The Devil Plays Dice – Excerpt (and other work)

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

image

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, friends.

Today, I’m not looking back. I’ve had a 50/50 year. Plenty of things to be thankful for, and some that upset or frightened me.

But there’s so much that I’m looking forward to in 2016 and even 2017. I feel blessed even just for the possibilities.

I’ve learned a few hard lessons this year. But what I’m giving thanks for today is that, during 2015, I’ve learned to look forward and not back. Living in the past does nothing for us.

And on the same note, living for others does nothing for us either. When every decision we make is centered on how the opposite choice — the choice we really want — might anger or hurt someone else, we’re living to please others. Or to keep the peace. It is not a smart thing to do.  It kills our spirit; causes anxiety and depression.

I’ve shucked that off. I have decided that I will not carry responsibilities that are not rightfully mine.

I cannot continue to be where I don’t want to be. And even though I do not like the geographical area in which I currently live, I’m not just talking about a place. I’m talking about a space. Sacred space in the head and heart.

My gift to myself is to let go. That’s my plan anyway. My agenda for 2016 is to move back to Texas and pursue a midlife career change teaching. That, my friends, scares the heck out of me. As some of you can probably attest, changing careers anytime after about 43 is excruciating,  especially since often you’re absolutely new to the field.

I had planned to self-publish something new in Fall 2016. However, with all this activity going on — my full-time job complete with nearly 3 hours of round trip travel per day, working overtime, completing a teacher certification course, making moving plans, now the holidays — that part if my agenda has been pushed back. I’m still writing, just not at a pace that will afford finishing any novel complete with a professional edit and cover by Fall 2016.

In my spare time, which is very limited now due to my teacher courses, I’m working on putting together a book of original poetry tentatively titled The Crime of a Life Sentence. The book is put together so that by publication, each chapter will represent a decade of my life to date. My hope was to definitely put that out October or November 2016. I’m still trying.

2017 holds a great deal of promise for self-publishing for me. If I don’t get my poetry book out in 2016, it’ll be ready for for 2017. Also in 2017, I’m expecting to FINALLY! publish The Devil Plays Dice — the sequel to Someday Always Comes, as well another project.

My moving back to Texas wasn’t planned over months.  One day in August, something aweful happened. My heart was broken. My feelings hurt. My anger spiked so high it would later land me at the physician’s office. And I’d had enough. I said, screw it. And after a couple of weeks of pondering and researching, I made a choice — right or wrong.

The hardest thing for me to work past was the idea that one person or another will get angry, hurt, or be sensitive to my choice in some other way and lash out at me, which usually  happens anyway. I’ve readied myself if the shit hits the fan, and I’m ready to hold fast when that wall of negativity comes at me. It’s okay. I’m attempting this prison break, folks, no matter what.

And while I’m looking forward, to my new path,  I want to thank my past for teaching me how to work in the present while looking ahead, and to stop living my life based on how someone else might, or will, feel about my choices because of how the choices might affect their life.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy positive changes for us all.

What’s Ahead…

There will be more excerpts from Chicago Down to come after the holidays.

How this book is coming together is very strange to me. Usually I write a book from beginning to end, then edit. I move something from one spot to the other, or switch chapters around, adding those personality tweaks or sparkling language.

But this one is not like that. I’m writing bits and pieces. It’s unusual for me to not just write from Point A to Point B. It could be because there is much research involved, giving me new ideas at every turn. I mean, who wouldn’t have to research Al Capone and the 1920s? But I also found that the main characters have a colorful background. And these things must be explained before they are brought together. They have to follow their paths. Weaving their way to one another.

Also, I’m eyeing early March to launch my actual author website. I’m excited for that. A website! Woot!

I know it’s a long time in coming, but I’m shooting November or December 2015 to release The Devil Plays Dice, which is the sequel to Someday Always Comes. It was published January 2013. I never expected it to take so long to write its sequel.  But, then again, it took me 10 years to edit and publish Someday Always Comes.  I wanted Someday to be as perfect as i could make it without a professional edit… I couldn’t afford that at the time. However,  I just knew it was time to put it out there no matter what. I am pleased with my efforts and grateful that  a few people read the book.  🙂

It’s time for Tess, Sweet, Brianna, & Kyle to make a comeback.

Thanks for reading.

The Devil Plays Dice Too (A Sneak Peak!)

Hi All,

I’m posting an excerpt from the tentatively titled, The Devil Plays Dice Too, which is the sequel to the recently published Someday Always Comes. This is a very rough, barely edited first draft subject to change at any nanosecond. I just wanted to give you all a sneak peak.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. Please feel free to leave constructive criticism and comments.

***********

THE DEVIL PLAYS DICE TOO
CHAPTER ONE

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 hope 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.

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 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, 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 that 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 do would 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 broke into our home to terrorize us. But then, an infinite time later, there 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 the body of a dead man-beast out of our formerly peaceful abode, all zipped up in a vinyl bag. Yes, it was worse than ever before.

What could we do? Despite there was 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 nearly 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 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, 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 2013 Wanda S. Paryla