Getting my butt whooped and Chapter 48 of The Voice In The Forest

I’m kicking my own Ass

Hi Everyone!

So, I took another position… I… this may have been a terrible mistake.

This is how it is, I need to have regular income, books are anything but regular as I’m sure you all understand.

And that lead me taking another position where I work for someone else. This job is overnight which means that I am still here to get my small one off to school in this land of zero daycare and that I am leaning into my natural vampire tendencies.

Long time night-owls, you with me on this? Only those of us with wildly broken circadian rhythms could do this and be semi coherent.

What this means is that I will have time during my work hours to keep writing, which is ideal.

Unfortunately, this also means that until I figure it all out, I am going to be spotty on socials. I really am trying to figure it out, but oof, it’s a lot of change.

This also means that I hope you can all forgive my tired brain worsening grammar and spelling here, in the newsletter, and on socials for a while.

Sorry about the gobbledygook. Hopefully this gets better in the next few weeks. Right now, VERY tired.

Just stupid

I have two dogs, two cats, and three chickens.There were five chickens, but apparently letting them run around on the property wasn’t a great idea because they have no concept of roads…

Not great.

And here we come to another problem with roads and pets.

My dogs, two labs, are lovable doofuses. The entire neighborhood knows their names, they’re buddies with all the neighbor dogs. Our house is regularly the dog party house, they come from all over and play in our yard. It’s great.

However… because my dogs are labs who love everyone and everyone loves them they have never met fear. They don’t know her.

Fear is many things, a pain in rear, sometimes debilitating, often awful, but for my dogs a little bit would be freaking nice!

Maybe, if they had an ounce of fear these two ding dongs would stay out of the street.

Just yesterday, Smalls- my youngest -was getting on the school bus and these two wing nuts we claim are dogs ran out to “greet” the bus…

So I yelled, “Tinkerbell, Bob, get back here. The bus is coming! Have they gone blind that they don’t see the giant yellow bus?”

And Smalls said, “They aren’t blind, they’re just stupid.”


She’s not wrong.

I guess this is my way of saying, at some point expect this as a theme in a story, that a character isn’t unaware of what’s coming at them, that they see it just fine. They’re just stupid.

Here’s to all of us, trying not to just be stupid. Don’t be like Bob and Tinkerbell.

With that in mind, let me say something that I didn’t think needed to be said, but has been all over the place buzzing around lately.

Just because it is in my books, or will be, or is a theme that I explore in some way at sometime does NOT mean that I necessarily approve of them.

How did we get here that people think this, honestly?

Because here’s the thing, at some point I will explore the effects of sexual assault on someone because I, myself, am a survivor. Trust me, please, I would rather bury my assaulter under the prison than ever say what he did was okay.

So, let’s agree to understand that sometimes we as writers explore things in our work for the same reasons that readers do. Between the pages of a book is a safe, private place to look some demons in the eye.

Also, I am aware that Cinder kills people, is good at it, and likes it. I am aware that some people might think she’s unhinged for it not affecting her that much anymore.

The thing is, though, she started this as a child. I made the choice to write her as someone who had long since shoved some ugliness away from her for good.

Do I think it’s healthy? No. Would I suggest we all grab a sword to solve our problems? Also no… I mean, sometimes.

But that’s the thing! That little piece of me that would love to get five minutes alone with a certain person while they were tied to a chair and I had a blade is in Cinder, but bigger and badder, and way more fun.

And that’s what books give us.

So, let’s please not assume that because someone reads a certain kind of book or writes a certain kind of book that any of us know what they really think.

When there is an exception to this, I will tell you.

You all know I support Goldie’s right to make her own decision in Cultivating Marigold. You also all know that the Comfort Food Romances are because I want to see more LGBTQIA hallmarkian romances without trauma. Because everyone deserves that.

I think we all know that I talk far too much to keep ALL my options to myself. Especially when it comes to books. 😉

The Voice In The Forest

Chapter 48

“Please excuse me,” I said, my voice thin, my hand tight in Montgomery’s as I stared at the ground under my dark glasses instead of into the eyes of anyone here, “Today has been difficult.”

“Of course,” Trenton said with an awkward pat on my shoulder.

I nodded to him and took a step to leave.

“Arabella,” Henry said, drawing my eyes and a sigh at the same time as I paused in my hasty attempt to hide from all these people.

“Yes?” I asked, trying for something nearing strong in my grief, not someone to be overly concerned about, and just managing to sound exhausted.

He looks around, his mouth falling into a line, “There is much to discuss soon, would you be available later?”

Much to discuss… what was he talking about?

“Whatever you need,” I said with a nod and I hurried my steps away before he pulled me back to this horrible day against my will.

No matter how far I got across the yard, I worried he would run after me at any second and drag me back for his little chat.

“I believe,” Montgomery said, once we were in the house, “he wants to read you the will.”

“Ugh.” It wouldn’t be the first time Henry wanted to talk to me about the particulars of the house, or my mother, the will, whatever.

So far, begging off in favor of planning the funeral worked to keep me out of his office. But I knew the time was fast running out that I could avoid making some decisions.

The house was coming to me. I knew that much.

But what did that mean now?

Trenton was still alive. My mother was gone.

“My…” I couldn’t say it out loud. Not again. The words clogged in my throat.

“I know, Love,” Montgomery said, running a thumb along the back of my hand as he continued to support me.

Looking into his eyes, I believed him.

Somehow, this man who wasn’t even alive knew that talking about this was a struggle and that it would smack me in the back of my head every so often with the force of my mother’s considerable will.

Meanwhile, all the living people I knew, didn’t seem to understand that I wasn’t up for their version of grieving.

Their version amounted to engaging in wild speculations that made me want to shove them into the lake.

“What was she doing out there?” I asked him for the thousandth time.

And just like all the times before, all he could do was shake his head.

It was the head shake, subdued and sad with expectation at the edges of his eyes that reminded me of the other problem all this had put off and that we needed to tackle as soon as possible.

“Tonight,” I whispered as we made it to the silent and vacant second story, “I need to go look at the casket they found.”

“No, Ara,” he said, whipping his head to look me in the eyes.

“Yes,” I said, “It’s time.”

He opened his mouth like he was going to say something, but looked up again and angled us toward my room.

Even if he didn’t want to go look, which was odd because he did before, for some reason it seemed right that I needed to.

Finally, we made it inside my room and he swung the door shut as I made my way to the bed and collapsed against it, the events of the last couple days weighing on me more than the physical exertion of rebuilding myself after my injuries.

“Ara,” he said, coming to my side and curling up with me, allowing me to lay my head on his chest on the bed, “what if we look and that’s what takes me away from here. Away from you.”

I couldn’t stop myself from gripping his shirt in my hand, my want to keep him manifesting in my body no matter how much I wanted to keep him from knowing how much it bothered me to think about him leaving.

“No matter what, I need to look.” I believed that with the same force I wanted to hold onto him.

“But how will I leave you? Especially now?”

He leaned down and kissed my head, holding my tighter.

“Montgomery.” I didn’t know what else to say, what else there was to say that wasn’t a lie or wouldn’t make him feel worse. The last thing I wanted to do was make him feel bad.

“Whatever happens after this, whatever exists of us, and whatever life looks like, I know that wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for leaving you right now.”

Now it was my turn, I tilted my head back and looked into his eyes, wondering why it was that now I would finally find someone like him, finally understand what he meant to me, and be in a position where I was still a burden to someone I loved.

“Maybe…” My mind whirled with some way that I could try and keep him with me just a little longer and still do this, for him. Because he was supposed to leave. He wasn’t supposed to stay. No matter how much I wanted him to.

“Maybe, what?” He asked, and I stretched up to kiss him, our lips meeting in a soft and tired kiss.

Even as his mouth moved over mine, there was a heaviness to the light kisses, weighed down with the facts of our world and the impossibility of the way my heart grew gossamer wings and fluttered through my body at his soft lips.

Pulling back from him, he put a hand to my cheek, his smile a tragedy draped in beauty and his reflecting the love I had for him back at me.

“Maybe you should just stay here while I go see what I can do for you.” And maybe, just maybe, that way I could learn something to help him.

The question still remained in my mind, would I tell him if I did find a way to send him onto the next life?

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