Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It's been weeks since I participated, so I'm playing catch up. The words I had to use this time were:

Plausible, taint, willingly, buckle, evade, wedge, educate, object, silence, dabble, lean, utter, judge, nightfall, safety, demise, effort, revival, advance, pander, shuffle, clutch, delight, happy, gesture, immediate, treasure, abrupt, kernel, wield, fragile, rampant, tremor, effect, immense, shimmer, absolve, hiss, ridicule, hint, lust, sheen, engulf, imminent, tamper, gait, nudge, ripen, demure, offend, volatile, charm, feast, robust, break, negative, surface, abstain, halo, prayer.

So, here it is:

“Is it plausible to willingly tamper with and taint evidence enough to evade arrest for murder?” Channing stared at the surface of the scarred table in front of her while Mr. Turnbeck, her lawyer droned on and on to the jury. She tried to tune him out and listen to the hiss of the fluorescent lights, but his nasally voice kept sucking her back into what he was saying.

She glanced at the judge, and almost snickered when he dozed off in the middle of Turnbeck’s opening statements. The lawyer’s voice was robust and his gestures were volatile. It was like being at a tent revival. His voice would trail off to near silence, then burst into the air making the fragile peace shimmer and shatter like the mirror she’d knocked off the wall the last night her husband beat her.

Channing closed her eyes and sent up a prayer as her lawyer continued to wield his words and gestures like demure weapons in an effort to sway the jury before the trial really even began.

The prosecutor finally nudged himself off his seat long enough to object to something her lawyer said, and plopped back down when the judge uttered, “Sustained.”

When Turnbeck finally resumed his seat next to her, a tremor shook her. She’d be on the stand to talk about the demise of her marriage soon. When the prosecutor, a piggy little man named Beck, called her to the stand, Channing clutched her hands together and shuffled as fast as the shackles would let her move. She forced her knees not to buckle as she climbed the two steps onto the witness stand and wedged herself into the corner farthest from the bailiff. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, Channing thought to herself.

“Please state your name, age and address for the record.” Beck parked his large backside on the table in front of her and she wondered how it managed not to lean.

“Channing Diane Newell, 32,” she mumbled. She recited her address and waited for the next question.

“And what is your occupation, Mrs. Newell?” His dark watery eyes seemed to glitter with a sheen of delight in the dim courtroom.

“I taught self defence classes at the women’s shelter.” That had been such a happy time in her life. Then she’d met Jeff.

“So, you would educate women on how to protect themselves against abusers and that sort of thing, correct?”

“Yes sir.” She wanted to sneer at him. She had a degree and two black belts. Her career wasn’t something she just dabbled with. It had been her life. She gave women safety and a kernel of hope in a world that threatened to engulf them in violence, pain and fear.

“And you had an occasion to use this knowledge yourself on the evening of January 27, 2009. Is this correct?”

“Yes sir.” She hung her head and waited. She didn’t want to pander to the jury, but she knew without their understanding, no one would absolve her of Jeff’s death.

“And on the evening of January 27, 2009, did you or did you not break the neck Jeffrey Samuel Newell, your husband?”

“I was defending myself, sir.” Beck advanced on the witness stand with the gait of a predator. It should have been funny to see such an immense man move so quickly and with grace, but she couldn’t dredge up any humor.

“That’s not the question I asked, Mrs. Newell. Did you kill your husband?” There was a hint of lust in his eyes, almost like he was waiting to feast on her admission of guilt.

“Yes sir, but it was in self defense.”

“So you did kill Jeffrey Newell?” His voice was loud and strident now in his rampant questioning.

Channing sighed. “Yes sir.”

“No further questions for this witness, your honor.” Beck sauntered back to his seat.

Turnbeck, her defense attorney rose slowly just as the clouds outside cleared. Light poured through the windows and a halo of light reflected off his shiny hair. “Ms. Newell, you have admitted to killing your husband in self defense.”

“Yes sir,” she mumbled fearing her imminent trip to prison.

“Can you tell me what happened on the evening of January 27, 2009?”

“It was right around nightfall when Jeff got home. I remember watching the sun set
and wondering if he’d stopped at the bar after work.”

“Was that common?”

“Yes sir.”

“How did you and Jeff meet?”

The change of subject shocked her for a moment, but she answered. “We met at a church group for college kids who wanted to abstain.”

“Abstain from what?”

“Sex, drugs, alcohol. The normal temptations for college kids.”

“So, and I don’t mean to ridicule you here, you and Jeff were good kids?”

“Yes sir. I thought so any way.”

“How did he treat you when you were dating?”

“Like I was a priceless treasure. Any time I needed him, he was immediately there. But then something changed. He didn’t like my friends, so I couldn’t hang out with them. He didn’t like the way my mother was negative about our relationship, so I couldn’t talk to her.”

“So, to keep from offending him, you cut all ties to your friends and family.”

“In the end, yes sir.”

“He waited for you to become totally his, like he would wait for fruit to ripen perfectly before snatching it off the tree?”

“I suppose so.”

“What happened that night, Ms. Newell?” Again the abrupt change in questioning threw her.

“Jeff was drunk when he got home. He’d gotten laid off from another job and had been drinking since around noon. He wanted to have sex with me, but I didn’t want to.”

“Why not?” Turnbeck looked down at his notes.

“The day before he’d hit me and busted my lip, and punched me in the stomach. I was sore and not feeling particularly interested in having sex with my husband.”

“Had he hit you before?”

“Yes sir.”

“How many times?”

“I don’t know for sure.”

“Did you ever call the police?” He fired off questions almost faster than she could answer.

“Yes sir.”

“How many times?”

“I don’t know. Four or five, maybe.” Her face felt hot and she knew she was blushing.

“Seven, Ms. Newell. You called the police seven times. I have the reports here.” He showed the evidence to the jury. “There are some painful looking photos in with those reports, Ms. Newell. Why didn’t you just leave?”

“I didn’t have any where to go, and the first few times he always apologized and would treat me like a princess afterwards. Then he quit apologizing, and started blaming me. Pretty soon, I did feel like it was my fault. If I’d been a better wife, he wouldn’t have had to punish me.”

“So, after Jeff got home that night, drunk, wanting sex, what happened?” Turnbeck gathered the police reports up and laid them on the corner of his desk.

“I said no and he hit me. I fell back against the table and knocked the dinner dishes off. He jumped on me and we hit the floor. I remember the smell of rum on his breath gagging me.”

“What happened next?” His question broke through her memories and the effect was startling.

“I tried to push him off of me, but he was too heavy. He grabbed my breast and squeezed until I screamed. That shocked him, I think because he sat up and I was able to pull my legs out from under him and run upstairs. I was going to lock myself in the bathroom and wait for him to calm down.

He chased me and about halfway up the stairs, he grabbed the waistband of my jeans and pulled me down. He flipped me over on my back and yanked my shirt up over my face. It felt like I was going to suffocate.” She paused to clear the knot of tears from her throat. “May I have a glass of water?”

The bailiff poured a glass from a nearby pitcher and she took a long drink. “After he pulled my shirt up over my head, he grabbed my wrists and pinned them. With his free hand he undid the fastenings on my jeans and pulled them down. He…”

“He raped you, didn’t he, Ms. Newell?” Turnbeck’s voice was soft.

“Yes sir.”

“What happened then?”

“He started hitting me again. The stairs were cutting into my back and my shirt was still covering my face. It hurt so much, all I wanted to do was get him off of me.”

“At this time, your honor I’d like to show the jury photos of the injuries sustained that night by Ms. Newell.” Turnbeck unwrapped a poster size photograph of her face. It was grotesque – bruises covered every inch and blood ran from her nose and mouth. He took that photo and put it on an easel, then he put up one that showed the bite marks on her abdomen and legs. There were hand-shaped bruises covering her hips and thighs.

Channing couldn’t look at the photos. She was excused from the stand and waited at the defense table.

The jury deliberated for 27 minutes before returning the verdict.

When “not guilty” rang out in the courtroom, tears flooded Channing’s eyes. Her shackles were removed and she knew she would be free.

Head over to Three Word Wednesday and check out the many talented writers.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two Line Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, Two Line Tuesday to be precise. Right now, I’m reading No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole. Here’s a couple of lines:

“I’m weary of this. Of you.” He put his hand above her against the wall, leaning over her. “You’re right. About everything. There’s no reason for you to accept me. And you were right in saying that I’ve been compelled to want you simply because you’re my Bride. My desire for you has been forced on me. I’ve had no choice in the matter.”

Tension and drama. I have to say, I’m totally invested in their relationship at this point, and mad at both of them for being stupid and not just accepting it, but it would be a really short story if they did.

Here’s a few from what I’m working on right now. No title yet, and a twist that surprised me. Two of my characters have just retrieved a kidnapped boy, and one of the team was injured.

“Give me good news, Ian.”

"The boy is in our possession and headed back this way. Mace’s arm’s broken but he’ll recover. Don’t know yet whether the bastard hurt the kid. Report right now is that he looks healthy but doesn’t have much to say.”

“He may just be scared. How the hell did Mace’s arm get broken?” He rubbed his hand down his face. “Do I even want to know?”

Ian laughed, but it was more a sound of frustration. “He says he fell down some stairs. It’s bull, we both know that, but I’ll find out more in a couple of hours when they get here.”

Yep, that’s more than two lines, but it was fun for me. Check out the Women of Mystery for more great writers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3WW - First Day of School

It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for another 3WW challenge. Today's words are grimace, phase and stumble.

Today was your first day of school. I blinked back tears that threatened to blind me while we walked up the steps. Your little hand clutched mine and I squeezed, hoping to offer reassurance in any way I could. Your sweet answering smile made my heart stutter for a moment.

We got into the cafeteria and you sat down with other kids from your class, and like that, I was background noise - a silly phase you'd grown out of. I told you goodbye and I loved you. You grimaced a little when I brushed a kiss on your cheek.

"Hey, guys, this is my mommy." I smiled, you smiled, and the world started spinning again.

My sweet little boy turned to play with his friends and I retreated. My heart broke a little that I didn't even get a hug, but that's what I get for raising such a strong, confident, handsome boy.

Your innocent giggles surrounded me as I made my way out of the building and I stumbled a little on the stairs and tried to ignore the suspicious burn behind my eyes.

Have a great day, my sweet boy!

Yep, that's how it happened. He was so eager to meet his new friends that he really didn't have time to worry about saying bye to mommy. To my credit, I made it all the way back to the car before I cried, and I only cried for a minute. I don't know why this was so hard, he's been in daycare, but this is different. He's getting so big so fast.

Anyway! For more fun and games, head over to Three Word Wednesday. Try the challenge, or just support the wonderful people who write.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Tuesday!

It's time again for another fabulous edition of Two Sentence Tuesday.

Right now I am reading Lori Foster's Unbelievable. I'm loving it. It is a very emotional read, as the heroine was raped at 18 and has a lot of trauma to overcome, but the sexy hero of the story, a tough bodyguard whose muscles have muscles, has a sweet side and of course he's volunteered to be tied to the bed so she can have her wicked way with him.

Without even thinking about it, she leaned down and kissed him. Sebastian knew she didn't note the significance of the kiss, but he did. They were in a bed, he was free to move, and still she'd come to him.

My lines are from a current WIP. I can't decide if I love where this is going, or hate it...

“Five in the morning is too early for this,” Mariska grumbled while she stared into her closet hoping the god of fashion would spit out something she could work out in and not look horrible.
She did one more inventory and found a pair of yoga pants that she never wore since they were a little tight – and because the one and only yoga class she’d gone to had ended in a trip to the emergency room and her arm in a sling.

For more, head over to the Women of Mystery. Have a great day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"I think people can do anything. When people tell you it can’t be done, or try to usher you away in another direction, it all comes back to your passion. If you really believe in it, and think you can, then go ahead and do it!"

- Frank "Scoop" Vessels III March 18, 1952 - August 11, 2010

I was able to get to know Mr. Vessels and his family recently. I've worked with them on and off for years, but in the last few months I learned a lot about him.

Scoop loved life, and obviously loved a good adventure. He was an offroad racer, sponsored by BF Goodrich, and won the Baja 500 and Baja 1000. He was a pilot, a breeder of amazing American Quarter Horses, and truly a nice man.

He took the time to talk to me at a recent event, and thank me for all I'd done for him, making his exhibit something special. I told him, it was his life that made it special, I just arranged pieces to make it look pretty. He laughed his wonderful laugh and moved on. I didn't get a chance to talk to him again.

Frank "Scoop" Vessels III will be missed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two Line Tuesday

I almost forgot it was Tuesday. It’s felt like Monday all over again, all day.

Right now I’m reading Marked by Elisabeth Naughton. I’m only a few pages in, so I don’t know if I’m going to like it or not, but here are the last two lines I read:

“Atalanta is a petty hag with a perpetual case of PMS. And let me guess… As her number-one whipping boy, you get what? The right to wipe her ass?”

I love the sarcasm. So, maybe it will be good.

Here are the last two I wrote from my current super secret WIP:

I can’t remember what tune I whistled on the way to our car, but it stuck in my head for hours and I couldn’t quit smiling. Trey looked at me in his I’m-a-genius-and-I-know-it-all way and gave me a high five.

Short, sweet and to the point this week. For more two line fun, head over to the Women of Mystery.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


It has been 13 weeks since I participated in 3WW, and I’ve missed it. It was a challenge, but I included all 39 words that have been posted since the last time I participated. A little over two hours after I started, I’ve finished. 1,500 words. That is a big deal for me, since I’ve let my writing go for quite a while. So, here are the words I included:

Escape, hum, vibrant, fear, ignore, weightless, dread, grasp, pacify, abandon, gradual, precise, budge, nimble, theory, hidden, noble, roam, erase, meadow, trace, feign, imply, virtue, hassle, inject, wealth, acrid, bane, tepid, gentle, praise, vulgar, bait, jump, victim, abuse, cramp and hatred.

I know I’m a day late, but I still wanted to post. Thanks for reading.

Writing was Sarah’s escape. All around her she could hear the vibrant hum of life, but she was removed from it. Separate. When she was immersed in her character’s lives, she was able to ignore the fear that stooped her shoulders and made her feet feel leaden. In the fantasies she created she was free. Weightless and insubstantial.

She would write for hours and came to dread her return to reality, but it came everyday at 5:22. He would come home from work then. Never a minute earlier, never a second later. It only took two months after they were married for her to grasp all the ways her life would change.

It was small things at first. They couldn’t afford such a large cell phone bill so she gave up hers. Then, it bothered him for her to have a night out with her friends without him, so he began to come along, until he got tired of going out with them, so she quit going out all together. After that, things spiraled out of her control so quickly she didn’t know how it happened. Now it seemed every decision she made was calculated to pacify him.

Within months of their honeymoon, he’d abandoned all pretense of trying to make her happy. And after a year of wedded bliss, there had been a gradual shift in her life. She went from being a strong, independent, productive woman, to a shell that only existed to please him.

Sarah learned quickly the precise ways he liked his clothes folded and put away. They went out together to dinner every Thursday night, and she never went out alone. That was something he wouldn’t budge on. At first she thought he was being cute and over protective, but realized, slowly, that it was so he always knew where she was and what she was doing.

When they’d been dating, making love had been a symphony of pleasure. Gabriel’s long, nimble fingers had played over her body like a concert pianists. Now, years later, those fingers were more often cruel and bruising. He’d wrap them around her neck and squeeze until black dots danced across her vision and she knew this would be the last time. She knew, in theory, that she could leave him and get away. Maybe then she would be safe and not wonder if every time the clock said 5:22, it would be the last time she would see it.

But, she could never find the courage to step out of the life she knew. So, she stayed hidden in her make-believe world, creating a happily ever after that she would never have.

Gabriel had been her noble white knight, rescuing her from an abusive family. Her father had roamed from one girlfriend to the next, while her mother took out her hurt and frustration on the children their union had produced. The sweet nineteen year old version of Gabriel had swept in, and given Sarah what she thought was love. Any time they argued, he used flowers and gentle kisses to erase everything harsh word he’d said. And Sarah fell for it.

After four months of dating, he’d taken her on a picnic in a meadow and asked her to marry him. They’d made love in the sweet smelling grass with the sun blazing above them. Afterwards, she’d used long blades of grass to trace patterns of hearts and their initials on his back while he feigned sleep. His promises that day seemed to imply that they would be married after they both finished their education and had careers. How wrong she’d been.

She’d gone home, floating on a cloud of teenaged dreams and told her mother what had happened. Sarah’s mistake had been in telling her mother that she was happy and would be even happier away from their family. The first slap caught her by surprise. Her lip split and she could taste blood in her mouth. She wasn’t fast enough to dodge the second hit from her mother, but by the third she decided to fight back. It was the beginning of the end for her.

Her father had come home that night, and Sarah could remember the bitterness in her mother’s voice. It coated the air with an almost palpable feeling of hate. It was then that she realized her mother was jealous of her, of her happiness. Within minutes her father was raging that, “He’d have no whore living under his roof.”

She’d called Gabriel and he’d come and taken her away from the screaming. He made everything right with the world. It was a virtue that he used many times in the following years, his gift with talking his way out of any situation.

The first time he hit her was one month after the birth of their first child - a son she’d been so proud to give him. The baby had been up all night, fussy with colic, and Sarah was exhausted. She’d left Gabriel’s eggs on too long and the yolk wasn’t runny like he liked it. After one bite, he dumped the plate on the floor and backhanded Sarah. She’d hit the wall and slid to the floor. The crash had scared the baby and he had started crying again.

By the time Caleb was three, Sarah had grown tired of the hassle calling the police caused and pregnant again, decided that something must be wrong with her or Gabriel wouldn’t hit her. She’d hidden the bruises for so long, it was second nature.

The violence lasted for years, and Sarah took it. Gabriel was good to their children, but she knew in her heart seeing him beat up their mother and scream awful things in her face had to be doing some damage.

Caleb’s high school graduation changed that. Gabriel had beaten her two days before, and the bruises had reached their peak of ugliness. One eye was swollen shut, her lip was busted and a near perfect hand print circled her throat. There was no way she could go out in public, and she’d been forced to miss the ceremony.

Regret and shame filled her blood like someone had injected acid straight into her heart. Never again. That night a plan formed like ice in her brain. She would get away and spend the rest of her life making it up to her precious children.
Over the next week, she gathered what she needed. Just a few innocuous items and the problem would be gone for good.

Her kids were gone for the weekend and it was nearing 5:00. Calmly she saved the document she was working on and pushed away from the desk. In 22 minutes her life would change forever.

After the police and emergency services left and she was finally alone, Sarah sank to her knees in the middle of the living room floor and laughed. The sound rang out and echoed in the empty house until it changed to sobs. She cried for all of the bruises, lost friendships, and the loss of innocence in her children. She cried until there were no tears left.

She woke to the sounds of her children coming home the next morning. She’d already decided how she would tell them that their father was gone. They sat at the table looking shocked for almost an hour. Then her precious family hugged her close. She knew they loved her. They’d asked why she let Gabriel hurt her for so long, and for that she didn’t have an answer, but she swore it would never happen again.

Caleb had looked at her then, and in his eyes she saw the truth. He knew she had murdered his father, and he approved.

They talked of the future and how would they afford college and house payments, and Sarah reassured them. Months before she’d sent her writing to an agent, who’d already sold three of the seventeen manuscripts Sarah had completed. They may not have much in the way of money, but in love they had immeasurable wealth.

After the autopsy had been performed and Gabriel’s death ruled and accident, Sarah breathed a sigh of relief. Never again would his acrid breath wash across her face as he pushed her head under tepid bath water. The bane of his presence would no longer haunt her nights.

Her home became something that was filled with gentle praise instead of vulgar comments and slurs meant to bait her into a fight. The children didn’t jump when the door opened any more, and for that alone, Sarah would have done it all over again.

There were no victims living in her house - only strong individuals who had lived through abuse.

Six months after his death, Sarah went to visit Gabriel’s grave. Her stomach cramped and she felt like she would vomit, but forced her feet forward. She expected to be filled with hatred for the man she had once loved and then killed, but standing alone on the cold overcast November day, all she could feel was overwhelming joy.

She had gotten away and was finally free.

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