The Tour That Never Took Off

Friends and followers,

I was asked to take part in the a blog tour several weeks ago, but due to finals week, a class trip, and moving classrooms, my tour was delayed. Below is the report on my night life, now that my day job is no longer getting in the way.

1. What are you working on?

I’m currently working on my second novel. It is the sequel to Once in Love with Lily. The working title is Forever, Tony. For all of those who read the original and wondered, “What happens now?”, you’ll have to read it to find out. But I can tell you that there is much more to Lily and Tony’s story. Happily ever after would be far too simple. There are still many twists, turns, and secrets to be revealed.

And yes, for my GH friends, now that summer has arrived I hope to have more time for Endgame as well. I know you have been waiting “patiently” for the continuation.  https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

2. How is your work different from other pieces in its genre?

According to the reports, the difference between my romantic fiction and typical novels of the genre is that Lily is far less predictable and much more realistic than others. Some say that it is a fairy tale, yet down to earth. Others have said that it “depicts how love actually happens”. Locations are also real and identifiable, so world travelers may experience nostalgia for areas of Paris, London, and New York, yet those who’ve never been can live vicariously.

  1. Why do you write what you write?

I write what I write out of an obsession for celebrity bios and soap operas. I love the idea of the show-business life. I’ve often said I think I should have lived in New York the 1950’s so that I could have enjoyed Broadway during the heyday of Lerner and Lowe and Rogers and Hammerstein. But, alas, I was born in 1975, and I fell in love with daytime television in the late eighties, when Gloria Monty was the queen of General Hospital and the tag line for soaps was “Love in the Afternoon!” The result: I’ve melded those two worlds together and created a love story that I would enjoy watching unfold like a daytime drama (without the aliens or prosthetic masks, or D.I.D. storylines).

4. Describe your process.

When I began the adventure, I had no process whatsoever. I didn’t even realize that there was a process. I never studied writing. I never knew that I wanted to be a writer. (Yes, some people have said that they hate me for this!) But now I can’t imagine not writing. For one thing, the creative outlet allows for the stories in my head to have a place to go.

If I had to classify myself, I’d say that I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I never plan out anything beyond a basic outline. I don’t even write lesson plans on a regular basis (Don’t tell my principal I said that! I do plan. I just don’t always write it down!) I’m certainly not going to plot out an entire novel.  I do have a beginning and an ending point in mind, but the stuff that comes in between is just the characters telling their story. There is a natural ebb and flow in the action, but I don’t focus on the plot arc too much at all.  When the first draft is complete, I then revisit those things and begin to add reinforcement to the general structure. I don’t over intellectualize, first of all, because I didn’t study the craft the same way others have. Second, because I believe that the quality of the story is as much about the way it makes me or the readers feel as it is about the plot outline.

A Note of Appreciation

Many thanks to Eric Ralph for encouraging me to participate in the tour and forgiving my untimeliness. If you haven’t experienced Eric’s work yet, visit http://ericmralph.com/ By his own proclamation, he writes strange, funny things and funny, strange things. He’s always good for a laugh, a pun, or an 80’s reference. His first novel is a remarkable piece of religious satire called And God said… An Absurd Tale of Love, Power, and Paperwork –the story of what happens when God retires, gets married, and moves to Jamaica.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C334PIA

 

 

Technique, or Technically Crazy

It’s late, I’m tired, and I may be crazy, but I’m going to put this out there anyway just for kicks. Do what you will with it.

booksAs a novelist, part of my writing process involves reading completed scenes aloud in order to ensure that the dialog is realistic. That is nothing extraordinary. Many authors do it. But the conversations are often worked out in my head long before the words ever hit the page. This usually involves finding a quiet place to sit and… well… talk to myself. Now, I have heard people say that you can talk to yourself as long as you don’t start to answer back. Even if that’s the case, I’m still in trouble. I frequently talk back, yell back, and even swear back—all in a British accent. I don’t suppose it will help my cause to admit that I was born in Toledo, Ohio to parents of German and Polish ancestry.

As if what I have just told you is not enough to question my sanity, this morning I came to the realization that I may be truly certifiable. As I said before, I have to find a quiet place to talk, and often that sanctuary is in my car. So, this morning, as I drove to work, I began playing out a particularly emotional bit of conversation. I didn’t notice any of the other drivers staring at stop lights. They probably just thought I was talking on the phone. (Yes. I’m sure that’s it.) But, I did notice that about ten minutes into it, I was forced to remove my glasses and wipe tears from my eyes. Yes. That’s right. While driving to work, I allowed myself to get so worked up over my characters’ conversation that I actually made myself cry!

I’d like to tell you that it’s all just a completely natural part of the creative process, but I’m not so sure. I mean, really… I was so wrapped up in the stories in my own head that I broke into tears in my car on the drive to work. Can that possibly be normal? Can you imagine walking into the office with red puffy eyes and having to explain it to your boss—or in my case to a bunch of teenagers?

“Ms. Thompson, are you okay? Did you have an accident or something?”

“No, Billy. I was just imagining that I was a forty-five year old British woman who finds out the love of her life is…”

I’ll just stop right there because there is no way that conversation is not going to end badly!

Friends and fellow authors, cast your vote. Can I chalk it all up to technique, or am I technically crazy? Just for fun, click “like” for technique and “share” for technically crazy. We’ll see who wins.

Oh… What is your book about?

This is a question I get asked a lot. So, here it is in a nut shell. This is the pitch that took Once in Love with Lily to round two of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards 2014.

Lily Josephson is a choreographer living in LA with her long-time husband, movie mogul C.S. George. She has settled into a comfortable, predictable, and fabulously wealthy lifestyle. Thanks to her husband’s connections and resources and the help of modern technology, she manages to maintain a successful career as a Hollywood choreographer, despite the fact that she hasn’t danced in front of a live audience in over seven years due to a tragic accident that nearly left her paralyzed.

When Lily’s brother calls seeking her help with his fledgling Broadway show, the idea of returning to New York and the live stage seems almost impossible. Even if she can ignore emotional and physical scars left by the accident, she will still have to convince the cast to put their faith in her and her untraditional methods. Unfortunately, her no-nonsense husband, more interested in protecting his investment in the show than protecting her feelings, doesn’t leave her any choice. Upon arrival in New York, she runs into Tony, the one person from her past she never intended to see again. Suddenly, the thought of professional failure pales in comparison to dealing with the man who walked out on her and all but destroyed her over a decade before.

A series of twists sends Lily and Tony on an intercontinental journey, filled with humor, romance, and betrayal. Old secrets are revealed and new ones created as the two of them begin to unearth the shards of their broken relationship. Torn between the husband who has given her the world and the man who once was her world, Lily must weigh the importance of faith, trust, and commitment. She must choose sides between love and passion and moral responsibility and decide if recapturing the past is worth risking her future.

Lily cover

Once in Love with Lily is available in paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.

View the book trailer.

 

 

Bitterman, Party of One!

Recently, a fellow I was following on Twitter (who shall remain nameless) posted a comment that went something like this: “To all of you Grammar Nazis out there…if you are going to bash an indie novel for typos you might as well criticize the big ones too.” He then included a link to his blog that detailed all of the errors that could be found in the Harry Potter Series. For example, in one chapter, the snake blinks, and that’s impossible because snakes don’t have eyelids. I instantly took issue with his concept and was forced to unfollow him. Why? If you haven’t already taken issue with it yourself, allow me to explain.

First of all, I will admit, that I am a bit of a grammar “Nazi” myself. I’m rather proud of that fact, though I do find the term “Nazi” to be offensive. Not only does it refer to a group of truly evil individuals, but the term, when applied to grammar, implies that anyone who actually cares about the proper usage is somehow evil or inappropriate.

In addition to being a stickler for proper grammar, I am a lover of words who tends to choose them carefully, so as to paint the most vivid and accurate picture possible. When you claim grammar, typos, and content errors are all the same, I think it paints a very clear picture of the type of writer you are. I’m just not sure it’s the picture I’d want everyone to see.

For the benefit of Mr. X, the following sentence contains a grammar error:

If I was you, I would not cast stones.

(The word “was” should be replaced by the word “were” as this is technically the subjunctive mood, even though pop artists don’t believe in such a thing. Just ask Clay Aiken who sang “If I Was Invisible.)

The following is an example of a typo:

If I wer you, I would not cast stones.

(I obviously mistyped the word “were”. It is a typographical error and is therefore called a typo.)

The fact that Harry Potter’s list of school supplies listed a wand as both the first and last items is neither of the above. It is a content error just like the blinking snake. And for that matter, how do we know Harry didn’t need a spare in case of a magic wand malfunction? And what if the mythical snakes created in a land of wizardry actually do have eyelids?

I’ll stop there before I even get started on the fact that none of info on Mr. X’s blog post was actually original except for the note at the beginning, unless of course Mr. X also wrote the entire Wiki page on Harry Potter errors himself. I imagine I may have made a few enemies with this post already and by now some of you are wondering what exactly my point was in the first place.

Here it is:

Like it or not, indie authors are held (and should be held, in my opinion) to same standards as any other by consumers. They do not get a free pass just because they chose to do the many jobs of the publishing house all by themselves. We still expect readers to pay for indie published novels the same as they do any other. As paying customers, they are entitled to their opinions on content and quality of writing. If you’re going to be bitter because you were given a one or two star review based on grammar and/or typos, you may wish to invest in a better editor prior to publishing. What’s more, if you don’t even know that there is a difference between a grammar error and a typo, my guess is you may have other issues with your writing that could also be cause for such a review.

Having said all of that, I want to make something very clear. I am an indie author. My novel is not perfect. I found a “typo” in it myself last weekend. I’m sure there are other errors that I have not found. I can only hope that after years of work and multiple editors they are not glaring or numerous. Still, if a reader doesn’t like what I’ve written, I must weigh their comments and decide if their negative opinions are due to something I can fix or prevent, or if they are just that: opinions. Literature is about creating a story that will take readers on a journey. A good story will evoke emotions, good or bad. If my readers are moved to tears, I want it to be because of the drama and not due to the egregious misuse of the English language.

books

Yes, I am!

Author. Writer. Novelist. Three terms I never dreamed would describe me. But this December, it became official when I published my first novel. Even then, I still had difficulty believing it. But Friday afternoon, surrounded by dozens of friends and co-workers, I made my debut as Novelist Cat K. Thompson at my first book signing event.

It was an amazing event planned and executed with great care by some of my closest friends, each food and beverage chosen to pay tribute to some setting or special moment in Once in Love with Lily. Guests enjoyed quiche, Brie En Croute, and Reuben and New York Style Pizza dips. Plenty of champagne was on hand for toasting and we topped it all off with cheesecake, éclairs and Starbucks coffee.

I will never forget the intense feelings of joy and the swell of pride I experienced. And knowing that I have the love and support of so many made my accomplishment just that much more meaningful. Not only that, but now, after signing my name on over forty dedicated copies, I feel confident saying… Yes, I am… an AUTHOR!

Copies of Once in Love with Lily ready to be signed
Copies of Once in Love with Lily ready to be signed.
photo 1
Champagne for toasting… The good stuff!
photo 2
Cheesecake course! Not Fluffy’s, but still delish!
French and New York Style Hors d'oeuvres - Yum!
French and New York Themed Hors d’oeuvres

Finally….

After two years of writing, re-writing, editing, and editing some more… I’m proud to announce the release of my first novel.

Lily cover

Fans of Emily Giffin will love Once in Love with Lily, the fresh, romantic dramedy from Cathryn K.Thompson.

If you could recapture the past, would it be worth risking the future?

Lillian Josephson is a choreographer living in L.A. with her long time husband, movie mogul C.S. George. She has settled into a comfortable, predictable, and fabulously wealthy lifestyle. But Lillian’s carefully maintained equilibrium is upset when a desperate call from her brother lands her back on Broadway and brings her face to face with Tony, the one man she never expected to see again. Will this chance meeting unravel Lillian and the cloak of stability she pulls so tightly around her? Does Tony hold only the keys to the past, or is he the gatekeeper to a passionate future?

Now available at the Amazon Kindle Store! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H5DNRHS

Or in paperback at https://www.createspace.com/3937028

Endgame Chapter 3 – Apologies

Greetings readers! Here is the third chapter to my General Hospital Fanfic saga. If you are not a GH fan, I hope you will find it at least mildly entertaining.  If you are interested, chapters one and two are previous posts. You can also follow me on Fanfiction.net at  http://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

ENDGAME

Chapter 3

APOLOGIES

“Madame Devane, I assure you, this is completely normal,” Dr. Birchmeier said, dropping Robert’s eyelid and putting the tiny flashlight back into the pocket of his crisp white coat. “Patients who have been in a coma do not often snap of it as they do in the movies. He has been unresponsive eight months. The fact that Mr. Scorpio was awake at all is very encouraging.”

“Isn’t there anything else we can do?” Anna asked, sounding impatient.

“I’m afraid not. It is up to him.”

“I’m sorry, Doctor. I don’t mean to be… It’s just that patience isn’t really one of my virtues.”

“I understand that it is difficult, but we must give him time.”

“Thank you, doctor.” Anna nodded.  She saw him to the door and closed it behind him. She turned back to Robert and sighed. “That’s the trouble, Robert. I don’t know how much time we have.” She sat back down and gave his leg a gentle rub through the blankets.

Moments later, she was up and pacing again. “Ugh! God, Robert!” she said, throwing her head back and staring up at the ceiling. “Don’t do this to me. Wake up, will you? Please. Just… Wake up!” She wiped a tear from her cheek.

When she got tired of pacing, she pulled a chair closer to the door so anyone entering would have to get past her, and climbed into it. She hugged her knees to her chest and rested her head on them. Not having had a good night’s sleep in quite some time, she unintentionally drifted off again. She awoke some time later to a rustling sound, and was on her feet, gun drawn in less than a second.

“Put that away, will you?” he said weakly.

“Oh my God! Robert, what the hell are you doing?”

He was standing, or at least attempting to stand, gripping the bedside table to keep from collapsing onto the floor.

She holstered her weapon and rushed to his side. “Here, let’s get you back into bed.”

“I don’t want to get back into bed. I’ve spent the last twenty minutes trying to get out of bed. Too many damn tubes,” he muttered, tugging at the IV lines and yanking one of them out entirely.

“Oh, honey, don’t.”

He tried to take a step and his knees buckled beneath him.

“Oh, Robert…” She gasped, kneeling next to him. “Why didn’t you call for me?”

“I didn’t want to startle you. You know you can be a little too trigger happy.”

‘’Hush.”

“Well, I was right, wasn’t I? Why are you carrying anyway?”

“I’m always carrying these days, remember?  It comes with the job.” She didn’t want to get him anymore worked up with the idea of possible threats just yet. “Come on. Up you go.” She wrapped her arms around him and hoisted him onto his feet.

“Yes, Commissioner. But…,” he struggled to get the words out in between breaths, “I couldn’t help but notice… you were guarding the door.” He was still fighting to stay standing as she tried to back him up toward the bed, but in his current condition, she was winning the battle.

“Well, I know how you hate to be fussed over and the doctors wouldn’t leave you alone. Now, sit.”

He sat, but not gracefully. He still had hold of her as he practically fell on to the bed and she all but fell on top of him. Their eyes met. She could see the mixture of emotions in his, and she quickly stood back up and looked away, afraid of what he might read in hers.

“Sorry. I guess I don’t have my sea legs back,” he joked.

“That’s perfectly understandable,” she said, with a small, awkward smile.

He stared at her as if her were discovering her face for the first time, even though he’d memorized every inch of it long ago. He couldn’t help thinking of all the other times she’d come to his hospital bedside. Each time, under the threat of death, they’d admitted their love for each other, but something, or someone, had always managed to come between them. He hoped this time would be different—that it would finally lead to their happily ever after.

His arms were still around her as she stood between his legs. He watched her bite her bottom lip. She often did that when she was nervous or contemplative.  She wasn’t trying to be provocative, but it had that effect on him all the same. “I’m glad you’re here,” he whispered, taking a strand of her hair in his fingers.

Anna felt herself tense. Robert fiddling with her hair was usually a sign that he was planning to kiss her. The thought scared the hell of her, but as much as she hated to admit it, it thrilled her too.

He shook his head and smiled again.

“What?” she asked quietly.

“Nothing. You just remind me of someone,”

“Who is that?”

“A shorter-haired Nurse Feelgood,” he teased, reminding her of the time she’d played nursemaid to him in his penthouse. That time, his recovery ended with the two of them making love in the middle of the Port Charles Earthquake. Just a few months later they were married for the second time.

Anna giggled at the memory and her laughter filled him with joy. Her reaction was all the assurance he needed. He inched one hand up her back and pulled her closer while the other hand cradled her head. He tilted his head and went in for a kiss.

The touch of his lips on hers was electrifying. She knew she should stop him, but it was almost impossible to fight the primal, physical reaction. What started as a slow, gentle kiss quickly became an intense, passionate, fiery kiss that would have been enough to make any onlooker blush.

“Robert, we shouldn’t be doing this,” she whispered when they finally came up for air.

“Yes, we should,” he said, trying to pick up where he’d left off.

“No. Robert. You just came out of a coma. You can barely even stand.”

“All the more reason to make sure everything else is still in working order.”

“Robert, I’m serious,” she said, untangling herself from his embrace. She lifted the blankets and helped his legs onto the bed.

“So was I,” he said with a sigh.

“No. You need to get your strength back. Quickly. We have more important things to worry about right now.”

“You’re right.”

“I am? I mean… Yes. Of course I am,” she corrected as she fluffed his pillow.

“Yes. We should be worrying about Robin.”

“What about her?” Anna said, pressing her slips together.

“Where is she?”

“Robert…”

“Is she still here?”

Anna stared at him. The look on his face was completely serious. The effects on his memory were obviously worse that she had feared. She cleared her throat. “Robert… Robin is… gone.”

“Did she make it home safely?”

“Robert, please…“

“Anna, she was here.”

Anna shook her head. Luke must have told him that she’d gone searching for Robin after her death. She’d ended up at the clinic, thinking she would somehow find Robin alive. Tears filled her eyes as she tried to figure out how to break the news to Robert all over again.

“She was here,” he said again when she didn’t answer.

“No. She wasn’t. I thought that too, Robert. I thought that.” She balanced on the edge of the bed. “I believed Heather Webber, that crazy psycho. She told me she’d seen her. She said—never mind.  I shouldn’t have listened to her. She was only using my grief to get to me. Anyway, I came here hoping to find her—to find Robin. But… ” She stopped, gasping for breath through her tears. “It wasn’t her, Robert. I thought I’d found her, but it was just another dark haired girl that looked a lot like her from a distance.”

Anna looked down, trying to pull herself together. Robert took her hand in his. She looked up at him. His eyes were wet too. All she could do was shake her head again.

“I was so sure,” he said. His face took on a sad frown.

“So was I,” Anna said. “God, I was so stupid. I was just following a pipedream, wishing that our daughter was still alive. But she’s gone, Robert. Our little girl is gone.”

The two of them sat there with tears streaming down their cheeks. They had no more words. They didn’t need any. Anna looked at Robert, her lip quivering. He opened his arms and she crawled into them. She sobbed as he held her, finally finding the comfort that no one else had been able to give her—the release that she’d needed all along, knowing that she no longer had to bear the burden of grief alone.

“Anna,” Robert said, still holding her close to him.

“Hmmm?” she groaned into his chest.

“I’m so… I’m so sorry.”

“For what?” she asked, raising her head.

“For leaving you. Of all the things we’ve ever done to each other—“

“Don’t,” she said, wanting to ease the pain in his eyes.

“I should have been there. You should never have had to mourn our baby alone. I should have been there.”

“Yes you should have,” she admitted. “But I know why you weren’t. You were trying to save Ethan.”

“I can’t believe I fell for that line. Spencer and Holly made the whole thing up. Not just the part about him being my son, but the fact that he was even in danger, that Helena was after him. The whole damn thing was a lie. You warned me about Holly. Once a con artist, always a con artist, but I didn’t listen. I ran off with her when I should have been with you. I’ll never forgive myself for that.”

“I do.”

“You do?”

She nodded. “I forgive you.”

“Really?”

She nodded again. “I have to. I need you too much to waste any more time being angry with you.”

“God, Anna. I need you too.” He gazed into her eyes as they lay face to face on his pillow. Those deep, warm, brown eyes were like windows to her soul and in them he could see his past, present, and future. He couldn’t hold back any longer. He swallowed hard and said, “I… love you, Anna Devane.”

“I love you too, Robert Scorpio,” she said, forcing the words past the lump in her throat.

He smiled as he wiped the last remaining tear from her cheek with the pad of his thumb, then he kissed her cheek where the tear had been.

She closed her eyes, avoiding the desirous look in his cool baby blues. It would be so easy to get swept up in the powerful history of their love—so easy to let him carry her away again.

He knew she was right about him needing time to get his strength back. He couldn’t possibly prove his love to her physically. Not at the moment, anyway. Not the way he wanted to. But he was content just to be holding her, to be so close to her after all the time they’d spent apart. He relished the sound of her voice, the smell of her skin, and the way her body fit perfectly with his, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. He tenderly kissed her eyelids. Her lips parted and a soft sigh escaped. He kissed her cheeks again.

“Robert…” she said, her voice more breathy than it was before.

“Anna,” he whispered, his lips moving across her jawline and settling behind her ear.

“Robert, no. Stop. Please.”

“Anna?” he looked at her, confused, as she peeled herself out of his arms and stood up again.

“We can’t do this.”

“Anna, you’re killing me here.”

“I’m sorry, Robert. I’m sorry. I…”

“What is it?”

She shook her head and started to pace again, hands on her hips, looking down at the floor.

“What happened to I need you, Robert,” he asked.

“I do need you!” she cried, turning to face him again. “I need you… as my friend, my confidant, the father of my child—but not as my lover.”

“Anna, I just told you that I love you and you said—”

“I know what I said. I meant it. I love you. I will… always love you, Robert. But we’re no good for each other. You know that, as well as I do.”

“I don’t know that at all!”

“Yes you do. Come on, Robert. Think about it. Every time we get romantically involved, one of us gets shot or blown up, drug, brainwashed, or God only knows what else.”

“But we do get the bad guys… eventually, don’t we? Anna, we make a great team.”

“Yes, but we also make a bigger target.”

“What are you talking about,” he asked, sensing there was more to this story than she was telling him.

She ignored his question. “And even if that weren’t the case,” she went on, “I just… can’t be with you now.”

“Why not?”

“Because… I’m not available anymore.”

“I see.” He looked defeated. “Spencer?”

“No. I ended things with Luke when I found out that he lied to you about Ethan. I’m talking about Duke.”

“Lavery?”

“Yes. Don’t you remember? After they took Faison away, you came here with me because I thought that Duke might still be alive.”

“And we found him.”

“Yes. Faison and that awful woman, Dr. Obrecht, had been holding him prisoner.”

“She’s the one who injected me with—”

“With Propofol. Yes.”

“And I’ve been out ever since?”

“Yes. Duke and I stayed for a while. Then Holly came and—”

“Holly?”

“Yes. She offered to stay. I didn’t want to leave you Robert, but I had to. I—”

“Never mind, Anna. Save it. You had to go back to Port Chuck and pick up where you left off with Lavery, the real love of your life. I get it.”

“It isn’t quite that simple, but we are together,” she said apologetically. The hurt in his voice had not eluded her.

“Does he know you’re here?”

“Of course.”

“He used to be the jealous type. I can’t believe he’d let you run off to Switzerland to be with me. Has he matured in his old age?

“Well, first of all, nobody lets me do anything. You ought to know that. Second, he’s matured at least as much as you have,” she said with a hint of sarcasm, “and third, I didn’t come here just to be with you.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I had reason to believe that one of us was in danger. “ She pulled the two identical clues from her jacket pocket and explained how she’d come to possess them.

“May I see them?” he asked.

She handed him the pieces of paper and went on talking. “So, I don’t know if this is another one of Faison’s evil schemes or Helena’s or—“

“It isn’t either one of them,” he broke in. “It’s Robin.”

“What?”

“It’s always midnight somewhere. It’s a message from Robin, Anna. It wasn’t my memory playing tricks on me. I wasn’t imagining it. Robin’s alive!”

And The Award Goes To…. (If I’m lucky!)

The Ohio Arts Council awards grants biennially to Ohio poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. When submitting material for the award, artists are asked to write a short narrative of one page or less. How in the world do you summarize your process, motivation, and subject matter of a 282 page manuscript in a page or less?  After some thought, here’s what I came up with.

The idea for this novel was born out of my curiosity for celebrity biographies, my love of soap operas and theater, and my personal history in ballroom dance. I wrote the first draft as part of a challenge issued by my husband to participate in National Novel Writing Month 2011. I then spent the next year and a half working on subsequent drafts, further developing characters, adding details, and improving the story structure. Some might say that’s going about the process in a completely backwards fashion, but I am not a planner or a plotter. I am what many writers call a “pantser.” I didn’t start with a story arc or a character arc. I sat down and started typing, simply allowing my characters to dictate the direction the story. In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine I would have enough story to fill a book. As I developed my characters and told their story, they came alive in my head. Before I knew it, their romance filled nearly three hundred pages. It began as a fun little story about two estranged people unearthing an old friendship and recapturing a lost love. Along the way it became a statement about the importance of friendship, faith, and trust in a relationship. That same faith and trust allowed the protagonist to rediscover her own self-worth and overcome her fears. The love story challenges readers to choose sides between love and passion and moral responsibility, due to the adulterous nature of the relationship. Secondary characters confront societal norms and show support of marriage equality and gay adoption rights. These characters made me laugh, made me swoon, and, at times, brought me to tears. They led me across the globe from LA to New York and the on to France and England. Thankfully, my British characters also spoke French, even though I don’t! I’m extremely excited to think about readers enjoying the same journey.

If I’m lucky, the grant committee with like what the see from me. If I’m very lucky, you will too! Look for Once in Love with Lily by Cathryn K. Thompson  coming this fall!

How Did We Get Here? (Endgame Chapter 2)

At long last… the continuation of Endgame is here! If you missed Chapter 1, look for the previous post: It’s Always Midnight Somewhere. I’m also posting this story on FanFiction.net for those who may be interested. Enjoy!

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9444623/1/Endgame

ENDGAME

Chapter 2

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

“How is he? Have there been any other visitors or… anything since we spoke?” Anna asked as Doctor Birchmeier escorted her down the hall to Robert’s room.

“Mr. Scorpio is still resting comfortably, Madame Devane. There have been no other… incidents.”

“Good.”

“Here we are,” the doctor said, motioning toward the door.

“Hello, I’m Anna Devane,” she said to the tall, dark haired man at the door. “I’m the one who called you.” She showed him her credentials.

“Yes, of course. No need, Ms. Devane. I’m familiar with your credentials. You are a bit of a legend in-”

“Thank you.” She cut him off with a serious smile. “What did you find? Anything?”

“No Ma’am. The room is clean. No signs of foul play.”

“And you swept for bugs?”

“Of course.”

“Thank you. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to see him now.”

“Will there be anything else, Ms. Devane?” the agent asked.

“No. Thank you for your time. I’ll be in touch if anything else should come up.”

“Would you like us to keep a man posted here just in case?”

“No. I’ll take it from here.” With a nod, she slipped past him and into Robert’s room. The sight of him propped up in bed stopped her tracks. He looked exactly the same as the last time she’d seen him. Still motionless and unexpressive. No change, except for a bit more stubble on his face. She took a deep breath and approached him, eyes glistening with the threat of tears. She perched cautiously on the edge of his bed and tentatively reached for his hand. She gave it a light squeeze and half expected him to squeeze back. He didn’t.

“Hello Robert,” she said softly.

She couldn’t help but think how much he would hate the fact that she was seeing him like this- again. He would hate lying there helpless while she ran to his rescue, though she still had no idea what she might be rescuing him from. He much preferred to be the hero. Lord knows he’d saved her a time or two, not that she liked it any more than he did. Playing the damsel in distress was not her favorite act.

“You could use a shave,” she said, gently touching his cheek and then pulling her hand away as if she’d done something she shouldn’t have. She shook her head with a weak smile. “Well, don’t think that you can make me feel sorry for you just by lying around here looking pathetic. It won’t work, Scorpio. I’ve spent enough time crying over you in hospitals already. I’m only here as back up. Until you get up on your feet again. Do you hear me?” She wiped away an escaped tear with the back of her hand. “And I’d have sent someone else,” she lied. “But as it turns out, all of our friends are otherwise engaged. Luke has run off to look for Jerry Jacks, as ridiculous as that may sound, and Mac – let’s just say Maxie and Felicia are keeping him busy with wedding plans. And now that Maxie is pregnant, she’s even more intense than usual.” Anna let out a small chuckle. “Holly is out and about at the moment, so it looks like you’re stuck with me.”

She shook her head and took his hand again.

“I’m not fooling you, am I? You know I’d do anything for you if I thought you were in danger. The same as you’d do – the same as you did- for me.” She sighed, thinking he would even be lying there if he and McBain hadn’t come to Switzerland to save her from the likes of Cesar Faison. She wiped away another tear and went on. “I’m sorry I haven’t been here the whole time, really. Holly was happy to stay I’d guess, but… I shouldn’t have left you. Except then there was Duke and my job. Oh God, the job! Robert, how on earth did you do it so well for so many years and make it look so easy. Left to my own devices, I could nail anyone, but as commissioner, with the mayor constantly looking over my shoulder and the bureaucratic red tape, it’s ridiculous. Then of course there is the possibility that I have just plain lost it.” Anna stood started to pace. “I mean, here I am with these two clues, and I have no idea what to make of them. No leads whatsoever. I was really hoping that Interpol would turn up something. Who am I looking for Robert? Faison’s in prison, I hope. Helena Cassadine is supposedly dead. They’re the obvious ones. But there are hundreds of others we’ve crossed that would love see us both dead. Am I over-reacting? Am I, Robert? I don’t think so, but… Ugh!” She ran her hands through her hair and looked up at the ceiling.

After pacing a while longer, she walked back to his bedside and picked up the only personal effect on the bedside table: a framed photograph of Robin. Holly must have brought it for him. That was nice of her, Anna thought. Holly had her issues, but didn’t they all. And she did genuinely seem to care about Robert. Though Anna couldn’t help but wonder where Holly was at the moment. She’d gone MIA and wasn’t answering her cell. Anna held the picture of their daughter tightly to her chest and sat back down next to Robert, but this time she sat back on the bed alongside him with her head on the pillow next to him.

“Duke keeps telling me I just need to trust myself, you know? He loves me, and he means well. I know that, but, he can’t understand. It’s not his fault. He just can’t understand the way I feel. Losing Robin, thinking she might still be alive, trying to find her, only to find out my every instinct was wrong… She’s really gone, Robert. I feel like my whole world crumbled around me and I have no idea how to put it back together again. All I have left is emptiness. And regret. For all of the years I spent away from her. All of the time we lost because of the choices we made. Duke, he can’t understand it. Not the way you can. Nobody knows what I’m feeling the way you do. You’ve always known me better than anyone else. Sometimes better than knew myself.”

She reached down and wove her fingers through his, still clutching Robin’s picture with the other hand. She turned onto her side so that her entire body leaned against him and rested her head on his.

“Don’t you see, Robert? All of the stupid fights, all of tears, all of the times you’ve made me crazy… they don’t matter. I need you in my life, okay? I admit it.” Her voice was thick with emotion. “I need you, Robert Scorpio. I need you to wake up. Can you just do that? Please? Can you just… wake up? For me? Because… I really don’t know what to do without you.” Then, she finally let the tears go and cried on his shoulder like she had so many times before.

Exhausted and overwrought, she was lulled to sleep by the consistent rise and fall of his gentle breaths. It wasn’t a deep sleep, but it was better than nothing.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d been asleep when she was jolted awake by a sudden movement. She sat up and looked at him. He was breathing rapidly and his lips were parted.

“Robert, are you all right?” she said, concerned that something was wrong. “I’m going to get a doctor,” she told him, as if he could understand her. She put the picture back on the table and made a move to stand up, but when she tried to pull her hand free from his she couldn’t. He was gripping it too tightly. “Oh my God, Robert! She squeezed his hand and he actually squeezed back. “I don’t believe it! Robert, honey, can you hear me?”

He took several deeper breaths. His lips moved as if he were trying to speak and finally a sound came out. “Anna.”

“I’m here, Robert. I’m here.”

“Anna.”

“Yes, love. It’s me.” She climbed back onto the bed and knelt over him. She pulled her hand from his grip and took his face in her hands. “Oh, God, please wake up Robert. Open your eyes!”

“Anna,” he said one more time. His eyes were still closed, but a smile crept across his lips.

“Robert!”

Then, finally he blinked. Once. Twice. And then slowly opened his eyes. He looked up at her. She was beaming at him with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Oh thank God!” she cried pulling him into her embrace, still practically sitting astride him. “I was beginning to worry that you’d never wake up.”

He chuckled weakly. “If… I… had known… this was what I had to look forward to… I would have come around sooner.” He smiled, moving his hands onto her hips.

“Oh,” she smiled back, suddenly a bit embarrassed. “Sorry. I’m just so happy to see you.”

“And I thought it was… a gun in your pocket.” He tugged gently at her hip holster.

She couldn’t help but laugh as she wiped the tears from her face. “Same old Scorpio.”

“Who are you calling old?” he asked groggily.

“How do you feel?” She changed the subject. “I should get Dr. Birchmeier to examine you.”

“Who? Anna… Where are we, love? How did we get here?”

“We’re in Switzerland. At the clinic. You’ve been-”

“The clinic…” His face took on a perplexed expression that within seconds changed to alarm. “Robin… Robin,” muttered. “Where is Robin?”

“Robert…”

“Anna, where is Robin? Did you find her?”

“Sweetheart, what are you talking about?” she asked, frightened by the look on his face.

“Robin,” he said again. And then, almost as quickly as he’d come around, he drifted off again, leaving Anna staring at him, open mouthed, confused, and even more anxious than she had been when she arrived.

It’s Always Midnight Somewhere

I promised I would share my short story once it was finished. So… here is it. Only, it’s not just a short story anymore. It’s more like the first installment of a continuing saga. For those of you who are General Hospital fans, you’ll recognize the characters right away. If you’re not big on GH, I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway. As with all things Scorpio, there is bound to be a little intrigue and excitement, and hopefully a little romance. To all of my #RnA Tweeps… I hope I’ve done you proud. More to come.

ENDGAME

Chapter 1

IT’S ALWAYS MIDNIGHT SOMEWHERE

“It’s always midnight somewhere,” Anna said, as she read the note aloud for about the tenth time that night.  “What is that supposed to mean?” She stood and paced around her office, rolling her neck and stretching. There was a knock at the door.

“Come in.”

An officer in uniform poked his head in. “You wanted to see me, Commissioner?”

“Yes, officer. Were you the one working the desk when this envelope was delivered?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Did you happen to see who delivered it?”

“No ma’am. Detective Falconeri called in with an update and when I hung up the phone I noticed it sitting on the desk. That’s when I brought it to you. Is there something wrong, Commissioner?”

“No. Thank you. That’ll be all. Ask Detective Falconeri to come and see me as soon as he gets back, will you please?”

“Yes ma’am.”

The officer closed the door behind him. Anna returned to her desk. She picked up the note again and put her glasses on to examine it more closely.  She held it up to the light, lips pursed. The message was spelled out in letters clipped from magazines. No signature. Nothing. Just those four words. It’s always midnight somewhere.

Another knock came. “Yes,” Anna said, taking her glasses off.

“Commissioner?” The detective hovered at the door.

“Dante, come in please. Did you find anything new at the crime scene?”

“Maybe. We talked to all of the staff on duty again. All of their stories check out.  But one of the bus boys says he remembers seeing a woman while he was out back on break. Said it was her first night. She was wearing a housekeeping uniform. Funny thing is, Carly says they haven’t hired anyone in several weeks.”

“That’s interesting. A new employee that the owner of the hotel doesn’t remember hiring? How did we miss that the first time round?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you get a description?”

“Not much of one. It was dark. Medium height. Blonde.”

“Well, let’s follow on that. Keep me posted, all right?”

“Sure thing. What’s that?” Dante asked, motioning toward the note in her hand.

“I’m not sure. It was left at the desk earlier today in an envelope addressed to me.” She held it out to him.

“Looks like an old-school ransom note. Is this message code for something?”

“I wish I knew. There was no sign of anyone. It just showed up. The name on the envelope was typed. I don’t know what to make of it.”

“Probably just some kids messin’ around. There’ve been a lot of teenagers hangin’ out down on the docks lately pulling pranks.”

Anna would have liked to buy Dante’s suggestion, but her gut instinct told her there was more to it than that. She was convinced it was a clue of some kind. A clue to what, she didn’t know. “Joke or not, let’s keep our eyes and ears open, okay?”

“Sure.”

“It’s late. Why don’t we get out of here and deal with all of it in the morning hmm? I’m sure Lulu would love to see you some time tonight.” She put on her jacket and escorted Detective Falconeri out of her office, turning out the lights and closing the door behind her.

~

By the time Anna made it back to the Metro Court she was exhausted. She was rather glad that Duke was staying in his own suite tonight and hadn’t insisted on spending the night with her. She was far more interested in sleep right now than anything else and she was in no mood for conversation. She climbed into bed and drifted off almost immediately. A while later she woke up again.  She glanced around the room. It was still dark. Was it morning already? She picked up her phone. “Oh ,God. Midnight,” she said to herself. “It’s always midnight somewhere.” She still didn’t know what to do with that message. She got out of bed and put on her dressing gown. She found a bottle of water on the table in the sitting room of her hotel suite and flopped down on the sofa. She propped her feet up on the coffee table and took a drink.  She ran her fingers through her hair. Her stomach growled. Only then did she realize she’d forgotten to take time for dinner. “I really need to stop living out of a hotel. I don’t even have a refrigerator to raid,” she thought. She threw her head back on the sofa and stared at the ceiling. Soon a small smile crept over her face as she recalled one friendly late-night chat with Olin and Robin eating a chocolate cake together in their kitchen. A lone tear lingered in the corner of her eye.  She wiped it away with the back of her hand and exhaled deeply. She wondered how long it would be before she could remember her daughter without pain and regret. She knew Robin wouldn’t want it that way, but it was still hard to avoid. She knew sleep was impossible at that point, so she headed back into the bedroom to get dressed again.

~

With no place better to go on her moonlight stroll, Anna ended up on the docks. She was standing on the pier for all of five minutes when she heard a rustling sound behind her. Instinctively, she reached into her bag and gripped her gun. She slowly turned and discovered three teenage boys creeping up behind her in the dark.

“What can I do for you,” she asked.

“Do have any money in that thing?” one of them said, pointing to her small cross-body bag.

“Why? Who wants to know?”

“We do,” another boy said. The three of them took a step closer. One of them punched his fist into the palm of his hand.

“Sorry. No money. But I do have a badge and a police issue weapon,” she said, producing the badge.

“Shit. She’s a cop,” said the third boy, who’d remained silent until now.

“Commissioner Devane, at your service.”

“Let’s get out of here.”

“Hold it. Just a minute,” Anna said sharply. “I’d like to talk to you.”

“About what?” one asked, his voice shaking.

“Do you know anything about this?” she asked, pulling a folded piece of paper from her bag.

“Never seen it before,” the ring-leader said.

“What about you,” she asked the others.

They both shook their heads.

She eyed what appeared to be a can of spray paint in one boy’s pocket. They had to be the kids Dante had been talking about earlier. “Are you sure? You ‘ve never seen this before?”

“No, Commissioner.”

“Not even if I remind you that cooperating with me could keep you all out of juvie for any crimes you may have committed whilst you were playing your little pranks down here?”

“No ma’am. Honest.”

“We haven’t done anything! You guys said we couldn’t get in trouble for the stuff we did!”

“Okay. Take it easy. Why don’t you just hand over the can of paint in your pocket and get on home to your mothers and fathers. Hmm? And don’t let me find you all down here again. Especially not at this hour.”

“Yes, ma’am,” they chimed. Without another word they took off, never looking back.

Anna stood on the pier a while longer, looking out over the harbor through the mist. A ship’s horn blasted somewhere in the distance.

“Anna, what are you doing out here at this time of night?” She heard Robert’s voice in her head.  She shook her head with a half-smile. He was always more protective of her than an ex-husband ought to be.

“I wish I knew,” she said, as if he were standing next to her. “Sometimes I don’t think I know what I’m doing at all anymore, Robert. Latex faces, a bullet that doesn’t match the murder weapon, and just now I damn near pulled my gun on a group of teenagers.  What’s wrong with me? My instincts are… just not what they used to be. You and I… we used to make such a good team. Nobody could pull one over on us. Ever since… Ever since we lost Robin… I don’t know. Nothing’s the same anymore. Then again, maybe I’m just getting old.”

As the harbor bells began to ring, a warm summer breeze blew her hair. She smiled, as if lost in some distant memory. She breathed deeply and exhaled, then took her phone from her pocket and dialed. No answer. She dialed again.

The familiar voice of Dr. Birchmeier, Anna’s usual contact at the Swiss Clinic, came on the line.

“Yes. Hello, doctor. This is Anna Devane. Has there been any change in Mr. Scorpio’s condition?”
“No, Madame Devane. I’m sorry.”

“I see. Has Ms. Sutton been there yet this morning? I wasn’t able to reach her.”

“No Madame. His wife…”

“Ex-wife,” Anna snapped.

“Yes Madame. She has not been here in several days.”

“Oh. Well, have there been any other visitors?”

“None that I know of, though someone did leave an envelope for him.”

“An envelope? What kind of envelope?”

“Nothing special about it. Just a plain envelope with the name Robert Scorpio typed on it.”

“Open it. Please.” Her eyes narrowed as she bit her lip.

She heard the tearing of paper as the doctor tore open the envelope. Her stomach tightened. She was glad now that she hadn’t eaten or she might have wanted to throw up.

“How strange.”

“What does it say,” she shouted into the phone.

“It is a bunch of colored letters that spell the words it’s always midnight somewhere.”

Her gut had been right about this one. If she and Robert had both received the same message, then someone was up to something. They had far too many enemies between them to speculate as to who it might be without further investigation. With him lying helpless in a coma, she couldn’t afford to take any chances that he was the target. She had to get to him.

“Listen to me. I want you to hold on to that note and don’t let any visitors in to see Mr. Scorpio. Do you understand? No one. If you see anyone or anything suspicious you are to contact the authorities and me immediately, do you understand?”

“Yes, of course, Madame, but what exactly do you think is going on?”

“I don’t know yet, but I intend to find out. Whatever it is, I don’t like it. I’m going to call Interpol. There should be an agent there with in the hour.  I’ll be on the next plane.”