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Thriller > Getting Away With it: The Legend of Jackson Murphy Book2/chapter 1

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message 1: by Renee (last edited Jul 12, 2009 07:59PM) (new)

Renee (rjmiller) ***WARNING***EXPLICIT LANGUAGE (some may find offensive)
Also classified as dark humor.

Chapter 1
When I want your opinion….

Jenny’s funeral was a tedious and exhausting affair. Having to pretend that I gave a shit while waiting for it all to be over had to be the best bit of acting I’d ever done. Ray was there through it all, good friend that he was. He bawled as they lowered her casket, drawing all eyes to him. I wouldn’t have cared except that many of our clients and associates attended and he was making me look bad. Ray needed to be dealt with somehow.
I managed to put Whitney off for a while. I made a lot of promises that I didn’t intend to keep in order to shut her up and make her happy. When I first mentioned how bad it would look for her to move in she flipped out. Then I explained how the kids had to go to school and if their friends were talking about what their parents were saying about us, it would be devastating for them. I was a master at this lying stuff now; they just rolled of my tongue like butter.
Ray had called the nanny agency without consulting me and managed to find the oldest, most disagreeable woman on the planet to come live with us. I only wanted some one to be there during the day, not to move right in. Her name was Lillian and she was as wide as she was tall and as mean as she was ugly. She only arrived with two bags but the house felt overcrowded, as though she had brought an army.
Lillian rose at the crack of dawn and made sure we rose shortly after. The kids were stuck on a strict diet and given earlier bedtimes. That they were upset, I had no doubts about that, Allie was very vocal in the beginning. But eventually they learned it was pointless to argue with Lillian, who was a brutal punisher. Hell, even I was a little afraid of her. Punishments included extra chores, solitary confinement, and torture. I kid you not.
Solitary consisted of locking the kids in the spare room, which had been stripped of everything but a bed, and leaving them there for the day. If they learned their lesson they were out by bedtime, if not they stayed. She would bring in their meals and allow them out only for bathroom breaks which were given every few hours. Jasmine was the record holder for solitary with three days. She didn’t even go to school which she thought was cool at first. That opinion changed when the second day rolled around.
I didn’t even stay for coffee in the mornings; I got up and headed to Whitney’s until I was ready to go to work.
When I told Whitney of our new housemate, she laughed until she cried. “I don’t see what is so funny about this.” I grumbled. “I’d fire her but I’m afraid of what that punishment would be.”
“Maybe you could off her like you did your wife.” she laughed and I felt my heart stop beating.
“Excuse me?”
“Oh come on Jack, like you didn’t plant those bees somehow. I’m not an idiot you know. I’m sure you were only trying to piss her off, but you lucked out.”
“I did not kill Jenny; I can’t believe you’d even think I could do something like that.”
“Relax Jack, I’m not telling anyone. I love you, why would I care if you killed her or not? It was accidental anyway, it’s not like you’d do life for it.”
She went to the coffee pot and poured me a cup before sitting across from me and taking my hands. Her blue eyes sparkled with amusement and I suddenly felt like smashing her know-it-all face off the table. How quickly could someone turn on you? I’ll tell you, in an instant if that someone is me.
“Whit, I don’t want you thinking I set that up, I didn’t. If I were to have her killed I’d have paid someone or cut her brake lines. I could hardly come up with something like that. Besides, usually she had that kit ready. She’d been stung before out there.”
“Whatever you say. I won’t tell anyone what really happened. All you have to do is keep me happy and your secret is safe.”
I stared at her for a long moment. Was she joking? If she believed I killed Jenny would she seriously believe that I wouldn’t get rid of her too? I know she’s blond, but until then, I never considered her stupid.
That morning I went to work with a new problem, Whitney. First the marriage bullshit, now this. I decided to let it slide for now, and if she brought it up again I’d have to figure out what to do about her.
I opened the door to my office to find Ray staring out the window. Paperwork was piled on his desk, which usually would have driven him over the edge, but he sat there staring vacantly at the street below.
“Good morning Ray.”
“Is it?”
“Is it what?” God he was getting on my nerves.
“A good morning. I don’t think so, not good anymore.” Was his lip trembling? “It’s like the lights went out when Jenny died and no one can turn them on. Can’t turn the light back on.”
Are you kidding me? Ray had finally gone over the edge into crazy land and I wasn’t about to reel him back in. She was my fucking wife damn it. “Ray, this is getting ridiculous, you’re being an idiot. She was my wife, not yours, it’s not like she even gave a shit about you. She only ever cared about herself. Why are you acting like this?”
Ray turned and stared blankly at me. His lip still trembled and his eyes watered. If he cried I would push him out the fucking window. Prison or not, a man could only handle so much of this crap. “Jenny was the most beautiful person I have ever known and you were a fool not to see it. You have lost the best thing that ever happened to you and you can’t even see it. She cared about me Jack, and don’t tell me she didn’t. Don’t you say she didn’t. She cared.”
“If we’re going to continue being partners you need to lose this fixation with Jenny. Forget about the fact that it is just plain weird, you’re only hurting yourself man. Snap out of it, she’s dead. She’s not coming back.”

message 2: by Renee (last edited Jul 12, 2009 07:58PM) (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Sorry, I had to do this in two parts. Here's the rest;

Ray lowered his head and his shoulders began to shake. Fuck, here we go again. He wiped his nose and straightened some papers before he replied. “I know you don’t understand it Jack, you’re not capable of feeling any real emotion. No feelings in you at all. That’s fine, I’ll be fine. I just miss her and I can’t stop. Can’t stop missing her.”
“Maybe you should take a few more days then. Clear your head and then we can get back to work. If you want to take some work home so you’re not buried in paperwork when you get back then go ahead. Just get your shit together.”
“Maybe I should, I don’t want to leave you high and dry though. You need me to do the bids and the payroll and -”
“I did all of that before you were here. I can manage. Maybe you could take over at the house for a bit, get rid of Lillian.”
“What’s wrong with Lillian?”
“Everything is wrong. She has to go, the kids are miserable.”
“They need a mother figure Jack. The kids need a woman in their life. Lillian is a good nanny and a good person, they just miss their mom. They just miss Jenny.”
“I don’t need her though; she’s a pain in the ass. It’s my house and she’s taken over. I don’t like it.”
“You’ll get used to her, she’s good for you. Good to keep you in line. You tend to get a little irresponsible sometimes. She’ll keep you in line.”
“I could call Whitney, the kids love her. She can keep us in line just fine and I don’t have to be afraid of going home anymore.”
Ray looked as though I’d slapped him. “Whitney? You would dare bring her into Jenny’s house? It’s not enough anymore to fuck her all over town; you’ve got to do it while your kids watch you stain their mother’s memory? You’ve got to stain Jenny’s memory?”
“I don’t think this is any of your business Ray. You’re crossing a line here buddy, and I won’t take it. Jenny is dead and if I want to bring in my own harem to fuck on the front lawn, I will. I’ve put up with enough of your bullshit; I won’t have you telling me how to live my life.”
“Maybe you should buy me out then. Buy me out right now. I can’t continue this friendship anymore Jack if you can’t understand. You never did understand.”
Buy him out? Not fucking likely. I’d see him dead first. “Go home Ray before we say things we’ll regret. I’ll talk to you in a few days.”
“I won’t change my opinion Jack. You’ve gone too far and I won’t change it. I won’t stand for what you’re doing to Jenny.”
“She’s dead Ray, I can’t do anything to her. Get out of here now.”
Ray gathered his things and left the office. I sat in his chair and began to think. Ray had to go; it was obvious he was dangerous. Buy him out my ass; I wouldn’t give him one red cent. He was a pencil pusher, nothing else. How was I going to get rid of him without buying him out? It was obvious; I’d have to kill him. Well, I’d done it once already; I could do it again.

message 3: by Peter (new)

Peter Hollings | 20 comments ok Renee - now you have got me hooked. How do I get more?? You have the ultimate villain there.. (I hope he is not based on a real life character!)..

message 4: by Renee (last edited Jul 15, 2009 09:38AM) (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I have Book 1 (seven chapters) posted on my profile. I have deleted a scene because it is too sexually explicit for goodreads, but it still reads well without it. Sometimes imagination is good.

message 5: by Peter (new)

Peter Hollings | 20 comments yes... my imagination did a fine job. steamy stuff! where does it stand re getting published?

message 6: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I just finished it, I need to edit first and then I can consider looking for a publisher. I've had a few readers who really like it but no actual editing.

Hopefully soon.

message 7: by Peter (new)

Peter Hollings | 20 comments i have visions of the (unabridged) book in the Tweed library.. maybr a pen name would be a good idea..

message 8: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Definitely a pen name. It gives me more freedom to go for it and not hold back. Oh I can just see the ladies knocking down my door now. "You were such a sweet child, what happened?" It could get interesting. I may have to move, go underground so that they can't find me.
I think the library would put it on the shelf, if I donated it. As long as they don't read it.

message 9: by Peter (new)

Peter Hollings | 20 comments no author pic then either..

message 10: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Hmmm...maybe but I'd be in disguise.

message 11: by Peter (new)

Peter Hollings | 20 comments I wonder what the disguise would look like - Jenny or Whitney?

message 12: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I think Whitney would be so much more fun. Plus, my hair would be blond, no one would expect me to go blond.

message 13: by Peter (new)

Peter Hollings | 20 comments personally I prefer brunettes.. but Whitney does have some interesting aspects..

message 14: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) She does doesn't she. Yeah, I had to make up for the hair color somehow.

message 15: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 5 comments Please be aware that librarians are notorious for their uncanny way of ferreting out an author's true name and sharing it. If you can't brag about your work, what's the point?

message 16: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Oh, believe me,I'd brag. We were thinking of my small hometown. They would find the content scandalous. I highly doubt I'd really hide. I'd just write something even better, to keep them horrified. I would use a pen name only because I've used my name to publish children's books. We wouldn't want the two confused would we?

message 17: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 5 comments OK now that's a legitimate reason for a pen name. Just be sure the checks are depositable. I've been told on good authority that direct depost works best for pen names.

message 18: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Peggy;

That's what I thought, and that excerpt is fairly tame. Did you like it though? My biggest concern is that I want the reader to find him hateful, yet root for him as well.
It will be direct deposit for sure, if it ever happens. **Sigh**

message 19: by Rick (new)

Rick Renee wrote: "Peggy;

That's what I thought, and that excerpt is fairly tame. Did you like it though? My biggest concern is that I want the reader to find him hateful, yet root for him as well.
It will be di..."

message 20: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) um, sorry Rick, I don't think your entire post made it up there.

message 21: by Rick (new)

Rick How do you tell if something is "too" sexually explicit? Sounds like a tag to get people to want to read more. Where indeed does a piece of writing draw the line between "naughty" stories and porno? (Besides, how do you know Book Excerpt members would be offended? For all you know, they'd lap it up).

message 22: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I think for this site, anything I wouldn't want someone under 18 reading is explicit. I have had a few readers look at the entire manuscript and all agree that certain parts are not appropriate for Goodreads. Really, there is only one part that I feel is way over the line, that's in Book1. I didn't post the warning to get people reading more, I was worried that without the part, knowing it's not there, would make someone think "why bother?".
I would love to post it all, but I have to consider younger readers.
For the most part this story is "naughty" and humorous, but there are sections that cross the line into "Oh my!" i don't think anyone here would be offended, I have to consider that they might be though.

message 23: by Ali (new)

Ali | 25 comments Mod
That is so good, Renee...I look forward to finishing it!


message 24: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Thanks Ali. I'm rather proud of this one. Jack is one of my favourite characters.

message 25: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) Delightfully dark and wicked, I loved it.

message 26: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) Thanks A.F. I'm glad you liked it.

message 27: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 5 comments Sorry, but this is not the opinion you were hoping for.

To me, the excerpt was more than tame. It bordered on boring. For me, Ray was the only truly interesting/likeable character. However, since this IS an excerpt, I'd have to read the entire manuscript to give an educated opinion.

I understand your not wanting to post sexually explicit material on Goodreads but when you are ready for pre-publication reviews please be sure you find a competent contnet editor to assist you. This scene is not explicit enough and I don't mean sexually. I just couldn't "see" it. For me there was too much conversation [internal and external:] with too little description.

message 28: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) We are inside Jack's head in this book, thinking his thoughts and seeing what he sees. If you had seen the entire book, you would have understood. It's everything through his eyes, fast paced as he is. He doesn't take the time to 'smell the roses' therefore I don't see the point in describing them.

I posted this as it is the tamest part. I didn't want anyone offended. Sorry you don't find it explicit enough,

I have had readers (authors) review this in it's entirety and they loved it, with a few nits here and there. So, I will post more perhaps to give a better idea of the setting, and characters.

I welcome all opinions because even negative helps me to improve the story. You've given me some to think about when editing this, that's always good.

message 29: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggyullmanbell) | 5 comments Do you need another author's opinion? I review manuscripts in .doc .rtf or .pdf formats and I don't charge for a complimentary read through. My editing rates are fair if you're interested.

BTW, I meant "explicit" in the non-sexual context. As an excerpt, this piece needs ellucidation. Perhaps by adding bracketed characterization for those who don't or haven't seen the rest of the book. Or, perhaps a brief "setup" in italics at the beginning. BTW I recommend this for all excerpts or scenes that are not complete in and of themselves.

message 30: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I hadn't thought of the setup for on here. That's a good idea. Thanks for the offer of a read, I do have an editor though. We are working at another manuscript, this one was just finished recently. I'm going to sit on it for a bit and look at it again. I wrote the entire thing off the cuff, so to speak, meaning I just wrote and wrote until it was done. I know there is a ton to fix.

Maybe once I look through it again, I'll take you up on the offer of a read through.

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