Marisa Makes Memories

Family Traditions. Family Ties. Family Drama?

With the holiday season upon us, emotions run high and energy low. But no matter if you shop til you drop on Black Friday or enjoy the ease of Cyber Monday in your pjs, you will be making a list and checking it twice for family members who are naughty and nice.

For me, the holidays are filled with traditions and family ties. Most of us have a designated day when the tree is decorated, a relative that’s impossible to buy for, or an uncle who you’ll want anywhere but on your couch.

Yes, family ties are a part of the holidays and so is the family drama that bubbles up in the midst of our family traditions. But just when you believe it’s time to appear on the “Jerry Springer Show,” why not take a deep breath, attend a yoga class, volunteer at a local charity or take a look at the notorious Luttrell family in my second book, The Golden Rose of Scotland. When find yourself immersed in my story, you may hold off on consulting “Dr. Phil” after all.

The Ladies of Lore Book II is set in 1486. The year when King Henry VII is crowned and the Tudor House is born, bringing together the feuding houses of Lancastrians and Yorkists. In the story you’ll find the phrase, “for better or worse,” takes on a new meaning when the heroine and hero are joined together for all the wrong reasons. Here’s an excerpt:

She began to kick her legs in protest, thinking he’d give up the domineering way he was treating her and set her back on her feet, but instead, her resistance fueled the need for him to swat her bottom a few more times as he continued unrelentingly down the corridor.

“You will regret this, Lachlan,” she said in a muffled voice with her lips pressed against his back.

A deep chuckle was the only response he gave. It rumbled through her, making her more aware than ever that he could force himself upon her. He had the legal right now.

A loud thwacking sound brought Rosalyn out of her dread quickly when she realized Lachlan was kicking the chamber door open with his hands full of her squirming arse.

“Put me down, Lachlan. Put me down. This is not the way you want to start our marriage,” she demanded, struggling even more violently after he’d kicked the door shut. “If you arenae careful it will end before it’s begun.”

When you add to the equation a notorious father, and a fiercely competitive brother, that can only equal a family drama that will let you forget your own.  Here’s another excerpt:

“Not welcome at my own brother’s betrothal? What would father say?”

“I don’t give a devil’s damnation what father would say. Frankly, I’m getting rid of the lot of you.”

“Rid of us? Your family? Pray tell, man, has the idea of marriage made you mad?”

“Actually, quite sane.” Lachlan squared his shoulders in the mirror.

“Brother, sanity can’t be measured by the one claiming it, you understand?”

“Nor can a family bond be honored by the one breaking it,” Lachlan declared, turning to face his twin.

“But family is about blood, not bond. Heraldry, not heart. Legacy, not love,” Ethan said.

Lachlan flung the wet rag toward his brother, but the bastard ducked just before it would have stung his face.

Now there’s a sibling rivalry that would put any mother to shame. Yet, there’s always good in the bad children, and some bad in the good ones.  But Ethan is one very, very bad boy. You must read it to find out how bad, of course, and what Lachlan must do to keep Ethan from “spoiling his good fun.”

As you get ready for your good fun this holiday season, be thankful for family, even if you have your differences. At least you won’t resort to poisoning one of them like my characters do. Not on purpose anyway.

So when your nerves are frazzled and you just can’t bear to deliver another fruit cake or wrap one more gift, indulge in a bubble bath, splurge on a foot massage or to read a good book. I have a couple I can recommend.

Marisa Dillon has published two novels with Soul Mate, The Lady of the Garter and her new release and second book in the series, The Golden Rose of Scotland. Here’s where you can learn more about Marisa and her adventures, not for the faint at heart:  Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

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When Words Get In The Way

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As a writer, I love words. Of course I do! They are my medium. My tool of choice. The paint for my brushes. The software for my creative muse. I have very lately come to a revelation about words—one that has opened my mind up to an amazing, new vista.

Was I the only one in the world who hadn’t heard of the New Age composer, Karl Jenkins? If so, where the hell have I been?

If I’m not listening to an audiobook, I’m listening to music constantly: throughout the day at work, as well as while I’m writing. My favorite stations on Pandora are New Age Solo Piano, Enya, and Kenny G: instrumental music, i.e., for the most part, NO WORDS.

Occasionally, they play one with lyrics.

I kept hearing one song over and over again and no matter what I was doing, the melody and the lyrics (which I could not understand), struck a chord within me (pun def intended). The words sounded like a chant, either African, or maybe Latin. So finally, I took a minute and Googled the song. That’s when I discovered the beautiful magic of “Adiemus.”

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Wow. I mean, freaking, mind-blowing wow. Turns out this song has been out since 1995—over twenty years ago! (Um, hello? Where have I been???) The Welsh composer, Karl Jenkins, did something unusual when he wrote the lyrics for Adiemus (along with many of his other compositions).

He made the words up. They do not conform to any known language. They don’t mean ANYTHING.

And yet, in his brilliance, he created a language, by combining music and voice and nonsensical syllables, that speaks to EVERYONE. No matter what language they understand.

I’m particularly struck by this because I am very mono-linguistic. Yeah, I took a few years of Spanish in high school, and can recite the American Pledge of Allegiance in perfect Spanish—to this day! I studied Dutch for a few months on Rosetta Stone a few years ago when I was planning a trip to Belgium. Can’t remember a word of it now. And I did take four years of Latin in college—became pretty fluent in it. But it’s not the kind of language you can practice with anyone . . . in this century, anyway.

So what this composer, this Karl Jenkins has done is, to me, profound. He has created a language I didn’t have to learn to understand. And even though I’ve spent the last month trying to memorize, and pronounce, the “lyrics” to Adiemus, I don’t think I’ll ever get them right.

It made me think about my writing life. I’m always worrying about getting the sentence structure just perfect, the ebb and flow of dialogue realistic. I agonize over story arc. Are all the important details there? Did I overdo anything? Leave gaps?

What I really want to do is to put together a sequence of words in a way that will touch the hearts of my readers. Do I need to “learn a language” to do this? Follow a rubric? Fit my story into a chart?

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I always believed so. Now, I’m not so sure. Maybe instead of allowing the logical, analytical part of my brain so much control when I put words on a page, I should just let my heart do the talking.

Maybe, like the “language” Karl Jenkins created, my message, and my intended emotions, will be understood anyway.

~~~

Claire Gem is an award winning author of nonfiction, short stories, and five novels. Her debut supernatural suspense novel, Phantom Traces, came out from Soul Mate Publishing in 2015. You can find out more about Claire and her work at her Website or her Amazon Author Page. Join her Author Reader group HERE.

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The Six Ds of Dialogue by C.D. Hersh

Dialogue is paramount in any story. Dialogue is the backbone of stage plays and screenplays, and is what actors memorize. Dialogue is the hinge pin of novels, especially in today’s fast-paced, want-the-story-to move-forward world. Yet, for many writers dialogue is the hardest thing to write. We can fill pages upon pages with purple prose, narrative, and information dumps, but often avoid dialogue.

Why? Maybe we’re afraid our characters will sound stupid, or their words will be stilted. Perhaps writers fear their characters will sound flat, or they will say too much or too little.

Or maybe we think our characters will sound the same, because, after all, it’s only one person creating all those different voices.

Personally, we find ourselves writing dialogue first then going back and filling in the narrative, the senses and other parts of the story. Maybe that’s because of our acting or playwriting background. Sometimes we must scrap the dialogue, having discovered some of the problems mentioned above. At any rate, along our writing journey we’ve picked up a few tips to help with writing dialogue that we’d like to share with you. We hope you find them helpful.

  1. Deliver content. Every word, every scene, every sentence in your book should move the story forward. Dialogue is part of that forward motion. Use dialogue to propel your story forward by revealing new obstacles, introducing pivotal moments in the plot, reminding the character of goal, and deepening emotions. Don’t waste words on unnecessary stuff like greetings, talk about the weather, discussion about the song on the radio (unless it will figure in the story later) or idle chit-chat inserted to fill time or make up word counts. Get right to the point.
  2. Differentiate voice. No one person sounds like another. The way my sister pronounces the word “picture” is unlike anyone else, and I’d recognize her voice anywhere. Make sure your characters’ voices are just as distinctive. Give them different cadences, different speaking styles, different words, different sentence lengths. Listen to people speak and use those nuances in your characters’ dialogue.
  3. Define tone. Dialogue sets the mood for your story just like narrative does. Characters in a humorous book sound unlike those in a horror book. Chick lit dialogue is very different from that of a hard-hitting cop drama, and a magically based book’s characters would certainly not sound like the teenage characters in YA novel. When creating your characters’ dialogue make sure you take the tone of the book into consideration.
  4. Drop in description. Normally, writers use blocks of narrative to describe setting and provide background information. By dropping bits of description, background, or historical information into dialogue you can let the reader learn what he needs to know at that moment in the story.
  5. Don’t be didactic. Providing information in your story is important. Just make sure you don’t drop so much description and background into the dialogue that you turn what should be quick, informative conversations into dialogue description dumps.
  6. Dial up the conflict. Use your conversations to create tension and suspense. Speed up the scenes by eliminating most of the description and explanations. Make sentences short and fast. Make the conflict and risks clear, but hold back some information so suspense remains high.

If you have trouble writing dialogue, try writing the first draft of your scene as a script. No narrative, just dialogue. Then read it out loud to see how it sounds. You’ll be surprised at the results.

Is dialogue hard for you to write?

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Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore House by Gail Ingis

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas at Biltmore House is unlike any other. When you are there it’s like you have traveled back in time to the Gilded Age. Tom and I visited Biltmore House a few years ago while I was researching my first book, Indigo Sky.  Biltmore House, was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, near Asheville, North Carolina in 1889-1895. At 178,926 square feet, it is considered the largest privately owned home in the United States, It is still owned by Vanderbilt family.

Biltmore House has become famous for its celebration of Candlelight Christmas, which is celebrated  every evening throughout the holiday season, starting just before Thanksgiving, presented as though the Vanderbilt family are your hosts. Tom and I spent three nights at the Inn at Biltmore on the grounds of the estate and enjoyed tea in the afternoon, lunch at the Bistro, dinner in the dining room. Five star accommodations, five star food and five star grounds.

The Vanderbilt rail empire was created by Biltmore’s George Vanderbilt’s grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who died in 1877. It was Commodore that bought out LeGrand Lockwood after Black Friday gold panic in July 1869 when Lockwood lost his empire. The same Lockwood who built the Lockwood Mansion (now the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum) in Norwalk, Connecticut. The same Lockwood who commissioned Albert Bierstadt to paint “Domes of the Yosemite.”

Most of my readers know about my journey writing about the life of painter Albert Bierstadt. My visit to Biltmore Estate was inspired by my research while I was painting a copy of Domes of the Yosemite and henceforth, inspired a fictional historical romance novel.

If you ever get the chance to travel to Biltmore House, you will never forget it. It has become one of the most popular destinations for weddings and other special events and for Tom and me, it was a truly memorable and special Holiday visit.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released on Valentine’s Day. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

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NaNoWriMo 2017-Fantasy and Real Life Collide

Once again, I find myself in the middle of NaNoWriMo, and was keeping up with writing every day when real life intruded. I got my start writing creative nonfiction trying to make sense of and add perspective to my real life experiences. But it got so hard to keep running into walls, and writing speculative fiction lets me walk through them, which is a lot less painful.

I begin weekdays with a five thirty am alarm, a hellish commute, and days full of heartbreaking tales of neglect, poverty, trauma and the aftermath. I love my work,  but after eight to twelve hours, five days a week, doing anything but collapsing when I get home is usually impossible. NaNoWriMo has always been helpful to make progress on stalled projects. And this one, a gritty urban fantasy set in the South Bronx with Puerto Rican characters, fell way behind schedule while I worked to get all three books in the Unfinished Business series finished and published this year.

The last two weeks of real life have been particularly bad, topped off by the end of Daylight Savings Time. Plus, I am preparing for deployment to Puerto Rico to assist on a  medical recovery mission.

I may be four days behind in NaNo, but the inevitable intersection between real life and fiction might work to my advantage. I visited Puerto Rico not long ago, for pleasure and for research for this series. El Yunque  and the more rugged, remote Torre Negro rain forests that house my fairies and harbor my heroine have been decimated by Hurricane Maria.

This time, I’ll be going with a group sponsored by a coalition of labor unions in New York City, including the New York State Nurses’ Association. I’ve been warned about the mosquitos, and the long days in very difficult conditions. In addition to updating my vaccines, I’ll pull out the equipment I used on my Peruvian adventure including a sturdy flashlight, a paper and pen diary and a battery operated voice recorder.

I doubt I will be visiting El Yunque or Torre Negro this time, but the memories I’ve recorded from the last trip have served me well. Weather magic and mayhem figure heavily in this novel series, and the first book contains both an earthquake and a hurricane. I’m sure there will be plenty of inspiration, for plot twists I haven’t imagined yet.

I’m no stranger to real life and death drama, and my training has prepared me well for this assignment. This material may be the most dramatic yet for my memoir, and I expect for Book Two of the Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken dreams as well.

From NaNo Day # 8

Cassandra interrupted and picked up a large basket. “Taina, we must go to the village for our daily supplies. I’m sure you and Arnaldo have much to speak about.”

“Can I give you money? I brought some to buy things for Taina and the baby.” Arnaldo let go of her and struggled to get his wallet out of the back pocket of his too tight jeans.

“We barter and trade here. Save that for when you reenter the mundane world.” Serena winked, and the two older women left him and Taina to get reacquainted. Five months was a long time, and it suddenly seemed much longer.

Taina wore her power well. “So, you’re finally in PR. I’d hoped to be able to show you the Island.

He glanced around to see if there were any fairies on watch. “Yeah, but I’m sure there are no tourists around here.”

“No, this is the ether between the real world and the Fae lands. It’s cloaked and soaked with magick. It drips from the trees, you drink it, walk on it. Wash with it. Breathe it and live it. I’m not sure I want to go back to The Bronx.”

 

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The Write Word with Wareeze

The Character Supporting the Villain

Hello again friends, readers, and authors. Thank you for taking time to read my contribution to this month’s Soul Mates Publishing blog. We have discussed, examined, and looked behind the scenes of writing a novel. I have written about scene setting, goal setting, the heroine’s role, the hero’s part in the story, the supporting characters, and the villain.

Today, I am dissecting the evil secondary character, the bad guy supporting the villain. Someone with a low moral character, usually a secondary citizen, in appearance, in standing with society, and in personal confidence in himself or herself, easily swayed, and willing to follow a downward path. He/she is contemptuous of others and considers himself/herself superior to those around him/her.

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Case in point: #1 A Lady’s Vanishing Choices excerpt

On the seedy edge of London, Freddy ambled into the Red Rooster Tavern and headed for the taproom. Peeking around the door into the dim interior of the building, he glanced at the only patron in sight. The customer leaned against the bar with a glass in his hand, staring down into the content.

Freddy hated the odor of strong whisky mixed with ale permeating the place. He gulped in a breath of air, lowered his lids, and peered further into the room to locate the Frenchman. He headed toward the gentleman sprawled nonchalantly in a chair in the shadowy corner. Glasses and a bottle sat on the table before him. Freddy picked his way to the back of the taproom through the empty, scuffed tables with up-ended chairs atop them. Flopping down in a chair across from the Frenchman, he grabbed a glass. The Frenchman poured a measure of whiskey into the tumbler and settled back in his chair.

“Well?”

“Never mind politeness,” Freddy sneered.

“I’m warning you,” the Frenchman hissed. His cold, dark eyes held a deadly glint. “My patience is nearly at an end, Agent.”

Freddy held up one hand. “No sense in getting into a pucker, Gentleman—if you will.” He continued in a lowered voice. “I searched the entire place, every drawer, everything. I was nearly caught too.”

“What?”

“A parlor maid came looking for me. I flirted with her earlier, and she was most obliging,” Freddy finished with a grin. “I dropped a hint in the housekeeper’s ear, so likely the maid will be turned off.” He sniggered. “She’ll probably be blamed for everything.”

“Get to the point,” the Frenchman demanded with an exasperated sigh.

“I found his papers. No names were mentioned and the memorandum wasn’t there either. Never expected it to be, so no loss.”  Freddy swallowed a sip of whiskey and coughed, wiping his mouth with a linen handkerchief. “A warning, if you please. Officials are searching high and low for your sister.”

The Frenchman gave a cold laugh. “My half-sister, to be exact, but let ‘em search. The authorities will never find her. I’m above half too clever for those blokes. I buried her name with a body. Joliet is no more. She now has another.”

“I say, that is clever.”

“Enough of that.” The Frenchman waved dismissively. “You need to make another attempt to locate that memorandum. It’s vitally important.”

“I realize that. Gentleman, since that is what you prefer to be called. Don’t be concerned. I plan to make another trip to the Horse Guards while I’m in town.”

“Don’t try to antagonize me.” The Frenchman flung his head back and shot a withering stare at Freddy. “Be very cautious when next you appear at the Horse Guards.”

“Posh. I’ve been running tame at their headquarters for the last ten years. Nobody thinks anything of it.” He thinks he’s so superior. Still, perhaps I should heed him. Freddy forced out a chuckle. “I have always admired their jack-o-dandy uniforms, you know. Nothing is going to happen.” He lowered his voice and glanced around. “Even if I snag that memorandum, what’s to stop the military from changing plans?”

The Frenchman smiled with a grimace of his lips. “Changing the launch site and date of thousands of troops would be close to impossible—and costly. Wellington won’t risk it.”

After thinking on it for a moment, Freddy gave a curt nod. “Consider it done. I have an idea where the memorandum is kept. Probably somewhere in the same location I collected the list of the half English, half French agents undercover for the crown.”

“Don’t be too cocksure. Be cautious.” A heated expression flared in the Frenchman’s eyes. “That damn list of traitors. Half English, half French. Half foolish is my take on the blighters. At any rate, it is in code. I have someone decoding it even now. I hope this memorandum we’re searching for isn’t in the same condition.”

“Waste of precious time. When I have the thing, I’ll leave it in our usual hiding place.” Freddy stood to his feet. “I’ll let you know when we meet in a week or perhaps a little longer.”

He saluted the Frenchman with his glass, gulped another swallow, and strode to the exit.

 

The villain always has a motive and justification for his deeds, however monstrous in the world’s opinion, as does the supporting evil-doer. As depicted in the excerpt, Freddy is contemptuous of the Frenchman but is afraid to cross the villain. The supporting character doesn’t care for the title of Agent, but he acquiesces to the use of the name to placate the arch villain. Although Freddy assures the Frenchman he can secure the memorandum, his confidence comes from his contempt for society in general and defiance of his father’s opinion of him, not stated in this excerpt but implied in his visit to a seedy tavern, drinking and running with a low-life crowd.

 

Case in Point: #2 excerpt: An Enduring Love

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Even with her back turned to the room, the deep, menacing growl in Beau’s throat rumbled in her ears. Rebecca froze for a moment and the hairs at the nape of her neck stood on end. A chill raced down her spine as she reached for her pistol. Having no intentions of watching the dog suffer a grievous wound trying to protect her when she had a perfectly lethal weapon at the ready, she placed a restraining hand on his head. She whirled around with her gun in her hand at the same moment a quick tap sounded before the door opened.

Her worst nightmare stood in the doorway. Gorgi Weister and he had a quilt thrown over his arm. The glimmer of his golden hair in the lamp light added dimension to his handsome features and the diabolical grin sent another shiver down her spine. An angel of light, such was Satan. She shook the fanciful thought away.

“Well, well, well,” he drawled, his voice soft and low.

Rebecca’s gaze locked with his and he stood perfectly still, smug in his arrogance, knowing fear of him would come. She knew from the past, he loved power and control. Forcing her expression to remain as blank as possible, she leveled her pistol straight at his heart. “Stay where you are and raise your hands.”

He grinned. “How very female of you, my dear. I mean no harm.”

Her voice quivered, but she forced the gun barrel to remain level. “Where is my Johnny?”

He shrugged. “Now Rebecca. How would I know?”

“Then, what are you doing here?”

He motioned to the coverlet he held out. “I thought to bring this quilt back to the boy.” Weister raised a brow. “He hid when my men were by here. I’m afraid bad manners allowed them to borrow this covering. May I at least rid myself of the thing?” Without waiting for her approval, he eased the quilt on a nearby chair. Weister failed to lift his hands completely, almost complying with her former command, but not quite. “The boy shouldn’t suffer for its loss and, lo and behold, my good deed is rewarded.” He extended both arms. “Look what I found.”

Rebecca held her hand steady, but she trembled on the inside, afraid her pounding heart might burst. The low rumble coming from Beau reassured her. She could always set him to attack. “Tommy isn’t about at the moment.”

“No, I’m aware. Neither is that rather neglectful Lord Sudduth.” He smirked and shook his head. “Alone again with no protection.”

She waved her gun at him. “I have my pistol. That’s all the protection I need.”

With a condescending twist of his lips, he stared at her. “Rebecca, Rebecca, my dear. How brave, but foolish you are.”

At that moment, Beau gave a vicious growl followed by a snarling bark and jerked away from her hand. Rebecca rounded to observe Bruno in the act of slamming the butt of his rifle towards Beau’s head. She shot immediately, but the gun stock still hit Beau a glancing blow and he went down with a yelp. Bruno grabbed his chest and crumpled to his knees before he toppled completely over. He laid without moving, his features frozen in fixed horror.

Rebecca didn’t regret killing him, but taking a life made her stomach roil with revulsion. She swallowed to keep the bile from choking her.

Weister gazed down at his fallen minion before glancing at Rebecca. “That is a shame. My best man too.” He grimaced. “Still, he failed to shoot your husband. Shot the horse instead.” Stepping towards her, he continued in a mocking tone. “Your weapon is no longer loaded and all for a dog. Tch! Tch! What will you do now?”

 

In contrast, this minion was willing to commit murder, and to kill a dog, the dirty coward. He followed orders, using his vicious tendencies and proclivities for evil in the service of his master.

The secondary villain also has a reason for his bad behavior, not always revealed, except to assume he did his evil deeds for money. That can certainly be assumed by the reader.

Thank you again for sharing your time with me. To discover more about my writing (books published) and my works in progress, visit my website: https://www.wareezewoodson.com

Visit my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wareeze-Woodson/523727757689755

Respectfully,

Wareeze Woodson

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The Write Word with Wareeze

The Character Supporting the Villain

Hello again friends, readers, and authors. Thank you for taking time to read my contribution to this month’s Soul Mates Publishing blog. We have discussed, examined, and looked behind the scenes of writing a novel. I have written about scene setting, goal setting, the heroine’s role, the hero’s part in the story, the supporting characters, and the villain.

Today, I am dissecting the evil secondary character, the bad guy supporting the villain. Someone with a low moral character, usually a secondary citizen, in appearance, in standing with society, and in personal confidence in himself or herself, easily swayed, and willing to follow a downward path. He/she is contemptuous of others and considers himself/herself superior to those around him/her.

WW_ALadysVanishingChoices_400x600

Case in point: #1 A Lady’s Vanishing Choices excerpt

On the seedy edge of London, Freddy ambled into the Red Rooster Tavern and headed for the taproom. Peeking around the door into the dim interior of the building, he glanced at the only patron in sight. The customer leaned against the bar with a glass in his hand, staring down into the content.

Freddy hated the odor of strong whisky mixed with ale permeating the place. He gulped in a breath of air, lowered his lids, and peered further into the room to locate the Frenchman. He headed toward the gentleman sprawled nonchalantly in a chair in the shadowy corner. Glasses and a bottle sat on the table before him. Freddy picked his way to the back of the taproom through the empty, scuffed tables with up-ended chairs atop them. Flopping down in a chair across from the Frenchman, he grabbed a glass. The Frenchman poured a measure of whiskey into the tumbler and settled back in his chair.

“Well?”

“Never mind politeness,” Freddy sneered.

“I’m warning you,” the Frenchman hissed. His cold, dark eyes held a deadly glint. “My patience is nearly at an end, Agent.”

Freddy held up one hand. “No sense in getting into a pucker, Gentleman—if you will.” He continued in a lowered voice. “I searched the entire place, every drawer, everything. I was nearly caught too.”

“What?”

“A parlor maid came looking for me. I flirted with her earlier, and she was most obliging,” Freddy finished with a grin. “I dropped a hint in the housekeeper’s ear, so likely the maid will be turned off.” He sniggered. “She’ll probably be blamed for everything.”

“Get to the point,” the Frenchman demanded with an exasperated sigh.

“I found his papers. No names were mentioned and the memorandum wasn’t there either. Never expected it to be, so no loss.”  Freddy swallowed a sip of whiskey and coughed, wiping his mouth with a linen handkerchief. “A warning, if you please. Officials are searching high and low for your sister.”

The Frenchman gave a cold laugh. “My half-sister, to be exact, but let ‘em search. The authorities will never find her. I’m above half too clever for those blokes. I buried her name with a body. Joliet is no more. She now has another.”

“I say, that is clever.”

“Enough of that.” The Frenchman waved dismissively. “You need to make another attempt to locate that memorandum. It’s vitally important.”

“I realize that. Gentleman, since that is what you prefer to be called. Don’t be concerned. I plan to make another trip to the Horse Guards while I’m in town.”

“Don’t try to antagonize me.” The Frenchman flung his head back and shot a withering stare at Freddy. “Be very cautious when next you appear at the Horse Guards.”

“Posh. I’ve been running tame at their headquarters for the last ten years. Nobody thinks anything of it.” He thinks he’s so superior. Still, perhaps I should heed him. Freddy forced out a chuckle. “I have always admired their jack-o-dandy uniforms, you know. Nothing is going to happen.” He lowered his voice and glanced around. “Even if I snag that memorandum, what’s to stop the military from changing plans?”

The Frenchman smiled with a grimace of his lips. “Changing the launch site and date of thousands of troops would be close to impossible—and costly. Wellington won’t risk it.”

After thinking on it for a moment, Freddy gave a curt nod. “Consider it done. I have an idea where the memorandum is kept. Probably somewhere in the same location I collected the list of the half English, half French agents undercover for the crown.”

“Don’t be too cocksure. Be cautious.” A heated expression flared in the Frenchman’s eyes. “That damn list of traitors. Half English, half French. Half foolish is my take on the blighters. At any rate, it is in code. I have someone decoding it even now. I hope this memorandum we’re searching for isn’t in the same condition.”

“Waste of precious time. When I have the thing, I’ll leave it in our usual hiding place.” Freddy stood to his feet. “I’ll let you know when we meet in a week or perhaps a little longer.”

He saluted the Frenchman with his glass, gulped another swallow, and strode to the exit.

 

The villain always has a motive and justification for his deeds, however monstrous in the world’s opinion, as does the supporting evil-doer. As depicted in the excerpt, Freddy is contemptuous of the Frenchman but is afraid to cross the villain. The supporting character doesn’t care for the title of Agent, but he acquiesces to the use of the name to placate the arch villain. Although Freddy assures the Frenchman he can secure the memorandum, his confidence comes from his contempt for society in general and defiance of his father’s opinion of him, not stated in this excerpt but implied in his visit to a seedy tavern, drinking and running with a low-life crowd.

 

Final An Enduring Love (small)

Case in Point: #2 excerpt: An Enduring Love

Even with her back turned to the room, the deep, menacing growl in Beau’s throat rumbled in her ears. Rebecca froze for a moment and the hairs at the nape of her neck stood on end. A chill raced down her spine as she reached for her pistol. Having no intentions of watching the dog suffer a grievous wound trying to protect her when she had a perfectly lethal weapon at the ready, she placed a restraining hand on his head. She whirled around with her gun in her hand at the same moment a quick tap sounded before the door opened.

Her worst nightmare stood in the doorway. Gorgi Weister and he had a quilt thrown over his arm. The glimmer of his golden hair in the lamp light added dimension to his handsome features and the diabolical grin sent another shiver down her spine. An angel of light, such was Satan. She shook the fanciful thought away.

“Well, well, well,” he drawled, his voice soft and low.

Rebecca’s gaze locked with his and he stood perfectly still, smug in his arrogance, knowing fear of him would come. She knew from the past, he loved power and control. Forcing her expression to remain as blank as possible, she leveled her pistol straight at his heart. “Stay where you are and raise your hands.”

He grinned. “How very female of you, my dear. I mean no harm.”

Her voice quivered, but she forced the gun barrel to remain level. “Where is my Johnny?”

He shrugged. “Now Rebecca. How would I know?”

“Then, what are you doing here?”

He motioned to the coverlet he held out. “I thought to bring this quilt back to the boy.” Weister raised a brow. “He hid when my men were by here. I’m afraid bad manners allowed them to borrow this covering. May I at least rid myself of the thing?” Without waiting for her approval, he eased the quilt on a nearby chair. Weister failed to lift his hands completely, almost complying with her former command, but not quite. “The boy shouldn’t suffer for its loss and, lo and behold, my good deed is rewarded.” He extended both arms. “Look what I found.”

Rebecca held her hand steady, but she trembled on the inside, afraid her pounding heart might burst. The low rumble coming from Beau reassured her. She could always set him to attack. “Tommy isn’t about at the moment.”

“No, I’m aware. Neither is that rather neglectful Lord Sudduth.” He smirked and shook his head. “Alone again with no protection.”

She waved her gun at him. “I have my pistol. That’s all the protection I need.”

With a condescending twist of his lips, he stared at her. “Rebecca, Rebecca, my dear. How brave, but foolish you are.”

At that moment, Beau gave a vicious growl followed by a snarling bark and jerked away from her hand. Rebecca rounded to observe Bruno in the act of slamming the butt of his rifle towards Beau’s head. She shot immediately, but the gun stock still hit Beau a glancing blow and he went down with a yelp. Bruno grabbed his chest and crumpled to his knees before he toppled completely over. He lay without moving, his features frozen in fixed horror.

Rebecca didn’t regret killing him, but taking a life made her stomach roil with revulsion. She swallowed to keep the bile from choking her.

Weister gazed down at his fallen minion before glancing at Rebecca. “That is a shame. My best man too.” He grimaced. “Still, he failed to shoot your husband. Shot the horse instead.” Stepping towards her, he continued in a mocking tone. “Your weapon is no longer loaded and all for a dog. Tch! Tch! What will you do now?”

 

In contrast, this minion was willing to commit murder, and to kill a dog, the dirty coward. He followed orders, using his vicious tendencies and proclivities for evil in the service of his master.

The secondary villain also has a reason for his bad behavior, not always revealed, except to assume he did his evil deeds for money. That can certainly be assumed by the reader.

Thank you again for sharing your time with me. To discover more about my writing (books published) and my works in progress, visit my website: https://www.wareezewoodson.com

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Wareeze Woodson

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