Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thick Skin

First off I'd like to apologize for randomly wandering off for a month. I tend to get involved in things like writing, self-loathing, work, depression, and life in general. I can't even say I've been working on the rest of the 2014 "Novel Series" posts because I haven't. I've got one almost ready which is book two for the year and I'm up to five books for this year.

Second I'd like to say that I've probably been suffering with some form of depression for the past ten years (or more) and sometimes it's really hard to cope with it. I can come off as okay and happy on small things like Twitter or NaNo Forum posts but most days I feel like crap. I don't want to get out of bed or when I go to sleep I wish that I won't wake up. The only way I deal with it is by writing a novel and immersing myself in a character's life because most of the time it's about as crappy (or more so) than mine.

This depression was brought on by a lot of things that I don't feel like getting into right now but one is important to this post. So, away we go.

For those of you that don't know: if you want to be a writer you have to have a thick skin. I don't have a thick skin. It's probably part of the reason I don't promote so much because I'm afraid of what people are going to think. I know that if someone thinks badly of my work that I'll start hating it myself and then I'll stop writing.

That's exactly what happened tonight. A friend asked how I was doing in the writing front so I did what I probably shouldn't do: I Googled my name. To be honest, there were a lot of good things coming up. But I found a review for one of my books that simply said "Don't bother." Never mind the same book had a "not bad" review on it. It's the "don't bother" that stings.

Now, I understand that I can't please everyone. I also understand that the book in question is four years old. I'd like to think that my writing style has improved since then. I also understand the concept behind having a thick skin.

That doesn't mean a comment like that, two (or three) simple words, doesn't sting. It hurts. It made me stop writing in the middle of chapter tonight because I thought: "Well why bother?" Then I started thinking about how even after four years and a month that I haven't made the money I spent on my books back. I started re-evaluating my whole thought process on being a writer in general: "why bother with it?" "you know no one's going to read this," "there are people out there better than you," "you don't deserve to be a writer," "you have no future," and etc.

It's a whole downward spiral that I think I'm coming out of. It would be the quickest I ever came out of one, that's for sure but it's a good thing. It means I'm developing that thick skin and not taking a bad comment to heart. I'm not bursting into tears over it and I'm not feeling like I should delete everything and never speak of this again.

No, instead I'm thinking "well, he didn't like it. Hm, why? Let's go read it. It's not that bad. Yeah, it can be improved here, and here. Okay, so he doesn't like my writing. Big deal." Other people have liked it, well, thought it was okay. I'm good with okay because if it was okay four years ago, my writing is better than okay now. Rule of averages and all that.

What I'm trying to say is that for every bad comment there are probably at least four or five that aren't so bad. If you're lucky there's only one bad comment in a hundred. But that one bad comment will be the death of you if you let it. So don't let it. I know it's hard but hey, so long as your writing pleases you and you're happy with it, who cares?

Oh, and so you know: I didn't make it to Round Two in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I also haven't submitted a damned thing because (if you hadn't noticed) I take rejection pretty horribly. That and I'm still on the fence about the debate of self-publishing (as unsuccessful as it's been for me) and traditional publishing. It's part of that whole self-loathing thing that only goes away when I'm putting my characters through some trial or another.

Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Admitting Defeat

For those of you that don't know: my goals for this year were pretty damned ambitious. I had set out to write 850,000 or so by the summer (June, finishing the thriller series) and to do that had set a pace to write two books a month. I failed in January but accomplished the goal in February. I won't be accomplishing it any other month.

Why?

Because it's too damned hard.

Yes. It's too damned hard. As much as I write, as long as I've been writing, this is one goal that I cannot feasibly accomplish. Keeping that kind of pace (about 140,000 a month) is sheer insanity and as crazy as I am it just can't be done.

I don't often say "it can't be done" but I know when to admit defeat and I'm admitting it this time. Why? Because at the end of February I had to wear a wrist brace on my right wrist. That's right: I was writing too much and was starting to do permanent damage to my wrists.

So instead of stopping my writing career before it began I decided to slow down. It's probably the best decision I've made in the past few years. Slowing down has taken off all the pressure and I've found that I enjoy writing again.

I'm going to be honest (as I normally am) for a while there I was starting to see writing as a chore. It was something I had to do not something I wanted to do. That should never be.

As a writer: I was born to write and if writing becomes something I hate doing then I don't have the ability to write anymore, right? Rather than make what I love (what I'm supposed to enjoy) a chore I decided to turn it fun again.

From now until November my goal is to write a book a month. For most people that's ambitious but for me it's realistic. I can manage that. I don't have to completely shun my friends or family because I'm writing. I don't have to worry that I spent an hour watching TV because I have to get second novel done. I can meander along at a pace that I'll be happy with.

I'm not even entirely concerned if I don't hit the million this year. Hell, I've all ready got two MilWordy's under my belt and even if I only write a book a month I can get pretty close to that 1,000,000 word goal by the end of November. And since I've freed my mind I'll likely write more than a book a month. It'll be a book and a short story or two or it'll be a book and a half. That's what happened last year.

So yes: sometimes it is okay to admit defeat especially when admitting that defeat means you're saving you're health and something you love. The thing you love to do should never become a chore and when it does you have to re-evaluate why it's become a chore.

Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

PANIC

I did it.

I submitted Lies to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

WHAT HAVE I DONE?

*deep breaths*

Okay, I'm (kinda) good. This is a big thing for me. I can boast all I want about writing for as long as I have or writing as many words as I have BUT...I've never entered a writing contest before. There, I admitted it. I've never entered a writing contest.

I'm one of those people who is seriously introverted. It's really hard for me to talk to new people and unless I really know someone well, I clam up. I'm much happier sitting in my house with my cat and writing. Ask my friends: I don't go out much, if at all.

But it's always been my dream to be published and with my 9AM-5PM being as dismal as it is I've decided that I'm tired of working. If I'm going to spend the rest of my life doing something: it's going to be writing. And in order to do that I have to put my work out there which is nerve wracking as Hell.

Entering the ABNA contest is the first step. Either today or tomorrow I plan to submit to some agents. God knows I've got enough books to do it with, most of which aren't even in the same genre.

Basically I'm warning you all to be prepared. I don't deal with rejection well, at least I don't think I do. It's been a while since I've been rejected.


Now I know some people out there think it's a waste of time and energy to take a rejection personally. They can believe that all they want and if it helps them to move on from a rejection then fine.

For me, it is personal. I've spent countless hours and loads of energy dumping passion into something that I love. My characters might be able to handle the rejection (a good deal of them are mentally strong enough) but their creator? Not so much.

But I owe it to my characters to get their stories out there. Someone is bound to love or hate them as much as I do. If I ever do get well-known enough they may not like the whole fan-fiction aspect but it comes with the life of being a character.

I'll just have to remember that even if one person (or dozens...EEK!) reject me that they're not the only people in the world. I have made it my goal to become published in some way or another and it's going to happen. Either that or I'll fail miserably and sink into my little cave of writing until I grow back the courage to try again...

Either way, I refuse to quit once I start. I won't drop out of the ABNA contest unless I get pushed out because people don't like what I've entered. And if I get pushed out I'll be querying agents with Cara and Face Snatcher. If that doesn't work I'll try one of the others in my Novel Series.

As for right now: I'm going to go eat so chocolate, snuggle with my cat, and take some deep breaths. It'll be okay, right?

Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Achievement unlocked: Writer

A commenter made me realize that despite writing about how much I've written, how many novels I've written and how I felt after hitting the million that I've never written how I got to this point. Basically: how many hours a day I write, average in an hour, but most interesting: HOW I worked up to it. And if I was ever a slow writer. In the spirit of being intrigued (and procrastinating on working on Novel 2 of this year), here we go:

I started writing when I was 10. Yes. TEN. That was almost two decades ago. My first stories were hand written in pencil and barely made it to what would be considered novella size. I *think* I finished most of them but there were a lot that went to the "story graveyard" which will eventually be dug-up to be scrutinized and rewritten.

Most of these early stories were based around things that all ready existed so for all intents and purposes I was writing fan-fiction. I wasn't using the characters, those I would make up, but I would use the world. There were a few that were completely original and I still have one of my first stories about two people that got stranded on a desert island after a plane crash. Yes, I was a morbid child.

When I was in my teens I was told that writing would amount to nothing and stopped for two years. Then I said "screw it" and finished my first novel The Troubles of True Love which got re-written last year. And then I went "silent" again. I didn't finish anything until 2009 and Tale of the Twins.

Was that important to know? Yep. Why? Well, it took me four months to write Troubles. I did it over summer vacation and dried out I think four pens. I used about 200 sheets of paper in a binder. Yes I still have the original copy.

It took me a YEAR to write Tale of the Twins and I wrote it after I finished work (that tells you how much time passed), so from about 6PM to 10PM, finishing roughly a chapter a week or month or something. I can't remember. Anyway, it clocks in at 156,250 words. I hate it. There I said it. I HATE IT and want to rewrite it. Never mind it's been published by a vanity press.

ANYWAY. If you've been following my blog or Twitter you'll know that at my top speeds I can finish a novel in a week. That's about 80K in 7 days. At peak speeds I can hit 3,000 words an hour. At my lowest speeds I get about 1,950. I average 2,250. Weekdays I write for three hours out of the four I have. The other hour is spent being distracted on Twitter or researching. On weekends I write from 1PM to 11PM, so roughly 10 hours.

So, what happened between 2009 and now? Lots. In 2010 I started writing book two of the Tale of the Twins trilogy but MOST importantly: I found out about National Novel Writing Month. I participated of course and wrote Trees of Life which was a rewrite from a failed attempt in 2008 or 2005...or something. I didn't finish the novel but I got 100,000 words in one month. THAT sparked something in me and I finished the novel sometime in 2011. Then in 2011's NaNo I hit 175,000 words. And didn't stop.

By the end of 2012 I finished my first MilWordy (write a million words in a year) with nine novels. Last year, I finished the year with 1,328,715 words spanning over 13 books and various short stories. This year I'm going for a third MilWordy which will span over 14 books and various short stories.

How did I go from one or two novels a year to nine or thirteen? Simple. Sheer practice and volume. The AMOUNT of words I wrote in NaNo that first (and second) time made me wonder if I could do more. If I could keep it up. When I finished the second NaNo I forgot what I used to do after dinner when I wasn't writing so I filled that spot with writing.

Was I ever a slow writer? Oh HELL YES. I used to write by hand. When I wrote Trees of Life in 2010 I doubt I was hitting even 1000 words an hour. By simply writing every day for the next two (and more) years I double it and tripled (or more) my actual output.

Another interesting thing happened as well. Instead of writing wordy 120K+ novels, I'm now stream-lining to 80-95K novels. Does that mean less plot? Nope. I've got just as much happening in my 80K thriller/detective fiction as I do in my 140K epic fantasy. There are still plot twists, minor subplots, interest, description and intrigue but I'm saying in with less words. And yeah, there are probably less subplots which is likely a good thing.

I do have to say that I owe every novel I've written since 2010 (25 of them) to National Novel Writing Month. If I hadn't found NaNo I would not be writing now. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'd still be stuck on Book 3 of Tale of the Twins. And one more thing: ANYONE can achieve the same amount. It takes a lot of hard word, determination, sheer will power, and practice. Blood, sweat, and tears my friends. Blood, sweat, and tears. Does it get easier? After having written for almost two decades I can honestly say that no, it doesn't get easier. But it shouldn't be easy. More on that here.

So for the interested commenter: I hope you enjoyed it and it made sense. For everyone else: Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Subconsious Writing

I mentioned in a NaNoPrep blog post that I like to write subconsciously and with ninjas. The ninjas aren't an every-story occurrence but I try to write subconsciously most of the time. What does that mean exactly? Well, read on fellow story-teller.

Writing subconsciously means writing without thinking about it. Now, now, I know you're asking what the HELL I'm on. I mean I've said before that you have to know what you're doing, where you're going and all that, right? That is important but you don't have to know all that in great detail. Why? Because you all ready know all that in great detail but you just don't know it yet.

Confused? Stick we me. You're going to be okay.

What I mean is that somewhere, deep in your brain, your story is all ready planned. Your characters know their fate, the bad guy knows his plan will ultimately fail (or not), and your world has all ready moved on from the event that you're writing. In the far recesses of your brain that story has been told and you just haven't read and recorded it yet.

You have to remember that you're a story-teller. A recorder, if you will, and a mere means for your characters to let their lives been seen by others. You're not a story-forcer, you're not a story-demander, you're a story-teller. You tell stories. You might not know the story or your characters in full consciously but if you stop worrying about "what happens now" and focus more on simply writing what comes next, you'll be better off.

I know it sounds hard and a bit confusing. But I have never had success without writing subconsciously and letting my characters tell me their story. I am a recorder and am simply a means for my characters to have life for a little while.

Yes, I need to know the general ending. Yes, I need to know  who most of them are and what world they live in. But do I know that character one is an orphan? Not until it's important to the plot. Do I know that there's a greater evil hiding in the shadows and controlling the baddie that my mains are facing? Not until the reader has to know. Do I need to know that the random 12 year old on the ship is important to the sequel that I don't know about? Not until he becomes important. By the way, that last one is the whole reason The Harmonizer exists.

I write subconsciously. Even if I have a detailed scene by scene plan (which I do for most of the Crime Fiction books I'm working on) I will veer off path and begin writing whatever is supposed to happen even if I haven't planned on it happening. It's the writing Zen. It's being so in-tune with your characters and story that you really don't have to plan as the plan is all ready there, growing inside you and coming out as you allow it.

Some may call this writing Zen or writing subconsciously pantsing, that is, writing without a plan but it's more then that. You do have a plan. The plan is taking its time to reveal itself because deep down, you really don't need the whole plan.

Is there a way to find the writing Zen? Yes. To find the writing Zen all you have to do is write. Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Childless by Choice

So as I was eating dinner tonight (it's where I get my best thoughts, I swear) I said to myself: "Wow, it's great eating as a single person. I can eat what I want, when I want and not have to worry about someone complaining about my cooking" which is true. I don't have to worry about the carrots being too hard (it's a salad), the chicken being too spicy (it's Shake n' bake; don't blame me) or being told that I should make more things from scratch (HA!). I can just decide, cook, and eat. If I blow something up or burn it then it's my own fault and the only witness is my cat.

As per normal my mind began to wander. It strode to a conversation I had a while ago with a religious relative who could not understand why I wasn't married with at least one kid by now. Then came the explanation: I don't want to get married or have kids. Of course, that's the wrong thing to say to anyone who's religious and over 50.

But children are God's gift. You can't be alone forever. That would be wrong," etc, etc, etc. Oh poor deluded religious relative of mine: I don't believe in the same things you do. Which is fine. She is entitled to her beliefs and I respect her for believing in them as strongly as she does. But (contrary to popular belief) I am not a horrible woman for not wanting to be married or not wanting kids.

I am simply a woman of the 21st century. We don't have to be stay at home moms, we don't have to get married, we can have careers, we can be successful, and *le gasp* we have choices.

It's not all cut and dry: find your true love, get married, have 1.5 kids, live in the white picket fenced house, and cook all day so when your manly man comes home with the pay check he can eat well. It can be more like: wake up, go to work, come home to your cat, feed said cat and self then write until bedtime.

Is either woman better than the other in those instances? Not really. It's their choice and if they're happy with their choice then it's good enough. Who are we to tell people what they can and cannot do? It's not the right of anyone but the person who's making that choice. Pressures from family, friends, coworkers, and society should not dictate who we are or what choices we make.

My choice is not to pass on my genes. Why should I allow a being that fed off me like a parasite for nine months dictate the rest of my life? Why would I want to give up the freedom of doing what I want, when I want because I have to bend to the needs of a being that's only goal in life is to make me worry? Sorry, that's not for me. BUT KUDOS TO ALL THE PARENTS OUT THERE. You folks are awesome for taking on that responsibility. Me? I'll stick with my cat. Maybe a dog later down the road and a few fish.

Of course, when you pose those two questions to said religious relative the answer is: "It's fulfilling." Bullcrap. Fulfilling is getting to laze around in your pjs all day doing whatever the living heck you want. There is no fulfillment in knowing that a mini-me will be running around until after I die then produce mini-not-me-but-genetically-close-to-mes. Well unless one of them dominates the world. That might prove to be cool. But that is not enough to sway me to produce the mini-me.

Then of course: "What if your parents thought like that?" Well, then I wouldn't really know now would I? I mean I'd still be a body-less soul hanging out with other body-less souls doing whatever souls do before they get a vessel. Don't get me wrong: I'm happy my parents made me and all that but if they hadn't then I wouldn't have known, right?

"But you'll love kids." Uh, no. I barely stand my cousin's kids. Plus, why would I want to bring a little girl into a world that pressures her to look a certain way and act a certain way then makes fun of her if she doesn't? Why would I want to bring a little boy into a world where a boy can't have long hair and God-forbid he act feminine? I can preach that "gender roles don't matter, be yourself, be unique, F the haters, just be you" all I want but that doesn't mean they'll have the strength to listen.

Why do I want to bring any child into a world where despite our best efforts racism, sexism, war, hate, famine, and all that other ugly stuff still reign? And don't forget about the persecution if you're gay, want to be the opposite gender, or don't share any beliefs with the "norm." Our world sucks. I don't want to subject a child to the true suckiness of the world. Why do I want to bring a kid into a world where we're told to be ourselves then are ridiculed for not being normal? Whatever normal is. Has anyone figured that out yet?

"You're over-thinking things." No I'm not. If my hypothetical little boy wants to keep his hair long then you're going to tell me to get his hair cut (and don't lie; I saw how you reacted to a fictional character's little boy's long hair). Then you're going to slyly insult him enough (without coming off as truly insulting unless I say something, which I will)that he'll feel like crap and tell me to get his hair cut. And I'll do it because I want him to be happy, even if he's not happy and he's just conforming to society's belief of what a little boy should look like because he wants to please you and strangers.

And therein lies the problem. I know my kids will be different because I was different. I didn't push the barriers until I was in my later teens and even now I'm not pushing barriers simply because society doesn't want me to. We can all pretend that we'll teach our kids to be themselves and be strong but eventually the need for acceptance from peers (and people in authority besides us) wears them down until they morph into something a tad more acceptable.

There are very few people who can be exactly who they want to be without fear and my genetic dice are not strong enough to produce that type of person. Frankly, I don't want to see my hypothetical spawn hide their true selves like I did for so long and not realize their dreams because of it. Also, I know, deep down, those people who seem to be living exactly as they want without fear have all ready conformed so well that they think they're free. Or they've conformed another way. I don't believe that anyone is truly free from society's rule.

"Well that's just depressing." I know, trust me, I know. But, there is one more point. "What?" Why should I bring another child into the world when one: we're over-populated as it is, and two: there are over 150 million orphans in the world? "150 million?" Yes. One hundred and fifty MILLION. So, ask me again why I'm childless by choice. Go ahead. "*silence*" That's what I thought.

And another thing. "There's more?" Yep. One more thing. "Okay, what?" If I'm going to subject myself to children it'll be one of those orphans. If I'm going to try and raise a kid to survive in this Battle Royal we call life I'm going to make sure it's one of those poor souls who through unfortunate circumstance came into this world without the love and care of their biological parents or who can no longer experience their parents' love. "What's the difference?" Well, I'm not bringing a child into the world, for one which means no over-populating the planet for me. For two, I'm simply helping a kid who's parents checked-out unwillingly. It's the least I can do for the poor kid. "You're strange." I hadn't noticed.

But seriously: I choose not to bring a child into this messed up world for the sake of passing on my genes. I'd rather help, nurture, and protect one of those kids who were brought into the world then dumped into an orphanage for whatever reason. If it ever comes to that which it might not solely because hey, I had fish and salad for dinner tonight without having to consult anyone first.

Until next time: Comments, questions, rants, rage and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 Novel Series #1: Dryer

I probably shouldn't be writing this right after finishing the book but I couldn't help it. This marks book number one of the year and book three of the series. I plan to write 14 books this year and there are 13 in the series. Yeah.

Dryer is like it's counter-parts, Face Snatcher and Hangings and is so far the shortest of the series clocking in at about 69,000 words when cutting out a 3K block I know I'll remove for a final draft. I'm not sure why it's so much shorter but it's a good thing. Mystery/Crime Fiction is supposed to be shorter. Anyway, onwards:

Genre: Crime Fiction

Word Count: 72,820 (minus about 3K for two or three scenes I'll likely removed in editing and put into a "cut scenes" file)

Prompt: Body parts in a dryer. Yes. Originally though Lucy's "Bugs" in her "Blood, Bones, and Bugs"/"Triple B" nickname was supposed to come out more but I couldn't find anything adequate about finding bug corpses in clothing/dryers/after being in a dryer for 45+ minutes. Plus the unsub kind of evolved into something different which happened in Hangings too.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, and our killer.

Minor Characters of Note: Detective Catherine Turner, Patterson and SSA Devin Howell. Oh and David Jones made an appearance. Again. For a character that was supposed to be a throw-away in book one he's certainly making a name for himself. I have this feeling he'll appear in the other books too until either dying in a gruesome way or simply disappearing, never to be seen again.

Summation: Again: body parts in a dryer. Just the arms and legs though. Yeah, it's that interesting.

High Points: I, huh. OH. James telling Turner off in a completely respectful way. And of course, James and Mia referring to McGregor as Lucy now. That means they're friends people. It's a turning point.

Low Points: Describing the level of mutilation on victim five. You know it's bad when your seasoned forensic specialist curses, has to take deep breaths and turns away from the scene.

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:

The scent was what hit them all first. It smelled like someone had barbequed rotten meat over a grill. It was not a pleasant scent but none of them would cook meat on the barbeque again. Not after this.
The woman working today screamed. The young man who had been waiting for the dryer turned and threw up in the middle of the floor. Someone else started screaming and soon everyone was running over to see what was going on. Instantly they regretted it and wished they had not picked this Laundromat to clean their clothes today.

"Dragon-God, speak or be torched." (This/something similar has become Brown's catch-phrase.)

"Get something to eat before going back to it. We don't need you collapsing from exhaustion." James said.
"Oh. Right, food. Sure. I'll have the autopsy done sometime in the next few hours. Good night." McGregor said.

"Well, let's go see another slew of witnesses. Maybe the perp slipped up." Liu muttered.
"Good luck." McGregor said.
"You're completely happy you're not us right now." Reeves said with a chuckle.
McGregor could not help but grin at that.
"You want to remove body parts from a dryer, be my guest." She told them.


"Riding around in McGregor's SUV in the snow then riding around in your car in the snow made the decision for me. No offensive but SUV trumps car in the winter." Mia answered.
"That makes logical sense." James muttered.
"Plus it looks badass." Mia said.

"That's the Mia I know." James said with a grin.

Sleep was for the weak. It didn't matter that his (Brown) eyes were burning or his wrists were numb. He needed to help them find this asshole.
"I'm fine, Boss." Brown answered.
"Michael, I mean it. I don't know how long you've been up but you look ready to collapse. Once you've narrowed down the missing person's list to who donated in May or June: get some sleep." Reeves said.

No one had called him by his real name since he'd been captured by the FBI. He had been a color or a mythical beast for the past five years. It was foreign to hear his real name on Reeves' lips but it had the effect Reeves was going for. That was the main reason Reeves was Boss.
"Fine. But wake me up when you need something else." Brown said.

"There is no physical way we can get ahead of him. He takes his victims when he drops the limbs (of the one prior). The missing persons list is useless because they're not reported missing until the day after we have the limbs of the victim before." (Yeah, that's bad.)

"So we're looking for a five foot eight white male with dark hair, who dresses in all black and drives a dark Honda?" (Yeah, think of how common that is for a moment.)

The door of 134 slammed open a moment later from one of Mia's well placed kicks. She was in before the sound stopped, gun out and looking through the front of the apartment. James turned to the girls who were staring at him in shock.
"I'm Detective James Reeves by the way. And yes, we need to talk to Timothy Allen."


"Now, when are you and Mia going on a date? I have a lot of restaurant ideas that are nice and cozy," Mom started.
"Ah, NO. We aren't going to date, mom, how many times do I have to tell you that?" James asked.
The fact that Mia was the only straight female he knew that could keep up with him and understood him was a mote point. The fact that he had no social life and would not likely find someone soon enough for his mother was what scared James more than not being able to solve the case.
"Oh honey, I'm not getting any younger."
"You're 47!"
"And you're 27. You're not going to stay 27 forever and I'd like grandkids at a time where I could still enjoy them."

"Mom,"
"Don't you "mom" me. You're my only son and you need a good woman to help you raise your kids. Besides, imagine how kick-butt you and Mia's children would be." (HA!)


"Help! Minions! Help!" Brown tried.
"Any one of you help him and I'll use your computers as targets." Mia said over his voice.

"You, this, no!" Brown protested.
"I'm going to let you go just because I'm really grossed out by how sweaty you are. If you try and run: I'm cuffing you. You're going to James' for a day to sleep, shower and eat a few proper meals. He and I are staying with you to make sure you don't escape. Clear?" Mia asked.

Brown looked up at her, eyes blinking rapidly and mouth dropped open so much that she could see his tonsils. His eyes went to James' face and Mia glanced at her partner. He had his "don't you dare argue" face on which was patent for making perps squirm. Brown sighed in defeat and sagged:
"Fine. You guys are lucky I like you or every electronic thing you owned would become an expensive paperweight."
(She's physically pulling Brown from his office as he's been up for four days straight and is on the verge of collapse. Brown was trying to get the rest of the research team to help him.)

From the scene that'll be cut (cuz it's funny):
"Weird question." (Mia)
"Because this is perfectly normal." (They're sharing his pull out couch while on guard duty to make sure Brown sleeps).
"Funny. Do you mind if I take my bra off?" (Ladies, you know how uncomfortable it is to sleep in those things.)
James had to swallow once or twice to get moisture back in his throat so he could speak.
"You can if you want." James finally got out.
"Okay. I would say don't look but I you're blind as a bat and I don't plan on taking my shirt off." Mia said.
James kept his eyes on the ceiling and tried not to think about how it was feasibly possible for Mia to take off her bra without taking off her shirt (haha). He heard her moving and concentrated on breathing.
"That's better." Mia muttered.
"Good. Um, never mind. I said nothing." James said.

...
He lay perfectly still as Mia shifted to lean over him. Her lips were mere inches from his. All he had to do was lift his head and he'd be able to kiss her. James banished that thought, cursing his mother for putting that into his head.
"Mia?" James asked.
"Shush." Mia said.

James nodded. He heard it a moment later. Brown was muttering in his sleep. Mia had only moved to listen better. James was half disappointed and half relieved.
"What is he talking about?" Mia asked.
"I think he's talking about flying hippos." James said.

"Wow." Mia muttered.
"Yeah." James said.

Mia didn't move. James was fairly sure she had no idea how close she was to him. He tried to concentrate on Brown's sleep talk but Mia was too close. He also knew she had no bra on and her shirt was stretched tight across her chest because of her former movements. James was a 27 year old male, partner or not, Mia had the parts he was interested in.
"He's singing. What is that?" Mia asked.
"Don't know." James said.
"You're surprisingly unobservant." Mia said with a snort.

"Oh. Sorry?" James tried.
She finally looked down at him. A look of realization came over her face and James blinked when she moved so quickly he hadn't even been sure it happened. (Hehe)


"Um, no. He's (James) just repeating the case information. I hate sounding like a kid or something but can you come, well, fix him or something? He's kind of blocking my way out and I really don't want to get in his way or something." McGregor said.
Mia could hear the nervousness in McGregor's voice. Mia wanted to say something to comfort McGregor but had no idea what to say. Instead she sighed and looked around the empty lot one more time...(James has a bit of a mental break)


Lucy strode into the bathroom and closed the door lightly. When she came back out she was no longer Lucy. She was McGregor, Triple B, and the Forensic Specialist working with Reeves and Liu on a case that was proving to be BAU material. (She's good at separating her personal life from work life while on case).

"He's angry, no, this is beyond angry. He screwed up, he knew it and now he's taking it out on them." James said.

"I've watched a lot of horror movies, slasher flicks, and seen a lot of really shitty stuff doing this job. It comes with the job, you know? But I've never seen anything like that before. This guy is absolutely insane." (Lucy after discovering victim 5)

"You would think I would have picked up some of your curses by now." James mentioned.
"Oh please. You only curse when you're extremely pissed. I curse all the time." Mia said.
"It's when you're not cursing that we have to worry." James said.
"Damn right." Mia agreed.

"Oh stuff it, manko." Mia said.
"What did you just call me?" Turner demanded.
"Jigoku ni ike." Mia said.

"One of these days you're going to run into someone who understands you (A/N: speaks Japanese in other words). Then what are you going to do?" Turner asked.
"Kick their ass." Mia said easily. (Seriously, go look those up if you want. I will be proficient in Japanese curses by the end of this series. ;) )


"Yeah, James. You know, about five ten, longish blond hair, glasses, blue eyes, always in suits? He's walking right in front of you." Mia returned. (Ha)

"Lucy? Are you okay?" James questioned.
"I, my head hurts and I'm going to have a bruise on my pelvis, right above the ilium." McGregor said.
"You're bleeding. I don't think you're going to be dissecting any limbs or bodies today." James said.
"I'm fine." McGregor said.
"Lucy, you're bleeding," James started.
"Don't you "Lucy" me, James. I mean, Reeves." McGregor said.
Their eyes met. James was grinning. She could feel the heat in her cheeks and blood trickling down the back of her neck. It would only slow because of her shirt where it would then gather and stain. At least she was wearing black.
"Well, your eyes are dilated oddly. I'm fairly sure you have a concussion. Plus Mia and Turner are on the way, so is an ambulance." James said.
"I don't need an ambulance." McGregor muttered.
"You whacked your head of a table and got hit by a car." James said.
(Later in the scene)
"Don't they teach you anything in school? External occipital protuberance is on my occipital bone, the posterior, also know as the back of my head. And the ilium is located between the iliac crest and Acetabulum on the anterior or front of my hip. It's the uppermost and largest bone of the pelvis. Goddess." McGregor said.
Both paramedics looked at her in wonder. Liu started chuckling but James kept quiet. He was still grinning though.
"Are you some kind of doctor?" a paramedic asked.

"No, she's a Forensic Specialist who specializes in blood, bugs, and bones. She's a good friend of ours so make sure you treat her well." James answered.
McGregor could not help but stare at him as the paramedics looked between them. She kept staring even as she was loaded onto the stretcher and until the doors of the ambulance were shut. It had been a long while since anyone had called her a good friend. (This entire scene, from Lucy's POV took up a good four of five pages and every bit of it was awesome for her and James. I wish I could put it all here but it'd reveal too much.)

He (Brown) realized the different a moment later. The people in horror films and in video games were fake. The person hanging in front of him had been a real, breathing, living person at some point. Brown closed the image and scowled.
"Sonofabitch." Brown muttered.

He would wait for Reeves to return before hacking into the laptop. Reeves was right. Looking through that kind of thing was not something a person should do alone.

"You don't owe me anything." Lucy said.
"You got hit by a car because I can't shoot. I owe you dinner." James said.
"Don't argue, just accept." Mia suggested.
"But," Lucy tried.
"Ask Brown how persuasive I can be." James said.

Mia wanted to laugh at the expression on Lucy's face. She knew James was referring to bodily dragging Brown out of the office so he didn't collapse.

"And that's why he's not."

"How do you do it?" (Mia to Lucy)
"This may sound cruel but once they reach me they're nothing but dead flesh and bone. There's no soul attached to them and the person they were is gone and at peace. I like to think that by dissecting what's left that I'm helping them be at peace. It's what helps me do what I have to do to put their killers behind bars. You guys have it worse though. You have to deal with the family, friends and co-workers. You guys go through their things and deep into their lives all the time. I don't know how you deal with it." Lucy said.
"It's nights like these that I'm not sure either." James added.


"You've picked up my swearing along with my attitude. Cool your jets, turbo. I don't think the station can handle two of me." Mia joked.

"You were right. That wasn't his first time." (That sounds kinky out of context. I'm leaving it.)

"Thanks. Also, Lucy, her girlfriend, and Mia are coming for dinner probably this week at my place. You're welcome to join us." Reeves offered.
Brown blinked before looking up at the other man. Liu was grinning. Reeves was smiling lightly. Brown listened to Du Hast for a moment before letting out a breath. Reeves' food was great and it was tempting.
"Sorry Boss, I'm good here." Brown said.
"Are you sure?" Reeves asked.

He looked a bit disappointed. Brown didn't mind. He liked staying in his office. Outside was never a good place for anyone. That was where all the crazy people who did shit like he saw kidnapped the people who were trying to be normal. Staying inside was safe.

"Our units normally work with a team of five. As you can see, my team is missing a person...We need a fifth, even if it's only until he returns and I think you would be a good addition to my team."

"Doctor? And you're single? Damn." Anne (Lucy's girlfriend) said.
James flushed when Lucy and Mia laughed at that. His mother said the same thing.

"You didn't tell me he was a doctor, love." Anne said.
"I didn't know you'd want to know." Lucy told her.
"You know I like to know everything as long as it's not too icky." Anne returned.

"Icky? You do know she specializes in blood, bugs, and bones, right? All icky kinds of things?" Mia asked.
"Oh yes, I know. She's the one who identifies the spiders in our flat and instead of killing them, picks them up, studies them, then carries them outside." Anne replied.

"Oh, work, work, work, don't you three think of anything besides work?" Anne asked.
She was being deliberately dramatic. James chuckled at it and Lucy grinned.
"Sex." Lucy said.
"I know that, love." Anne returned.
"I don't want to know how your brain works, Lucy." Mia said.


James ended the call and placed his cell phone back on the table. He could not help but smile as he leaned back on his couch and looked up at the ceiling. This was where he belonged and no amount of money, benefits or special titles would make him leave.