Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nine Ladies Dancing - P.J. Kaiser

Nine Ladies Dancing

My back hurts me.  I stand, stretch my arms over my head, and then settle back onto the concrete stoop.  I push myself up against the door so I don’t hang off the tiny step too far.  Folding my hands on my lap, I look up and down at the front doors lining the city sidewalk. 

I really got to pee. 

There’s that pigeon again, strutting on the sidewalk like he was a peacock.  I swear he gets paid to keep an eye on me.  He bends to the ground, pecking among the brown leaves at invisible treats.  If he gets paid more than I do to sit here, I’ll be pissed. 

I lock eyes with the pigeon.  ”Can you watch while I go pee?”

He nods.  I jump up from the stoop, fling open the door and slip into the bathroom just inside.  I hear their voices from the basement.  Some laughing.  Some yelling.  Panic runs through me at the thought of them hearing me come inside.  I almost can’t pee.  Oh, there it comes.  I button up, fly back out the door and sit on the stoop again.

The pigeon looks up from his pecking.  His expression seems to warn me not to leave my post again.  I knew I shouldn’t have had that soda this morning.  It always makes me pee.

I scan the doors and windows around me.  I catch a glimpse of a shadow in one of the windows across the street on the second floor.  Squinting, I see the apartment is still vacant, the way it’s been since the old guy who lived there died a couple of months ago.

Tom Spinosa walks down the sidewalk towards me.  He must be running late today.  Or maybe he had an errand to run.

His loud voice always startles me. “Morning, Howie. How’s it goin’, kid?”
I stand and step to one side so he can go in the door.  ”Oh, you know, Mr. Spinosa.  The usual.”

“Take it easy.”  He closes the door behind him.  I sit again.

I check my watch.  10:30am.  I hope I didn’t miss her while I was inside peeing.  I crane my neck around the side of the building.  Nope, here she comes:  my favorite scenery of the day. 

She floats down the sidewalk, blonde hair slicked back.  Her long black coat is unbuttoned; it sweeps open as she walks so I can see her costume.  I’m going to cry when she has to button it against the cold.  Pink, gauzy fabric covers her.  Her hips sway, ruffling the gray ballet skirt flaring out from her waist.

Some days she is running late and doesn’t glance at me.  Today she’s early.  She smiles at me with fiery lips and tosses her head, flipping her ponytail.  I attempt a smile but it feels more like a smirk on my face.  She walks past and leaves a soft scent of fancy perfume behind in the crisp air.  I breathe it in as I watch her continue down the sidewalk. 

Once she’s out of sight, I pull on the corner of my baseball cap and settle back against the stoop.  The pigeon looks at me again and seems to raise his eyebrows, if he had any. 

“No, you can’t have her.  She’s all mine.”

I hear Christmas music from one of the nearby apartments and recognize it instantly:  ”Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies” from the Nutcracker.  I have plenty of visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.


Chief Miller falls to the carpet in the second floor apartment, as Howie looks straight at him.

He says, “Shit.  He might have seen me.”

The Chief crawls on his knees until he is well back from the window in the shadows and resumes peering down at Howie on the stoop.  He sees Spinosa arrive.  Scanning the checklist on the table – the only furniture in the room besides three folding chairs – he makes a checkmark next to Tom Spinosa’s name.  All the other names already have checkmarks.  At some point during the morning, all gang members have entered the house and nobody has left. 

The Chief says, “I figure we have at least another hour while the group is there to make our bust.  Let’s go ahead and radio the guys to take their positions.  Tell them ten minutes to ‘go’ time.”

The Lieutenant picks up the radio mic and says into it, “Attention all units.  Operation Ballerina will commence in an estimated ten minutes, at 11:00am.  Take your positions and wait for the signal.”

Chief Miller turns to the rookie standing next to him.  “OK, kid.  Your job is to get Howie away from that door without him ringing the buzzer.  I think our plan will work, but in the end, just do whatever you have to do.  He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, if you know what I mean.  I’ve known his family for years.  I’d really rather not have him involved in any of this.”

“OK, Chief,” the rookie says.  “I’m ready.”


A kid about my age comes walking down the street.  He stops when he gets to where I’m sitting.

“Hey, how’s it going?” He says.

“It’s going okay.  What’s up?”

He slips his hands in his pockets.  “Oh, nothing.  I’m just on my way to the dance studio around the corner.”

“The dance studio?” 

He grins at me.  “Yeah.  You know there’s a class going on right now in the front room.  You can stand on the sidewalk and watch it through the picture window.”

My heart beats in my ears.  “Really?  Those classes are normally in the back room.”

“I know, right?  Well, my buddy called me and told me that today it’s in the front room and …” He leans towards me and whispers.  “They’ve got nine ladies dancing in there today.”

“Nine?  You’re shitting me.  There are usually only three or four in that class.”

He nods slowly.  “Nine.  My buddy just told me.  You want to come with me to watch them?”

I shake my head.  “No, sorry, I can’t.  Um, I’m waiting for a friend to come.”  I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about my blonde with eight other ladies dancing.

“Are you sure?  It’s just around the corner and it would only be for a minute or two.  These women are incredible in their dance outfits with their fluffy skirts …”

“Oh, okay.  But only for a minute.”  I look for the pigeon but I don’t see him anywhere.  My hands shake as I walk with the kid down the street.

We round the corner and I rush to the window of the dance studio.  Darkness fills the front room, but a glimmer of light shines through the doorway to the back room.  I look at the kid and start to ask him what the deal is.

He says, “Kid, you’ve got to get out of here.  A bust is going down.”

I just stare at him and then I hear the shout from around the corner.  ”Police! Open up!”  My eyes fly open.

“Run, kid!” He pushes me.  I stumble and then run in the direction away from my stoop.  I hear more shouts in the distance.  A staccato of gunshots.

 My raspy breathing drowns out any further sounds from my ears.  I run many blocks until I feel my lungs seize up and my legs buckle.  Panic has now spread to every corner of my body.  An image flashes through my mind:  the look on Spinosa’s face when he finds out I wasn’t at my post when the bust went down.

I reach into my pocket.  $71 and some chewing gum.  Plenty to get some lunch.

I have run and walked further than I thought because I see my favorite diner just across the street.  I cross, swing open the door and enter, taking a seat at the counter.  Sweat pours down my face and neck.  I mop myself with a napkin.  The silver-haired waitress takes my order, but then my eyes are riveted to the television hanging in the corner.

Dozens of dancers recede to the edges of the stage and one ballet dancer in soft pink floats across the center of the stage as if a string suspends her.  The soft plucking sounds come at my ears for the second time today:  “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.”  Anger and shame boil up in me.

I say, “Could you change the channel, please?”

The waitress purses her lips and sighs, but she flips the channel with the remote.

The head and shoulders of a newscaster fill the screen.  I pour cream into my coffee from a tin pitcher and stir.  I put the cup to my lips.  The next image on the screen is that of Tom Spinosa.  The newscaster says, “We have some breaking news to report…”  My hand begins shaking.  I put my cup down on the saucer as coffee splashes out of either side of the mug.

“We don’t have many details at the moment, but we are working on a story for the evening report regarding the arrest of the notorious crime boss Thomas Spinosa and many of his gang members.  We are getting reports of up to twenty-two arrests.  Three of the members of the gang were fatally shot during the bust, which was carried out a short time ago by local police.  Be sure to watch the six o’clock report for further details on this story.”

The silver-haired waitress appears with my plate of food in her hand.  She sets it down in front of me.  “Are you okay, son?”

I pick up my napkin to clean up the spilled coffee.  “Yes, thanks.”

As I chew each mouthful of food, I run some calculations.  Twenty-two arrests.  Three dead.  That leaves seventeen gang members who are still free.  That leaves seventeen gang members who will be coming after me for betraying them by leaving my post.  Seventy-one dollars.  Subtract fifteen dollars for lunch.  That leaves just enough for a forty-nine dollar bus ticket to my cousin’s house in Spartan.  My mom’s been trying to kick me out of the house for years, anyway.

I finish my lunch, leave the fifteen dollars next to my plate and walk outside.  It feels much cooler than it did earlier.  The pigeon sits just outside the diner door.

“You want to come with me?  You know, you weren’t there either.”

The pigeon twitches his head from side to side.

“Okay, suit yourself, but I’ll bet they have ballet dancers in Spartan.”  I head towards the bus station, leaving the pigeon to face his fate alone.

PJ Kaiser
© 2010
This story appeared previously in the 12 Days 2010 anthology, edited by Jim Bronyaur.

Writers Talk - PJ Kaiser

Happy Thursday, folks, & welcome to another edition of Writers Talk.  Today’s writer is PJ Kaiser, a real presence in the Twitter & blogging writing communities & a wonderfully supportive person as well as a talented writer.  It's been my observation that Ms Kaiser has a good grasp of how to utilize social media in her career as an independent writer, & I believe she has a lot to teach others who are looking to make a mark in fiction or poetry outside the traditional publishing model.

P.J. Kaiser stays at home with her two young children and finds time to write – generally in thirty-second increments. She writes mostly flash fiction and serial stories in a variety of genres. Several of her stories have appeared in print and electronic publications. Two of her stories - “The Request” and “The Foot of the Bridge” have appeared at Soft Whispers. Her story “The Turtle Dove” appeared in the anthology 12 Days 2009. “Halloween Guests” was selected for the Best of Friday Flash Volume 1 anthology. Her micro-fiction “Ditz Alert” was selected for the chapbook Dog Days of Summer 2010 – Not From Here, Are You?. She also assisted with editing the anthology 50 Stories for Pakistan, which includes her story “Arthur’s Emptiness.” In early 2010, she won the February writing challenge at Write On! Online with her story “Waiting for Spring.” She also has stories forthcoming in 100 Stories for Queensland and in Nothing but Flowers:  Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Love,  a publication of Emergent Publishing.  She can be found hanging around at her blog Inspired by Real Life.  P.J. is also the co-moderator of Tuesday Serial, a weekly collection of links to the latest installments of some of the web’s best online serials. P.J. is working on publishing a collection of her stories and is working on her first novel. P.J. lives with her family in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Don’t forget to check out PJ Kaiser’s story “Nine Ladies Dancing” on The Writers Talk blog!

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

In high school I had an assignment to write a short story.  So I wrote the story, but I wasn’t sure of the ending.  So I kept writing.  And writing.  It was, of course, complete drivel, but I had great fun writing it and I began to think that maybe one day I would like to learn how to write “for real.”  I’ve always been an avid reader and I think most avid readers harbor dreams of being a writer.

We lived in Mexico for several years and while we were there I met a woman originally from Germany.  She told us the most fascinating stories about her life and I told her she should write her memoir.  She dismissed the idea since she had no interest in writing.  So I decided to take up the challenge.  I spent a summer interviewing her and gathering information for the book and then unfortunately we lost touch.  So the book will be fiction but very loosely based on a real story. 

I decided that I had to learn how to write properly in order to do her story justice and it’s been a fascinating journey for me.  This first novel is in very rough draft stages right now (I won NaNoWriMo 2009 with it) but in the meantime I have enjoyed learning how to write short stories and serial fiction.  I’ve experimented with a wide variety of genres, but haven’t yet found one with which I want to be monogamous. 

Describe the creative process involved in any one piece you’ve written—this could be book, a story, a poem, an essay, etc.

My most recent serial story “Rainy Rendezvous” was inspired by a friend’s Facebook update.  He commented that he enjoyed going kayaking alone because it was so peaceful.  I commented that would be a great inspiration for a story…and no sooner had I made the comment than my mind began churning on an idea and within a week I had drafted five installments of a serial story. 

Recent short stories have been inspired by seeing a woman fall on a street corner next to a crossing guard, getting a pedicure, and going swimming (not all at once ;-).  And several stories have been inspired by dreams.  Nearly all of my stories are inspired by something from my real life, even if it’s just a tiny nugget of real life.  Hence the name of my blog “Inspired by Real Life.”

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process? (this can be publishing in any form, from traditional book publishing to blogging, etc)

My main publishing activity at the moment is blogging, apart from a few short stories that have been published.  I began writing in the summer of 2009 and my main focus at the moment is on improving my craft rather than publishing.  I am, however, beginning to pull together and polish some of my stories in hopes of publishing an e-book collection.

My blog recently crashed and I am in the process of reconstructing it.  So, because it’s fresh in my mind, I can tell you that I have written 71 stories – including flash fiction and serial installments.  Twenty-four of these, by the way, will not be carried over to the new blog (or anywhere else); they are being “retired.”

How has being a writer affected your relationships?

Most of my family thinks I’ve been pursuing a strange little pastime.  That might have changed a bit when I gave each of them a copy of “50 Stories for Pakistan” which includes one of my stories. ;-)

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to—if any?  This may be a “real” or “virtual” (in more than one sense) community.

I don’t have a “real” writing community because I can never seem to leave the house without my two children.  But my virtual community more than makes up for its absence.  I got the bug to write originally from people I encountered on Twitter and my writing community has grown organically through Twitter.  I participate off and on in various Twitter chats such as #writechat and #litchat and my main writing communities come from #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial.  I can’t even begin to describe the friendships that I’ve made and the things I’ve learned from my friends in my virtual writing community – they’ve been indispensible. 

What are your future goals in terms of writing?

At the moment, my goals are very loose.  I want to keep writing short stories and serial fiction as I have bits of time here and there.  I want to continue to improve my writing by taking classes and working with editors.  Eventually I want to finish my novel.  I find that if I put too many deadlines or milestones on my plans, then I get too stressed out and I turn away from writing.  So, keeping things low-key allows me to continue to enjoy it and stay with it.

Bonus Question: If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be?

Hmmm, I’m going to say a piano.  When it works, the sound is fantastic.  Every now and then, though, I strike a clunker that sticks out like a sore thumb.  I am just trying to work on striking clunkers with less frequency.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writers Talk - Caroline Hagood

It’s my pleasure to introduce this week’s writer, Caroline Hagood.  Ms Hagood is yet another writer I’ve meet in the Twitterverse—you writers out there who aren’t on Twitter, I must say you’re missing out on lots of smart & supportive folks.  Since meeting Caroline on Twitter, I’ve also begun to follow her excellent Culture Sandwich, an aptly named blog that I recommend highly.  Ms Hagood’s writerly bio reads as follows:

Caroline Hagood is a poet and writer who spends way too much time on the internet. She teaches English and writing at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. She has written on arts and culture for The Guardian, Salon, the Huffington Post, and her own blog, Culture Sandwich, among others. Her poetry has appeared in Shooting the Rat (Hanging Loose Press), Movin' (Orchard Books), Huffington Post, Angelic Dynamo, Ginosko, and Manhattan Chronicles. She has also written a collection of poetry and a novel. She's always looking for adventure, the perfect slice of pizza, and new creative projects.

& now, on to the interview:

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

As a weird little girl who thought everything should be either magical or funny, and when it wasn’t, decided to write it that way.

Describe the creative process involved in any one piece you’ve written—this could be book, a story, a poem, an essay, etc.

Whenever I’m working on anything, the equation seems to be writing with a side order of life. So my typical Sunday would look something like this: Writing with brief interludes of eating anything in the chocolate family; watching old Twilight Zone episodes; crying over little things; laughing over little things; going people-watching; reading some big book that I feel I should have read already; calling my friend to tell her something funny; and googling for entirely too long.

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process? (this can be publishing in any form, from traditional book publishing to blogging, etc)

I should really hatch some green plan to recycle all my rejection letters into something extraordinary. Yet my relationship to the publishing process remains…hopeful. I’m certainly grateful to all the people who have agreed to publish my poems and articles.

Actually, publishing takes on a whole new meaning when you start your own blog. I remember being nervous at first, then hesitantly sending my words out into the blogo-verse. Suddenly, I got to assume all the roles in the little play of my own publication. I had a place to air my interests and found myself with more of them than ever. Having a blog is like being able to place each of your orphaned ideas in loving homes. It’s pretty powerful.

How has being a writer affected your relationships?

It’s a wonder my husband hasn’t left me. Just kidding (I think). I like to think that my all-encompassing fixation brings new things to the lives of those I love. This is true on good days. On bad days, I can be a moody one—one of those horrible writer stereotypes that’s true, in my case.

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to—if any?  This may be a “real” or “virtual” (in more than one sense) community.

At this point, it’s definitely more virtual because most of my in-flesh friends aren’t writers. Of my cyber-writing-squad, I’d say we’re an obsessive, lonely, self-deprecating, goofy, excitable bunch, in love with information and putting together and taking things apart with our minds, who can take out a box of donuts in one sitting, oh wait, that last one is just me.

There’s one blogger in particular, Hansel Castro over at Hallucina, whose blog I love. I befriended him in the first flush of my blogging life, but have never met him, at least not in that boring, real-world sense.

What are your future goals in terms of writing?

Besides taking over the writing world and reinventing language? No, but seriously, I would like to be able to complete the writing projects on my exceedingly long to-do-list, which I revise in my mind pretty much all the time, but especially while on stopped subways, in boring movies, or while being chewed out by authority figures, which happens more than you might think. It would also be nice to have those writings be appreciated by the public, but that might be asking too much.  At this point, with Manhattan real estate being what it is, I might just settle for a room of my own.

Bonus Question: If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be?
It would definitely be a trombone. No doubt about it. I was never one for subtle.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Don't Fall Asleep, A Dream Assassin Novel (excerpt) - Laura Eno

Excerpt from Don't Fall Asleep, A Dream Assassin Novel

Light bounced off alley walls in odd places amid the swirling tendrils of fog. Cassandra's heels clicked on cobblestone, the only sound in this junkie's paradise. She knew her quarry heard her footsteps, but imagined his mind tried to fit the sound into his fevered dream as something he created. She smiled. He was in for a nasty surprise.

The only smell in this jumbled place was the man's essence—a mixture of onion/cold/mold that made Cassandra's sinuses ache. Doorways hung at odd angles on either side of her but she ignored them. The man she came for sat against the wall at the end of the alley, a pool of light cast over him like a damn spotlight.

Bloodshot eyes studied her without enthusiasm; she wasn't the pre-pubescent type that got his rocks off.

"Who are you?"

"I'm Death." A blaster appeared in her hand. His eyes widened in understanding just before she shot him.

The alley disappeared, replaced by a gray nothingness that swept his stink away as well. Cassandra smiled in grim satisfaction before stepping out of the dead man's head. Another pedophile off the streets, dead from an apparent heart attack.

She awakened back in her own body, superstition driving her to a mirror to make sure she came back unchanged. Angle-cut auburn hair and startling blue eyes gazed back at her, allowing Cassandra to let go of the tension in her body.

Relaxing on the black leather sofa, Cassandra took in the high ceilinged room with its white walls and carpet, letting the minimalist effect wash over her. She stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows, gazing at the city lights far below her perch on the cliff. Peace stole over her with surroundings so unlike the jumbled constructions of other people's dreams.

One of the hazards of being a Dream Assassin, she thought, having to poke around in the sewers of someone else's creations. She climbed off the sofa and stretched. There was still much to do before the sun rose. She left the house to continue her search.

Cassandra headed to the underbelly of the city. She wanted to experience the heartbeat of the metropolis, not shiny metal and glass buildings full of tourists ogling the sights. The Dream Merchants didn't work up top. They plied their trade down below among the desperate. One of them would make a suitable partner, although she hadn't found one yet in two months of searching.

The nondescript bar Cassandra walked into seemed like dozens of others—smells of booze and sweat, her senses reeling from unsavory essences only a Dream Merchant could read. She blocked them out and wove her way through the tables in the dim light, sitting in a corner where she could watch the customers.

There. In the opposite corner. Another Dream Merchant, weaving dreams for sale as she once had. Cassandra studied the good-looking man as he dealt with a steady stream of customers. He must be an excellent weaver, with a clientele who raced over to him the moment they hit the door.

She let down her barrier for just a moment and watched his head pop up, scanning the crowd as he sensed her. Good. He's quick-witted.

During a lull in his work, Cassandra walked over to the dark-haired man. "Can I buy you a drink?"

He looked up at her with jade-green eyes and a sardonic smile on his face. "Sorry, lady. I don't swing that way."

She smiled back and dropped her mental barrier, watched his eyes first widen then narrow as he recognized what she was.

"I'm not asking for a date. I might have a business proposition for you though." She walked back to her table and let him think it over. His essence was the first one she'd found that Cassandra thought she could work with. He was cinnamon/warm/lemon with a bitter tinge to it. She wondered what had happened in his life to put the bitter there.

Menace rolled off a heavy-set man as he walked in the door, his pug-face scowl deepened further as he walked by the Merchant's table before disappearing into the back room. The man Cassandra waited for raised his glass at the bartender and strode over to her table, flipping a chair backwards before sitting on it.

"The name's Nathan Wilder. And yours?"

"Cassandra Dade." She watched his expression—cool smile but alert for any trouble. "What's the story on Mr. Big, Bad and Ugly?"

Nathan laughed and relaxed a fraction. "The owner thinks I should give him a cut of my profits for using his bar."

Cassandra chuckled and twirled ice in her glass, taking in the faded red wallpaper and burned-out lights above the liquor display.

"You probably bring in more customers than he would ever see without you."

"He knows that, but he doesn't believe in Dream Merchants. He thinks I'm dealing in illicits and complains that Enforcement will find out."

"Did you ever weave a dream for him?"

"Sure, I did. He called it the power of suggestion, although he did admit it was unlike any dream he'd ever had." Nathan shrugged and downed his drink. "I haven't seen you around and I know most of the Merchants. What's your specialty?"

Cassandra observed him while he studied her with greater interest than he would care to admit. That told her he was bored with his present circumstances and looking to put his talent to something new. Otherwise, he would have defended his territory against her.

"I'm looking for a partner. If you're interested, meet me Topside tomorrow in the Golem CafĂ© at noon." She stood to leave, meeting his puzzled expression with a smile. "As for my specialty, I don't weave dreams anymore—I enter them."

Writers Talk - Laura Eno

Happy Thursday, one & all.  We're back with the first Writers Talk interview of the New Year, & it's my pleasure to introduce Laura Eno, a fiction writer with numerous publicationsher Goodreads author page lists five novels & eight fiction anthologies.

Laura Eno lives in Florida with a very tolerant husband, three skulking cats and an absurdly happy dog. She has a pet from the Underworld named Jezebel and a skull called Mr. Fluffy who help her write novels late at night. Please visit her strange imagination at A Shift in Dimensions.  Links to all of Laura Eno's published work can be found on her blog.  In addition, you can read an excerpt from Ms Eno's novel Don't Fall Asleep: A Dream Assassin Novel over on the companion Writers Talk blog.  Please do check that out!

I have to thank Karen Schindler, whose Writers Talk interview appeared here last month for connecting Laura with Robert Frost's Banjo.  The result was the following delightful interview:

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

I think it was when the voices in my head tied me to a chair and demanded a venue of their own. Since then, we've enjoyed an uneasy truce; they speak and I write down what they say. If I ignore them, my sleep is severely disrupted and the arguments become verbal. It's not a pretty sight.

Describe the creative process involved in any one piece you’ve written—this could be book, a story, a poem, an essay, etc.

I will jot down story ideas, creating a simple outline, but the characters grow rather organically from there. They have much to say when I shut up and listen to them, weaving intricate stories of wonder.

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process? (this can be publishing in any form, from traditional book publishing to blogging, etc)

Ah, relationships… First, and foremost, I have a relationship to my story. For that reason, I am an indie author. That means I have complete control and responsibility over content. My readers are the only ones judging my story's worth.

How has being a writer affected your relationships?

Being a writer has strengthened my relationships. I'm happier for having the outlet and my family can now put a label on my strangeness. "Well, she's a writer" as explanation smoothes over many a faux pas—especially if I'm staring off into space or examining a knife with a maniacal look on my face.

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to—if any?  This may be a “real” or “virtual” (in more than one sense) community.

Blogging, Twitter and Facebook have opened a wonderful world of like-minded friendships for me. Many writers are introverts and I am no exception. The online community feeds my soul and understands me in a way that I've never encountered before. I'm no longer sitting in the dark, afraid to reach out.

What are your future goals in terms of writing?

I plan to keep writing, both short stories and novels, always looking to connect with my readers. Bringing laughter and tears to those who would immerse themselves in my work is the ultimate thrill for me. It is what keeps me breathing.

Bonus Question: If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be?

Definitely drums. The beat of a heart, the pounding of fear, the light tap of laughter—all pulsating in the rhythm of life.