat straight in her chair as she spoke.  She needed to take control of the conversation.  Rebecca was beginning to become agitated and Helene knew this would only be detrimental to the session.

Rebecca rubbed her forearm; there were noticeable bruises near her wrists.  For a moment Rebecca debated about whether to tell Helene about the bruises.  She knew that Helene assumed they were from the last fight.  The problem that bothered Rebecca was that she did not remember having the bruises before the dreams started.
“How are the bruises?” Helene asked. Rebecca was right, Helene thought they were the last remaining signs of her previous beating.

“Better.”  Rebecca thought for a moment and decided not to mention that the bruises were recent.  In fact Rebecca could not remember when she first noticed them. “I guess you're right, I have to move on with things.” Maybe they were from that last fight, Rebecca really wasn’t sure anymore.  “Hey, the bright side is I think I'm over my writer's block.”

“Great.  I read Southern Fires and loved it.  Are you continuing that story?”

“No, I was thinking more along the line of a Renaissance piece with a knight.  I like the code of honor concept.”

“And a damsel locked in a dungeon that needs rescuing I bet.” Helene mused.

Rebecca smiled, “Something like that.”

“Sounds like you found your own kind of therapy.”

Helene smiled reassuringly as she wrote a few more notes in her pad.  “Okay, we are out of time for this week.  Are you still taking the Welbutrin?  How many do you have left?  I think you still have one refill don’t you?”

“Yes I'm taking it.  It made me so tired at first.  My publisher isn't very understanding, deadlines and contracts you know.”

“Don't worry about your publisher.  Worry about feeling better.”  Helene paused as she finished writing a refill prescription.  “Well, keep up the positive attitude and I'll see you next week.  Now try and work on that smoking problem.  That’s a nasty habit you picked up.”

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 03:14:57 PM »

After the weekly therapy session, Rebecca took care of her errands as usual.  She had become withdrawn from the beatings at the hands of her husband Richard Malack.  When Rebecca was finally discharged from the hospital she filed for a legal separation.  Now the only time she interacted with people was when she came out to run errands.

Her best friend Tawnya convinced her that therapy was the best way to get through this ordeal.  Rebecca was hesitant at first, but when the dreams started, she figured that Tawnya might be right.  So the routine was born.
 
Once a week Rebecca would go to her session with Helene then take care of the things she could not put off, like shopping for groceries and meeting with business contacts.  The rest of the week she remained at home, sometimes retreating to the fantasy worlds that she created on paper for her novels.  Other times taking long walks to the lake she loved so much.  Yet there were times when she just cried.

Rebecca was a writer.  She had a gift and talent to weave a story.  Her first novel became a best seller, not only on the Romance lists, but also against every genre.  What set her stories apart was that they were somehow able to touch the souls of the readers. 

Rebecca would weave a romance story into a seemingly nonromantic topic.  By the time the reader realized it was a love story it was too late, they were already hooked.   At first her publisher Linda felt that Rebecca's style was not of the proven main stream romance story format that would sell, but she quickly dismissed that notion when the money started to roll in from sales.

Rebecca wrote with a passion for life, one that she did not have a first hand experience of, rather one that she yearned.  Often her stories would not appear to be of a romantic nature, but by the last page the reader, no matter what gender could not help but get caught up in the triumph of love.  Sometimes Rebecca wondered if the reason for her passion was because in reality she had none.

The same lack of personal fulfillment carried over into her professional life.  Even though she had eight novels to her credit, and each hitting the top ten lists, Rebecca did not feel comfortable with life and often wondered what her purpose was.
 
Long before she started writing, she earned a living as a graphic artist.   Eventually this transformed into designing web sites for local companies.  Even though she no longer needed the money for her logos and web design, she continued to provide that service to local businesses.  In a way Rebecca felt it was a break from the drudgery that writing could sometimes be.
 
Rebecca drove across the small town to another business center.  She navigated the bright yellow Jeep through traffic and pulled into a strip mall.  On one end of the shopping center was a Shop Rite grocery store, the other end a Kmart… the two anchor stores.  In the middle were a variety of stores ranging from a now closed Radio Shack to a local real-estate agency.

Rebecca walked to the real-estate office.  It was a small family owned business.  There were three desks and a waiting area with a small couch and table.  On the table were numerous pamphlets of local home listings, as well as a professionally made real-estate brochure covering the entire region.  Rebecca opened the door to the agency, as she did a small bell attached to it jingled, indicating a potential client was entering. 

Tom Redding stood and smiled; he was always happy to see Rebecca.  Tom had a secret crush on her since they were kids in school.  It seemed though that the only person it was a secret to was Tom.  The entire town knew he was smitten, including Rebecca.

“Hiya Becca.” Tom shook Rebecca's hand with genuine affection.  “I really love the web site you designed for us.  My clients love being able to look at houses in VR online. Ain't these app things great?  I love technology.”

“Well some is good, but me, I prefer a less hectic way of life.” Rebecca did not think very much of technology, not the way Tom did.  To her it was a way of stealing a person’s life a piece at a time.  Rebecca saw how people grew distracted and detached from living and became a slave to the very thing that was intended to free them.

“You sure have that.  Nobody will bother you out where you’re at.  Are you still happy you bought all that land?”

“It's great out there, I love it.  It's a nice change since…” Rebecca paused, she hated talking about this, but it seemed everywhere she went it came up.  “…well since my marriage broke up.”

“Yeah I'm sorry all that had to happen.”  Tom lowered his eyes as he spoke.  He seemed just as uncomfortable about the topic as Rebecca was.  Perhaps it was because he had been hoping they would break up for a long time.  Now that it happened, Tom felt guilty for wishing it.

“What can I say?  He was a Dick.”  Rebecca only half smiled as she said it.

Tom began to feel uncomfortable and the conversation came to a lull, so he quickly changed the subject.  “Hey, I have the new pictures for the listing.  Do you think you can have them on the site for this weekend?” 

Tom picked up a digital camera.  He was easily preoccupied by high tech toys and always seemed to have something new.  “Man I love technology, check out this new camera.  Let me take a picture of my favorite web designer.”  Tom clicked a picture of Rebecca.

“You need to get a life Tom.” Rebecca joked as she took the flash drive Tom handed to her.  It contained the pictures of the house he mentioned.  “They'll be ready by tomorrow.”

“Great. Oh, don't forget your check for the web site.”

Tom paused nervously, again his eyes lowered and shifted around the room.  He could not look Rebecca directly in the eyes, “If… uh, if you're not busy tonight, would you like to go out for a coffee or something?”

Rebecca looked at the check and shook her head.  “Tom, it's not Malack anymore, it's Rebecca Doogan now.  I'm back to my maiden name.”

“When did that happen?”   

“I sent you an email.”

“Um, which email address, I have six.”  Tom chuckled as he spoke.

“Never mind.  I'll stop by next week and pick up a new check.”  Rebecca laughed too, then flashed a smile at Tom.  “As far as the coffee, I'm swamped right now, I'll have to take a rain check.”

Rebecca’s next stop was the grocery store.  She was glad that there was one in the shopping center and she did not have to drive again.  Even though she came to town only once a week, Rebecca would grow tired quickly and start to feel panicked.  All she wanted to do was finish her shopping for the week and get home so she could once again hide from the world.

Rebecca did not use a shopping cart, she preferred a basket since she only had a few items to buy.  When she was cooking for two, things seemed to be so much more elaborate.  Now all she needed were some basic items for her, and a few treats for Jasmine.  The last item on her list was some fresh fish to round out her vegetarian light diet.
 
As Rebecca finished shopping, several locals stopped to ask her for an autograph.  She was well liked and definitely a local celebrity.  Rebecca politely signed a copy of one of her books someone picked up from the magazine section, and then a box of macaroni and cheese for another fan.

“That’s funny, I don’t remember writing this.” Rebecca joked as she signed the box.  Her smile and tone made it clear she was being playful.

”I um… I didn’t expect to run into you.”  As he spoke he shuffled nervously.
 
“Don’t worry, I’ve signed stranger things.”

Rebecca made sure she was always nice to her fans.  She never understood celebrities that were rude or avoided their fans.  Without them Rebecca would still be a graphics design artists, and she was grateful to each and every one of them, even if it meant signing an occasional strange item, like a box of food.  At least he didn’t ask her to sign a body part Rebecca mused to herself.

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 03:32:18 PM »
CHAPTER TWO


Dusk was setting by the time Rebecca turned onto the gravel road leading to her house.  It always amazed her how fast the day passed by when she went to town.  No matter how much she tried to finish her chores as quickly as possible, she always seemed to get home at the same time.

Rebecca stepped out of the Jeep and immediately heard a crashing sound.  She looked in the direction of the disturbance and saw that her trashcan had been knocked over.  Rebecca heard a rustling and when she turned she saw that the culprit had dashed into the woods.  The only thing that Rebecca saw clearly was a dog's black tail as it disappeared into the trees and brush.

“Goddamnit Joe. I swear to god if you don’t tie that damn dog up…” Rebecca picked the trashcan up and started putting the garbage back into it.  She swore under her breath as she gathered the noxious items. 
She placed the cover back on the garbage can, made a disgusted face and wiped her hands on her jeans.  Her rant continued, “The next time he gets in my garbage I'm coming down to that farm of yours and I'm gonna shoot you, not him.”

Joe Dersham owned a farm that connected to Rebecca’s property.  For the most part Rebecca had no trouble with him except for the occasional visit from one of his many dogs.  Living in the country, Joe did not see a reason to keep his dogs tied.  Rebecca never said anything to Joe about it, but they never made their way to her house to rummage through her trash before either.
Rebecca picked up her bag of groceries and fumbled with the key to the front door.

She unpacked her groceries and quickly forgot about the incident with her uninvited guest.  Rebecca was anxious to start writing again.  She poured some milk in a saucer for Jasmine then retired to her study to work.

Rebecca's study was more of a library than a home office.  She loved old books, which was evident from the hundreds that lined the bookshelves along the wall.  If she was not writing or going for walks by the lake, Rebecca would curl up with a book and slip away into the pages as she read.

In the far corner of the room stood a painter's easel with a partially finished painting of a man.  The picture had a great amount of attention to detail.  It was of a 14th century man wearing a leather brigandine.  Oddly the painting remained incomplete. 
The last remaining area to be finished was of the man’s head.  The unfinished portion stood out and was pronounced because of the detail that was spent on the rest of the painting.

The only sign of technology in the entire room was the computer desk where Rebecca did her writing.  The room was lit only with candles and two large hurricane lamps that were hanging from the ceiling above Rebecca's desk.  She sat down and turned the computer on.  The sound of a fan spinning was the only noise in the room.

“Let's see… ” Rebecca said aloud. “A damsel that needs saving, and knight to save her.”  As she thought, she unconsciously lit a cigarette.  “Hmmm. Saved from who though?  A wizard?”  She tilted her head back and exhaled, watching the smoke slowly waft toward the ceiling and fade away. 

“No, too lame.  A wicked king?”  Rebecca laughed, “A wicked publisher?”  Her expression turned to a more serious one, “From herself.  Yes definitely from herself.”

Rebecca lit another cigarette, placed it in an ashtray that was overflowing with cigarette butts, then began typing.  She became so involved in her work that she did not hear the front door open.
Tawnya and Rebecca were more than friends, they viewed each other as sisters.  Ever since they were kids they would stop by unannounced to visit each other.  Tawnya went straight to the kitchen to raid the refrigerator. She poured a glass of juice and began crunching on a carrot.

Tawnya took another bite of the carrot then gave it a look of disgust,  “You need to buy some meat girl, or at least some junk food!”

Tawnya entered the study and walked up behind Rebecca, crunching her carrot loudly. She leaned forward and began reading over Rebecca's shoulder.  Rebecca waved her hand behind her head in mild annoyance as if she was chasing a fly away.
“Stop crunching that thing in my ear.”  Rebecca complained.

Tawnya ignored her as usual and continued reading.  “This is good, I like it.  But when do they do it?”

“Knock it off, you know I don't write that kind of trashy stuff.”

“Yeah, you usually write that fluffy stuff.  This is kinda dark.”  Tawnya took another bite of the carrot.

“Well right now I feel dark.”  Rebecca sighed.  “Do you really like it? Or is it too heavy?”

“As long as you don’t throw in dragons and wizards and stuff like that.  I never liked that hocus pocus D&D stuff.”

Rebecca laughed, “How about a deranged psychopathic publisher? “

“Did you say you were writing another novel or trying to get out of your contract by getting fired?” Tawnya said laughing with Rebecca.

“Hmmm. That too.” Rebecca said while deep in thought, then suddenly turned and winked at Tawnya.  “I love writing.  Linda may be a pain, but at least she gave me a break when nobody else would. So I really shouldn't complain.”

Tawnya checked her watch, “Well I'd love to stay and write your book for you, but did you forget we were supposed to go dancing tonight?  I think Brad is gonna be there.”

“Oh God, I'm sorry.  I forgot…  I can't though.  I promised I'd have at least an outline in by the end of the week, and I didn’t realize it was Thursday when I promised.”

“I'll let you off the hook this time. Next time I won't be so nice ya know.”  Tawnya joked

“You, nice?  Since when?”

Tawnya cuffed Rebecca across the back of the head playfully, then left.  As she headed out the front door she shouted back to Rebecca, “I’m going to hold you to that and get you out for some fun.  I’ll call ya tomorrow.”

Rebecca typed long into the night, until finally she could not keep her eyes open.  She saved her manuscript to the hard drive and shut the computer off.  Yawning she walked to her bedroom. 

Rebecca picked the clock up to set the alarm.  The display read 2:20 am, she debated whether to set the alarm; she wanted to sleep in.  Finally she set the alarm for 9:00am.     

Rebecca undressed and tossed her clothes at the hamper.  They did not even come close to going in and fell to the floor.  Normally she would have picked them up and placed them with the other dirty laundry, but she did not feel like it and left them remain where they fell. 

Rebecca buttoned up an old baseball shirt.  It was her father’s and now her favorite nightshirt.  As she pulled the covers back, Jasmine looked up from the pillow she was sleeping on.

 “Come on baby, you have to move over.” Rebecca said softly as she picked Jasmine up and placed her near the foot of the bed.  Rebecca sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over, blowing out the hurricane lamp on her nightstand.

Within moments Rebecca drifted off to a restless sleep.  Night after night is was the same.  She began to thrash beneath the covers, as if she was being chased and tormented by someone, or some thing.

Rebecca’s dreams always started where the previous one ended.  It was as if she was being told a story a piece at a time.  It became apparent from her dream what she was trying to resist and escape from.
 
As had happened the previous nights, the dream started again, as if she was tuned into something beyond her control…

The jailer and Rebecca emerge from the dungeon chambers.  As the sunlight hit Rebecca's face, she squinted and tried to shield her eyes.  It was obvious from her reaction that she had not been in direct sunlight for a long time.  The jailer dragged Rebecca to the center of the courtyard and hung the chains connecting Rebecca's hands to a hook high above her head.  The shackles were tight and hurt her wrists.

Rebecca’s eyes adjusted to the light and she looked around the courtyard.  Villagers gathered to witness the proceedings.  The crowd became quiet as Bishop Deemer entered the courtyard. He wore a full length white tunic accented with purple. Around his chest hung a large silver cross.  The Bishop’s face was clean-shaven and reflected an air of holiness, and to some, it evoked fear.  His stoic face had deeply etched lines caused by age.  He began to recite a Latin phrase, almost a chant.  As he spoke the words he moved his hand in a holy blessing motion.

The Bishop ended his chant and spoke in English so the uneducated villagers could understand.  “We are gathered to witness in the eyes of God the cleansing of this evil soul we see before us.”

There was murmuring throughout the group of peasants.  The Bishop stopped speaking and raised his hand.  The gesture caused the villagers to once again become quiet.  Rebecca looked at the crowd, in her eyes was a look of terror.  The panic that began in the dungeon cell, swelled and gave birth to uncontrollable fear.  Rebecca looked at the villagers again then to the far end of the courtyard which was open to the countryside.

The Bishop waited for complete silence then continued.  “This woman was brought before King Malachi to pay for her heinous acts of witchery and bloodlust.”

The villagers begin to boo and yell at Rebecca.  They were not only superstitious, but feared the Bishop and King as well.  Their actions were not unlike a coordinated theatrical display, one meant to appease the King.
“Burn her, burn her.” They shouted in unison.  From within the crowd of peasants a single voice stood out from the chanting, “Burn the witch.”  The villagers’ taunting became even louder.

Rebecca began to cry and was afraid of what was about to happen.  She looked at the crowd of villagers again, then to the countryside, desperately searching for someone to save her.
“Please, help me.” Rebecca cried out to the crowd that had gathered.  Still sobbing she continued, “Someone help me, I am innocent.”

The Bishop allowed the crowd to taunt and torment Rebecca.  He knew that the mental anguish would be almost as bad as the fate she still faced.  Slowly the Bishop raised his hand and as before the crowd became silent.  The Bishop then turned and spoke directly to Rebecca for the first time.

“Renounce your evil ways and swear your loyalty to the King and God.”  As he spoke the Bishop studied Rebecca’s face.  He seemed to truly enjoy the fear he invoked in others.

Rebecca was terrified and shouted “I am innocent, you know that I am.”

“Then you have no reason not to repent and ask for the King's mercy.”  The Bishop’s voice was cold and emotionless as he spoke.

“The King is a tyrant, you know that.”  Rebecca shouted to the villagers.  She pleaded with them for help, but it fell on deaf ears.  “Will someone please help me? Stand up to the tyrant.”

The Bishop spoke again, “If God wishes this woman spared, give us a sign.”  He turned to the crowd extending his arms as if waiting for an answer from God himself.   The Bishop slowly lowered his hands gesturing the crowd to remain quiet.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 11:32:50 PM by Leonardo »

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 03:33:24 PM »
The peasants remained silent and began to look at each other.  Although they did not agree with the proceedings, they were too afraid to protest.  Any sign of disagreement with the King and his decision would bring down his wrath upon them, so they acted out of fear and contempt toward Rebecca for the trouble that she had brought them.   
 
“Burn her, burn her.” They chanted again.
The Bishop did not motion for the crowd to quiet down.  He allowed them to shout as part of the building fear.

“By not speaking…” The Bishop shouted, “God has spoken.”

The Bishop turned and nodded to a hooded figure standing near the pile of wood surrounding Rebecca. The hooded executioner removed a torch from its holder.  King Malachi interrupted the proceeding by holding a hand up.  The executioner stopped his advance.  The King circled the Bishop slowly, and then approached Rebecca.  Malachi leaned toward her, as he did he traced the back of his hand across her cheek, then moved his mouth closer to Rebecca's ear.

“I give you one last chance, accept my generous offer…” Malachi whispered, “or burn as a witch.” 
Malachi kissed Rebecca's ear as he finished his statement.  Rebecca returned the gesture by spitting in the King's face.  Malachi stepped away from Rebecca and calmly wiped his cheek.

King Malachi placed his hands behind himself resting them in the small of his back.  For what seemed like and eternity he did not speak.  He walked completely around the pole that Rebecca was chained to.  His demeanor was one of ultimate authority.  As he came back to the front of the platform he looked out to the villagers.

“You have all seen my generous offer of mercy.”  Malachi made a long dramatic pause as he surveyed the peasants.  “And yet this retched witch spurned my offer of salvation.”  Again Malachi paused.  The villager’s faces were that of complete fear of their King.  “God himself passed judgment.  Only I was merciful and willing to forgive.”

Malachi nodded at the executioner, who had waited patently for his queue.  The executioner placed the torch to the pile of dry wood.  The kindling began to burn almost immediately and then a loud whooshing and crackling sound was heard as the pile burst into flames.

Malachi glared at the villagers.  “Let this be a lesson to you all.  Fear not the wrath of God, fear the consequences of disobedience to the King.”  Malachi exited the courtyard, motioning to the Bishop to follow him as he did.  The crowd knew this meant the Bishop would not be able to take Rebecca’s death confession and free her soul. 

Rebecca strained against the chains, she was panicked and in a frenzy to get free.  “God no, please God no.” Then she screamed in agony, “It hurts, God it hurts so bad, please make it stop.”  Sobbing hysterically Rebecca continued to cry out. “Why did you leave me? Why?”

Rebecca coughed from the smoke billowing up from the fire that was also consuming her. The flames licked at her tattered clothes and singed her flesh.  Rebecca cried out in agony.  Just before the messenger of death came to take her soul, she looked up through tear filled eyes to the countryside one last time.

She was not sure but she thought she could make out a man on horseback riding full gallop toward the castle.  Rebecca cried out one last time, then the messenger came, and her eyelids shut as she slumped over lifeless.  Once again he was gone.

As the rider entered the courtyard he wielded his sword above his head.  Hearing the commotion, the Bishop returned to the courtyard to find out what was happening and to restore order.  The rider continued full gallop into the courtyard.

“Stop this in the name of God, I demand it.” The rider shouted.

The King’s guards rush to the courtyard, but not before the man dismounted his horse. The man looked at Rebecca’s lifeless body and shouted in anger to everyone “Damn you, damn you all.”
 
The tears in his eyes did nothing to stop the rage from within, and the man struck the Bishop with a glancing blow from his sword. Guards rushed to the fallen Bishop.  The man raised his sword and blocked an overhand blow from the first guard's sword.  Rage and fury had taken control of the man, and he fought without concern for his own safety.  He cut down the first four guards to reach him.

More guards rushed to the courtyard. Finally a guard struck the man from behind with a wooden pollax.  As the man fell to his knees the remaining guards rushed in and disarmed him.   They began kicking and beating the now helpless man.

Even as he was overpowered and being beaten, the man continued to shout in a rage at everyone around him, “You all will die.  Malachi, do you hear me?  I will come for you.”

As the guards dragged the unconscious man from the courtyard, a soldier helped the Bishop to his feet.  He was bloodied and bruised, but still alive.

“Make sure that man suffers.”  The Bishop said angrily.


The images from her dream continued to torture Rebecca who was now lying in a fetal position.  She clutched her pillow tightly, and slowly rocked back and forth.  Rebecca was startled and jumped when she heard the sound of her alarm going off.  She realized it was just a dream and pounded the clock with the palm of her hand.

“I'm sick of this sh@t.”  Rebecca sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes as she did.  No matter how many hours of sleep she would get, Rebecca always woke in the morning more tired than before she went to bed.

Rebecca pulled on a pair of sweat pants.  She was slow to get moving and almost tripped as she put on her slippers.  Rebecca walked to the bathroom still groggy from the restless sleep.

The bathroom, like the rest of the house was small, but efficient.  Rebecca walked to the sink and turned the water on.  As she waited for the water to warm up Rebecca rubbed her eyes again, then looked in the mirror.  Her chestnut brown hair was disheveled and tangled.  Under her eyes were dark circles from the lack of restful sleep.

Rebecca splashed water on her face to wake herself up, “God what I wouldn’t give for a good night's sleep.”  She complained as she began brushing her hair.  Each stroke became caught in a mass of knots and she winced from the discomfort. 

After finally waking up and making herself somewhat presentable Rebecca went to the kitchen.  She opened a cupboard and removed a box of cereal and poured some in a bowl.

Rebecca stared out the window, as she did she ran her fingers through her hair, then tied it in a ponytail.  Jasmine circled Rebecca's feet, waiting for her food. Suddenly a loud crash outside caused Rebecca to blink and come back from the far off place that the stare had taken her.

Rebecca rushed to the front porch to investigate the noise. Once again her trashcan had been knocked over.

“I swear Joe, I'm gonna…” Rebecca said in an angry tone, but it quickly became one of surprise, “holy shiner bock, you're not a dog.”

At the tree line by the edge of the woods, only twenty feet from where she was standing, Rebecca saw a large black wolf looking back at her.  The wolf made no sign of moving or retreating to the safety of the woods.  Even from that distance Rebecca noticed the wolf’s eyes, they were a deep vibrant blue.  For a moment Rebecca stood transfixed, almost hypnotized and then she quickly ran back in the house and emerged with a pump action shot gun.  By the time Rebecca returned the wolf had gone.

“Whoa, I'm definitely awake now.”  Rebecca said calming down.  She stood on her front porch for a moment regaining her composure.  Rebecca tried to look into to thick woods for any sign of the animal, but she did not see the wolf.  What Rebecca could not see was that the wolf had only moved a few yards into the thick brush and it was still watching her.

Rebecca heard the sound of a car coming up her driveway. The car made the last turn and she recognized it as the sheriff's car.  Two men got out and Rebecca immediately recognized them.  One was wearing a sheriff's uniform, the other was dressed in casual clothing and had a legal size manila envelope in his hand.

“Same old Becca.  Were you expecting me?”  Dick said sarcastically as he looked at Rebecca and the shotgun.

 “Just having some scavenger trouble.” She replied coolly, then pumped a round into the shotgun chamber.  “Looks like a bigger one just showed up.”

The sheriff stepped forward, he held one hand up tying to calm Rebecca, and his other hand rested on the butt of his holstered revolver.  “Calm down Becca, we don't need anybody shot.”  He looked at the overturned trashcan.  “Besides, with that scatter gun ya'd hit me too.”

Rebecca ignored the sheriff and glared at Dick, “I'm not signing, you know that Dick.  My lawyer said…”

“Yeah yeah.  I heard all about what your lawyer said.  Well MY lawyer…” Dick said interrupting Rebecca.

“I don't give a sh@t what your lawyer told you.  Just send the paper's to mine and she'll go over whatever stupid demand you have now.”  Rebecca was angry and cut him off mid sentence.

“I just want what is coming to me. After what you did I should be getting a helluva lot more.”  Dick shook his head in disgust and contempt as he spoke.

“What I did? I can't believe this.”  Rebecca looked at the sheriff for the first time, “Earl, you know this is a bunch of bull.  This a@$#ole beats the crap out of me, and you do nothing.”

“Allegedly Rebecca, allegedly.” Dick protested.

Earl rubbed his forehead.  “Now hold on a second Becca.  And Dick, well, you just shut your yap.”  Earl personified the stereotypical image of an overweight country sheriff, but he was also a good man.  He tried to uphold the law, but sometimes things were out of his hands. 
 
“No you hold on Earl.  You know what he did to me.  I couldn't show my face in town for three weeks.”  Rebecca was angry, but remained in control of her emotions.

“Becca, Judge Wilson didn't see it that way.”  Earl’s tone was that of sympathy for her.  He tried not to let it reflect in his voice, but Earl did not like Judge Wilson, especially after he ruled in Dick’s favor.

“Jesus Christ Earl.  Dick went to college with Wilson's son, hell they were like brothers.”

“Rebecca, sign them now, or in court.  I don't give a damn.” Dick said interrupting again.

“Guess I'll see you in court then.  Oh, I'll make sure I bring the pictures.  They should make for some interesting cross examination.” Rebecca said defiantly.

Dick became enraged, “You f@%in' little witch.  I swear Rebecca…”

“dangnubbit Dick, I said no trouble, and I meant it.  Git back in the car.”  Earl ordered.

“This isn't over Rebecca.”  Dick said as he got in the front seat of the sheriff’s car.

As the sheriff's car pulled out, Rebecca saw Earl shaking his finger at Dick, obviously lecturing him about his actions.  Rebecca waited until the car was gone, then sat on the porch step, and let out an angry scream.  She sat there for a moment not moving, and then she looked at the shotgun she was still holding.  Rebecca studied the gun closely, then looked into the barrel.
During the entire incident, the wolf remained out of sight, but watched the events unfold.  Rebecca continued to stare blankly at the shotgun barrel.  The wolf howled then ran into the woods.  The howling brought Rebecca back to reality and she realized what she had been doing.  Slowly Rebecca removed her finger from the trigger.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 03:55:19 PM by Leonardo »

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 03:35:27 PM »
That's enough of a teaser I think :)

Offline Hausfrau Monica

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 06:46:11 PM »
Oh well done Leo..... I am so happy that you have turned yourself to something else after Leonardo's.  Life is an interesting journey, no?  Let me know when this is published..and hopefully on Kindle Unlimited :)

I wish you very well on your new venture.  Chat in the evenings when you have time.

die Hausfrau Monica

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2017, 11:34:46 PM »
Still doing Leonardo's,  this is just something else I have been working on.

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2017, 12:31:53 AM »
Oh well done Leo..... I am so happy that you have turned yourself to something else after Leonardo's.  Life is an interesting journey, no?  Let me know when this is published..and hopefully on Kindle Unlimited :)

I wish you very well on your new venture.  Chat in the evenings when you have time.

die Hausfrau Monica
It will be in Kindle as an ebook, I am still learning and figuring out all the options on Amazon and I will have it on Kindle Unlimited too when I figure out what all I need to do to get it on that.  The eBook will be .99, the printed paperback will be $9.99

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2017, 04:23:25 AM »
Some information is being reviewed by Amazon before it goes to print. It will be done within two weeks, at which time Soul Mates will be available on Amazon Books in paper back and in eBook.

https://www.createspace.com/pub/community/give.review.do?id=1236802&rewrite=true&

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2017, 03:45:49 AM »
Everything has been submitted to the publisher and is being reviewed.  If all the format is good, it will be ready for print/sale sometime in the next week or so.

Offline Leonardo

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Re: First Book!
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 10:40:43 PM »
Soul Mates is officially published now and on Amazon Books.

I have a couple ideas for follow on books for it but for now I am working on The Lycan Diaries.   Again, yes this is paranormal in nature, but a lot of the story takes place starting in 1538.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-lycan-diaries/the-lycan-diaries/199593977283594/

Just an FYI...  if you are already a subscriber to Kindle Select or own a Kindle and have access to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library you can read it for free.

_________________________________________
For the next two days I am doing a Kindle eBook free giveaway on Amazon Kindle.

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Mates-William-Bassett-ebook/dp/B078Q92PFZ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1515283379&sr=1-1
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 07:51:59 PM by Leonardo »

 

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