It’s Con Season!

Went to Balticon this past weekend–and a good time was had by all. I always go to the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) benefit auction and this year my prize is a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Robot from Lost in Space. Loved that show when I was a kid. Maybe I can find Dr. Smith somewhere. Be great if I could, huh?

At cons, I tend to haunt the literary tracks (no surprise) to meet up with old friends, make some new ones, but most of all, to learn. Tracks on the ins and outs of publishing are always timely. For example, I found out some time ago that many in the industry consider blogs to be a form of publishing and anything that appeared in a blog first will most likely be viewed as a reprint. This is a problem if a publisher insists on first rights. I’ve already run into this–one of my Zot Musings I later developed into a short story and submitted to a couple of places. No takers–it’s already published and they wanted first rights, of course. That’s why I haven’t posted chapters from my book.

Anyway, someone made the marvelous suggestion that I post chapters that were cut from the final manuscript. So I’m doing just that. This one was cut because over the course of writing the story, Parker, Garrett and Kurt’s relationships with each other changed somewhat without me realizing it until later. It was a subtle change, but a change nonetheless and in the context of the entire book, this chapter no longer made sense. Sneaky devils.

Almost running along the hallway, Garrett somehow managed to stem her tears. She didn’t want to start crying. Not now—Kurt might hear and take it as a sign of weakness.

The mage burst through the door to the darkened alley, panting. Trying to calm down, she held it open a few moments before she quietly closed it shut. She put her hands up to her face. This can’t be happening, she thought. I’m so close. So motherdamned close. She leaned against the cold, unyielding door, no longer trying to hide her tears.

When her crying stopped, Garrett dried her eyes with her hands, shoved them into her pockets and started for her car. The freezing night and her aversion to cold weather made her feel even more dejected. At the end of the alley, she stepped out from between the buildings and ventured onto the sidewalk. She hesitated a moment, blinking rapidly in the sudden glare of the streetlights. After her eyes had adjusted, she walked to her car. Reaching it, she fished the keys from a pocket in her cape, opened the door and got in. Instead of leaving, she sat behind the steering wheel, staring at the crowds on the street. The bars were closing. Humans were everywhere, obviously on their way home from tonight’s impromptu citywide party. A few minutes later, she finally started the engine and drove off. Maneuvering her way around clumps of raucous revelers here and there, she soon left the Square behind.

Garrett allowed herself to think about Parker. Her lips formed a disapproving frown. “Effit, Park—why can’ ye jus’ accept what’s happened and deal wit’ it?” she said to an oncoming car. As she drove, her face slowly relaxed. She spoke with the werewolf in her imagination, telling him some truths he needed to hear. “Parker,” she murmured, “you know damned well I agreed to be your freyja only because the pack needed one. You needed all the help you could get to cope with the pack war and later, the werehunt. I was the only one you could turn to. My agreeing to be your freyja…” She shook her head. “I never promised I’d stay with you forever Park, and it was wrong of you to assume I would. Find another freyja, Park. Find another, and then maybe we can be friends again.”

By now Garrett was almost home. She lived in an older section of Seattle, about a mile southeast of where Parker lived. She pulled her Altima into a space on the street directly in front of her cozy little house, shut down the engine but didn’t get out of the car. If Kurt thinks I’m going to duet with him if Park doesn’t work out, he’s wrong. Duets were inherently unstable. They usually turned into factions and factions usually turned into wars. And if Kurt thought he could force her into a duet…well, he was wrong about that, too. Garrett’s hazel eyes turned hard. “Jus’ ye try, vampire—anna it’ll be t’ last t’ing ye ever do,” she whispered to the frigid night.

Then a tidal wave of tiredness crashed over her. Wearily, she slumped forward in the driver’s seat until her head rested on the steering wheel. The air inside the car grew steadily colder. Finally, she got out of her vehicle and secured it. Trudging to her house, Garrett climbed the stairs to the small porch and unlocked the front door. Sighing softly, she pushed it open and went inside.

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