NANOWRIMO time

And writing away I went :). I’m taking a slight break from the grownup vampire romance to write the sequel to Little Hackers, entitled Identity Crisis. When P.J. and I first plotted out a trilogy of stories, here’s how we decided things would go down.

There are three major cybercrimes associated with hackers. The first is theft of money which I dealt with in the first book. Second is Identity theft which of course I’m dealing with in book two with androids who are intent on taking over the kids’ lives. Third is a massive computer virus.

It’s going pretty well so far. The robots are sentient beings who think their lives were stolen. Can the kids outsmart them? Yeah I think so :). I asked P.J. to create a book cover for me which I’ll post when he does.

Here’s the  writing stats so far:

Not too shabby eh? The widget will update as I update my word count so stay tuned. Green means I’ve written right on target, red means I dipped down below, yellow means I almost hit the needed word count.

Writing in the adult genre again while I wait for my son to edit my YA story

I had an idea for a more grownup romance about a widow who takes in a vampire as her tenant and falls in love with him. I worked on it a little bit today and will see where the story will take me. I have a few basic ideas on the plot ;). Enjoy and let me know what you think. Keep in mind this is the first draft. I’ll revise away later but want to know how the setup works.

Chapter One
“Tyler Joseph Mirectti, what did you just do and why I am suddenly getting e-mails from Widowed but interested in dating.com?” The flood of e-mails that Charlotte got when she first turned on her tablet was ridiculous. Why would her son even think she was ready to date yet?
Tyler stepped up to the dining room table wearing his oversized OSU t-shirt and a sheepish grin on his face. Charlotte noted that he hadn’t bothered to brush his black hair yet, but she also sadly noticed how his cowlick badly stuck up in the back, just like his late father’s hair once had. Having her son around was a blessing and a constant reminder of the life she’d had with Thomas, but he would be headed off to college in the fall. Leaving her alone in a huge house. Maybe that was his reasoning for signing her up for an online dating site.
“Did you read any of the e-mails yet?” he asked, peering at the screen of her tablet with the keen eyes of a young hawk.
“No. I told you I don’t need a boyfriend. I met your father on chance. A true twist of fate and he gave me all the love I need to get me through the rest of my life. If I meet another guy who I happen to get along with on chance, then I wouldn’t rule the possibility of dating again. I doubt I could ever fall in love with anyone else like how I did with your father, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of companionship.”
Tyler rolled his eyes. “Mom, you need someone to look after you and this big old century house that’s falling apart. I know you loved Dad and of course I loved him too, but who’s gonna be the man of house when I’m at college?”
Charlotte grinned and pointed to the huge, black and white tabby cat sitting on the window seat. “Buster.” She walked over to the cat and started scratching him on his favorite spot, right behind his ears. Buster purred with approval. “He’s been sleeping in your dad’s spot in bed for the past two years anyway.”
“Can Buster fix any mechanical or plumbing issues that may arise while I’m at college?” He lifted the tablet and pointed to the e-mails. “It wouldn’t hurt to choose one random e-mail and read it. You never know. That’s why I signed you up for this site.”
“Look, maybe I’ll find a mechanically inclined tenant for the apartment above the old carriage house. I’m hoping I will.” She’d put the ad out in the local newspaper last week. And posted the rental notice on a few websites as well. A handyman tenant of sorts would certainly be a more practical solution then looking for a boyfriend.
“Any takers on the apartment yet?”
“No but I’m hopeful. Finding a tenant who can bring in the extra money is a better idea then looking at a dating site and meeting some guy I might have to waste money on.”
Tyler sighed. “You may meet a gentleman. You never know. I just don’t want you being lonely too while I’m away. It’s been a year mom. It’s time to move on.”
Charlotte put her arm around her son’s shoulder. “I won’t be lonely. I have my memories of your dad and I know he’s looking out for me. And then there’s Buster.” She glanced at the cat who rolled over on his belly, exposing his soft white tummy. She laughed and rubbed Buster’s belly. “He’ll keep me company. I’ll be okay even if I don’t date.”
“But what if you do meet someone you like on a random way, like you did with Dad?”
“Then maybe I’ll be willing to date again. Until then, trust me kiddo, I’ll be okay.”
“All right. I guess I’ll delete your profile.”
“Thanks. But you need to pack first. You have a lot of stuff to pack but please leave Buster behind.”
Tyler shrugged and rubbed Buster’s belly. “He’s been your cat since dad died. And I know it. I’m willing to surrender him and let him be the man of the house.”
She kissed her son’s cheek. “Thanks kiddo.”
****
Malachi stared at his family’s mausoleum and frowned. The gold plated last name on front, Sturmer, tried to beckon him to unlock the gate, and slip into his old humble coffin before the dawn broke. But since that some stupid kid’s Halloween prank awakened him from a self-exiled twenty year sleep last year, he’d decided to make an attempt to fit into normal society again. He found a decent enough job for a vampire trying to pose as a human, as a paramedic. But the velvet lined coffin and cold marble crypts no longer gave him any pleasure. What he needed was a real home. With four-walls, a cozy bed, maybe a fireplace. A kitchen with a refrigerator to store his blood stash would be nice too. How would he find a home in this modern age? He turned and walked towards the cemetery gates supposing he’d have to start with a wonderful resource called the internet. It was how he’d found his new job.

That feeling you get when you finally complete a story

I started writing Little Hackers way back in November. Finally wrote the last sentence of the story today.

I had an ending planned out. I knew I needed a cliffhanger ending since this is book one of a planned trilogy. But the ending I originally planned was a bit of a downer. I wrote what could have been my last sentence and coming from a romance writing background, I needed an HEA or at least a happy for now ending to go with that cliffhanger. I think I finally found way to pull that off today.

So now Little Hackers is in the hands of my 12 year old son, who volunteered to be my editor. He took a look at the first few pages tonight and he is a little comma crazy but generally has a good eye for picking out my errors and typos. I think for my first attempt in the Young Adult sci-fi market, I might self-publish Little Hackers. It’s very easy to do these days and doesn’t have the stigma or high price it once did. However, right now Little Hackers only has a target market of a 12 year old boy who encouraged me to write this story. If he loves it, I’ll be a happy author mom 🙂

funny how sometimes teenage boy characters have a mind of their own ….

Probably the last unedited excerpt from Little Hackers that I’ll be posting because NANOWRIMO is almost over with and the story is winding down too.

I didn’t want Parker to kiss Darcy one last time at the train station. I thought way too cliche. But Parker had a mind of his own and I wrote the “oh to heck with it line.” before I could stop myself. Enjoy and feel free to post any comments you may have 🙂

It was a bittersweet goodbye all the way around at the station. There was so much that Parker wanted to tell both Darcy and Nate. They wouldn’t even be taking the same trains. Darcy was just taking the metro to get home since she lived so close by. Nate was taking the northern hyper train and Parker was taking the westward bound train. He wanted to kiss Darcy goodbye the way that Humphrey Bogart had kissed Ingrid Bergman goodbye in that old black and white movie his mom loved so much. But he wasn’t as an old pro at that sort of thing.

Instead, she lightly kissed his cheek, shivers raced down his spine at the touch of her warm, soft lips on his face. “I’ll call you when I get home. I have your contact file saved in my iHear now. This won’t be goodbye forever.”

“Are you going to break up with your boyfriend when you get home?” He hated asking Darcy that question but he had to know where he stood with her.

She nodded and flashed him a shy little smile that warmed his heart. “I am. I never loved Michael. I can see that now.”

Oh to heck with it. He pulled Darcy in close and gave her what he hoped would be a kiss she’d never forget. Urgently, he caressed and explored every inch of her mouth with his tongue. Swearing he’d never forget how her lips tasted sweeter than pumpkin pie or how her hair smelled all flowery and girly. He only broke away when Nate cleared his throat.

“All right, Romeo,” Nate teased. “Stop kissing Juliet or else you’ll both miss your trains.”

“Would that be such a bad thing?” Parker asked.

“They’ll find us and send us home anyway,” Darcy replied. “We can’t run away like Romeo and Juliet did. That story didn’t have the happiest of endings.”

“What about us, Darcy? Will we have a happy ending?”

She gave him a little smile, grabbed her bag, and blew him a kiss. “It’s too soon to tell.”

Then she walked over to her Metro platform, leaving Parker with only the awesome view of her cute little backside until she boarded her train. He wished he could wave goodbye to her one last time, but the train took off too quickly and he couldn’t see her at all through the dark windows.

A first kiss from a teenage boy’s perspective

I have never written a scene like this one before. It was fun to write. I had a couple of reasons for writing it from Parker’s POV. Mostly because I wanted to make it a kiss scene that my 11 year old son would enjoy reading. He’s not big on watching kissing stuff in the movies yet but I thought if I told it from Parker’s POV, it would be something he could relate to reading. I hope he’ll like the stuff about the bacon too because yes, my son like any boy has a bacon obsession. Enjoy and keep in mind that this is still from my NANOWRIMO story so it’s unedited of course :). And feel free to leave comments. All I seem to keep getting on this blog are spammer comments 😉

Bacon as a pizza topping, Parker knew that whoever thought that up years ago was a genius. Because as everyone knew, especially guys, bacon was beyond epic. Bacon was the ultimate treat. He glanced over at Darcy, who grinned at him as she crunched into her bacony blissful piece. Much to his disapproval however, White Queen sat next to Darcy removing the bacon bits on her piece of pizza. What kind of girl did that?

White Knight, who sat next on the other side of him, poured himself a plastic cup of Pepsi and asked, “Anyone want to play a game to pass the time while we eat and while we’re waiting for our servers to reboot?”

“Sure. What kind of game?” Darcy asked.

“Truth or dare.”

Parker grinned and set his slice of pizza down on the plate. “Truth or dare, now that’s my kind of old fashioned fun game.” Perfect opportunity to get to know Darcy better as well, if he played his cards right. “I’ll start, Snow Girly, truth or dare?”

“Snow Girly now is it?” White Queen asked in a skeptical tone.

“I don’t mind. I like Snow Girly as a nickname for my code name. And dare please.”

Dare? Hmm, he wasn’t expecting that right off the bat. Let’s see. He wanted to prove to her he was a gentleman so no asking her to dance around her in underwear, although that would be a beautiful sight to behold. But there was one thing he wanted from her more than anything else. Would she do it even if technically she hadn’t broken up with her boyfriend back home yet? It was worth asking.

“I dare you to kiss me on the lips.”

“Okay. I wanted to kiss you last night anyway. Guess I just chickened out though.” She leaned in and brushed her lips against his.

So soft, so sweet, and he had no choice to pull her in close and crush his lips into hers. Salty bacon, combined with a honeyed mouth and tongue. Oh now this was cool and unexpected. A little tongue action here. Very nice. Warmth raged through his body. He didn’t want to let her go, didn’t want to break the spell, but she stopped him kissing him and pulled away.

“Woah, okay, that was some way to start out the game,” White Knight said, staring at both of them.

Parker had to agree. And he hoped it wouldn’t be the last kiss he ever got from Darcy, but the future after they caught the hacker thief was still uncertain.

Darcy’s cheeks were crimson tinged when she asked, “Is it my turn?”

“Yeah,” White Knight replied, “Go on.”

“Okay, White Queen truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Truth … okay … there is something I always wanted to know. What is your real first name?”

White Queen widened her eyes. “Are we allowed to give it?”

“I don’t see why not. Ms. Ramierz isn’t here now to stop us,” Darcy replied.

“My real first name is Scarlett,” she admitted.

Parker was tired of being afraid to show the real him, so he extended his hand and said, “Nice to meet you Scarlett, I’m Parker.”

White Knight smiled and chimed in. “I’m Nate.”

And finally his Snow Girly said, “I’m Darcy.”

“Cool now that we all each other’s real names …” Parker paused and rubbed his hands together. “Let the real fun begin.”

 

Sharing more for my NANOWRIMO story because I really like this chapter ending to chapter seven

Little Hacker's Bookcover.

Book cover for NANOWRIMO story made by me and PJ, mostly my son PJ 😉

Darcy carefully watched Parker as he crunched into his BLT sandwich. She didn’t like the way he licked his fingers between each bite. He hadn’t changed much as far his manners went. Mike was so polite and well-mannered but he didn’t make her heart race the way Parker did. The spider incident now behind them, could there be possibility to work together and dive into a boy/girlfriend relationship? She wanted to think so, but he seemed as stubborn as she was and also wanted to be the group leader. Dad had warned her long ago to never take any pushy crap from any boy because she was above that BS. She almost wished she still had a mom to give her female advice, or that she could remember anything about her mom at all.

            She popped on her visor and her iHear, thinking the words, images of Aoife Minotti, and images of a pretty golden haired woman holding little baby flashed into her visor. Her dad had a full head of dark hair back then and he looked so happy standing next to her mom. So different from the grey haired work-a-holic Command Chief Staff Sergeant he now was. Mom looked happy too. Were those pictures only taken on a good day, when she hadn’t slipped into the depths of depression?

            “Are you gonna eat your chips?” Jack asked.

            She removed her visor, to find the smug boy in front of her extending his hand to reach for her bag of salt and vinegar chips. Darcy resisted the urge to smack his hand away. Instead she just quietly snatched them off her plate.

            “What were you just looking at on your visor?” He asked. “Going over case stuff again.”

            Darcy shook her head.

            “Watching some crazy you tube video.”

            “No, drop it. It’s none of your business what I was looking at.”

            “Ah, I got it. You were looking at pictures of naked guys.”

            That was it. She had to put the little punk in his place. “Put on your visor.”

            “Why?”

            “Just put it on and I’ll show you what I was looking at.”

            He pulled his visor out of his pocket and placed them over his eyes. She did the same. Send pictures of Aoife Minotti to Jack Frost.

            “Wow, who’s the pretty lady?”

            “My mom. She suffered from post-partum depression, was also an alcoholic, and put a bullet through her brain before my first birthday.”

            She removed her visor to check out Jack’s reaction. He quietly removed his visor, reached out across the table like he was going to grab her hand, but then backed off like a scared kid.

            “I’m sorry. Sorry I teased you. Geesh, I seem to be doing a lot of apologizing around you. I misstep because I like you a lot. Can we start over and try to be friends? Maybe even more?”

            “We can be friends. We can be working associates but nothing more because ….” She tried to find her voice, though it wanted to quiver and not admit anything about Mike back home. “Because I have a boyfriend. If you’ll excuse me, I have to use the little girl’s room.”

            She rushed away from the table, lowering her head so Jack wouldn’t see the tears forming in her eyes. Why was she that stupid? She could have so much more with Jack then she ever had with Mike, but stubborn pride bit her in the ass and caused her to tell him the truth.  

 

           

            

How Snow Girl joined the little hackers team, unedited excerpt from Little Hackers- a NANOWRIMO story

She waited till Mike was totally out of her line of vision and turned down Vine Avenue. Sure enough there was huge, shiny white limo with tinted windows. Boy Queenie sure was taking this joke a bit too far.

A window lowered and she recognized the dark haired woman motioning to her. Short dark hair, no sign of grays though she should have had them now. Mrs. Ramierz, their fearless leader. Was this truly a Queenie joke or was this for real? Did Queenie get their teacher in on it all too?

“Mrs. Ramierz?”

“Hi kiddo. Come in.” She opened the car door.

Darcy gawked at the plush interior. So many USB ports and even a few visors scattered over the seats. She wondered if it even had iHear controls enabled.

“Okay.” She plopped onto the cushy seats. Yeah she could totally ride to school in style in this.

“How’ve you been?” Mrs, Ramierz tapped her long red fingernail on the window. She always had style, such a classy lady.

“Okay. Alright so where is the White Queen? I know she put you up to this. I thought it was cool how she hacked into my alarm system this morning. But you both have taken the joke too far.”

“What if this wasn’t a joke?” Mrs. Raimiez arched a perfectly groomed brow. “What if your government really needed you?”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “Please. I‘m only fifteen. Not old enough to even start on my driver’s test yet or get microchipped. What would the government want with a kid like me?”

“A very smart kid. A girl who can decode any complex IT security protocols. Five years ago you were part of a team that floored us, surpassed our expectations. And now we need you. We need you, White Queen, White Knight, and Jack Frost to solve one of the worst cybercrimes in our nation’s history.”

Whoa, now that piqued her interest. “Okay, so tell me more.”

“Someone is stealing billions of dollars in government funds. We need you to figure out who.”

“Okay, so why us? Why the tech camp kids? What made us so special that we can’t figure out what grown ups can’t.”

“Because you kids were smarter than the grownups. You always caught code and tracking we missed. You four are the best young hackers in the nation and I convinced the IT Security Staff at the White House that you four were the best for the job. Are you in?”

“I don’t know. I have life. I have a boyfriend. I just can’t leave my friends and my dad to be holed up in secret facility like I was five years ago. What will you tell them while I’m away?”

“We can take care of that.”

“How?”

“It’s best off that you don’t know.”

Okay, her evasiveness was getting on Darcy’s nerves. “I want to know how you plan on hiding me from my family and friends. You did that five years ago under the guise of a tech camp. Dang. I should have realized you were just testing us back then. But this will take longer. It might take years to track down some black hat hacker who’s been avoiding all government detection.”

“We have a plan. What if we could give you a dopledanger of sorts to take your place? Pretend to be you.”

“Like a clone or a robot or something like that? No, absolutely not. There are some major ethical lines that you’d have to cross to let some clone take my place and robot? Plueeze and whatever. A robot could never take my place.”

“Can I take you back to my hotel so we can talk more about it? So you can think it over. We’d pay you nicely for your time, Darcy. You could have that college fund you so desperately want. Maybe even that Electric Ford Roadster you just mentioned to you boyfriend.”

“This is getting way to freaky and I’m leaving.”

She opened the door before Mrs. Ramierz could stop her and ran down the street. They knew all about the conversation she’d just had with Mike. How much had the government been spying on her?

The limo managed to keep up with mad sprint, honking occasionally. But then backing away as they reached the high school. Obviously Mrs. Ramierz didn’t want to seem like a crazy stalker of teenage girls. Darcy stopped running but stopped dead in her tracks when she reached the school steps. The robot flirting shamelessly with Mike didn’t look like a robot at all. It looked exactly like her, right down to her blonde curls and freckled nose. Mike smiled and laughed at something the robot said. He looked happy. She could never give him that sort of happiness because their relationship had been far too polite. She wanted to be jealous of the robot taking her place, wanted to charge it at and hotwire the bucket of wires and real flesh till it didn’t work anymore, but she couldn’t do that. Maybe the robot was more socially apt than she was. Maybe it could make a suitable Darcy Minotti replacement while she went off to save the government from falling apart.

Darcy carefully backed away, hoping her robot doppelgänger or boyfriend wouldn’t see her. The white limo was waiting for her at the end of the street. Darcy sighed and became resigned to the fact that she’d no longer have a normal teenage life. She was now a legit white hat hacker.

****

Mrs. Ramierz had several pieces of luggage all packed for Darcy when she returned to the limo and awaiting her. Obviously the teacher/leader had confidence she would return. After a brief drive, they dropped her off at a decent Holiday Inn somewhere in the D.C. area and Darcy collapsed on a cozy quilted bed. She placed her visor over her eyes and thought, watch Doctor Who, but even as the awesome familiar theme music blared into her ear, she had a hard time concentrating and enjoying the 3D TARDIS hurtling in front of her eyes. She thought, pause Doctor Who, and placed her visor on the night stand.

Maybe she should Skype Queenie to see if she was already at the hotel. She had no idea of how to get in touch with the boys. She thought of White Knight and his mocha skin and dark eyes. He’d been a prankster five years ago and totally competitive. But a nice guy and friendly when they talked. Jack Frost, cute with his sandy brown hair and big blue eyes, but also had a major ego problem and even at age ten he thought he was best hacker in all of the world.

And then there was her best friend the infamous White Queen. Smart, pretty with auburn hair and hazel eyes, creative as heck. They still played on Minecraft together, building worlds on their own little server. She never learned White Queen’s real name, where Queenie girl lived, or anything about her family, but they had so much in common in interests and everything else that the fact that Queenie’s personal life was such a mystery didn’t bother her.

A sudden knock on the door jarred her out of her thoughts of her friend. “Are you ready to go meet the rest of the team, Snow Girl? They’re waiting.”

“About as ready as I can be.”

She bolted to her feet and wondered if they all work together again. Five years had passed and it was hard enough to work as a team back then. She’d find out soon enough.

Darcy opened the door and followed Mrs. Ramierz down a plush carpeted hall. A cute, familiar auburn haired girl was waiting for them both at the elevator. The auburn haired girl turned, a grin spread across her face. Darcy noticed Queenie had gotten braces, she could spy the faint line of a retainer, but they suited Queenie and didn’t stop her from being pretty. They squealed like reunited teenage girl friends always do and took off running down the hall. Embracing a tight hug when they met.

“Been a long time, Snow Girl.”

“Too long, White Queen.”

“Let’s go girls. You two can catch up later.” Mrs. Ramierz hit the down button for the elevator. “The rest of the team is waiting for you. Let’s go find the boys and we’ll brief you all the case details.”