#WeeklyWritables ♥ Self-Inflicted

weeklywritables

Self-Inflicted

Henley sat at a small, window-side table in McCallan Point’s only café and glared at the screen of his laptop. The reports staring back at him couldn’t be right. He would’ve sworn he’d dumped far more money into his offshore account than that. Just in case. Fuck, this was his just in case, and now it was worse than he’d already believed!

His fists clenched under the table and he counted down from a hundred, combating the urge to throw his laptop across the room. What the fuck was he going to do? He’d lost everything overnight. Every business, every penny and worse, every ounce of respect his name had commanded for years. Over two decades, he’d busted his ass building an empire and with one blind spot, it had all come crumbling down. It killed him that it had been someone he’d spent half his life thinking of as a brother. His best friend. The one who’d been with him through it all. To be betrayed by the only person he’d ever trusted enough to divulge all of his secrets to, was beyond crushing. It was a living hell. A nightmare Henley simply couldn’t see a way out of. He was in ruins. Even if he could start over, take what little capital he had left and rebuild, his name was dirt. Vic hadn’t been satisfied with just ripping his wealth away from him, he’d made sure Henley couldn’t even get a fucking loan!

Nobody trusted the Crane name now. That was the worst of it. The hilt of the knife Vic had stabbed him in the back with. The salt he’d maliciously scoured into the open wounds. How had he not seen the signs? Henley prided himself on his ability to read people better than he let on. He’d always known who his enemies were, both socially and professionally. Vic had never made a blip on his radar. They’d done everything together; college, startups, women. There had been nothing secret between them and nothing they hadn’t shared. That kind of bond, that level of trust…

Henley’s thoughts were just as jarred as the bells hanging over the café door, when it was thrust open and a woman tripped inside with a shocked expression on her face. Though, that was mostly covered by stylish sunglasses. Embarrassment reddened her cheeks until they almost matched her gaping lips, and Henley felt a dangerous, familiar stir low in his gut. It was a good look on a woman. One he’d personally triggered countless times.

“Wow, I’m so sorry.” She recovered quickly, turning to apologize to the baristas behind the counter. “I had no idea it would open that easily, that is…really light.”

Henley nearly sneered at the dimwitted remark and drank in her tall, statuesque form from behind. Designer jeans hugged slender legs under the pale gray sweater that draped over her ass with a rounded hem. Even from twenty yards, he knew it was cashmere. Just like he knew her over-sized, deer hide handbag was real and carried a price tag in the thousands. Her hair was layers of golden browns and blonds, salon produced, not natural and pulled into a fashionable ponytail at the back of her head. The sunglasses she perched atop her perfectly styled hair couldn’t be found in any store in America. They’d undoubtedly been shipped directly to her doorstep, along with other accessories some Italian designer wanted to impress her with. Anything to have their brand advertised on the most effective billboards in existence: famous people.

But who was she? Henley couldn’t draw a name, not that he always expected to. Contrary to popular belief, not all rich people knew each other. There were still cliques among the elite, and they rarely overlapped. He’d spent all of his time rubbing elbows with other wealthy businessmen and women, networking among the corporate moguls and Fortune 500 tycoons. He hadn’t dabbled in the realm of celebrities, and the only time he’d entertained conversation with a trust-fund kid, was when they were actually in the game, getting ready to take their place as a rightful heir to a throne within his world. More than her name, though, Henley wanted to know why she was there. A sudden feeling of distrust settled atop the other nonsense he was struggling with. McCallan Point wasn’t a tourist destination for the wealthy. It was better known for local artists, crabbing, fishing, boating and people who just wanted to be left the hell alone. Like Henley. That’s why he’d chosen it. So, why was someone from his old life there and why so soon? He hadn’t even had the chance to lick his wounds yet.

With half an ear, he listened to her order some fancy latte to go. The moment she asked for directions, she had his undivided attention.

“Would you know how to get to White Rock Landing?”

Henley rolled his eyes to the ceiling and barely managed to keep his groan checked. She had to be joking. It was just more cruel punishment to dump on the head of someone already down and bleeding. Because fate hadn’t gotten its rocks off yet, or what? Fuck.

“Yeah, of course, I do, I mean sure.” The teenage, pimple-faced boy behind the counter grinned, causing Henley to smack his lips dryly.

Keep dreaming, kid.

Torn between prolonging his misery and just getting it the hell over with, it took Henley a few minutes to shut down his laptop and polish off the rest of his coffee. Now that he knew his nest egg was more the size of a chicken’s than an ostrich’s, it would undoubtedly be the last espresso he’d be splurging on for awhile. After standing and shoving his laptop into its carrying case, he scraped the chair in with enough noise to get everyone’s attention. He hadn’t been prepared, when the woman turned and their gazes collided. Her eyes were as undecided as a storm cloud, hovering somewhere between gray and blue. Too light to be called slate, too dark to be anything else. Her stunning features were mostly sharp, yet delicate. It was her mouth Henley was instantly drawn to. Lush and glossed with that wet sheen women knew how to use to their advantage, her top lip was a little more pronounced than her bottom. It gave her the sexy parted lip look used in almost every commercial and magazine ad, except she wasn’t posing. She was just staring at him.

“I’m headed that way. You can follow me.”

Something shifted almost imperceptibly in her eyes, but she quickly smiled to cover it up. “You sure?” she asked with fake politeness, obviously not expecting him to retract the offer, since she didn’t wait for an actual confirmation. “You’re a lifesaver, thank you.”

Henley didn’t respond. He slipped his own sunglasses into place and stalked out the door, letting her scramble to catch up. Exactly when he’d turned the proverbial whip on himself and became the masochist, he couldn’t say, but apparently he felt the need to be punished for that joke of an offshore account. With a single glance at the pretend, beaming smile molding the sexiest set of lips he’d ever seen, Henley had to admit his own sadism was outlandishly worse than he’d ever believed possible.

###

©A.C. Melody_WIP_Topple

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Could You 30 Day Challenge Yourself Every Month?

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If we can participate in NaNoWriMo, then why aren’t we challenging ourselves to write a novel in 30 days at the beginning of EVERY month?

This is the question I just asked myself, as I’m looking at my goals for 2019 and realizing I don’t have as much time as I’d like to think. My list of books to publish this year total 3 and 1 is already done, so that’s nothing, right? But I’m staring down the barrel of February toward spring with less than a chapter written on one of those books and sweating bullets over how little time I have to get this done, because finishing the book is just the first step. In order to publish when I want to, I need to make sure it’s done in time to order a book tour in advance, get it through my editor and off to beta readers before launch day.

I don’t even participate in NaNo every year, but the last time I did, I was successful at getting more than 50,000 words written on a novel. So, why can’t I do that on my own? I’m an Indie Author, aren’t I? I’m used to doing everything myself, so there is absolutely no reason why I can’t. It’s all a state of mind. Which, is why I’ve decided that I’m going to challenge myself DIY style and will dedicate Wednesday as my word count accountability day. Granted, it’s not the first of the month any more, but in all fairness, I already have a word count going, so I think that makes up for it.

Here’s my first DIY 30 day challenge to myself: Get the first draft for Fox Trot (Dark Day Isle, Book 3) done by March 7, 2019!

Current word count is: 3,668

Wish me luck… o_O

 

 

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

weeklywritables

Well, last week was a total bust – though, I am still working on getting my video tutorial squared away. For anyone who’s just joining in, welcome to my fairly new writing challenge. Below are the guidelines for those who’d like to participate. I started this challenge for myself, primarily, to try to keep my creativity flowing more steadily. I tend to run into dry spells, where all I’m doing is nitpicking at WIPs without really writing any fresh material to get them finished. In short, I’m trying to apply more discipline to my writing, so that I’m more productive.

The #WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Statuesque

RandomWord_SS

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! Feel free to grab the badge/banner above for your posts, if you’d like. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

 

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

weeklywritables

It’s time to reveal the word for this week’s #WeeklyWritables!

I’m on a mission this week to keep my Thursday’s submission much shorter than I’ve been doing so far. Last week’s results took me deep into my old ‘story idea’ archives and churned out a much longer excerpt than I’d been planning for, but I suppose finding inspiration and motivation to write is the whole idea of this challenge! 😀 For those interested in how it works, here are the guidelines again, followed by a screenshot of the random word.

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! Feel free to grab the badge/banner above for your posts, if you’d like. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

The #WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Frightening

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#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

weeklywritables

It’s time for week two of the new writing challenge, #WeeklyWritables, hosted by yours truly. Last week was a huge success for me, because I ended up with a bonus scene I’d never planned on writing for my new semi-psycho-taboo-thriller WIP (I have no clue what the genre really is, but that sums it up). Anyway, I should have done this last week, but didn’t think of it – so this week I’m including a screenshot of the random word generator just so y’all know the word really is random! LOL

First, here’s a recap on what this challenge is all about:

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! You’re free to use the graphic I’ve created for my posts or you can create your own. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

#WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Noise

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#WeeklyWritables ♥ Deal With the Devil

weeklywritables

Deal With the Devil

Twilight didn’t fall in the city. It crept up from the gutters, hovering just below the streetlamps long before it touched the sky. Perpetuated by the shadows of looming buildings hungry for everyone’s personal space. Dahlia had always dreamed of rising above them, to see the monster in its entirety. Preferably through the window of a plane whisking her off to some tropical destination. In her fantasies, there was a distant land filled with women just like her and men who loved them freely, not as a vice or fetish. Women who’d been born as men, trying to survive their lot in this sadist’s wet dream called life.

That fantasy was all that remained of her whimsical side. Disenchantment was a slow poison snuffing out hope with such stealth, its death went unnoticed. For the most part, Dahlia had already come to terms with her fate. Learned to embrace the prickly city that tolerated her for its own gain; squeezing all the blood and money out of her in exchange for a few scraps of joy and something making a mockery of love. Everyone did the best with what they had, right? But, it wasn’t about acceptance, anymore. The stigma would follow her, no matter where she went. It was all about survival now.

Through the window of a cab, she watched the crowded sidewalks perform their slow striptease. Layers of business attire peeled away to reveal the sexed-up desperation underneath. Modesty fell by the wayside, as pretty feens clamored for the attention they’d spent all day craving in denial. And the scum snaked out of the inkwells to intersperse themselves among the commoners, seeking the thrill of the game. They were all there to hustle. Thieves and denizens, alike. Men and women poached each other to fill some kind of void, while con-artists relieved them of all their hard-earned cash.

Dahlia had never been guiltless of running cons, but she was hustling big tonight. Stuck her damn neck out for it, too, with all the determination of getting her prize at the end. Her whimsical side might be halfway to the grave, but her reality-check light was still functioning at full capacity and the truth was: she wasn’t getting any younger or relevant. The novelty of her was wearing thin. Newer, more exotic options flooded into the streets daily, siphoning revenue from the Bosses. It made Dahlia expendable and she needed to move on, before they decided to prove it. Leaving just wasn’t an option when your ass was owned. It was something you had to make happen. Sacrifice it all to create a diversion, then run like hell and pray no one noticed.

Too quickly, she arrived at her destination and spotted her diversion sitting alone in the farthest, gloomiest corner the second she walked in. He wore a dark coat and hat, shrouding his masculine features in more mystery than his reputation already secured. As instructed, she went to the bar first and ordered a drink she didn’t even want. Bourbon was poured neat, while she ignored the inevitable gawking with the ease of expertise and a spine of solid diva. It didn’t matter that most of it was forced and left her feeling hollow. They bought that shit, so fuck ’em.

Her hand shook when it wrapped around the glass, because she was nearing that point of no return. Once she set her plan into motion, there would be no going back. No way to stop or reverse it. Oh hell, who was she kidding? It was already too late. The devil had her name. Dahlia turned, just in time to catch the man’s deliberate glance, as he walked right out the back door. Foreboding cut down her spine like a cleaver, her heart slamming against her chest to avoid the blade. Suddenly, the drink made perfect sense and she downed it without tasting a single drop. No burn, no effect. Nothing could quell her nerves.

With every step toward the back door, she tormented herself with vivid memories she’d just as soon forget. It was the fuel needed to sustain her conviction. The reminder of why she’d contacted the devil, himself, to ask for a favor. And she’d known then what she knew now, that it had all the potential of freeing her from everything. Permanently.

The single fixture mounted above the door was meant only to illuminate the dumpsters directly across the alley, it seemed. Of course, that wasn’t where he waited for her. Theirs was not destined to be a friendly chat. Dahlia inhaled a steadying breath, released the door and left the false sense of security to enter the darkness. The man leaned a shoulder against the wall halfway between the door and the next street. She’d be dead before anyone spotted them, even if he wasn’t as lethal as everyone claimed.

It was the most damning moment of hindsight when she stopped in front of him, only to discover she’d been the one getting hustled all along. There wasn’t a single sound to warn her of the tremendously imposing presence that crept up right behind her. And there was no stopping the chill of dread when she watched the man before her silently defer to the devil at her backside.

“Hello, Dahlia.” Hot, cinnamon breath caressed her neck and cheek, he was so close. Self-preservation had her head turning before her body followed.

She stared into the face of the most notorious monster of their time, that no one beyond their sick, depraved world even knew existed, and finally understood the meaning of beautiful death. Her body heated and withered in terror simultaneously; some primal instinct recognizing the cold predator through the mouthwatering façade. His eyes were two pools of undiluted malevolence, beckoning her to dive in with the power of self-destructive urges. The way you sometimes wanted to squeeze a glass so hard it broke. Not from anger, just to feel it happen.

“So much prettier than I expected, given everything I’ve learned,” he remarked. “Guess it’s true what they say about scars only being soul deep.”

No one said that. It was too true for comfort. Dahlia’s heart hammered in every corner of her body. The city lost all its power over her, unable to compete with him. It was no surprise that he’d dug into her real identity before agreeing to meet, or that he’d find her as they all did; something to judge and dismiss in one, careless motion.

He made the quietest sound of amusement, and it was–hands down–the most terrifying thing she’d ever heard. He crowded her without touching, pulling the toothpick from between his lips and waving it under her nose, revealing the source of cinnamon. Her head jerked back out of reflexive fear, but he grabbed the back of her head to keep her in place.

“This is going to burn no matter where I insert it, but I imagine, particularly in the tip of that little prick between your legs.”

Dahlia nearly choked on the glob of terror clogging in her throat. “I’m allergic to cinnamon,” she rushed out, despising herself for giving him the exact means to kill her, just by trying to stop it from happening.

“Imagine that,” he mused, sticking the toothpick back into his mouth. The pure menace in his tone revealed he’d already had that information prior to arriving and her chest felt like it was going to cave in. “Tell me, Dahlia, what would make a woman like you crawl all over the dark-web looking for a man like me?”

“I didn’t do it for me–”

His chuckle was quiet, which only made it worse. “Yes, you did.”

“I want out,” she confessed. “Alive. I want out alive.”

“Mm. Well, I want the girl,” he deadpanned, all humor gone. “Can you do that? Are you willing to trade her life for yours?”

There was no question, but that didn’t make it any easier to bear. To know she was completely willing to trade the life of a friend in exchange for her own freedom, her own life.

“Yes.”

With another laugh, he backed her into the wall, caging her head between his hands and leaning in so close she was afraid to breathe.

“Yes, she says. So cold. So ruthless.” His words were deliberate slaps at what humanity she had left. “I’d say we seal our deal with a kiss, but I’ve always been a man of business over pleasure. I am curious, though. If you had to choose between the ugliness in your mind and having the surgery, which would it be?”

The toothpick moved between his lips when he spoke, coming within a hair of her own. He might as well have been brandishing a knife in her face for all the cold sweat breaking out along her brow. His sharp perception pierced right into her soul, exposing her deepest shame. That she’d rather keep the horrific memories than lose the parts she’d been born with. She’d never wanted surgery, the consultation he’d obviously found in her medical records had simply been another cruelty dealt by the one man who was supposed to love her more than anyone else.

“Ugliness, it is.” His smile was sinister, reveling in all the turmoil and conflict he bred.

“How am I supposed to get you the girl?” she forced out, more than ready to conclude their meeting, despite what her body thought.

“Beautiful Dahlia, all you need to worry about is doing exactly what I tell you to do,” he answered. “No deviation, no looking out for number one or growing a conscience when shit starts getting real. You’re going to do this like a fucking pro, because if you don’t…well, I’m sure you’ve heard how that story ends.”

“She really is the one who wanted you, not me,” Dahlia stated, needing it on record to ease her guilt. Was she supposed to risk her life without finding some way to save it in the process? She wasn’t an opportunist, damn it, she was a survivor!

Once more, his quiet laugh molested the murky shadows, conjuring the very basis of every nightmare known to man.

“And now she’s going to get me,” he replied. “You’re the one standing here, begging to live with that.”

###

 ©A.C. Melody 2019_Untitled WIP

 WOW, this was completely unexpected and not at all what I had planned for this challenge. This scene was never meant to exist, let alone get completely fleshed out like this – because, Dahlia is not my main character. She’s a sub-character with a minor – yet extremely vital – role and apparently, she wanted us all to know exactly what she had to go through to pull her part off! LOL What do you even call the process of putting your characters through hell after the fact? O_o

When the book’s done, I’m going to have to add this as bonus material, it’s too gorgeous – sometimes, it pays to have demanding characters. (I said sometimes!)

#WeeklyWritables Challenge

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Good morning, writers, readers, bloggers & all around mischief makers!

One of my biggest goals for 2019 is to get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, but after being on WP since 2013, finding fresh and original content can be quite difficult. I used to participate in the Daily Prompt hosted by WP, but I’m no longer in the position to do that. I need to schedule my post in advance by at least 24 hours. I know I can’t be alone in this, so I’ve come up with an idea that I hope will eventually catch on:

I’m launching a weekly writing challenge called #WeeklyWritables starting today. Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! You’re free to use the graphic I’ve created for my posts or you can create your own. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

The #WeeklyWritables word for this Thursday is: Hustle