Welcome to the 2019 version of the A to Z Challenge. I must’ve been asleep at the switch the last few days because I missed the original sign-up, so here I am, a day late and a dollar short as they say. So, to catch up, you get two posts today. This year, all of my posts will relate directly to my novels currently available on Amazon.
Let’s start with A
Among other things, A is for Amazon, the largest online e-book publisher and retailer. With the exception of one or two of my novels, I now self-publish my books, and I do so on the Amazon platform. I also participate in the Kindle Unlimited program, where , for a monthly fee, people can read my books without purchasing them. I get paid a small amount per page read, but those amounts add up over time. For me, Amazon works. It’s like one-stop shopping. I upload both the electronic and the formatted paperback versions of my books and Amazon does the rest.
So now for A from one of my novels: Achluophobia, fear of darkness, also known as Myctophobia, Nyctophobia, Lygophobia and Scotophobia.
In The White Lily, The Harvester Files, Book Two available next week, Lilith suffers from Achluophobia. After an incident five years previously, when she was tortured and left alone in the dark for hours on end, she can’t handle dark places. A few years ago, there was a television show on that was called, Are You Afraid of the Dark? Many people are but to a lesser degree. I for one don’t like going into dark, unknown places, and yet I can’t sleep properly unless the room is as dark as I can make it.
Here’s a brief look at why Lilith fears the dark.
Exhausted, thirsty, beaten, and tortured so badly her body was a mass of agonizing cuts and bruises, Lilith hung from the cold basement wall, her arms extended, shackled by her wrists as were her ankles, in a barbaric recreation of a crucifixion. Her legs wouldn’t be able to support her weight much longer, and if she passed out … Her shoulders would separate, tearing the muscle from the bone and the pain would increase exponentially. With her arms ripped from their sockets, her chest would sag, stretched to its full extent, and she’d inhale until her lungs were fully expanded, and then, unable to exhale because her muscles couldn’t function in that position, she would slowly suffocate. The irony of this method of torture wasn’t lost on her.
How long had she been in here? Minutes? Hours? Days? The total darkness of the grave surrounded her. She was going to die—of that she had no doubt—just like Turner had died before her. Had he been crucified to this wall? Was his blood embedded in the stone behind her? Had it pooled at his feet like hers was doing? What had killed him? Exsanguination from his wounds or had he willed himself to die?
Now, after an experience like that one, wouldn’t you be afraid of the dark?
And to get caught up and up to date, let’s have a look at B
B is for Books. I can’;t remember how old I was when I first fell in love with books. Because I was a sickly child with undiagnosed allergies and asthma, I spent a lot of time sick in bed, and filled the hours with graphic novels–comic books as we called them back then, and regular novels. I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew. That could be why when I decided to write books instead of just reading them, I opted to include mystery and suspense in everything I wrote, regardless of its particular genre.
Have you ever suffered from the blues, that my life sucks feeling and there’s nothing you can do about it? In Wedding Bell Blues, that’s exactly how MJ feels after she finds her fiance with another woman and cancels the wedding. What does she do? Crawl in a corner and cry about it? No, she decides to move on–with the honeymoon anyway.
Take a peek at how well her best friend, Carla, reacts to MJ’s decision:
MJ licked her lips. “I’m taking a vacation before I move here.”
“You are?” Carla asked, her face suddenly animated. “I wondered when you said the end of July because I thought you were leaving next week. Well, I hope you’re going to one of those hedonistic places where gorgeous men wait on you hand and foot. There’s bound to be some hunk there who’ll make your body sing. I can’t see Mark ringing too many of your bells in the sack.”
MJ swallowed. “Don’t be crude. Actually, Mark has a lot to do with where I’m going.” She took a deep breath and stared at the road ahead. “I’m going on my honeymoon, and there’s absolutely nothing you can say that will change my mind.”
Carla opened and closed her mouth several times, but no sound came out, reminding MJ of a fish in an aquarium.
“Oh my God! Marilyn Jean Summers, you’re insane.”
The shrill pitch of Carla’s voice made her ears ache, and MJ winced. She’d known her best friend would make a big deal of it which is why she’d waited until now to bring it up, but someone had to know where she was going in case of an emergency.
“First this crazy move, then agreeing to stay in a tawdry motel, and now this?” Carla shook her head side to side hard enough to give herself whiplash. “You’ve gone over the edge. You can’t go on a honeymoon—you’re not getting married—and you certainly can’t go on a honeymoon by yourself,” she cried.
“Why not?” MJ asked, suddenly calmer than she’d been all day. “Lord knows it’s cost me more than anyone can imagine. Besides, a honeymoon is just a criminally expensive vacation, and I paid for the damn thing; ergo, I’m going. I’ve had enough disappointment to last me a lifetime. I’m not giving up anything else.” She signaled and turned into the hotel parking lot.
“You do realize you’ll be on a plane alone,” Carla said, undoing her seatbelt as MJ parked the vehicle.
“I’ve been on planes by myself and survived,” MJ mumbled. Why did Carla always have to hit on the sore spots?
“Don’t you realize how dangerous it is for a woman to travel alone, especially to some unknown island in the middle of nowhere?”
“It’s in the Caribbean, near Martinique, subject to all French laws and customs.” She popped the trunk.
“What if you break a law?” Carla asked. “You could end up on Devil’s Island.”
MJ laughed and got out of the vehicle.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, huffing out a breath. “That penal colony closed almost sixty years ago.”
Carla hurried out of the car.
“Fine, but with your complexion, you’ll fry, or someone will mistake you for a zombie. They practice voodoo down there. You could wake up with a stake in your heart.”
If you would like to check out more A to Z bloggers, here’s the master list!