What One Knows: Prologue


John McClure, a young man of 23, entered the library intending on stealing a rare volume of poetry from the Pfeiffer home.  In actuality, he was stealing it back for a client.  He was on his first mission as a spy for the detective agency that had recruited him.  The volume had been stolen from his client’s rare collection.  His job was to get it back into the correct hands.  He made a few steps into the room, when he paused.  He heard the distinct sound of muffled crying.

Looking around he found the source of the it.  It seems it was coming from ball of clothing and mussed, light brown hair on the settee in the corner.  He lightly touched the girl on the shoulder. She sat up startled, taking in a deep breath in shock.  He was a bit startled as well, as he saw it was the cousin of his closest friend, Rand Matheson.

“Beatrice, what has happened?” he asked her.

He sat on the settee next to her and held her hands. They were shaking a little.  She couldn’t seem to get anything out, except a shuddering breath.

“There, there.  You must calm yourself, and tell me what has happened.”

She took in a deep, shuddering breath.  Her long hair was a tangled mess about her shoulders, half up and half pulled out of its coiffure.  McClure hoped that no young man here at the soiree had been too forward to her.  His gaze went down her form.  Her dress seemed to be in place, with nothing ripped or otherwise.  Her brown eyes were red and swollen from crying.  They looked large and pleading as they reflected the moonlight that came in from the window behind him.  She sucked in another broken breath, while her bottom lip quivered.  She took such a long breath that John was immediately impressed by her lung capacity.  However, by the time she finally let out her breathe through pursed lips, he was relieved, because he was in a hurry.  He had to get her settled down and out of the library as quickly as possible, so he could complete his mission.

“Wall-Wall-Wallace Sm-i-i-th said that I was an ugly baboon in front of-of-“

She took in another shuddering breath.  It took ten years.  He swore it. She let it out slowly, which took another ten.  McClure would be ancient before this girl got on with it.

“In front of who?” he asked, sweetly, showing none of his impatience.

He was good at hiding his true emotions.  Not that he wasn’t a kind individual.  He was just in a hurry.  He kept his voice pleasing because he had learned that if he hid his impatience, things went a lot smoother for him.  Keep everyone calm and happy, so they don’t know what was going on until it was too late.


“I see.”

He didn’t.  He just said that.

“The-they all laughed at me-me. An-and—“

Another long, and tedious breath in, followed by a painfully slow breath out.  There went his chances for a family, because was now 80 years old. Out with it, girl, he thought. Instead, he smiled at her and patted her hands.

“And?” he prodded, gently.

“They- they said that I-I would be an old m-maid, because- because….”

Good grief, another breath.  He waited and waited and patted her hand some more.


“Because, none of them would ever m-marry m-me.”

She sniffed, and wiped her nose with her glove.  He stopped holding her hands after that.  Quite messy.

“I’m sure that is just juvenile nonsense spoken from a lack of tact.  Wallace Smith is still a young boy of around, what? Sixteen?”

“He’s 18, like me.  Most of them who l-laughed w-were.”

“Well, it seems like he isn’t a very charming fellow.  I wouldn’t want to marry him if I were you.”

“Oh, I d-don’t,” she stated firmly, “It-it’s just that what he said was true, I th-think. About m-me looking like an ugly b-baboon.  And I t-think I w-will be an old m-maid, because of it.”

“Surely not,” McClure reassured her, almost patting her hand again.

In the nick of time, he remembered her using her glove as a handkerchief and stopped himself from touching her.  She looked at him earnestly.   Her eyes were giant orbs in the moonlight.  A baboon was a terrible reference, she looked more like an owl.

“Do you really think so?  Do you think I’m pretty?”

McClure looked at her sitting there.  She was tall and lanky.  Her hair was a puffy mass of light brown hair all around her shoulders.  Her eyes were red and swollen underneath.  Her pale face was wet with tears.  At this moment, she wasn’t looking her best.  He didn’t even recall what she looked like when she was her best.

“Yes,” he lied. “You are a picture.  Now let’s get you all cleaned up.  Why don’t you arrange your hair, and wipe away those tears?”

She did as he told, putting her hair back in its place.  She used her gloves to wipe away the tears.  Surely her mother taught her better than that.  Martha Matheson was like Ironclad.  He was sure the girl had been taught manners, probably with a whip.   Regardless, of her lack of etiquette, fixing her hair, and wiping her face helped her looks a little.  Her eyes were still a red, sordid-looking affair.

“Are y-you sure?” she asked, earnestly.  “Are you lying to me?”

“Not at all,” he lied again, too easily.

To shut her up and get her out of the room, he decided that he needed to kiss her to prove it.  He leaned forward and did so.  She gasped as his lips met hers.  Then they quivered, as he gently kissed her.  She kissed him back, shyly and sweetly.  It was a short, sweet affair.  Enough to shut her up and get her out of here, he thought. Hopefully.

“See,” he said, “You are pretty enough to kiss, but please don’t think that I am serious about courting you.  I’m still working up to build a nice living for a wife.”

She looked a bit affronted and bewildered.  He wondered what was going on in her head.

“But please be reassured,” he went on, “that when I do choose to marry many, MANY years from now, I will seek you out to court you.”

Her eyebrows scrunched.  She looked like she was going to talk. She started to, but he interrupted her.

“Now be a good girl and find your mother.  Tell her you want to leave immediately.”

He escorted her to the door and made sure that she was walking back to the ball room.  Seeing that she was headed that way, he felt satisfied with the outcome. Manipulating people into doing what he wanted, without them even knowing it until it was too late was what he was best at.  Straightening his coat, he quickly found the volume of poetry on the shelves, and tucked it in his pocket.  If he got out of here easily, his first mission was officially a success.

Confession: I am a prude.

I finished my story over the weekend.  I said I would post it on Monday.  I didn’t.


Because the characters kissed.  Because I was worried about what people would think.  Because I am a prude.

Today I came to the conclusion that if some Christian had an issue with my characters kissing, I would point them to the Song of Solomon which talks about breasts and has more kissing than my book has.  So there.

If someone wants to be a bigger vanilla prude than I am, and make a fuss, they can go ahead and not read my book.  I’ll post the first chapter tomorrow.

Relax, Risa.  Relax.

P.S. The featured image I used for this blog post makes me anxious. (Relax, Risa.)

Short Story Finished

I finished the story of John McClure and Beatrice Matheson.  It ended up being a short story.  I didn’t feel the need to try to make it longer, when the story felt done after a handful of chapters. I’ll start posting the book on Monday.

I’m really more focused on trying to finish up my first sci-fi novel.  I am REALLY liking this new book.  The family has been reading it and they are loving it.  I still have a few chapters to go and quite a lot of editing.

After that is finished, I believe that I am going to work on writing a few stand-alone short stories for this blog.  I want to work on this in October.  In November, I’m going to do NaNoWriMo with my daughter.


Do You Want a Piece of Me?

I just got back from visiting my 2nd oldest daughter’s blog, NVRAFK, and I am always amazed at her ability to socialize.  Being an introvert, I find it difficult to write about myself.  I will say this has gotten better through the years, as I’ve been “forced” to be social because of the whole music thing.  Still, I believe that I will always be uncomfortable talking about myself, and my daily life.  Part of it is to protect my kids and my family.  The other part is because I mostly feel aaaawwwkwaaaard. My writing daughter, though?  She is a social butterfly, gaining endless amounts of energy from people.  I, on the other hand, am a strange combination of loving people and needing space, as well as feeling shy about putting my feelings out there while somehow believing that my own life or writing will impact, inspire, or help someone else.  Maybe that idea is foolish, but there it is.

So, there is a little piece of me.  To sum up:  I’m awkward, introverted, a little shy, but working on it.

Writing Bug

The writing bug has hit me again.  I am a few chapters away from finishing my first sci-fi book.  I probably won’t be publishing that one on-line.  However, I have decided to do a second story with the characters in “How One Looks”.  This time I am telling Beatrice Matheson and John McClure’s story.  It has turned out quite funny.  However, it will either be a long short story or a short novella, instead of a full-length novel.  I’ll be posting those chapters on here very soon.  I want to finish the story first.  I have maybe 5-7 more chapters to do that.  My goal is to have that done by Monday.

Filler Chapters

I’m a new-ish writer.  I’ve been working on a new series, and have found that I didn’t explain a few things well.  As a result, I’ve had to go back and make filler paragraphs, and even chapters.  I find this to be Dullsville.  I have been working on several insertions for the current novel I’m working on and it feels like it is sucking the life out of me.

It’s totally my fault though for assuming that everyone can experience my world like I do.  I need to explain it a bit better, so I’m plodding through the writing.  I only have one more chapter or so to fill.  Then I can start work on the story again.  I guess it is all part of the process.  I’m not sure though, as I’ve only written one book in its entirety in my life.

Besides putting in fillers, AKA “better explanations”, I have enjoyed writing this book much more than my first one.  I feel it is a better story with a lot more creativity.  I’m about 2/3 of the way done with it.  I can’t wait to tell you about it!

Have any of you had to put in loads of better descriptions?

How have you coped?