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Blogging with Linda
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Dream On!

I had a strange dream last night.

I am walking along an unpaved lane. I think it’s the countryside. Hills and tall trees rise behind me. It is dusk. On my left, a low brick wall separates the lane from what looks like a village. The wall is old, the bricks worn and moss grows on top. The land gently slopes downward beyond the wall, and I see the upper floors and rooftops of houses. The houses are made of brick, with steeply pitched roofs of slate tiles. The houses look old, too, and they huddle together.

A procession of small animals swarm toward me. There is a male and female of each species. Some I recognize, some I don’t. My mum (suddenly with me) bends over to look at the animals as they pass us. Two of the creatures, like small, fat brown goats the size of cats, perhaps similar to tiny deer, fuss around my ankles. In the dream, I remember seeing them before. I tell them, “I know you, don’t I.”

I look down at a railway station. A teen boy and girl sit in a carriage. Another teen boy and girl stand on the platform. The train pulls out of the station.

I look down at the rooftops to see the teen boy and girl from the platform are now lying on a roof, but they are older now, and gray-haired. My gaze pans over the rooftops until I am looking down into a small courtyard. A woman comes into the courtyard from a covered doorway. She is middle-aged, plump, with long gray hair, and wears a cloak over a floor-length dress. She crosses the courtyard to an archway. As she walks beneath the arch, she turns to look back and bumps into a man. As they touch each other, a pair of filmy wings pops out and unfurl from the woman’s shoulders. The man is middle-ages with gray hair and a gray beard and he also has wings. I think, “Oh, isn’t that nice. Now she has someone, too.”

I remember there is two of everything in the dream. Two animals, two teens, two older people, and I think, “There is two of everything. I like that.”

I’ve read that we always dream but we don’t always remember dreaming. In that case, I only remember my dreams when I’ve been taxing my mind to the extreme, either obsessing over a problem or so deep into writing that when I don’t have my fingers on the keyboard, I’m thinking about the plot or characters every waking moment.

Sometimes I can look at aspects of a dream and identify them as being the result of something which happened, or was heard or seen, in real life. Other times, there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation. A friend, a dream therapist, says the mind pulls things from our memories and uses them to send us a message, but even she admits that sometimes a dream is just a dream. I think this dream was that, only a dream.

Perhaps, one day, I will write a book based on that dream.

I wonder, is what I write dredged from the same place my dreams come from? Because, very often, I surely don’t know how I came up with an idea. When, years ago, I thought about a character who interacted with ghosts as if they were real people, I had not heard of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (which a reviewer mentioned in an early review of Along Came a Demon) and still have not read the book. I don’t know where the Demons came from. I don’t know where Dark Cousins came from―actually, I do: a novella I wrote but never published ten years ago. But where did they come from ten years ago!?!?! With each novel, I start with a beginning, an end, and a few plot points in between, then have to figure out how to get from point A to B to C, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t come easy, but I know it WILL come eventually. When it does, it bursts into life, the ideas popping out of nowhere; but they have to come from somewhere, don’t they?

What is the mind? Wikipedia says it is “the aspect of intellect and consciousness experienced as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination, including all unconscious cognitive processes. The term is often used to refer, by implication, to the thought processes of reason. Mind manifests itself subjectively as a stream of consciousness.” Is the mind a product of the brain? Modern scientists believe it is, chiefly because damage to the brain compromises the functions of the mind.

If my dreams, my ideas, my imagination, come from a mass of squishy jelly-like substance that physically resembles a large wrinkly walnut, so be it. All I can say is, bring it on.

Posted by linda_english at 12:34 PM EDT
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Saturday, 9 October 2010
A New Game Plan

I should have announced my new game plan months ago, but I was reluctant to do so because I feel some readers will be disappointed. I also tried to think of a way in which I could gently ease into the announcement, but I’m no good at easing into anything. So here goes:

Whisperings book three will not be Demon on a Distant Shore.

I enjoyed writing Demon on a Distant Shore. It has a great plot, new fun characters, humor, mystery and some sexy interaction between Tiff and Royal. But, it takes the reader away from the themes I’ve been building in the series: the mystery of the Gelpha and Dark Cousins, and of Tiff herself. I would rather see everything brought to light and those mysteries resolved in four consecutive novels. I am, therefore, working on a new book three, tentatively titled Dead Demon Walking. After those four novels, I would like to write “adventures,” which continue Tiff and Royal’s life and work together, but which can be read as independent stories.

Don’t worryJack’s past and his relationship with Dale Jericho will be revealed in book three!

When will the new book be published? I can’t give an exact date but I estimate late summer 2011. I know some readers think an author zips out a book and hey presto it’s up on Amazon, but the process is actually lengthy and involved. First comes the first draft, and as not all writers are alike in the speed with which they create, I can’t put a timeline to that. Then they go through it again, editing, expanding, adding. When they think it’s as good as it can get, they send it to an editor or beta readers. Who send it back and tell the writer they were sadly mistaken if they thought they had a finished product. More editing, more amending, more critiques. And if they’re like me, they have “resting” periods in between where they let the manuscript sit, because reading it over and over again, you tend to see what you think you should, not what you actually typed. Getting away from the manuscript freshens your eye. Finally, the manuscript is ready, but the book is not. If you’re an Indie author you either pay someone to create your cover, or create it yourself. For me, from the first typed word to the finished product normally takes about a year, and I started Dead Demon Walking in August.

On the home front, I’m preparing for winter. Lawns are green and flowers bloom down in the Salt Lake Valley, but up here the trees have already shed half their leaves and my plants have given up the ghost. After a lovely Indian summer, gray clouds hang low in the sky and we’ve had three inches of rain in the past week. Snow mottles the highest mountain peaks. The lawnmower and snow-blower have reversed position; the lawnmower is in the shed, the snow-blower in the garage. We’ll store the deck furniture this weekend, take the air conditioners out the windows, and attach the blade to one of our ATVs to use as a snowplow. Next weekend the Christmas lights will go up on the eaves, because when you live in the mountains you want them up before the first snowstorm.

When everything outside is covered in five feet of snow, I’ll be in the living room in front of a blazing fire, laptop on my knees, working on Whisperings. I’m not a fan of winter, but it is the perfect season in which to write.

 


Posted by linda_english at 3:10 PM EDT
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Sunday, 16 May 2010
Breakfast With Tiff

She sat at a table in the north section of Audrie's. Tall, slim and pale-skinned, her silver-white hair in a thick braid down her back. I watched and waited for a few seconds. Sure enough, the five guys in that section had a hard time keeping their eyes off her. They looked up from their breakfasts and their gaze naturally drifted away from their companions and over to Tiff. She didn't notice. She never does. She spots every woman who checks out Royal, but doesn't see the men who look her way. She doesn't look in a mirror except to brush her teeth and hair, and wash her face. She doesn't know she's beautiful.

   I went over and was about to take the opposite seat when I saw the dishes on my side of the table. Fried potatoes, scrambled eggs and biscuits topped with sausage gravy and shredded cheese. A big deep-fried scone slicked with melting honey butter, cut in half, occupied a plate in the middle of the table. She had demolished her eggs and potatoes, saving the biscuits and gravy - her favorites - for last, and had taken a few bites out of her piece of scone.

   "You're expecting someone?" I asked.

   She gestured with her fork. "I ordered for you."

   I pulled out the chair and sat down. "I'm on a diet. I can't eat that!"

   "You're always on a diet. Go on, live a little. It's your favorite."

   "How do you know that?"

   She gave me a wry smile. "Duh. Because it's my favorite."

   Oh. Yes. And it did look good. I flapped open my napkin and put it on my knee, then stabbed my fork in the wonderful, gooey, cheese-covered mound. "Why did you want to meet, Tiff?" I asked after I swallowed the first, exquisite mouthful.

   She made a face, one side of her mouth hitched up, then concentrated on her food, a pink tinge slightly staining her cheeks. "It's Royal. Our relationship. I'm confused."

   Oh dear. "You're supposed to be happy with him."

   "I am," she said in a voice softer than normal.

   "Good, because you just about drove me insane with your "do I want him, don't I want him, can I live with what he is, can I live without him, can I trust him bullshit."

   She pulled back her head, tucking her chin in her neck. "Drove you insane? Huh!"

   Yes, she did. I thought I'd never get through those chapters. "What's the problem?"

   She chewed and swallowed before answering, eyes cloudy, thoughtful. "I don't know how to explain."

   And time was a ticking, time I didn't have to spare. "Try, because I'm busy. I have so much on my plate, I'm feeling overwhelmed. Paint the deck - and you know how big it is - lay down new bark on the paths, get the house cleaned and ready for my sister's visit, and with Tom's arm immobilized after his surgery, I have to do all the jobs he took care of, and help him. The man can't even wash his own hair."

   She shook her head. "Your sister won't care what your house looks like."

   "Believe me, you have no idea. She and Mum - "

   "Mum. That is so weird, the way you say that."

   "Really? My accent amuses you?"

   "Nope. I like when you use British words."

   "You do, do you?" I ducked my head to hide a smile. "Then I suggest you listen carefully, and absorb. They'll come in handy one of these days."

   Her eyes narrowed. "I don't like the way you said that. What are you up to?"

   Knowing I almost gave the game away, I internally winced. She would learn soon enough, in book three. "Nothing for you to worry about." Yet. "Back to Royal - what's wrong? You two are getting along great."

   "I know. He's the best thing ever happened to me. But I can't help wonder why."

   I blinked at her. "I do not believe you, woman! You have a great guy, and you stress over why?"

   Her back straightened. "You know I don't take anything at face value. Why do I end up with a demon when I loathe them? Why do I trust him for no good reason? Why do I . . . need him?"

   That was the bottom line. She wanted to be with Royal because the alternative would hurt, but she equated need with reliance, and Tiff had relied on herself and her own intuition practically her entire life. That kept her safe. Now her head and her heart sent conflicting messages.

   "You're complicating the story. You and Royal are made for each other. You want to be together. That's all there is to it," I said briskly.

   "Is it? I don't believe you. That's not how your mind works."

   We knew each other so well, too well. I wiped my mouth. "I have to go, Tiff. Thanks for breakfast."

   She crumpled her napkin and tossed it on the table, lounged in her chair with one arm hooked over the back. "Okay, just tell me one thing. Do I get a happy ending?"

   While she studied my face, I thought of everything I would put her through in book four. Then I put my knife and fork on the side of my plate, my napkin on the table, and got to my feet. She looked up at me.

   "You'll be fine, Tiff. Just fine."

 

  


Posted by linda_english at 6:39 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 16 May 2010 9:20 PM EDT
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Friday, 30 April 2010
Whisperings Update

One benefit of being an Indie author is that you don't have to tear your hair out trying to meet a publisher's deadline, but you still have a responsibility to your readers. My readers have been nagging me and I don't blame them. When I post a snippet of Whisperings book three, Demon on a Distant Shore, on my Whisperings Facebook page I get comments, emails and DMs, most of them asking, "When will it be done?" So this little update is for you.

 

Something has been niggling at me lately, something not quite right with the plot. I was uncomfortable with several scenes, but when I reread them they seemed fine. Still, it's a good idea to listen to that small inner voice, so I held off announcing I had finished the book. Last night, it came to me, and yes, my muse was right. I had lost my direction, not forgetting but putting aside what I know is to come in book four. Also, in some areas it had veering into the style of cozy chick-lit, which was never my intention. So here is a hint, a teaser, a spoiler: although readers will hear of incidents in Tiff's past which contribute to her outlook on life and relationships, there is more to come, a history of which she is yet unaware. The time for her to become one with her feelings for Royal has not arrived

 

In Demon on a Distant Shore, Tiff and Royal investigate a case in England. Why England? I wanted to get Tiff far away from Clarion and her comfort zone, and also have a little fun with her. She is so out of her element in Great Britain when she discovers that just because the British speak "English," it is not a smaller version of the USA. She is an outsider, and very aware that she and Royal lack their usual safety net in the persons of the US law enforcement. Demon on a Distant Shore is a mystery in which the bad guys are human beings. Of course there are ghosts and demons, and the ghosts are annoying personalities who don't care if Tiff helps them, or not. In turn, she does not get a lot of help from them. And two of these ghosts have abilitiesTiff has not before encountered.

 

And what is it with Jack and Dale Jericho?

 

Hang in there, faithful Whisperings followers, the end is in sight. Thank you for your patience. You make it all worthwhile.


Posted by linda_english at 12:35 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 April 2010 1:39 PM EDT
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Sunday, 21 February 2010
ACK! I'vebeen tagged
Mood:  suave

So, my (so-called) friend nominated me for the Creative Writer Blogger Award, which is ironic as I have worked hard for the title of "Laziest Blogger in the World." She even wants me to put a logo in here when she knows I'm borderline computer-illiterate. Oh, there it is. What do you know, I actually did it!

I have to do this because my (so-called) fiend friend has masochistic tendencies is so very dear to me, I can do nothing else but acceed to her demands wishes.

Apparently, this (so-called) award from my (so-called) friend - which is actually a heinous plot to make me blog twice in the same month - has rules.

1.  Thank the person who gave this to you.

Are you serious? You are? But of course I give thanks for this dubious wonderful honor!

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

Done, and it didn't hurt too much.

3Link to the person who nominated you.

Will do.

4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth.

1) I love snow and below-zero temperatures. Nothing like jumping naked into a snowdrift.

2) Me and Brad Pitt -  we go way back.

3) I see dead people.

4) That tall, slim, pale-haired woman on my Facebook and Twitter avatar? Yep, that's me.

5) I climb a mountain every day for exercise.

6) I auditioned for American Idol. It brought the house down.

7) I live in a very prestigious neighborhood. Sorry I can't tell you where; the neighbors would object to the swarm of fans who would descend on my house.

5.  Nominate seven three one “Creative Writer” who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.

Coming . . . hee hee.

6. Post links to the seven three   one blog you nominate.

Coming . . . hee hee.

7.  Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Of course!

I would like to quote a certain saying. You may use "what goes around comes around," or if you're feeling biblical "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." But in my part of the world it's:

BACK AT YA!

I hereby nominate LK Gardner-Griffie for the prestigious Creative Writer Blogger Award.

She deserves everything coming to her it!

http://blog.griffieworld.com/

 


Posted by linda_english at 7:07 PM EST
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Wednesday, 10 February 2010
From the world's laziest blogger - answers for Whisperings fans

Readers have asked a few questions since the release of The Demon Hunters. I can't promise to answer them here, but I will at least tell you where the answers can be found.

 From Anna:  Will we see the Dark Cousins again?

A Dark Cousin will have a major role in Demon Demon Burning Bright, book four of Whisperings.

From Anna: . . . and will you ever come right out and say what they (Dark Cousins) are?

Book four.

From Anna:  How are the Gelpha and Dark Cousins related?

Book four.

From Rob:  Why can Tiff see dead people?

Book four.

From Darren:  Any more info on Tiff's past?

A modicum in Demon on a Distant Shore, which provides a clue to why Tiff has a problem trusting other people. A major revelation in book four.

From Maria: Why nothing about Royal's past?

You'll learn a little more in book three, but only an iota. You (might) discover what motivates Royal, and see some issues from his point of view, in book four.

From Maria: Are Gelpha elves?

No way! They are children of two ancient races, and I'll say no more than that. All will be revealed in book four.

From John:

How old is Tiff?

How old do you think she is?

From John B:  Of all the places in the world, why did you choose Russia for Tiff to visit?

Apart from those which are figments of my imagination, I write about locations I know. I've been to every place mentioned so far, apart from Russia. I wanted an exotic overseas location, and I have a pen-friend of 10 years who lives in Kazan, Russia, so know quite a bit about the city.

From Teresa:  I read a lot of urban fantasy and they have plenty of sex in them. Although I enjoy your books, I would like to see more sex scenes with Royal and Tiff, something more than foreplay and inuendo.

Um, well, that's just not Tiff's style, and she is the narrator. Sharing something that intimate would embarrass her. I've always believed that sensuality can have as much impact as blatant sex.

From Graham: What can you tell us about Demon on a Distant Shore?

The plot is a little more intense than the previous two books and there is more emphasis on the case Tiff and Royal are working on. You get to meet some British shades, one of which has an ability unlike any Tiff has known. I had fun playing with Tiff's confusion upon being in a country she presumed would be a miniature USA, only to find it is nothing like!

If anyone has more questions, I'd be happy to see them added here, but please keep them pertinent to the plot(s) of the book(s.)

Happy reading!


Posted by linda_english at 4:11 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 11 February 2010 5:56 PM EST
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Saturday, 26 December 2009
ME AND LK
Mood:  celebratory

We're warned about online relationships which can lead to disappointment, or as a worse-case-scenario, to dangerous situations. But if we're fortunate we find someone who fills a space in our lives which otherwise would remain empty. I've never met LK Gardner-Griffie face-to-face, we spoke only once on the phone, yet I couldn't wish for a better friend.

LK and I joke around, a lot. One of the things we joke about is that we've become a mutual admiration society of two. We promote each other and our books whenever we can - although as LK has more outlets than I, she does most of the promotion. We do that because each sincerely enjoys the other's work and wants to share that enjoyment with anyone who'll listen. We believe in each other.

We also joke about our screams bouncing and echoing around my mountain valley. We scream exasperation, joy, support, achievement and a whole lot more. We chide, we cajole, we encourage, because each wants the other to be the best she can be. One of these days we'll meet in the flesh and I have no doubt we'll be screaming with ebullience.

I "met" LK when she decided to review Along Came a Demon for the LL Book Review. She gave me a lovely review. When a fellow author takes the time to read and review my books, the least I can do is read their own, although I don't guarantee I'll review it. So I took a look at Misfit McCabe, the first book of LK Gardner-Griffie's young adult series. I don't as a rule read young adult fiction so didn't know what to expect. That was one of the easiest reviews I have ever written, because I loved the book from start to finish.

Our correspondence began, and shortly LK's humor came through, and let me tell you she has a wicked sense of humor. We're alike in that we're impatient, not only with people and situations but with ourselves. We're something of perfectionists. We love dogs. She's tech-savvy, I'm computer illiterate. In addition to being my friend, she's my ally, mentor and writing partner. LK is the best writing partner because she's absolutely honest with me and her criticism is 100% constructive.

As I said above, both LK and I like to share what we enjoy, so this is what I'm doing here, sharing - with you - my enjoyment of this lovely lady. Please take a moment to meet LK Gardner-Griffie. I recommed her, as an intelligent, entertaining author and the friend any person would be fortunate to have.

http://www.griffieworld.com/ 

 


Posted by linda_english at 11:35 PM EST
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Monday, 21 December 2009
The Magic of Twitter
Mood:  caffeinated

I'm not the greatest networker. I'm a hopeless blogger. But I do try. I've been a member of Twitter for some time and my Tweets mainly consist of reTweeting other Tweeters Tweets (now there's a tongue-twister for you.) But Twitter actually worked for me in what I consider to be a BIG way. Here's what happened:

I was following Jacqueline Lichtenberg, a highly-respected, award-winning novelist. Ms. Lichtenberg is the founder of Star Trek Welcommittee, co-founder of Sime-Gen Inc., and creator of Sime-Gen Universe. She has written 19 novels, 13 short stories, two nonficton books, and reviews monthly for the Monthly Aspectarian. Imagine my surprise when she asked me, an unknown Indie author, about my books. I gave her the link to Along Came a Demon on Amazon.com. She replied that although it looked "darker" than her preferred reading, the reviews seemed upbeat and she'd like to take a look at it, although she couldn't guarantee she would review the book. I sent her the book, not expecting to hear from her again because she was correct in saying Along Came a Demon is not the type of book she favors.

Surprise - again - when I received a Tweet from her saying she loved the book. Her exact words were, "Ur bk Along Came a Demon is well written, well structured, rivetting entertainment. Will review in my column." Okay, Linda, come down from the clouds - because that's where I was. She followed that with a short review on Amazon.

A week later, I was well and truly back down to earth, when I received another invitation. Would I like to send a guest entry to the by-invitation group blog, Alien Romances? Wow! Of course I would like. That was Sunday and I got the entry off to her Sunday night. Again, I was thrilled, but not as thrilled as when I read her introduction to the blog entry.

 I will say no more, but ask you to take a look for yourself. The title of the entry is "Is that really you?"

 http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/

If you would like to know more about Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and I encourage you to do so:

 http://www.simegen.com/jl/

So I had better keep up with this networking thing. Who know where it could lead to!


Posted by linda_english at 9:50 PM EST
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Sunday, 29 November 2009
YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A WHISPERINGS NOVEL!

For a chance to win a signed copy of Whisperings books one: Along Came a Demon, or Whisperings book two: The Demon Hunters, become a Facebook Whisperings Fan!

A random drawing on December 30, 2009, will pick two lucky fans, who will receive a signed copy of Along Came a Demon, or (if they've already read it) The Demon Hunters. It's easy! Just become a Whisperings fan!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Whisperings/126692584745


Posted by linda_english at 1:57 PM EST
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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I am happy to announce that a second editon of Along Came a Demon will soon be on Amazon.com. Same book, different publisher, hence cheaper price. You will be able to get Along Came a Demon for just $6.55! (as opposed to $13.60 which is the asking price via Lulu Publishing.) Next up - volume two, The Demon Hunters, will also soon be on Amazon. Boy, am I excited!

If you'd like a peek at The Demon Hunters, read on for an excerpt. Note: Please forgive the formatting. My blog doesn't seem to like indents, and also has problems with spaces between paragraphs.

 

I haven’t always seen dead people. Until eleven years ago, I’d have looked sideways at anyone who told me they did. And of course, I was in a real public place, a popular little sidewalk café crowded with people on a Saturday afternoon, when it happened. I’d just finished my iced chai, and as I fished in my pocket for change, noticed a woman standing near the door of the café. That left her right out in the heat of the sun and at that time of the afternoon it burned, but she wore a gray plastic raincoat with the hood over her hair, and black rubber boots peeked from beneath her long black skirt. Another loony, but I envied her for her pale skin and the fact she didn’t sweat. I sat under a big umbrella and I know my face shone pink from the heat.

I laid two dollars and some change on the table, got to my feet and walked past her, and noticed her tears. They streamed down her face, and she held her hands clenched tightly at chest level, obviously in some distress.

 

I went on past, but I turned my head and caught her eyes, and she stared right at me.

 

I couldn’t help myself. I stopped and half turned to her. “Are you okay?”

She looked fixedly back at me and shook her head. I guessed she was saying “no.”

    

That’s when I saw the big red patch on her chest just above her clenched hands, where the raincoat fell open.

    

She’d been shot, or stabbed.

    

“Oh my God!” I turned and found every person outside the café looking at me.

 

“Someone call 911!” I yelled.

 

I turned back to the woman. “Don’t worry, help is on its way.” I stepped nearer to her. “Let’s get you out of the sun.”

 

It registered that I didn’t hear any movement behind me. I looked back over my shoulder. They were still watching me, and as I looked from face to face, each dropped their eyes or turned their head the other way, or became interested in their lunch.

 

I could not believe what I saw. “Did someone call emergency services?” I asked.

Not one person looked my way. I couldn’t understand it. I know a lot of people in big cities tend to mind their business, which is why the police often have a hard time finding witnesses to a crime, but this lady stood right in front of them and they were ignoring her. They were ignoring me.

 

"What is wrong with you people?" I yelled.

 

I had never been angrier in my life. I took a couple of steps to the door of the café and stuck my head inside. “Hey! Someone call an ambulance. You got a wounded woman out here!”

 

Several customers looked up, startled, and two waiters went for the phone on the host’s desk. I wasn’t in there more than five seconds, but when I backed out, people at two of the sidewalk tables were walking away and those at another were getting to their feet. I glared at a couple stupid enough to meet my eyes, and one tall guy got to his feet so fast his knees hit the table and shunted it a foot, making the umbrella tilt. 

 

I was going to raise hell when this got over, but the woman needed my help, since nobody else seemed inclined.

When I stood in front of the poor woman again she started moving her hands and fingers in an odd way. She was signing, which meant she was mute. I didn’t know handsign.

 

I put my hands to her shoulders and spoke gently. “I think you should sit down.”

 

 My left hand went through her shoulder and hit the wall behind her, the brick grazing my knuckles. 

 

My brain stopped working properly. My hand, wrist and part of my forearm were inside her body. I had just stuck my arm through someone. There should be blood. She should be screaming. I should be screaming. She must be in shock and I wasn’t far behind her. A heard a siren. The paramedics were a block away. I couldn’t pull my arm free because then her blood would come gushing out, wouldn’t it? My arm plugged the gigantic hole I’d made in her body.

Inches from her white face, I saw the tears on it were static, like strings of clear wax pasted to her skin.

Although my knuckles burned where they hit the wall, I didn’t feel anything other than hot Californian air. I felt nothing of substance, nothing at all. My right hand shook as I put my palm to her cheek and it started to sink into her flesh.

I guess I couldn’t process anymore because I blacked out. I came to in the ambulance, thinking, I fainted? Wow! So that’s what it feels like. Laying still, my eyes closed, I thought about the reason I passed out. I didn’t imagine the insubstantial weeping woman, I knew that. The café staff called emergency services for a wounded woman and instead carted off a loony, the same loony who yelled at their customers and talked to thin air. This loony had better keep her mouth shut if she wanted out of the emergency room.

 

I didn’t argue when the doctor diagnosed sun stroke.

I returned to the cafe a week later. She still stood there, to the right of the entrance, hands clenched at her chest, tears streaking her sad face.

 

He faced her ten feet away, and she cried because she was going to die and couldn’t call out for help. She didn’t know him, just a guy who popped up in front of her as she sheltered from a fierce downpour. He didn’t look like he hated her, or killing her would bring him satisfaction. He just stared, and stared, and for an instant she thought he was only trying to scare her. Then he pulled the trigger.

That just came into my mind, the way it does now when I see a shade for the first time. But that first experience knocked me to my knees.

 

I found articles about the murder in the library. Nineteen-year-old May Wentworth worked as an assistant teacher at a private school for the deaf and blind and lived with her grandmother. They never found her killer. I learned to sign. I “talked” to her, but I couldn’t help her. 

 

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve wished meeting May Wentworth was an isolated incident, but after that it seemed I couldn’t turn a corner without seeing dead people. I packed up and came back to Utah.

 

It’s universal, I suppose: when you’re in trouble you go running home, and Clarion was my home. My foster homes, the foster-parents and the other kids meant nothing to me, but the city itself. I knew Clarion, I knew the people there and their mentality. I felt safe in Clarion and I wouldn’t see many violently slain people in my little old hometown.

 

Except the two in my house and a couple more down the street.

 

She still stands outside the Sun and Bun Café. I spend a little time with May Wentworth whenever I go to San Francisco, but I see her in the early hours of the morning when few people are about, and I always carry my gun.


Posted by linda_english at 2:57 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 11 November 2009 3:17 PM EST
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