I was talking to Shannon recently about writing another story together since we had so much fun doing the last one. (Welcome Home, still available for FREE download <http://www.readmoore.com/free_reads.htm> ) She reminded me that there are two more vampires in the Steel City Vamp series whose stories need to be told. I always liked Shasta’s uncle, Sampson, from Welcome Home and was glad when she suggested we do his story.
The vamps who have stories already: Dillon (Love by L. Shannon), Johnathan (Sunlight by Moira Reid), Pagan (One Wild Night by Summer Alan), and Kalib (Welcome Home by Shannon and me).
So far, here’s what we’ve got: (the unedited version)
Sampson Hemingway rocked back in his chair. The stadium, for the moment, was secure, but it wouldn’t last. Peace never did with 65,000 rowdy Steelers fans packed around Heinz Field for the season opener. But his crew was the best and could handle whatever came up. The fourth quarter was well underway, and if the rowdies kept it to a low roar he’d be home watching the taped version of the game within the hour.
A tingle slid up his bare neck. Only one member of his staff could sneak up on him without a sound. He didn’t bother to confirm it by looking.
“Everything good out there, Donnie?”
“Good as can be expected.”
Donnie was short for Donata Tornado, a name he hadn’t been able to prove was a fake despite months of checking her out. But real name or not, the woman was the single best thing about this job. Considering she had to compete with his devoted love for the Steelers, that was saying something.
“Saw you throw a man out.” Her personalized ushering had been a beautiful thing to watch even over the monitors. Donnie had twisted the behemoth’s arm into a pretzel and given him no choice.
“Another damn dealer. They are brazen bastards.”
The leashed violence in her tone was not unexpected. Still he turned to face her to be sure she hadn’t been hurt by the thug. She looked fine, but as always, just getting an eyeful of her sent his libido into overdrive. From her short spiky hair to her dangerous combat boot and including the black tank top and jeans she was hard and lean under it all. No amount of punk could hide the blatant femininity from his eyes.
If she weren’t his best, he’d keep her here and safe in the security room watching video feed. But that wasn’t going to happen. She’d made that plain her first day on the job. I do the real work or I walk.
Still something was worrying her. He’d seen that crinkle above her nose enough times to recognize the symptoms. “What’s on your mind, Donnie?”
“I think we’re about to have a turf war. Before that dealer saw me and clammed up, I’d overheard a good bit of ranting about how this was his territory now.”
“But it’s not.” Sampson leaned back in his chair. “To them it’s no man’s land.”
“Okay, yes. It’s ours. You think the dealers are making another play for it?”
“Yeah.” She spun toward the door. “Thought you should have a heads up, Hemmy. I think there’ll be more happening tonight.” She closed the door behind her before he could do more than watch her go.
He considered calling her back but decided against it. If she knew more than she’d said and didn’t want to tell him, she’d keep it to herself no matter how many questions he asked.
Turning back to the video console, Sampson perused the monitors with vague interest. What was that girl’s story anyway?
Girl, hell. That female was all woman, a woman with the biggest “stay back” sign blinking above her head that he’d ever seen. He’d respected that, one because she was his employee and he didn’t believe in office romances, and two because she’d never shown the slightest interest in him.
She spoke to him but never about anything personal. And she called him by a nickname she’d invented, but he had the sneaking suspicion it was her way of not bringing them closer, but distancing herself further.
Too bad. Something about her brought her close in his fantasies if nowhere else. Whether it was the way she swayed as she walked or the raspy Spanish curses she threw out at a whim, he didn’t know. But it was sure something.
Aren’t you a foxy little Chiquita Banana? I love a woman in uniform.
Get your ass out of my way.
The words sounded inside his head, but he jumped out of his seat as if they’d been yelled into his ear. He stared from one monitor to the next. Donnie. Where was she?
Why don’t you go home and bake some tortillas, little chiquita?
Yeah, we aren’t doing anything. Why don’t you vamous?
There she was. Outside the rear stadium exit doors. Five large guys in jeans and Steelers jackets surrounded her.
Sampson grabbed his walkie-talkie and squeezed the mic. “Larry, Moe, Curly! Where are you guys? I need you three at the rear F exit doors pronto!”
He waited a long moment, then the receiver squawked. “Sam, we’ve got a fire in the East parking lot! Call the Fire Department!”
Sampson checked the monitors again. Flipping buttons on the console, he found the view Larry had indicated.
“What the hell?”
He flipped open his cell phone and headed out the door to the rear stadium exit.
A couple of notes here: we have no names yet for the other members of the crew…I just called them Larry, Moe and Curly. Also, I have no idea what the Steelers stadium looks like or where parking lots are, so I made that part up. Later on we’ll get a look at that part and fix the directions and actual exits, etc.
Shannon said I’d gone over the top on Donnie. “She’s an American, born and raised here. Don’t go overboard on your version of Hispanic, Whitebread.” (or words to that effect) I tend to err on the “overblown” side of things when attempting things I don’t know as well. So, we’ll fix that too.
She plotted the entire story in eleven paragraphs, which is what we’re using to write it. (Plotting is her MAJOR forte.) Her approach is generally to use that outline to write what amounts to “the plot” during her turns–she makes stuff happen, moves through it. When I’m writing with her, my approach is to go over what she’s done, add a bunch of details, then write my part. She makes changes to my stuff, then writes some more. We pass the file back and forth until we’re done. I bug her to write faster, she tells me why my going away from the outline is a pia. LOL Kidding.
Since this is only the second time we’ve attempted this, I can’t say whether or not it’s the “right way”, but it is a fun way. I was talking to Bree the other night about writing with a partner, and she mentioned that she and Donna have their moments of irritation with each other on something one or the other of them has done. I’m sure that’s normal although my guess: Shannon would get more irritated with me than I would with her. LOL
I sent her the file last night, and now I’ll work on my ETs while she does her part. As soon as she’s done, I’ll set my ETs aside and write another 500 words or so. Then I’ll hand it back. We keep doing that until we’re done.
The amazing thing about doing this for Welcome Home was how few edits we had to do. Mostly just corrections on details and grammar/punctuation/spelling changes. It was so simple. For someone who writes everything off the top of my head through the first draft then spends months going back and moving stuff around, ditching stuff, changing stuff…angsting like crazy…I’ll say this: it’s much more fun this way.