Today, I have for you a short story by Samantha James. Samantha is a blogger and writer. She also does interviews several writers for her blog, including yours truly. This is a short story that is part of a trilogy and you can read it here.
WHEN CORDELIA ALVIN MET COLE
I recently saw a comment on a facebook post that all pit bulls should be banned because they are automatically going to kill everything they come into contact with. I have a huge problem with that as a rescue worker and a pit bull owner.
The thing is, every time you read about a deadly dog attack and you see pit bull attached to it, this could have gone several ways. Pit bull is not really a recognized breed. Most of the time, they are identified visually by several characteristics, like blocky heads, weight range, and coat type. My pit bull? Was stolen from a guy running a dog fighting right. Has a big, beautiful blocky head. Wrong body type and wrong coat. My pit bull is tall and willowy, not short and squat and she has a different coat than what you would call a "purebred" pit bull. She's still listed as a pit bull mix at the vet, I call her a pit bull, and anyone that looks at her would see pit bull.
So, where does a shelter dog with a slightly blocky head fit in? Unless you get a DNA test, someone is going to look at the blocky head and call it a pit bull. You could walk into the shelter and adopt a lab mix on paper then find yourself with an eviction notice unless you get rid of your dog because something about it screams pit bull to someone. You're shit out of luck unless you get a DNA test and even then, that may not work.
I was bit by a dog while working in a pet store. The dog looked like yellow lab mix to me. Nothing about the dog said pit bull. BUT apparently before the dog bit me, he lunged at several employees. I'm not even going to comment on his owner not getting him out the store after that, but the dog lunged at my face and got my thumb. Everyone the dog lunged at call him a pit bull. Me, who got bit, saw a yellow lab mix and this was years before I ever adopted a pit bull.
There's also this horrible thing going on with breeding dogs right now and pit bulls are included in this. People are combining random breeds to call them hypoallergenic and charging tons of money for essentially a mutt. My other dog was adopted at a rescue. I was told he was a mix. One day, I randomly google his mix and came across his designer hybrid name and a ton of bizarre looking dogs that look like mine. "But JB, they are breeding for temperament and coat!"
Trust me, there was no valid reason to put together the two breeds my little dog is. My vet probably hates me when I bring him in for his dental cleanings because he's too bowlegged to get a vein and he's got an under bite. But he's MY dog and I think he's fucking adorable. I'll face punch you if you tell him he's weird looking to his face. He's already neurotic enough and spent 6 months on Prozac.
They are also doing the same thing with the bully breed. Breeding bulldogs with pits and various other dogs to get a short, squat, muscular dog. You've also got the issue of "status dogs". People who buy pit bulls and various other dogs because they "look scary" or make the owner look macho or whatever the fuck they are trying to achieve. When I was working at a pet store, years ago, someone came up to me and asked me for a supplement to make his dog big and muscular. Making a dog big and muscular is a lot like making a human big and muscular and I told this to him. He proceeds to ask questions looking for a quick, easy fix for a buff dog to walk by his side. I told him there is no shortcut. I explained he could supplement eggs, meats, and proteins into the dog's diet, but he would still have to exercise him. Dude proceeds to ask me where the eggs are......in the middle of the pet store.
Where am I going with all of this? Pit pull identification is largely visual. With all the cross breeding and horrible things we are doing to dogs so that they fit some sort of perfect visual we have in our heads, whether it be teacup and fit in your purse or large enough to compensate for something you're lacking in, you could very well read a story about a pit bull attack and the dog has 0 pit bull. The dog was simply given that breed because it bit and it fit certain visual criteria.
My pit mix was stolen from a fighting ring when she was a puppy before she ended up at the rescue, then with me. Does that make her automatically aggressive? No. My little designer hybrid is 15 lbs smaller than her. She loves toys and he does not. But he does like to take her toys away from her and sit on them so she can't play with them. Is there fighting over this? Nope. I know it's happened because I hear her wailing. She won't take them back from him.
She's not even a good guard dog. She doesn't bark when the doorbell rings or someone new comes over. The only time she barks is this high pitched, wailing bark in the morning because I'm too slow bringing her breakfast to her. I'm not even going to start when my cat wants to stand across the room and give her the stink eye. It involves wailing and her hiding under the bed. Puddles also totally ruin her day.
Do pit bulls attack sometimes? Yes. Do other dog breeds as well? Yes.
I was recently reading my side bar on Facebook. A woman in Florida was stopped by a cop and they found cocaine in her purse. Her response? "It's a windy day. The wind probably blew it into my bag." I just sat there like, that's beautiful. I hate participation trophies, but give her a big one. Then, it hit me. Every time I see some weird news story, it's almost always in Florida.
Maybe I need to move to Florida. Maybe that's where my tribe is.
My townhouse is literally on a tiny side street. There's only one way in and only people who own or rent townhouses live on that street. One would think with a limited number of people on my street, it would be quiet, but that is not the case.
Condo to my right has been a revolving door of crazy. Newest resident killed all the flowers in my flowerbed her second day here and erected a religious statue for a religion I don't follow to hang out with my Buddhas. She frequently likes to decorate my flowerbed for holidays, but does nothing with her own.
Neighbor to the left has decided I'm a shut in because I work strange hours from home now. Newest resident to the right gets up to some sort of voodoo, it doesn't matter what room I'm in there's thumping and slamming through the walls and her dog is constantly crying.
One fine Sunday, I'm relaxing, watching Netflix. Whatever shit show is going on next door has MY dogs upset. Now, most normal people would just knock on my door if they heard my dogs barking when they usually never hear them. (My bedroom window was open). Did that happen? Nope.
Neighbor to the left couldn't knock himself. He jumps to the conclusion that just because HE hadn't seen me outside (I'm out walking my dogs, taking out the trash, or running errands on any given day) that my dogs must gave been barking OVER MY CORPSE.
So, the fire department broke down my back door. I go flying downstairs in time to see my back door flying open and an army of people in my backyard. It is my day off, so I'm currently sporting pajamas and "I've been hit by the garbage truck" chic. I've got some lady taking his word over mine and asking me stupid questions about if I know what day it is and what the date is and NO ONE IS ANSWERING WHO IS FIXING MY FUCKING DOOR!
That's not the most fucked up thing in the 12 years I've been living here, but it's the first that's damaged my personal property. So, The Neighbors, A Totally True Parody will be coming soon. There will be corrupt HOA members, HOA members harboring unregistered sex offenders right next to a school, a few disgruntled renters that decided to rob, neighborly violence, a booty call that ended in death, and a few other fucked up things that happened since I bought this place.
I'll probably end up making all of them pod people or cannibals because there cannot be this much crazy on one small street without a logical explanation like aliens
Most of my ideas for books come either while I'm sleeping or while I can't sleep. Bette, Unscripted came to me during a night of frustrated not sleeping after watching both twitter and facebook comment on the #metoos that were popping up and people defending Roy Moore. I was reading all sorts of things like "if that REALLY happened, they would have spoken up right away, not 20 years later." "Rape culture is not real." "If woman want to be taken seriously about this, they shouldn't dress a certain way" Essentially a bunch of horseshit blaming victims and not the fact that we have a broken system here. Brock Turner, anyone?
Here's a story. Someone tried to attack me when I was alone at my job. Locked me in the building and tried to corner me. Let's just say in the future, he won't assume small girls are easy targets. He ran out the back door when my manager unlocked the front. We had his name, address, and phone number because he's apparently as dumb as what I scoop out my litter box. My manager and I reported it right there. A cop came and interviewed me and we provided him with all his info.
The guy locked me in the building with every intention of raping me. He didn't get charge with false imprisonment or attempted rape. He got charged with simple battery because he touched me when I didn't want him to. If they could actually locate him with the information provided, he would get a citation and a fine. So, essentially, this guy is still walking the streets to do this to someone else and I got fired for being "distracting" to the workers.
And Brock Turner and his shit head father? They want the charges dropped totally because HE'S suffered enough. Seeing a pattern here? In the case of your boss or someone in the position to ruin your career, there's logic in safety in numbers like we are seeing in the #metoo movement.
Bette, Unscripted came to me while I was stewing on all of that. Some of it was personal experience, some was the news, some was just me fantasizing about a world where the chickens eventually come to roost and there's some fighting to heal there. It went to some darker places than I originally intended, but I like where it did end up going. Not every story is this extreme or ends this way, but I told the story I wanted to tell.
I've started up doing #Freebiefriday again. This week, I've got Crow Girl up for free download.
I've also still got Flash-A Death Story up for Free download on instafreebie. It's a paranormal horror/romance book with afterlife themes. It will be up until the 17th before it goes poof.
There will be more Freebie Fridays to come this month. All I ask is that if you download, you please leave an honest review
Flash-A Death Story is live on Instafreebie for giveaway until the 17th. Then, the ebook will be live on Amazon. The paperback should be up shortly. I have a momentary burst of temporary insanity with the paperback, but that's resolved now.
Flash was expanded from a short story and deals with body switching, reincarnation, soul mates, and all sorts of fun afterlife theories I came up with. I took the ideas of angels and demons and their various incarnations across different religions and turned it on its head. I also created an entire new species in the war against good and eveil
Flash is a little paranormal, a little horror, a little medical thriller, and was a whole lot of fun to write. I'm already working on the sequel and have already gone pretty dark.
ANYWAY, if you want to read it, it's there for download. All I asked is that maybe leave a review when you're done?
Flash-A Death story is getting upgraded from a short story to a full length medical thriller. I just started writing last night and it should be live within the next few weeks. If you've ever read one of my books, you know I take a lot of care with the interior and graphics. I couldn't start writing last night until I had found proper graphics, redone the title page, decided on a font, and I've already redone the cover this morning.
FLASH-a Death Story will be rereleased with an expanded plot and a new cover sometime soon, but here's a peek at the new cover
So, trying out new things promotion and release wise. The Crow Girl sequel, "The Flight of Crow GIrl" will be released in paperback as soon as createspace sends Amazon the file. For now, it's Free for download on instafreebie. Also if you sign up for my newsletter you will get a welcome email with a link to download the original Crow Girl for free.
So that's done. Now I'm going back to attempting to record an audio book after being busy with that all day. The first time I attempted this was my last day off. I was rearing and reading to go and attempted to record for hours. Stepped back, took a break, and joined a facebook group for ACX narrators and got some help.
Now I'm back on my day off again. I've got my headset on. I've got Audacity pulled up. I've got the manuscript pulled up.......and I"m feeling like a total knob for sitting here talking to myself.
I should probably get up and eat something since the calories I have consumed since I woke up came from coffee and coffee creamer. I'll probably need some Jameson too.
Then I'll have to record a little bit at the end of the book thanking Jameson and Kerrygold for making the booze and cheese that got me through recording this audio book.
I DO have several books posted for audition on ACX that need accents I'm not sure I can do or a male narrator. I should, in theory, be able to record this series myself, since I've been performing in some capacity or the other since I was 7. I've done live theatre, sang solos, DANCED solos, done monoloques, etc.
Maybe I need to bring my laptop to starbucks and perform this audio book for everyone there. Maybe what's missing is the audience. Do you think they would ban me if I made it entertaining and kept buying frappucinos while I was there? Even when I get to the part in the book about the botanist with a foot fetish? Maybe they'll even let me stay when I start talking dick pics? Startbucks is pretty liberal, right?
<A HREF="myBook.to/salome">Salome:A Modern Retelling</A> is free today on Amazon. This is not a biblical tale in the slightest. Herod is a drug lord and John is a snitch. I also killed someone who was irritating me on Facebook in this book. T
So, today is my day off. Record an audio book, I said. You could probably finish one book on your day off, I said. THAT IS TOTALLY NOT HAPPENING.
I did my research. I knew how to format it to upload it and what is required. I had Audacity up and ready to go.
I get two words of the title out and am like, that is awful and delete it. Eek out the title and my name. Hit play. My air conditioner is still fucked, but should be fixed soon. You can totally hear the fan I have in the room with me in the background. Fiddle around with recording the title about 4 more times and eventually figure out how to remove the noise and a little help from mah friends.
Technically, I SHOULD be recording the first chapter right now. I have it pulled up and ready to go. I know how to remove the fan noise now. But it's storming, yet again, because we are in the middle of hurricane season and my not so bright dog thinks we're in the middle of a home invasion or something. I've got two dogs. The pit bull, who is blissfully passed out on my bed and would probably want to play with a robber if I actually was in the middle of a home invasion. She's pretty much the worst guard dog ever.
Then you have my mutant bratwurst dog. How can a dog be a mutant bratwurst? See, this whole designer hybrid phase people are doing totally creates mutant bratwurst dogs. Basically, someone bred two dogs together and created a mutt that people will pay a ton of money for because they slapped the label designer hybrid on it and made up stories about how he's a magical unicorn. I didn't pay designer hybrid prices for him. I paid Heinz 57 adoption fees for him, then found out later he's a magical unicorn.
I try to remind him he's a magical unicorn when he's doing things like licking my kindle when I'm trying to read, barking when I'm trying to record an audio book, and destroying my bed sheets because he hates toys. He's content to just be a mutant bratwurst and do his own thing though and that's okay because he's really affectionate and an awesome snuggler. And hey, if this was a home invasion and not a thunder storm, this pit bull wouldn't make a peep, so I've got a 20lb mutant bratwurst protecting the house just in case.
I'm sure when I hit publish on this blog and go back to trying to record, he's going to start barking again. I'm not going to yell at him because I don't yell at my dogs. I'll go in there and scratch his belly and see if he goes to sleep
Did you watch the Crow Girl trailer? Did you notice the music in there? I had a hard time finding the right music since music plays such a big part of the book and I named several musicians. The music is actually by Indie Author Johnny Moscato, who ALSO has a free book today.
The Book of Jimmy Darwin is FREE today on Amazon and is an excellent read. While you're there, check out The Project which I read and reviewed last week and is a 5 star read all the way
Crow Girl is FREE today on Amazon. You can pick it up on Amazon and have it delivered to your kindle like magic.
ALSO, ALSO The Crow Girl sequel is DONE. It's not polished or edited, but it's done. I'm going to be releasing this one a little differently. After going on a hunt for Beta readers and ARC reviewers, I plan on listing it on Instafreebie for about 2 weeks because I'm trying something out.
SO, You can get Crow Girl free today, then if I ever get this shit edited, polished, and beta read, watch this space, because you can also get it on Instafreebie for a short time.
THEN it will go on Amazon. I also have 1 of a few book trailers made for the series. I'm still figuring out this stupid video software and I had to valiantly protect my laptop from a 14lb ginger cat who REALLY wanted to get at that video of the bird, but check out the book trailer for the series
View the book Trailer
All the feels for sequels
I'm getting all sorts of feels and ideas for sequels to both Crow Girl and Salome. Not like, extended series like the Mauve books, more like me hopping on stage, having my say, dropping the mic, and exiting stage left. I've been thinking maybe I should just jump on a real stage and grab a mic from someone, but they tend to arrest you for that. If I write these sequels, I can sit quietly behind my computer with my coffee and this fucking cat who keeps trying to sit on my mouse.
I never actually set out to write any series at all. I've actually been reading several series by several famous authors since I was around 13 or so. Mainly, I stole them from my mum or read the back while she was grocery shopping and demanded she buy it for me. My mum let me read all sorts of inappropriate things as a child.
As I am much older than thirteen now, I still read some of these series, almost 30 years later. Now that I'm writing, when I read these series, they kind of scare me. I see they are popular and hell, I've been reading them for decades. But in most cases, these series are all the author writes anymore and they write full time, unlike me.
I kind of think about how their fans would react if they decided to totally switch genres and write something else. Say, a crime writer gets an idea for a fantasy book or a fantasy writer wants to switch and write a political thriller. These authors have a fan base who expects certain things from their books and I wonder if they ever feel trapped by their series and characters or if they enjoy writing them just as much as the first time they created them.
Obviously, I have 0 fan base and I write what pops in my head or what I happened to dream that night. I'm pretty much all over the place genre-wise and that's where I prefer to stay. I had a blast writing The Spirus series and have ideas for future books. The Mauve series is going to follow her complete training until they eventually catch The Arm. I don't know if I'll continue once she's a fully trained agent. There may be something there when I get to that point, but I will keep writing the series until she gets her black belt and catches The Arm. She's only working on her green belt right now, so there's several more books like.
So yeah, the idea of writing a series and it catching on scares the shit out of me. Don't ask me why I have ideas for sequels popping into my head every night when I'm trying to sleep, but they are. I'm getting faster at writing, so the Crow Girl and Salome sequel may end up happening between Mauve books. I have no idea if these sequels keep popping into my head because my latest books are a lot shorter than my first three and maybe I'm just not FINISHED with it when I think I am. Maybe when I think I'm done, I need to stick it in a ziplock baggie in the fridge to marinate for a few days or go sit in the corner with a dunce cap on until I'm SURE I've said everything I wanted to say.
Oh, and by the way, Mauve: Origins is back to being perma free on Amazon now that my KU enrollment is up. I'm going to say don't go download it because it you like it, you may download the other books, then other people might do the same and people might start expecting things from me.
I'm going to go sit awkwardly in the corner with my dunce cap now