LIFE ON FIRE & Meet Anna

Summing up my novel has been one of the toughest writing jobs ever.  The details are important to me, so when I have to leave some out, even for blurb purposes, I procrastinate.  So onward, before I change my mind.

My main character is a young woman named Anna.  When I first saw the story in my mind’s eye, I was dreaming, and that dream later became chapter four.  Before chapter four, there was a lot of stuff I didn’t know, so I had to go diving for it.  

At first, Anna made me sick.  Great start huh?  She’s sweet.  Kind.  Intelligent.  Has a soft spot for animals.  A real pushover.  Up until chapter four, I didn’t have any special plans for Anna.  She was supposed to be normal, all the way through the book, but she surprised the crap outta me, and darn it if it wasn’t so perfect that she did.  But I digress.

Anna Ryan is twenty-three, just finished her Bachelor’s and pays rent to her parents.  She’s lived in Caroline her whole life and loves it.  She works at the Blake River Nature Center as the head caretaker and has a knack for rehabilitating the animals there.  Murder comes to Caroline in the form of Cutter, a Blood Mage.  He strikes down a respected family, bringing paranoia and insecurity to the whole town.

Caroline is not at his mercy though.  Cutter was followed by the Owenses, a family of Mages intent on bringing him to justice.

I won’t risk spoiling any of the best surprises, so I’ll stop there and give a snippet of the beginning.  When the book is available for reading, I’ll be posting more in-depth blogs that have spoiler alerts in them.

LIFE ON FIRE, Chapter 1.  First Kill

The thick, russet mustache pressed into a black trash bag as Cutter shoved the body of a panhandler behind an overflowing dumpster.  He had no thought to conceal the evidence better than that.  The police would assume another homeless person had succumbed to exposure and no coroner could guess at the true cause of death.  With eyes sucked too far into their sockets and skin drawn tightly over his cheekbones, the mustache was the last feature of the dead beggar’s face that gave him a shadow of humanity.
“Pig bristles,” Cutter laughed to himself.  His real name was forgotten, replaced by a menacing, if inaccurate, moniker.  He didn’t have to lacerate his victims; he could kill them just as well without a weapon, though using a knife was faster.
Cutter skipped with the buzz of another sad sack he would put to good use.  Down the alley he went, with a swing in his gait and a killer’s smile twisting his lips.
New York was a great place to hide for Cutter or anyone who left no paper trail and few witnesses.  The sidewalk was a neon rave, with countless faces lit by every color of light in the spectrum.  Cutter smoothed down his jacket front and stuck out his foot in front of the first earbud-sporting moron that passed by.  It was a young guy, a university hoodie and cocked ball cap adding bonus satisfaction when he tumbled forward.  Cutter’s gleeful smile broadened as he ignored the curses being lobbed at him and continued his momentum onto the walkway, going decidedly against the flow of people.
Every few feet he found some new idiot to send flying with a well-placed leg.  Those carriers of overfull grocery bags or those in the biggest rush.  Cutter continued his foolhardy jig, hooking this ankle and that foot until he spotted the best prize of all.
Meanwhile, ten feet behind Cutter, another man did his best to pass by in the wake of stumbling citizens.  Wendrick came closer with every step to snagging the back of Cutter’s dark jacket.  He reached out, only a few inches shy of his goal.  
Cutter closed in on the fashionable woman, a runway model in the making.  Her skirt was so strict that she took half a step in her six inch heels for every one step he took.  He caught her strappy shin on the up swing and down she came.  She fell forward into Wendrick, and he couldn’t help but put his hands up to catch her.

        “Ouch, what the hell!” she said as Wendrick’s hand grazed her outstretched palm.

~ by Rachel Francis on May 29, 2012.

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