Monday, September 24, 2012

Viola in The Chaos Child

My notes for my books aren't always in outline form.  Often I write short snippets of what a character is thinking or feeling at a certain point (which is where many of the back & side stories come from).
This is Viola in The Chaos Child when Duke is impaled:

Viola's life, for the most part, has been spent in flux. Growing up in the Network is never easy, but she's flexible. The motto Semper Gumby serves her well. She clings to a few constants - not many, but enough to get her through endless road trips, abandonment, and rebuilding her life. Her constants are this: her father loves her, Aunt Hattie always has her back, and Tobias Duke exists. She doesn't rely on his friendship or wish for his love (except when she does, of course). It's enough to know he's out in the world somewhere.

A month before her twenty-fifth birthday, she loses a constant. Aunt Hattie's decades of betrayal are revealed.  She repays that betrayal with torture and release.  Vengeance does little for the ache in her heart. Another constant is shaken. Her father isn't a victim but a cold, calculating monster. He loves her but hurts her, and she tries to separate Demon from Daddy. It's hard, though, when the devil wears a beloved face.  She's been Daddy's Girl all her life.  It's a hard title to lose.

The third constant evolves. Not only is Duke in the world, he's in her life. In her head. In her bed. He becomes her rock, her safe harbor, every cliché she can think of, her heart and soul. While her world crumbles around her feet, she wraps her arms around him and holds on for dear life (sanity). Throughout Sebastian's detox, anxiety over her father ( the Daddy-Demon), fearing for Finn's life, and guilt over Granny's injuries, her remaining constant runs through her mind like the chorus of the annoyingly catchy pop songs Olivia used to love (and there's more guilt added to the load). At least I have Duke. At least I have Duke. AtleastIhaveDuke. AtleastIhaveDuke.

Until one bright afternooon, she doesn't. An ambush. Folists (sweet mercy, haven't they done enough damage to the Duke family). A traitor in peril. That damned Duke honor. Before she can blink, he's on the ground with blood pooling around him and static in their link. The third constant wobbles. Flickers.

Viola's fists clench. Her heart stills. The breath catches in her throat. Fireworks burst behind her eyes, and heat sears her skin. Power bursts from its prison.  Without that last constant, her world dissolves into flames. Chaos.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

MMM Snippet

I have started on the last six chapters of MMM (which is poor timing on my part because college football season has started).  I adore this story, but I am worried because this is it for Duke and Viola (for now, at least) and I love them so much that I don't want to let them (or anyone) down.

Dinner was awkward, but not a disaster. Sebastian took pity on his brother-in-law and directed the conversation away from the Network and recent events. It was easiest for him since he was the only one, aside from Isabel, who’d tried to live without demons or ghosts. Fortunately, the Wfsals had agreed to eat their gumbo in Aggie’s bedroom. Sebastian had a feeling Viola’s bribe of pie and cartoons had a great deal to do with their compliance.

Isabel chatted about her latest gallery event but refrained from extending an invitation. She ignored the stab of disappointment when Duke didn’t press for details about her next showing. He’d never expressed much interest in her watercolor landscapes and portraits. She wondered if he’d believe that she had every issue of his comic book series tucked away in a drawer in Florida. She even had the handmade cards and school artwork he’d sent on his father’s prompting. Feeling he was wasting his talent didn’t mean she couldn’t appreciate it.

“I’ll make tea,” Viola offered while Sebastian and Duke cleared the table.

“No!” Duke flushed when all eyes fixed on him. It was possible he’d been a little too vehement. “I’ll make it, sugar,” he added in a much softer tone.

She rolled her eyes and followed him into the kitchen. “I’m not going to poison her in Granny’s house. That would be rude.”


“I mean, Granny dislikes her just as much as I do. She’s better at hiding it.” Viola retrieved a tin of mint and chamomile tea from the pantry. Under Duke’s suspicious stare, she measured out scoops of tea, filled infusers, and lined up five mugs. “If I poison your mom by myself, Granny’d feel left out. That’s not fair.”

“Bloodthirsty tonight, aren’t we?”

She shrugged, leaned back against the counter while he set the kettle on the stove. “It was a rough day. I need to go to the office tomorrow afternoon to see Becky, but I’m not going to Burkeholt. We can talk about it in the morning.”

“More bad news?”

“Some. Some of it’s stuff I – we – already suspected.” She snuggled against his side, slipped a hand into his back pocket. “I’m surprised your father isn’t here tormenting your mother.”

“Bowling night, remember? He said he’d stop by tomorrow to see if she was still around.”

“Lucky man,” she muttered. When the kettle whistled, she poured boiling water into each mug. After setting the timer over the stove, she returned to Duke’s side. “We have four minutes. Whatever shall we do with the time?”

His lips were pulled to hers as if drawn by a magnet. He ignored the dull ache in his shoulder and pinned her against the refrigerator door. “I have a few ideas, sweetness.”

The door separating the kitchen from the formal dining room swung open. A frustrated male sigh echoed off the walls. Sebastian slapped his hand across his eyes and spun back to face the door. “That’s it! I’m staying at Burkeholt tonight!”