Last year was my first attempt at this Herculean effort. I know some of my fellow writers (yes, Ms. Jamieson, you) have magic fingers that fly across the keyboard when they're on a roll, but I'm a much slower writer. Whether it's my internal editor (whom I like) or my internal critic (who can STFU, TYVM) competing with the muse, something slows me down.
Except during NaNo. Knowing that I have to write so quickly suddenly makes it ok to not have every sentence perfectly crafted in the first draft. And the solidarity of other writers doing the very same thing makes it almost bearable to leave alone all those mistakes I catch from the corner of my eye--after all, that's what the editing process is for.
Come November 30th, I hope I'll be celebrating victory. If not, well, there's always next year. For now, I'll satisfy myself by keeping my butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard, and celebrating other successes.
My second novella, "Lawful Pleasures," is out now from Parker Publishing. I wrote this story before my internal critic had truly developed her voice. When I first started writing, the words flowed more easily because I wasn't aware of things like "showing, not telling," "too much backstory," or "headhopping." After sitting under my virtual bed for almost a year, during which I studiously absorbed as much writing advice as possible, I edited the heck out of it and it found a happy home.
So here's to NaNo and channeling that early, naive writer--and to the editing faeries who make first drafts readable.
Detective Dario Martoni was so fuckin' tired of dumb broads. He was hauling ass to a North Hollywood condo where some idiot had just contaminated a crime scene, trying to play Xena. Evidently this chick’s place had been broken into, but instead of waiting for the police like any sane person would have, she’d stormed in wielding a bat and an attitude.
And if it had been any normal B&E, maybe her actions could have been excused—maybe. But this wasn’t some punk looking for petty cash and electronics to pawn. It was La Hermanidad del Diablo, according to the threat painted onto her bedroom wall. That kicked his protective instincts into high gear; Hermanos was known for its all-action-no-talk way of doing business, and since they controlled most of the LA drug trade, Dario knew them like he was a member. He snorted at the irony.
He was already on edge from the gang violence that had escalated then disappeared a few months ago. As a narcotics detective, he’d been up to his eyeballs in punk-ass dealers shooting each other up over drugs and turf wars, the likes of which he hadn’t seen since last decade when Hermanos took over their competition. He had a gut feeling that they were behind the new violence; he just hadn’t found evidence to back him up yet. Yet. Not to mention that the sudden lull in crime didn’t convince him the fighting was over. Oh, no fucking way. There was something big going on, and until he had more than bits and pieces of the picture, Dario would stay on high alert.
He arrived on the scene, which painted blue and red with the squad car lights. Neighbors dressed in pajamas gathered around the yellow caution tape that barred the path leading to the Delgado chick’s door. Luckily, no news vans had gotten there. That was a goatfuck he wasn’t ready to deal with. They'd be there eventually, but at least he wasn't being harassed with questions. Dario Martoni was not a people person.
He flashed his badge to the cop guarding the tape before ducking under and stalking to the open condo door. Dario, as a detective, was now the ranking officer on site. One of the original men on scene, a newbie grunt getting his first taste of cop life, scampered over to give Dario the rundown of events. God, had he ever been that green? That excited to be riding the streets and “fighting crime”? Fifteen years after his first day as a cop, Dario honestly couldn’t remember.
“Detective Martoni, the victim, Lia Delgado, arrived home around six to find her door unlocked. She said when she turned the lock, she realized there must've been a break-in and called the police.” The rookie looked at him incredulously and continued, “Then she grabbed her bat from the garage instead of staying on the line with the 911 operator as she should have.” Women. Dario rolled his eyes. He bet this Delgado woman was some psycho new-age broad who thought men were all knuckle-dragging idiots trying to repress feminine power or some shit. At least that’s what his littlest sister, the feminist, kept telling him. He rolled his eyes again for good measure and steeled himself to deal with this nutcase.
“I got it from here, kid. Which way is she?” The rookie simply pointed down the hallway branching off of the small living room. “She’s that way,” the kid muttered, “and hopefully you can talk more sense into her than the rest of us.”
He took in the scene as he headed to the back rooms. Her couch cushions had been shredded, tables and chairs overturned. Red paint covered the walls in bloody streaks. The first door on the right held an office—chair overturned and papers strewn across the floor.
Dario stopped cold in the doorway of the last room—her bedroom. The roundest, most delightfully luscious ass was presented to him as a woman bent over to dig through the bottom drawer of an armoire. Hot damn, she had JUICY written across her backside in cotton-candy pink. He bet she tasted like cotton candy…Dario’s mind wandered while keen eyes took in curve upon curve encased in sweatpants, bare feet, and—oh, hell—lingerie spilling out from the open drawer. The tips of her curly dark brown hair danced amid the thongs and boyshorts and bras and teddies he could spy peeking out from the mass of sexy underthings. The lacy barely-there wisps of fabric sent blood rushing away from his head, to places best left forgotten during a crime scene investigation. Damn, he could just imagine her ass framed by that little pink number, rounded cheeks peeking out from the lace edges. Her legs would stretch for miles, and her ass would overfill his greedy palms. If this was Lia Delgado, he was in trouble.
Semi-incoherent rambling jarred Dario from his fantasies. “Good-for-nothing pendejos… think they’re hot shit, don’t they… my fucking condo, my home… dumbass kids…At least they didn't fuck with my lingerie...” That woman had a dirty mouth on her. It shouldn’t have turned him on; his cock obviously didn’t agree, as it re-hardened uncomfortably beneath his slacks. Thank God his suit jacket covered the front of his pants.
“Ma’am? Ms. Delgado?” The woman spun, cinnamon skin flushed and eyes bright with anger. Her ass was a beautiful sight to behold, but her face was a work of art. Dario felt his breath catch in his chest. Deep brown eyes were framed by tight curls that fell past her luscious lips, down, down, to hit the tops of her stunning breasts. She was a curvier, sexier version of Gina Torres, and Dario had almost worn out his DVD of “Firefly” watching Gina over and over. Momentarily forgetting what he wanted to say to her, he simply stared.
“¡Mira! They finally sent a grown-up to deal with me? Good. By the way, when did they start letting toddlers into the police academy? Because those boys out there didn’t look old enough to drive, much less figure out who the fuck invaded my space!” The Amazon before him planted clutched fists on her hips and thrust out her chest in indignation. The angry heaving of her chest almost pulled him back into his earlier fantasy, but he restrained himself—barely. Besides, he now had something to prove to this Delgado woman. Dario was no rookie street cop, fresh out of the Academy. She was tired of the boys? Great, because Dario was a Man with a capital M—one who never backed down from the kind of challenge she'd just thrown.