Ahh, spring is in the air and… Okay, that’s a lie. I live in Pennsylvania and Mother Nature has completely gone off her meds again. Yesterday, it snowed. Today, it was sixty degrees. Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be seventy. We have no idea what’s going on and are easily having four seasons in one day. So when I got an email about Nanowrimo Summer Camp starting in April this year, I was eager to join and also afraid that instead of ending up with bug bites in my cabin, I’d end up with frostbite. Good thing it’s a virtual camp of which I can participate in from the comfort of my own bedroom. I never was any good at camping anyway. Even when I was a Girl Scout, my friend’s mom ran the camp, so our troop never had to stay in any of the cabins. We slept inside of the mess hall, with heat and indoor bathrooms with plumbing, and a fireplace. The whole shebang.
For those of you who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, it’s this wonderful month where authors get together online and write, write, write. It literally stands for National Writing Month. The goal is 50,000 words in a month. Summer camp is a little different. It happens in April and July (Or maybe June. Don’t quote me on this.) and you set your own word count. It’s just a way to encourage yourself to write. I’ve been wanting nothing more than to get back into working on my novel for several months, but was caught up with other things. I got all of the overly time consuming things out of the way so that I can focus on my novel this month. I’m going to have a very busy month and already have a ton of things on my schedule, but I’m attempting to dedicate myself to writing 50,000 words this month. For those of you joining in on Nanowrimo Summer Camp, you can find my profile here, under Cassadee Willows.
For those of you not participating with good reason, such as you’re not a writer or you just plain don’t want to, I’m going to share a bit about my novel, which I’ve premised and began. Please forgive the sucky synopsis, as I’m so focused on the novel that I half assed it for the synopsis. See: Nothing seemed to describe it in a way that made my invisible ducks sing me the song of their people. Nothing I’ve started before midnight tonight counts toward Nanowrimo Summer Camp. We fly at midnight, little mockingbird.
The title has yet to be fleshed out. Right now it’s tentatively called State of Treacherous. I threw it at the wall, but it didn’t stick, so likely that will be changing. Other ideas for a title are Red Grace and, well, that about sums up where I’ve gotten with that. The novel is a paranormal suspense thriller. If you can say that three times fast, you are my hero. Just imagine me reading this to you in a creepy, female Hannibal Lecter kind of voice. “Hello, Clarice.”
Juliette White has a treacherous past, but doesn’t everyone? It’s what made her connect with Taylor Ford just four short years ago, after moving hundreds of miles to escape what haunted her the most. Taylor knew a thing or two about running, right up until the night she found herself locked in an eight by eight underground cell, surrounded by other women just like her.
When Taylor fails to make contact with her brother Mason, or show up to meet him and Juliette, the pair make their way from Austin to Memphis to try and track her down. The police see Taylor’s past as proof that she is nothing but a strung out runaway, and after digging deeper into Juliette’s they become convinced both girls are unstable and throw the case to the wayside.
Knowing she’s Taylor’s only hope, Juliette finds herself staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, forced to pit herself against a gift that she voweled to keep hidden years ago. Mason finds himself faced with the truth that the girl he’s become so close to isn’t who he thought she was. With no other choice but to trust her, the two set out to find Taylor, come Hell or high water. What they soon uncover is far worse than anyone could have imagined in their wildest nightmares.
The ground I lay on was stone cold, no warmth or familiarity of home to be found. I hadn’t dared to opened my eyes yet, but I knew the moment I did I would immediately come to regret it like I had each day before this. I knew I had to, but the harder I tried, the more my breathing became labored. It was fear itself that held me back, a nasty old foe I thought I had come face to face with and ultimately conquered more than a year ago, along with my darkest demons. Now I was paralyzed by it.
There were thoughts forming in my head that felt like lines from a drama only penned to frighten the masses. In the state I was in, I almost had to pinch myself as a reminder that this wasn’t a movie and I wasn’t dreaming. I was never one to find glory in being a drama queen. That’s how I knew that the place full of vacancy where my battered body dwelled was pure, unadulterated hell, a place formed on fear for the sake of it. Opening my eyes would only make it real and surround me with the images that, until now, had only been conjured by the sounds that swallowed the silence.
Slowly, my eyes fluttered open. I focused on aiming them straight ahead, to not look around more than I had to so that fear didn’t lurk into the deepest places where my skeletons hid amongst the cobwebs, unapologetically leaving me in a defenseless place. All I had to keep me company now was my own mind, the singular thing I was relying on to keep me strong. If I got out of my head even for a brief second and lost the memories of what kept me together, I’d have nothing to live for. I’d have no hope.
One of the first things that hit me when I tried to move was the intense pain in the left side of my abdomen. It was sharp, and though not unexpected still hit me like a ton of bricks. For the past three days that I had been here, it had kept me from getting from the ground to my feet. Today I decided I was having that no more. I had inspected the wound in a former bout of consciousness and rendered it ultimately superficial. Although the wound was deep where the knife had sliced into my skin, it had still only maimed the skin. Everything else remained untouched by evil.
Even still, I had spent these days on the concrete bleeding. At first I gushed, holding my side and applying pressure to make it stop. The pressure was enough to rapidly slow the blood flow to a pace no quicker than a trickle, leaving only a stain on my now filthy clothes. Bandages had been thrown at me to cover the wound, something I was forced to do myself. This was the first time I had looked at the bandage and saw no blood seeping through. Although extremely weak from losing blood, it had not been a fatal amount and I knew all too well that it wouldn’t be what killed me.