Greetings! Thanks for reading.
This is a Chapter One excerpt of The Devil Plays Dice – the sequel to Someday Always Comes. This is totally raw and unedited, so beware of crazy wording, long winded-ness, and odd grammar. 😉
The targeted publication date for this sequel was originally September 2016, however, I am embarking on a mid-life career change and moving from Illinois to Texas this coming summer, 2016. So I’ve had to push back the target date to Spring 2017 simply due to editing and cover graphic processes and expenses. But I want my readers, blog visitors, and friends to know that I am writing and working to bring them the best work that I can.
I have my eye set on 2017 for the self-publication of The Devil Plays Dice as well as a book of original poetry currently titled The Crime of a Life Sentence. There is another project I have in the works but I’m not sure where on the wheel of the year that will fall, if in 2017 at all.
I’ll add excerpts from other chapters, as well as poetry from The Crime of a Life Sentence, and I’ll add information as I go along over the next months and try to keep everyone up to date on the process.
Happy Reading! And thank you for your patience.
THE DEVIL PLAYS DICE
Our house was in total bedlam with cops and emergency personnel buzzing all around. Hypnotizing red, white and blue lights swirled around the neighborhood like disco balls possessed, ricocheting off buildings, cars, trees; the driveway. It was Spring Break, 2010, but for me it was more like Independence Day, as the strobe lights pierced the twilight like the rainbow colors of sky rockets on the Fourth of July.
It was déjà vu, and despite the iron fencing and the fact that our home was far from the street with a driveway two city blocks long separating the road from us, I knew the neighbors and the press had their faces smashed against the vertical bars of the front gates.
I’d experienced such bedazzlement before. But this time it was all slow motion to me and came with a much higher price: the newspapers, magazines, and TV news stations to name a few. For heaven’s sake, what were we going to do? The usually reclusive lifestyle my family and I enjoyed was now busted to pieces.
God, how I hoped there would be a lesson for the public in this one. Otherwise, my daughter was just a murderer. Plain and simple.
My husband, Seth, tried to talk to me but I couldn’t really understand what he said. I stood leaning up against one of the pillars of our front porch. I slid down it landing on the top stair, head in hands, crying like a fool. Emotionally and physically drained, I just didn’t know what else to do. I thought this wouldn’t happen to me ever again. That it couldn’t happen.
And then there was Detective Ron Rosales. Yes, you read right. Rosales. He was there too. He was always there. Remember all those things I’d said about cops in the past? Well, Rosales turned out to be different. He kept up with me over the years for the most part. Always checking in on how I was and keeping up with the births of my kids. He and his wife, Anna, visited us now and then, and we them. Getting together for barbecues and such. Anna came to all my baby showers. They didn’t come to our wedding, of course, since we got married so far away and Rosales had to work. Crime doesn’t stop for a trip to the Virgin Islands.
Of course, I called him Ron ever after. When my kids were tots, they’d lovingly call him, Detective Ronny. He rushed to Wilmette from Chicago when he heard through the fast-and-furious police grapevine what had occurred at my house. But, I’m not sure if his being there made me feel any better. It did a bit, legally, but not really emotionally. Nothing made it better, despite that he understood me. I never saw this mess coming.
The half hour or so before the Wilmette cops showed up were the worst minutes of my life. Now I know what you’re thinking. You read Someday Always Comes, didn’t you? You’re saying, hell no! Something can be worse than some of the episodes in that story?
When I finally looked up, my eyes fell on my twelve-year-old daughter, Audra. She was perched on a stone bench in our front yard, poised like a warrior queen, looking at me pitifully as I cried like an idiot. My aunt, Kathy –formerly known as Kiki, sat by her side holding her hand. My lifelong friend, Brianna, stood nearby with her arms folded biting her lower lip, trying to hold back her tears as she nervously turned this way and that way looking for answers she’d never find.
Poor Audra. It should’ve been me by my kid’s side, not Kathy. But, I just couldn’t do it. My Audra was way too proud to take my love and coddling. She seems made of stone, that girl. I swear it. I have no idea where she gets that from.
No. I could not take care of her. I felt responsible for the whole thing. Seth and me, both. Then there was Kathy and Brianna. They were there too. Nothing we could have done would have change anything. We couldn’t protect the babies. We tried but there was just no way. There’s no way you can do anything when desperate, criminally insane men have their automatic weapons turned on your kids.
All our kids were there. Not just mine, but Brianna’s and Kathy’s too. We had no idea where Audra and Diana were when those terrible men busted into our home to terrorize us. But then, an infinite time later, came Audra out of nowhere from below, like a wizard. Like, Rambo.
For the first time in many years, terrible menace visited me once again and this time I had no idea how things would turn out. And now that my kid shot a monster, I had serious reservations about Audra’s future as the authorities carried away the body of a dead man-beast from our formerly peaceful abode, all zipped up in a vinyl bag. Yes, it was worse than ever before.
What could we do? Despite there were so many of us adults, we were in no position to tackle two madmen with guns and put the kids’ lives in jeopardy, or risk the children seeing one of us killed. I wanted to shield the children. I would’ve died for any of them. Mine, Brianna’s, Kathy’s; even my son, Bret’s, best friend, Donald. Jesus, there was another woman’s child in my house. And his mom wasn’t there. Don’t you people understand that? Another woman who expected me and Seth to guarantee the safety of her son; a woman we’ve known since Bret started kindergarten ten years earlier.
There stood Donald, all wide eyed and breathing heavy. Both scared and shocked, but yet I’d look at him and see the wheels turning. He was trying as hard as the rest of us to figure a way out of the mess.
And there we all were. All of us with our hands in the air…Seth and me, Brianna, Kathy; dare I say, even my twenty-year old son, Brandon. And we were helpless as one of the crazy monsters waved a gun at my two year old daughter, Abby, threatening me with her life as she cried and sucked on her fingers.
Well, there was only one chance…and once the intruders were distracted, Audra shot one of them and killed him. In an instant, instinctively Seth, Brandon, Bret and Donald jumped on the remaining man and nearly beat him to a pulp, wrestling the gun away, as Brianna and Kathy grabbed and ushered the other children out of harm’s way. We always taught our kids to face trouble head on, and Audra did that, despite she had to shoot the prick in the back.
Audra did it. She committed murder to save the rest of us. See, I know deep down it’s not about adults versus children. It’s who’s in the position to do the job right, and are they sharp enough, smart enough, steady enough to do what needs to be done if presented with the opportunity to try to put an end to a frightening, potentially deadly situation. And my Audra was, as any of my intelligent children might have been. God knows, they’re all smarter than their mom.
Really though, we never know how things will turn out until after we take a chance. Sometimes we are forced to do things we would not normally do for the people we care about; for those who mean the most to us. Sometimes, a bigger tragedy can be stopped by a smaller one, like taking the life of one man, er…fiend, to save the lives of several innocents. We can’t know how things will turn out when we set out with an idea or goal in mind. No matter how safe or scared you feel, no matter how much you plan or don’t plan, care or don’t care…doesn’t matter…just throw any scenario out there. You never know what’s going to happen during the means to an end.
Unfortunately for most of us, knowledge comes after the roll of the dice. And we still keep playing.
Copyright 2015 Wanda S. Paryla
Season’s greetings, friends.
After a wee bit o’ procrastination, a couple of false starts, and writing a few different openings, I believe things are going well with Chicago Down.
I cannot honestly say that I’m right on track. Yes, I’m behind where I had hoped to be by now. That’s fine. I won’t go postal about it & Karate chop my holiday lawn ornaments or anything. Although, that might amuse local law enforcement & have the neighborhood talking straight through to New Year’s Day. I live in a tiny suburb, you see, blessedly free of violent crime. For now…Until I take out that blow up Santa. 😉
Anyway. On Sunday I’ll post a couple excerpts from my first draft of Chicago Down. I hope that you’ll enjoy the read. Stay tuned for that.
In the mean time, I’ll keep writing and avoiding all inflatable holiday lawn ornaments.
Thanks for reading.
(Cover copied from Amazon)
BEAUTIFUL BROKEN (UNIVERSITY OF BRANTON, BOOK 2)
By Nazarea Andrews
*This review was not solicited by the author.*
4 of 5 Stars
I must admit that enjoyed this book more than the first book, This Love. You can definitely see the writer’s writing skills were progressing and her ability to write her characters doing more than one thing and there’s definitely more action in the book. (Of course, she’s been very busy writing since This Love was published and I’m sure we’ll see more blooming as we read along.)
Beautiful Broken, despite that I felt there was a wee bit too much sex in the book, or well… – but hey, I’m too old to remember my 20s, maybe it was like that for me too at some point – I really loved the depth of the story in this novel. So many things were touched upon: rape, alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity, emotional disorders, sobriety challenges and so much more. This book also moves at a nice pace with the exception of the very end. I’ll get to that.
The main characters in this story, Dane and Scout, were my favorites of book one. For me, they were most interesting and genuine characters in book 1. In Beautiful Broken, they’re believable, real and definitely struggling with real human problems and emotions. I see these two among my friends from my youth.
Youths struggle with so many issues. Not just today, but when I was young, and when my grandmother was young. Even as adults, we all live in our own drama every day. There’s the side the public sees, the side our friends see, the side we really have which only one or two people actually see and understand.
POSSIBLE SPOIL! The only problem I had was with the ending. Slam. The door shut. I think there could have been a couple pages more to slow that down. It wrecked the wonderful pace of the book for me. It ends with sex. How long was Scout out of the hospital? I’m not totally sure, but I think it may have been too soon to have sex after all that happened to her at the end. I, personally, would have preferred a more romantic ending like sharing a bowl of ice cream in a candle lit room. But that’s just me.
I really enjoyed the book as a whole despite my opinion of the ending.
Last, but never, ever least, Melissa Stevens once again did an excellent job on cover design. It definitely reflects the storyline, characters and the season.
Thanks for reading!
Here is the link to my review for THIS LOVE
Greetings, dear readers:
Here’s another review for you!
Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, by Scott D. Southard.
* Please note: I purchased this book. The author did not solicit this review.*
My overall Amazon Star Rating – 4 stars for this mystery/thriller.
As always, I will not rehash the plot of this book and summarize the story. I’ll leave that up to the book’s cover and other venues.
First off, this is an absolutely fantastic cover design. However, I was deceived by this cover. The story isn’t the tale the cover caused me to assign to it. But it’s nice, nonetheless, and deserves applause.
The characters are well-rounded and none are alike. Maximilian is a character to be reckoned with and I found myself wanting to punch him in the face a few times. Bob, the narrator of the story, is actually my favorite character. I mean, who can’t love someone named Bob?
The copy could use another look from an editing perspective, but there’s nothing too awful or that impeded my reading the story. I was into this book from page one. The amusement is solid and the scenes and different storylines merge nearly flawlessly from one to the other. The amusement is solid and the scenes and different storylines merge nearly flawlessly from one to the other. Even though this book is narrated in the First Person, we can still seem to see the other character’s points of view, personalities, even facial expressions and feelings. The First Person narration takes away nothing from this story at all. It’s still well rounded and entertaining. The story is paced well until the end. I felt the ending came way too quickly.
When I started reading this book, I thought I was reading one tale, and then by the last few chapters of the book – the last 3 or so – a plot twist was revealed that left me shaking my head. I wanted Maximilian and Bob and the crew solving a great mystery…do or die. I was very confused at the end and had to sit and think about it for a while. In truth, the end plot twist caused this story to come crashing down for me personally. In fact, I am still not sure what in the world happened. On another note, I believe this would’ve been a good plot twist…in another story.
By the end, I wanted to give this book fewer stars, because I was disappointed. However, at the center of the book, I had already assigned it 4 stars. So, I am still giving this book 4 stars because I was hugely engaged until those last few chapters…where that end twist made me livid. If a book can do that to me, it’s worth the stars! Therefore, I cannot base my rating on the fact that I did not care for the ending. I was fully entertained up to that point. I did not like the changes in reality, back and forth – are we real or not, that started happening in the last quarter of the book. It was confusing. I really wanted a haunted castle, or someone smart enough to create a haunting for the likes of Maximilian Standforth. I, personally, was let down at the end. The story left me going, huh?… I just feel the plot twist shorted the story of something that I could rave about.
I think if you love mystery or thrillers…or anything even Sherlock Holmes like, this is a good book for you. It was for me, but in my opinion, the ending ruined my high. It’s a good ending if you’re a reader who likes a surprise ending that knocks your car off the rails.
I wish the author would write more stories with these two characters. I mean, the ending of this book is such that there would be no questions raised regarding more stories of this group.
Here’s the Amazon link to Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare. Take a look!
WHEN STARS DIE, By Amber Skye Forbes (Review)
*Please note, I purchased this book and the author did not solicit this review.*
My overall Amazon Star Rating – 4 stars for this paranormal YA.
This book is available in paperback & Kindle.
Here I am with another book review. I started to read When Stars Die, by Amber Skye Forbes, a couple months ago, but into only about the first 5 Kindle pages I had to put it down due to some personal matters. Technically, I was not reading anything at all really. I picked this book back up on a Tuesday, if I remember correctly, and finished it on Friday. I started at page one and began again. I read the book during my work commute and lunches at work. I found that I didn’t want to stop reading and needed to know what was going to happen next.
If you’ve read my reviews in the past, then you’ll know I do not synopsis of a book, since so many other reviewers do that so I just don’t bother. Please check Amazon for the back cover and other reviews of the book. The link will be posted at the end.
I’m not really certain what type of book When Stars Die is, for me. I do believe it’s YA/fantasy or dark fantasy. But, I believe it’s suitable for any age group really. So if you’re a little older, don’t hesitate to pick this one up.
I’ll start with what I liked most – a new, interesting concept; taking old ideas and weaving them into new stories, different stories. The book is edited pretty well – I didn’t catch any big errors or anything that rocked the flow of the story, and the story is remarkably written. It has a fantastic cover! – but, I must admit, I’m not sure exactly what the cover has to do with the story or which character that might be on the cover.
The truth is I did not like the opening of the book. I hated Mother Aurelia, and I didn’t like that Amelia felt she had to be professed to save her brother. I even hated that she did something so naive as to run away from home and disregard her parents. But, I guess an author’s done their job when they evoke such extremes from their readers.
This book was dark and emotionally stirring, indeed. I was caught off guard by it. In fact, I am the type who writes such darkness herself, therefore, I allowed the darkness of the tale to sweep me away because I am the type that lives for such a thing. And the book made me happy through its darkness.
The darkness and the heavy subjects nearly pulled me under. I wanted this book to take me away to someplace else and it did. I think if this book is truly YA, it will take strong young minds to get through the emotional ride.
However, there were a few holes in the story…or maybe it’s just things I personally didn’t like. You know how that goes. Just because I didn’t like how a scene turned out, doesn’t make it bad. They are not poorly written scenes, but sometimes we don’t like the outcome. I do feel Amelia carries on and explains things in her mind to a fault at times and it sort of got on my nerves.
I have read a few other reviews for When Stars Die and I see a chief complaint – that the author didn’t reveal everything in the first 3 chapters. She wasn’t supposed to. This is a mystery – it unfolds. She wasn’t supposed to tell you right off the bat all about Amelia and her family. Or how she got to Reims. That stuff was revealed as it should have been, in my opinion. While, yes, some of it should’ve been explained in more detail, I do think the timing of the events and revelations of the story were okay. If she did reveal everything in the first pages, what would be the point in finishing the story?
I think as far as story and plot, it was revealed all in good time. Now, yes, there are a few missing pieces, and I do feel this book could’ve been longer. We could have known more by the book’s end. But the author wrote what she wrote and maybe in the next books she’ll slow it down a tad and give us more info.
I liked this story overall. I feel the idea was innovative and her fantastical places and people were captivating. She took things that have been written about for centuries and put a new spin on them and I liked this idea very much. I definitely give the storyline and inspiration in the book 5 stars because a witch tale has not been done quite like this before. Freshness…some readers are just afraid of it.
Some of the characters needed a bit more development. Some of them were not as smart as I’d like them to be, but the main characters are young. However, none are less than three dimensional. I do feel that Amelia spent most of the time a bit too confused, but who wouldn’t be. I feel she came off as weak yet she was strong at the same time. Maybe she was a complainer, but she always did what she felt needed doing and it was for selfless reasons. She’s naïve and, dare I say, wishy-washy at times, but she is only 18, and she has had little experience with the outside world…and remember, she’s been in a convent for 3 of those years. So her actions or train of thought might seem more like that of a 15 year old than an 18 year old…just remember where she’s been. She’s learning the hard way.
POSSIBLE SPOILER — I’m trying not to “spoil” here as I usually do not intentionally include spoilers. As for Oliver – he was my favorite character and I think he had further potential. Maybe he was the character I identified with. I wish Amelia had made a better choice when it came to him. I mean, she became a shadowman anyway and what happened between them was the let down in the book for me. It’s the spot that broke my heart. And it just seemed like their final scene went way too fast. I understand Amelia had to make a quick decision but I just feel there was room for more where the two of them are concerned. It was even told to her by Collette that Oliver did love her. Perhaps, Oliver could have made it further down the story line. Maybe even into the next book. But that can’t happen now and I’m hoping that Amelia will redeem herself in my eyes in future books. I do understand her POV – Oliver had an agenda that he really couldn’t help. Even if he allowed him his “exaltation” and became a shadowman to be with him, he still had another agenda which she may not have been able to stop him from accomplishing, or talk him out of.
As for the other characters, many had parts where they flowed in and out and I think their personalities were well defined enough for their roles. But, if some of them are returning, we’ll need more background on them in the subsequent book. I am hoping Nathaniel makes his return in a blaze of glory and I hope he doesn’t break my heart too.
In the end, the surprise for me was Mother Aurelia. She redeemed herself to me. I was glad someone did. I wonder what became of her?
I’m looking to the next book for the author to slow it down a bit, and write until it really is finished. The ending of When Stars Die was a bit rushed. Good, but rushed. Things could have been more developed. Expanded.
I will definitely be giving the next book a read.
Check out When Stars Die, for sale on Amazon here: