Chicago Down – excerpt

*Hey all, don’t forget to visit my Facebook author page. You’ll find more excerpts there. Also some show up, and then go away. Keep your eyes peeled. 🙂 *

CHICAGO DOWN (an excerpt – Chapter, San Antonio)

“Have you ever been to San Antonio before, Sal?” Leandro asked.

“Nope,” she said.

“I wonder if it’s scary,” Leandro said. “I heard that it’s got a lot of people there…a population of two-hundred-thousand, Sal. Wow…wee!”

“Poppa’s old Poker buddy, Wally, told me they put cool air in one of the new buildings they opened earlier this year,” Salbatora said.

“Cool air?” Leandro thought a moment. “Ohh…air conditioning is what Carlos called it. Air conditioning!” He smiled. “Carlos said it makes the skin feel good on a hot day. But one could get a chill. He said.” His mind wandered off for a moment, missing his uncle. “Carlos knew about everything.”

“He did,” Sal agreed. “I heard that this building’s temperature can go down into the seventies,” Sal said.

“Oh, hell. Like on New Year’s?”

“Yeah. Guess so.”

“I hope we can go see that place,” Leandro said. “I’ve never felt air conditioning.”

Copyright 2018 Wanda Paryla

Chicago Down: An Excerpt

*Greetings, All. Here is an excerpt from Chicago Down. It’s a draft, but I’d like to know what you think.  Thanks!

Chicago Down

When Salbatora Guerrera left Al Capone’s bedroom, she felt as if she’d done some horrible deed. A deed so terrible that her own mother would disown her. Maybe she wouldn’t though, if she knew the true circumstances behind Sal’s actions.

Sal felt as if she murdered someone. Her friend; a legend. But that someone was truly already dead. Dead long before his physical death. And now, she’d carry this with her into eternity. Forever, and ever. The confusion this day has wrought.

Sal walked passed the doctor and a body guard or two. She thought she saw the driver of the car that brought her to Florida from Chicago. A long drive, it was. Despite that, she barely remembered the miles as they went by. A train might have been much nicer. And gotten her here a heck of a lot faster. But it’s not what Al wanted. Despite his showy personality, he wanted her arrival to be incognito. For her to be safe from the media and busy bodies. It was his endgame. This whole thing. One that he chose before he lost his mind and his senses. Ironic, for a larger-than-life character such as Al Capone, wouldn’t you say?

He wanted Sal to take care of business in the end. He trusted her and only her to do it. After all, she owed him, and she believed in payment of debts. Yet, he was her friend. And she, his. Despite the world’s perception of Al Capone, he was honestly kind to her and never asked anything in return for all he had done for her over the years. Nothing at all. He never put the moves on her, or asked for any sort of sexual favors, or payment in some other shady way. When she had nothing, he had it all, and he offered some to her, Sal, a lost Texan looking for her family. Sal, who found it, and then lost it all over again for the good of humankind.

Al, he admired her. No doubt that her tenaciousness, crassness, bravery and the way she accepted both success and defeat with grace was just a few of the several reasons why he thought she was worth helping.

Sal wandered passed everyone, barely aware of them. She imagined the blood of her friend being upon her hands and she broke down out there on the veranda. All alone. It took only an instant though, for the brave and strong Salbatora to regain her warrior stature. Not as young as she used to be, and having so many responsibilities these days, she just pushed that grief aside. Now was not the time.

“Salbatora,” Mae Capone was behind her, holding a small box. Only middle aged, Mae was still as pretty as ever, even after all she had been through. “Al left this for you. He boxed up these things a long time ago. I don’t really know what’s in here. And I never tried to look.”

She approached Sal and gestured for her to take the box. Sal started to reach for the box, but hesitated.

“Really, Sal, take it.”

Sal took the box with unease. “I don’t know why Al would leave me anything. I’ve taken way too much already.”

“He left it for you because he knew that you’d come,” Mae took a deep breath and turned away from Sal, almost as if she was ashamed. “He knew you’d come here and do what the rest of us couldn’t. What his family, friends, or employees could not do.” She shook her head and turned around to face Sal.

“I…I don’t know…I…” Sal just stuttered. She was at a loss for words and actions.

“He knew you’d end it for him. Put a stop to it. Do what even his doctor wouldn’t. What I wouldn’t…couldn’t. He never wanted to become like that.” Mae wrung her hands, choosing her words carefully. “Once, he became lucid for a few seconds, Salbatora. It was only a few days ago. He opened his eyes wide, looked at me. Raised his head up off the pillow, and…spoke like he did when he was…oh,” she smiled, “like back when he was twenty-five or so. He said, ‘Mae, get Sal. The time is coming. Like I said. Don’t let me become one of them. It’s in me. I was touched by the darkness. Don’t let it…I can’t.’ Then he put his head back down on the pillow. Breathing hard, staring at the ceiling. I wondered what he was thinking. After about a minute, he closed his eyes.”

Salbatora stayed at a hotel, paid for by Al Capone, for the duration of her stay. Mae offered her a room at the house, but with so many years gone by, Sal felt odd about it. She didn’t want to impose upon a grieving family. Sal left the next day. Driven all the way back to Chicago by the same chauffer that brought her to Florida.

 

Copyright 2018 Wanda Paryla

Chicago Down (an excerpt)

CHICAGO DOWN (Updated 5/28/17)

“There’s something I know about Al Capone’s life and death that the rest of the world does not. Because history is inaccurate. But, I knew him. I was there the day he died. So, I know. You can believe me or not. Doesn’t matter.

Al was by no means perfect. He could be cruel. Monstrous at times even. But Chicago owes him. It’s a bill that they’ll never pay. It’s a debt they don’t even know they own.” – Salbatora Guerrera

Wanda Paryla Copyright 2016

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

Back to December – the Synopsis

Hello again, friends and readers.

Below you can read a synopsis of a holiday story I’m working on. I’d like to publish in time for the 2015 holidays. This is a 2nd-draft synopsis. I’ve already begun writing the book, so I’d like to share the synopsis with you. Of course, I’m not much of a synopsis writer – I’m terrible at it, and usually deviate from the plan when I do get into a story anyway.

This is a quick synopsis, more like the long version of a back cover, so the end is not revealed. Only more questions.  😉

Your comments are always welcome.

Here goes nothing. Enjoy!

 

BACK TO DECEMBER
Synopsis:
After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, Joy can’t see herself going back to the one-horse town she grew up in. She sees no future in playwriting there, or anywhere else in Texas, whatsoever. She knows she has to go somewhere else to make her dreams a reality. With ideas of grandeur, places like Los Angeles and New York City etch all sorts of pretty lies on her brain.

 
During her last months at college, Joy meets and becomes enamored with her ticket out. One of her plays peaks the interest of handsome Blake Grant, a PhD student and son of a popular playwright. The beautiful, romantic former Homecoming Queen leaves her old high school flame, Sam, behind to run off with her new man; an exciting man who convinces her she is everything to him.

 
Her heart wanders back to Sam sometimes and the awful way she ended their six-year romance during a cold December rain. The guilt haunts her so she cuts most ties with her roots; not just with Sam, but with her lifelong best friend, Cammy , her former teachers, and even her own father. She cannot let those memories interfere with the present.

 
Joy’s play becomes a Broadway hit, as her husband, a talent agent, lights up the grandest stages with his clients. Life is striking and busy until a house fire destroys her life. Blake takes what’s left of her dignity as he dumps her for someone else. To top it all off, the woman who is supposed to be her best friend betrays her in an unforgivable way, breaking Joy’s trust in her forever.

 
Joy is emotionally and physically scarred for eternity. She knows nothing but regret, grief, and betrayal, and after realizing the last few years of her life were a lie, she wonders if she would be better off dead.

 
Broken, frightened, exhausted and alone, Joy is unable to stand life in New York with nothing but ghosts to keep her company. She comes to realize that the last few years of her life had been an illusion and she longs for those old creature comforts and real friends of home.

 
Embarrassed and ashamed – not just of how her life turned out, or of the scars the fire left on her, but of her actions before she left for New York, she returns to her hometown of Greenland. With the exception of a few vacations to the Texas Gulf Coast, and a weekend or two in Austin, the tiny Central Texas town, population 1000, surrounded by family-owned farms and cattle and horse ranches had been all she had known until her move to New York City.

 
As she approaches the old homestead on a rainy Christmas Eve, she is unsure of her future. What she left behind in New York was hell. It was thwarting, heart wrenching and sickening. A thousand questions run through her mind. Can her family overlook her former transgressions? Will she and her father be able to mend their broken fences? And, how much do the good folks of Greenland really know about her time away? Can the people she grew up with forgive a small-town girl’s ideas of greatness and welcome her back into the fold?

 
Even more worrisome, what humiliation will she face after leaving her old flame standing in the rain one night to run off with a big-city guy? Can he forgive? Will he be able to look past her scars as if they’re not there?

 
She wants no one’s pity. She just wants to go home. If only she could go back to that December and make it right.

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 Wanda S. Paryla

Another One Done

Greetings!

Whew! Finally. My YA/paranormal novella, Storm Dwellers, is off for editing to Shawn Pfister.

This is only my second self-published book. I’m nervous. If you haven’t yet, check out my previous new adult novel,  Someday Always Comes,  available in paperback & Kindle on Amazon.com. Also, paperback is available at Createspace. I’m currently working on its sequel,  The Devil Plays Dice.

Now, to be sure on book cover design for Storm Dwellers. I think I have the needed elements included.  Now for the appropriate colors. How can one be sure? I should be able to seek out book design before mid September.

Yes. An on-time book release for October. Just before Halloween. I’m super excited for this short, fast-moving story. Stay tuned, all, for more information to come.

Thanks for reading.

Book Review – When Stars Die

Stars cover2

 

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:
http://www.amazon.com/When-Stars-Die-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00H7PCAV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404060002&sr=1-1&keywords=when+stars+die