Excerpt from “Calling For Raine”…

Here’s a short excerpt from a novel that I’m writing, titled “Calling For Raine”. Feedback is wanted and appreciated.

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Her stomach howled with a need for sustenance, waking the young woman from a deep sleep. Even with her eyes still closed, something smelled different than her bedroom…and she remembered.
Unfamiliar white walls screamed at her sore eyes and aching brain.
Remembering was difficult behind the fog of sleep. She was having dinner…and then, nothing.
The attractive blond sat up on the mattress in the center of the drab white room. A box of crackers sat on top of a crate of bottled water next to a wall near the foot of the mattress. Next to the mattress sat an orange milk crate, with an envelope labeled in bold capital letters, “READ ME FIRST”.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Miss Kelly Cooper,
I’d like to tell you what a wonderful time that I had on our date. It was unfortunate that you fell asleep so soon. A part of me wanted to have sex with you. Unfortunately, for you, the stronger part of my psyche wanted to kill you.
I do hope that you are comfortable. Well, as comfortable as one would be in a room that will probably be your death chamber.
There is enough food and water to keep you alive for three or four days. I’m sorry that your toilet is a simple bucket, but building a toilet would be an unnecessary expense.
By the time that they find you, alive or dead (I’m really hoping for your death), I will have turned myself in to the authorities.
It’s time for me to stop killing. There comes a time that a person has to leave “The Craft” to the younger generation. That time has come for me. If you die (I did mention that I really hope that you die) you will be my fiftieth victim. You and I will go down in history, together.
In closing, it was a pleasure stalking you, and planning your death, and capturing you. You should be flattered. To kill you, I planned, plotted, and constructed a very efficient killing machine. Yes, the cozy room that you are sitting in is nothing more than a machine that I built. It’s sole purpose is to keep you alive for a few days before it begins to kill you. I promise that you will not suffer. You’ll just go to sleep. Feel fortunate that you were not victims one through forty-nine. They felt the searing pain of a knife in their gut. Or the struggle for air, when I strangled them. You will be the very first person that I killed and didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the sight of life escaping your body. That part of my career, I will miss. However, I’ll have my memories.
Hopefully you read this letter before you tried to escape. This small cabin has been soundproofed. You can yell all that you want, but no-one is going to hear you. You are alone, and you are going to die alone. Please do not try to escape. Don’t even pull the door handle. The mechanism that I’ve constructed will engage and you will be dead within minutes.
Eat some crackers, drink some water. Just wait. The police may figure it out and save you. Or they may not.
I have some things to do before I go into the next phase of my plan. I’d like to thank you for making yourself available to me. You are not dying in vain. Alongside me, you will be a historic figure. Living forever as the final victim of the Greatest Serial Killer in the history of the United States.
I am flattered that you found me attractive. I think that you would have been a wonderful and caring girlfriend.
Sincerely,
Mr. Lawrence Husted

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Forty-Five Days Later…

I’ve said it before, but I have got to get on top of this “weekly blog thing”.

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I have a very good reason…

Everybody’s got excuses, opinions and…

I have a really good excuse.

I’ve been writing. I have a goal…well, goals to meet in 2K17. My goals are so over the top I’m better served  writing than posting.

Right now, I don’t have a very large following. One day, that may change, but right now, I’m writing to you.

First, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your life to read my blog. I’m flattered and honored that you allow me to steal some of the most precious commodity that you will ever have.

Before I share some of my goals for the year, I’m going to let you in on the foundation of my plans for the year. It’s been said that it takes 10,000 hours of hard work to become proficient at a skill. In a year there are 8,760 hours. That’s me writing…no sleep…no food…no play. Just writing. That’s not going to happen. Hitting the goal begins with me being honest with me.

If I work a 40 hour week…working…not playing Star Wars Galactic Battleground, I’d write 2,080 hours in this year. I’m not sure if that is possible but what I do know is very possible is for me to write a certain number of words in a year.

Writers are measured on the number of edited words that we create. Much of our time is spent in thought. That makes the writing a lot easier. Well, at least for me. I’m not going to try to speak for other writers.

In my world, a productive day is 2,000 words per day. Sometimes, the people that pay rent and live in the tenement between my ears just choose not to talk…act, or do anything.

Now here is where my 2K17 goal really comes into play. I normally only work on one piece at a time. Currently, I’m working on three…YES THREE…different stories/novels. As far as my brain goes, it seems when one story goes quiet, the people living in another story universe begin to get chirpy.

Look, if it doesn’t work, I can always go back to working on one thing at a time. After three weeks of this plan, I’m on pace to hit 600,000 words before February 01, 2018.

Now, about my goals for this year. I think that they are pretty lofty.

The reason that I write, is to make YOU THE READER happy. I do write for myself…but I want to make you excited about the prospect of another book…or four. All released in the next 18 to 24 months.

I hope to cultivate a cadrè of devoted readers that enjoy my works. Salivating while they wait for another. It is my most ardent desire for each and every one of you to plan to spend time up in The Attic with me and my friends.

600,000 words by February 1, 2K17.

Hmmm…only 548,000 to go.

 

Here’s To Another Trip Around the Big Star…

So here we all sit. Collectively, we have all taken another complete trip around the sun. We are almost at the very same place that we were one year ago. It’s that time where we all agree to make changes that will make us thinner, in better shape, better people…more productive…during the next trip around the sun.

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All except for me. I don’t buy into the New Year BS.

Why?

Simple…It’s all just a lie.

Gimmee a minute, and then you can go celebrate your new year.

Wait a minute…there goes another one…

There’s another one…

Every nano-second bring the start of another trip around our sun. I don’t need a calendar to help me realize that I need to make some changes. It happens every day…every hour…every minute…every second.

A new year…

New beginnings.

A few weeks ago I realized that I needed to make a few changes in order to be more productive…so I started making them the very next day. I’ve set some very lofty goals for the next twelve months. My primary goal is so steep that it scares me to think about it.

But, think about it I do.

I’ll probably lose a friend, or someone will get butt-hurt that I’m being selfish, as I work on my new goal.

I really don’t care…

I really don’t.

What used to be a very long trip, seems to grow shorter with each jaunt. I…you…everyone is cursed with a finite number of “trips”. It would be a shame to waste one, worrying what someone thinks of my self-defined points to accomplish.

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What are my “resolutions”?

I’ll tell you if I make it.

If I don’t, I’ll just have to take another trip until I get it right.

See you at the same spot in the galaxy sometime soon.

The End…

I guess that the end is nigh. I see it looming over my very short term horizon. As I’ve grown fond of saying, “It’s coming like a jail on wheels.”

I’m not frightened…I’ve never been frightened.

My vacation is coming to an end.

After the glow and joy of finishing a full length novel, a trip to Philadelphia, the grind of the trip and falling back into my routine, I haven’t written too much.

I gave my brain a well-deserved two week vacation.

I never sit down and decide that I’m going to take a break away from the inhabitants that live up in my attic. If I tell them that I’m going away, then they’re going to want to travel with me. It’s kinda difficult to enjoy a good break away from the desk when room service keeps delivering neatly wrapped body parts to my hotel room. Between Chip & Mrs. Beasley, I’d never get any R&R. One of them is out killing and burying bodies , while the other is inviting total strangers up to the room for her special iced tea and bible study.

The same way that I don’t plan to take a mental reprieve from my “idea machine”, I know when it is time for me to climb those cold, lonely steps up into the attic.

I may write a little tonight…but my mind is clear for tomorrow morning.

I’ll clean out a fresh coffee mug, brew some of the strongest stuff that I can make, sit my ass in my rickety office chair, turn the music up to eleven…and wait for the shapes to slink out of the shadows.

We’ll chat…laugh…sing…and drink my java.

I’ll transcribe their tales…and in a few months, I’ll share what they tell me…

…with you.

Maybe they take a vacation from me. They need a break for the lies that I urge and conjure from their mouths.

Yes, maybe it is them that need a break from me.

I sit in the living room watching the game and imagining a horror story unfolding…when who should walk in…

Chip, carrying a few heavy, blood smeared suitcases, followed by Mrs. Beasley. She wore her traditional paisley knee length dress along with the smile of a well rested woman.

“A.L.? We’ll be ready tomorrow. All of us. Don’t you be late.” She wagged a slim finger toward me before heading up to her personal folder, up in my Attic.


The image of a crazed, gun-wielding maniac running amok at a football game seemed so distant…so banal.

I wondered what was in Chip’s suitcase?…

Why didn’t Mrs. Beasley ever let me drink her sweet tea?…

Maybe tomorrow, when I wipe the sleep from my eyes, they will tell me the tales from their vacation…

…and I’ll transcribe…

…and then tell you.

It’s Just Another Day…


I’ve got the game on…but I’m not watching it.

It’s just another day.

I smell the bird, the dressing & green beans. I’m alone, upstairs in the Attic.

It’s just another day.

My job doesn’t allow time off.

It’s just another day.

I go to work, because I love my job. I wish that I  had all of those wasted years, months, weeks, and days back in my bank account. Nothing would keep me from my “appointed rounds.”

It would just be another day.

Tomorrow, I’ll sit my ass in this chair and pray for a couple thousand good words.

It’ll just be another day.

Confession Of An Addict…

My name is A.L. Gates and I’m an addict.

(This is your cue to say “Hi A.L.”)

Maybe this will be the moment that I step away from my addiction.

Thoreau, Shakespeare, Twain, and the thousands of others had it so good. The lived in a world of quiet. No digital noise to clutter the mind from composing the perfect sentence. Fitzgerald, Baldwin, Shirley Jackson (included her first name to avoid confusion), Langston Hughes (ditto for Mr. Hughes), Hemingway, Plath, and others throughout the 20th century listened to the clack of their typewriters and occasionally answered a phone attached to a wall.

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This election sucked me in. With social media…I debated…discussed…and dissected topics, opinions and beliefs. I researched, topics that weren’t in my field of endeavor. I did learn some things…but I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.

I did try to stop…to no avail.

When I woke up at 11AM this morning, I thought that the world was different.

It’s not. It is the same world that I left when I went to sleep at 5AM this morning.

Through all of this…I haven’t been writing the way that I should because of my addiction. All of the people that are important to me are homeless. My characters need a place to live, thrive, jump and play. The time that I’m spending on social media…HELL…I’m going to say it…

I’M ADDICTED TO FACEBOOK!

Because of my addiction, I’m not building the homes that my characters need to live and grow.

I’ve still got to use Facebook to update my A.L. Gates page, but my other page is dark.

Maybe I can treat myself when I finish a book by posting something there…but then, ya don’t give a heroin addict a bump when they’ve completed a year of sobriety.

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I came to Facebook late, 2012. I jumped in with both feet. I’ve still got to keep my account open since I message folks, but I think that my notifications are going to be shut down.

Congratulations to the new President and those that supported him. I do hope that he delivers on his promises. (Except the wall. That’s just stupid.)

Everyone needs a reason to step away from their drug. I think that this is mine.

I think that my characters will have a better place to live if…

I can stay clean.