Recently I’ve been tagged for two blog tours– one on Twitter from the awesome Crispian Thurlborn and again by Craig Boyack, blogger and scribe extraordinaire. Crispian has the patience of a saint because he tagged me in the middle of March to list the best characters in film/TV, then tagged me again a week later for the worse characters. But with my dog (and all the grueling work it requires daily to keep him alive) and trying to get at least some work done I’m just getting around to it now. Crispian runs a great site called Wyldwood Books. Visit his best/worse characters list, then stay because he’s. . . well. . . a cool dude.
The talented and sweet Diane Mannion aka Heather Burnside (her pen name) graciously nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’ve placed the award on the Awards page (see menu), but instead of listing ten more random facts about myself I’m counting this as completing the guidelines. And instead of nominating 15 bloggers I’m inviting all of you to consider yourself crowned with the honor. Anyone who wants can link back to this post and grab your award off the award page. Boom, done!
Next, but certainly not last, Craig Boyack tagged me for The Work In Progress Blog Tour. Check out his site, Entertaining Stories, where you’ll fine some of the best short stories I’ve ever read, musings, and anything and everything in between. His WIP sounds fascinating. You can read all about it here.
Okay, here’s goes. Three tags, one post.
Favorite character/least favorite character in no particular order.
I loved Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lecter and thought no one could ever play that role as well as he did, but as you can see Mads Mikkelson is also in my favorites column.
I used to like Margaux from Revenge, but lately she rubs me the wrong way. I realize that’s the point. She’s the woman you love to hate.
Dexter Morgan is a multi-faceted character that I adore. His flaws, his “dark passenger”, there isn’t anything I don’t like about him. Especially when he gives other killers their just desserts.
Does anyone like Michael J. Fox’s character on the Good Wife? He’s obnoxious, uses his disability to sway the judge and jury, just a despicable human being.
The new chick on NCIS. Can’t stand her! She’s actually ruined the show for me with her stupid little antics. I don’t even know her name, nor do I care. She will remain nameless here. She’s the one with Gibbs who can’t even hold a gun the right way. Idiot.
And who doesn’t love James Spader’s interpretation of Raymond “Red” Reddington on Blacklist. He’s evil, yet loving when it comes to Elizabeth Keene. Underhanded, yet wants to do good. He’s flawed and I adore every one of his many layers.
Norman Bates on the TV series Bates Motel. Freddie Highmore has done a superb job of capturing the eccentricities of Norman Bates. But he’s so. . . so. . . Norman. A geeky, mamma’s boy with a warped mother/son relationship. He’s irksome, to say the least. And yet, no could play the role as well. I’m kind of mixed on this one, but am putting him in the dislike category.
Stopping at a combined ten, instead of listing ten each, to save room for the blog tour. Sorry, Crispian!
The WIP Blog Tour
I’m working on a few different projects now. The latest one, A Deadly Yearning, is based on a “What if” question that’s haunted me for years. What if you could spend one more day, or be reunited with, a lost loved one? How far would you go to make that happen? The second excerpt is from Timber Point, a completed novel that I’m updating for submission to a publisher that has a narrow window where they’ll accept thrillers without an agent. And it’s closing fast. Timber Point is about a cat burglar who stumbles across a serial killer’s lair and accidentally steals his trophy box.
A Deadly Yearning Excerpt
“Let’s celebrate the fact that we’ll never have to walk around with baby puke on our shoulder. Or have half-slit eyes from sleep-deprivation. Let’s rejoice that we won’t prematurely gray from dealing with teenagers who think they know everything. Because believe you me any kid of mine would have been a terror once his hormones kicked in. We won’t have to join the PTA, drive carpool, or host twenty screaming brats at the opening of the new kid flick at the Cinemax. We can grow old peacefully, use swear words and make love on the kitchen table. We dodged a bullet today, darlin’.” Lee Meadows shifted in his seat. A smile masked a sadness Aubrey had seen many times over the last six months, one that broke her heart again and again.
“As a matter of fact. . .” He lifted one cheek off the leather upholstery and rooted around in the front pocket of his khakis. When he withdrew his hand a delicate gold necklace with a chocolate diamond pendant hung from his fingers. “For you, my love.”
“If we dodged a bullet today, then why did you have that in your pocket?”
Lee broke eye contact.
“You went out and bought me a chocolate diamond, my favorite by the way, but you knew that, because you thought the doctor would say we were pregnant. Admit it.”
“Aubrey, honey, listen–”
She turned toward the window. “Let’s just go.”
“Did I do something wrong? Won’t you at least look at it, really look at it? It’s the exact one you saw in that little shop on the Cape, last summer.” When he got no response he said, “I know what’ll cheer you up. How ‘bout I take my best girl to the new restaurant that just opened up in town?”
“Why, so I can gain weight and look like I’m pregnant? No thank you.”
Aubrey heard Lee sigh as he pulled away from the curb, and her heart crumbled. He didn’t ask to marry a woman with faulty parts. She turned back to apologize and saw a flash of white. Loud bangs crashed around her. Her head slammed the windshield. Glass shattered, flew like angry spears inside the SUV.
The Honda Pilot slid sideways, tires screeching on sun-bleached asphalt. Smashed through a barrier supporting the sides of covered bridge and then plummeted toward a wooded field below. Flailing arms and legs intertwined. Mangled shoulders and hips. She wasn’t sure whose they were, her mind littered with unanswered prayers. Blood sprayed from somewhere, from one or from both her and Lee. Everything went silent, except a long steady hum that vibrated through her core as her body sailed through the air.
When her eyes fluttered open it was dark. Cold. Musty. Headlights screamed across the field inches from the earth, its beam ricocheting off broken trees.
Am I dead? she wondered.
Unwilling to believe, she touched her cheek, lips, forehead, then raised her palm in front of her eyes and watched warm blood leak down her fingers, snake across her wrist and down the soft underbelly of her forearm.
Timber Point Excerpt
The still silence of the night is my addiction. There’s no better drug on earth. It’s an incredible feeling to know I’m the only one awake. The only person stirring among peaceful, darkened homes. Alone in the dark I am free. Alive. Invincible. Nothing can touch me.
The crescendo of my cell phone sliced through the warm summer night. Checking the caller ID I muttered, “Damn. Not now.” I pressed TALK. “Hey, Nay. Whassup?”
“Where are you?”
Standing in the middle of Timber Point, a gated community with million dollar homes, my eyes slid to a contemporary house fronted with glass and stucco. “Home. Why?”
“Shawny Daniels, don’t you dare lie to me. Christopher just drove by your house and your car’s gone.”
“You checking up on me?”
“That’s not the point. You’re out catting again. Aren’t you?”
“No I’m not catting again. Geesh. I ran to the store for kitty litter.” Not that it’s any of your business, I wanted to add. “Did you want something, Nadine? Or did you just call to harp on me?”
Her tone softened. “I’m calling because I care about you, Shawny. You promised you were done with that life. It’s not like you need the money anymore, anyway. Turn around and go home. Please.”
“First of all, I do need the money. You know as well as I do Ed won’t give me a dime of my inheritance. And second– Ah, forget it. I’m hanging up now.”
“So you are catting again. I knew it.”
“I don’t want to hear it. You’re breaking the law. I have a good mind to turn you in myself.”
This was so not how I’d envisioned this call going. “Nay, I’m beat. I’m hanging up before one of us says something we can’t take back.”
“Goodnight.” I stuffed my cell in the front pocket of my skin-tight black stretchy jeans and thought, she really knows how to kill a mood. I shook my head, trying to erase the last few seconds of my life.
A dark-haired man rushed out of the contemporary house and into an ebony van, parked in the carport, and started the engine. That was my cue to hide behind the nearest tree. I checked my watch as he drove off. Twelve-oh-five a.m.
Even though I’d cased this property for several nights the homeowner’s schedule was hard to nail down. He’d left at all hours of the night and didn’t return until the early morning. And sometimes not alone. Being Sunday night, the last hoopla before the work week, I figured he went clubbing. He was a bachelor, I found out. Probably needed to scratch an itch. Typical man.
I climbed the wrought iron gate, jumped off the top monogrammed crest and landed hard on the tarred drive. My knees barely had time to absorb the blow when I heard stomping of many feet heading in my direction. I bolted for the catwalk in time to see a pack of Dobermans charging straight at me. Long, white canines snapped at my feet as I pulled myself up the railing and then sprinted along the wooden slats.
I thought, where the hell did they come from? During my reconnaissance I never once saw Dobermans. Maybe one. Not a pack. And not loose on the grounds at midnight. Which made me wonder what the guy was hiding. What he had inside the house that was so valuable he went to these lengths to protect it. My interest peaked.
Vibrations shook the catwalk.
Glancing over my shoulder I saw two attack dogs in the lead. Sleek muscles flexed with their fast-moving gait. Their short fudge-colored hair hackled and their lips flapped with the force of their stride. With one foot set in front of the other I moved cat-like, my arms extended out, poised on the three-inch railing like a balance beam. The dogs bared their teeth, lips curled, snarling. Sharp claws scratched and clawed at the baluster rods, their massive paws trying to knock me off.
My chest heaved in and out, my gaze shifting behind me. I turned back to my mark, inhaled a deep breath and narrowed my concentration on a wide ash tree with long, thick branches hooding the main entrance.
According the blog hop rules I pick two of you to carry the torch. Not an easy job. I’m going to pick two I’ve never chosen before. Beth from I Didn’t Have My Glasses On. She’s a mother of grown daughters, with grandchildren galore, an enthusiastic dater, a lover of the arts, a teacher, a cupcake maker, a Twister and Trivia champ, and most of all, a keen observer of life.
Fran from Fran Writes Stuff, a fellow crime writer, reader, watcher of crime dramas, and animal lover based in the UK. I know she’s working on two WIPs, and can’t wait to hear more about them.
Fran and Beth, just ping backwards (here) to say who tagged you, post excerpts about your WIPs and choose two new victims to continue the tour. Have fun!
Everyone else: I need to tag a few of you on Twitter for the best/worst characters. Watch out!