Discarded is almost finished – view the prologue below

The third book in the Central Division Series, titled Discarded, is nearing the finish line.  My goal is to publish it by the end of March 2016.

Discarded

At this point, I’d like to share the prologue.  This is still a work-in-progress, but is getting close to done.  This story deals with the larger issue of human sex trafficking, which is a scary subject in and of itself.  Here is the prologue.  Enjoy!

 

PROLOGUE


 Kassi Young awakens to darkness, save for the amber streetlights whizzing by overhead.

She’s in the back of a car, lying across the seats.  The stench of musty, old leather and cigarette smoke causes her throat to convulse.  The lump of her cell phone in her front pocket digs into her hip.

She inches her hand down, careful not to make any sound against the leather seats.

“Charlie wants to know the ETA,” the female passenger says.

Kassi knows the driver tonight as Mitch, but doesn’t think that’s his real name.  Last month, she heard someone call him Dave.  And before that it was Matt and even Bob.  She doesn’t know the woman at all.  She’s been a mystery before tonight.

“I’d tell him if I knew where the fuck I am,” Mitch says.  “Goddamned fucking road construction.”

Kassi slips the cell out.  She glances up, just as a streetlight passes by, and luckily sees only the back of the seat.

Her cell is off.  With a limited amount of places to charge it where she lives, she keeps it off until she needs it.  She learned this the hard way when she first started living on the streets.  Her first night out, a girl named Megan saw her using Facebook and told her the web uses up too much juice.  “Trust me, I even suggest shutting off all web stuff.  Limit it to texting.”

Kassi didn’t heed the warning.  Her cell died in the middle of the night.  The only available power outlets were at Rosie’s, the community church, or at the homeless shelter, the latter if she’s lucky to snag a spot for the night.  Which she didn’t.  Rosie’s was closed then and the church outlets had a very long line.

Despite being in vibrate mode now, her cell still makes the usual droid sound when powering up.  Holding her thumb over the speaker along the back, she pushes the power button.  The screen lights up and she immediately presses it against her chest, praying Mitch and the woman don’t see it.

“Do you even know if we’re going the right way?” the woman asks.

“How the fuck am I supposed to know?  Why don’t you check on our passenger.”

Oh, shit!

Kassi closes her eyes as she hears the crinkle of leather in front of her.  She wraps both hands over the cell, concealing it the best she can.

But who is she gonna call?  She can’t call her parents.  Even if they know where she is and what she’s doing–or what she is supposed to be doing, which is earning a few bucks sucking or fucking–they still aren’t able to help.  Not even her two friends, Pink and Lemon, can do anything.

She counts to twenty and peeks open one eye.  A streetlight passes by, illuminating the headrest and nothing more.  She hits the phone icon, careful not to allow very much light from the screen to seep up, and then taps the dialing pad.

“911 emergency,” the dispatcher’s voice says and Kassi immediately presses her thumb over the ear speaker.

“You hear something?” Mitch asks.

“Like what?”

Kassi brings the cell up to her cheek and whispers, “Help me.”

“Hey!”

A hand snatches the cell away from her, a long fingernail scratching her cheek.

“Did you even bother to search her?” the woman asks.

“Of course.”

“Then explain this.

“Here, let me see it,” says Mitch.

“What are you gonna do, Russ?”

Russ?  No, it can’t be.

“Shh–how many times . . . shit.  She called the cops.”

The woman peers over the seat.  “You’re gonna pay for this, you fucking cunt!”

A chilly breeze fills the interior.

“There.  Matter solved.”

“But what if the cops trace it?” she asks.

“What the fuck are they gonna find?  There’s nothing that can be linked back to us.”

The window closes, yet the cool air linger on.

Kassi’s only other option for escape is to dig her nails into Mitch’s neck, but that option is cut short as the woman leans back and presses a cloth over her face.  Before she can claw at her arm, a strong, sweet smell overcomes her and everything fades into a swirling pool of black and amber . . .

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Guest of Honor featured on the Writership Podcast / Happenings In The Outhouse 04-Dec-2015

If you’re a writer and aren’t listening to the Writership Podcast, I highly recommend you add it to your list.

The Writership Podcast features two accomplished editors, Leslie Watts and Alyssa Archer, in helping indie authors master self-editing skills.  Their weekly show should be the stable of any writer who wishes to improve their skills.

Also, as an added bonus, my novelette Guest of Honor was featured this week on their podcast.  Please click on the link to listen to them critique the opening section of my novelette.

Also, if you haven’t picked up Guest of Honor, it is still free . . . but not for much longer.  Here is a link to my website where you can find the e-retailer of your choice: Guest of Honor.

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“Martian Union” – a (free) short story by Mark S. R. Peterson

(The following story is found in the If Walls Could Talk short story collection.  Please click on the link for all available retailers).

MARTIAN UNION

A short story written by Mark S. R. Peterson

 

If it wasn’t for the stairs cut precisely into the stone floor, they never would’ve guessed there actually was once life on Mars.

Janice Ling descended, deep inside the cave, careful not to overextend herself as her oxygen level displayed two hours and twenty-one minutes left—if she started running and jumping like a few of her colleagues, she’d find the oxygen being rapidly depleted.

“Do you realize you’re the first woman to set foot on Mars?” Ken Eagle asked.

Of course, but only because Susan came down with a cold.

“I did,” she said. Without turning around, she motioned on ahead. “But we’re here to explore this cave, not reminisce about sexism. Are you the first Indian?”

“I believe we prefer to be called Native Americans,” said Ken. “And yes, I believe so. What do you make of these stairs?”

She focused her light down onto the intricate stonework. The walls and ceiling were similar to the coal mines back on Earth, with a definitive circular shape and size, the walls rough from dynamite blasts and hydraulic hammers.

“You’ll be remembered, you know,” said Ken.

Janice stopped. “Without exact measurements, I’d say the stairs are cut at a ninety-degree angle. However, standard width for stairs on Earth is around nine inches with about an eight-inch drop. These are roughly half of that.”

“Martians may have been smaller. If their species is similar to the one found by Roswell, they would be.”

“Makes it harder to walk on,” she said. “How will I be remembered?”

“Because you’re the first woman.”

“That again?” She continued to descend, waving her hand onward. “If I will be, so will you.”

“Who’s the first woman in space?”

“Most will say Sally Ride, because the history records always remember those from the United States. But the first was a Soviet cosmonaut named Valentina Tereshkova.”

Minutes later, the stairs abruptly ended. The floor now resembled the rough walls.

“I wonder why they stopped?” asked Ken. “Can’t be erosion. Erosion would never be this precise.”

“Come on. I think I see the bottom.”

They were careful not to step on any jagged edges, despite the layer of steel on the bottom of their boots. When they soon set foot inside the oval-shaped room, they froze. And stared. Her heartbeat pounded hard in her ears and she struggled to maintain a regular breathing pattern.

Further proof that aliens do exist, especially at one time on Mars. And, from the looks of it, it hasn’t been too long either.

In the center of the room was a rectangular-shaped stone block, like the tomb of an Egyptian king. Along the sides were carvings of two hands—not the five-fingered hands of humans, mind you, but three-fingered ones—joining together.

Along the far wall was one word. Written in English, oddly enough, in letters at least two-feet tall.

HOFFA.

(If you liked this story, be sure to check out the If Walls Could Talk short story collection.  Please click on the link for all available retailers).

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Like tumblers on a lock (when a new story comes together) / Happenings In The Outhouse 04-Sept-2015

The tumblers fell in place yesterday morning.  And I mean, perfectly in place.

I’ve been working on the first draft of the third novel in the Central Division Series, and at first I didn’t feel the original plot was enough to hold through the entire novel.  I added a second major plot to fill it out.  My thought was to add a more realistic feel to big city investigators, juggling multiple cases (even high profile ones) at once.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger has said on multiple occasions in his movies: “Big mistake.”

(insert smiley face emoticon or appropriate meme here)

As each of the major plots for the third story grew, I quickly realized I had two novels in my hands.  Not just one.

I thought a lot about the major thriller novels, movies, and TV series, and how they were set up.  I realized that to pack so much in would be . . . well, a mistake.  It would confuse the readers, something I don’t want to do.

So, what was once one novel is now two.

I’m about 8,000 words into the third novel, which will have to be dissected now that I have to take the second story line out.  No worries.  I’m very excited for the change.

In the meantime, both of the novels in the Central Division Series are available at all major ebook outlets.  Here is a link to my website, which has retail links to places from Amazon to Google Play.

And interesting sidenote: here is a recent Washington Post article about the small-town where I currently live.  Very well-written, and an eye-opener for many.

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Getting ready for 2015

2014 is fast approaching the memory banks. 2015 is looking to be a good year.

I hope.

No, I know it will.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve narrowed down my list of goals to accomplish. They involve two things: publishing and weight loss.

For publishing, Straight Razor is past the 42,000 word mark (out of an estimated 70K). I also have two more nonfiction ebooks in the wings, in the Mr. Shoestring series, I’m planning. Those two are still in the infancy stage and I probably won’t talk about it until they’re ready.

I’m also planning on using some of indie author Nick Stephenson’s advice in how to increase the number of e-mail subscribers. It involves offering a free short ebook to those who subscribe. Don’t worry, I won’t forget the early adopters and will make sure you get a copy of it as well.

What are your 2015 goals looking like?

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Missing scenes / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-Nov-2014

A few weeks ago, I got to the halfway point in Straight Razor, the second novel in the Central Division Series franchise. When I later examined my current word count at that point, I was around the 25,000 word mark.

And the goal for this book was between 70-75,000.

Not quite halfway, in my book–and I was fairly good in math, in my late high school years.

I then realized I introduced a lot of leads (AKA red herrings) that would lead the investigative team of Simon Templeton and Kolin Raynes, of the Minneapolis PD Violent Crime Unit (VCU), but forgot to add them into the story.

*insert head slap*

My progress has slowed some, as I examined what should be written in and where. I truly believe the story will be stronger because of it.

And a hell of a lot more interesting.

In the near future, I have some exclusive content only for newsletter subscribers.  If you want to get on “the list”, please click on the newsletter tab, and enter both your first name and e-mail address.

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Stay out of debt / Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Oct-2014

There are tons of writing advice out there:

Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Write everyday.

Think of your writing as a business.

And so on . . . and so forth . . .

Now, all of this is fine, great, and dandy. However, I am going in a different direction when it comes to writing, especially when you’re thinking of self-publishing (indie publishing). Here it is:

Stay out of debt
When I examine what I’d love my publishing empire to look like, one major factor hinders it. Debt. The dreaded d-word. Debt has hindered much of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve had to do everything on a shoestring budget. From covers to editing and everything in between, our major debt load has handcuffed me.
But has it stopped me? No. I just keep trucking, working a full-time job and diligently working at reducing our debt.
So, although the sit-butt-in-chair-and-write-everyday writing advice is worthy noting, one very few talk about is debt.
Stay out of debt.
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Do not try this (with your writing) / Happenings In The Outhouse 19-Sept-2014

Let me warn you. Do not try this with your writing, unless you are prepared and see no other way. Well, first of all, if you see no other way, you haven’t thought enough about the problem. I have. I am experimenting with something.

Industry experts (i.e. successful authors) warn newbies (i.e. unpublished writers or newly-published authors) not to do this.

But I’m going to give it a shot.

Wish me luck.

I have realized lately that I spend an awful lot of time editing. Editing and not writing more new material. This is not good. Especially when I have so many stories to tell.

Here’s my experiment: I will be writing new material in the mornings, when I typically work best, and during the way (at the day job) I will be editing. Right now, I am several chapters into the new novel, so I’m not editing the pages I just wrote. One day soon I hope to be.

That’s what the experts say not to do.

But I’m going to do it. I’ll make a good run at it. I’ll keep you in the loop as to how it’s working.

I am currently around the 14,000 word mark of the new novel, book two of the Central Division Series. I also concluded an e-mail interview with a gentleman who has a website/blog where he features other authors. My interview will be up soon, and I’ll share the link with everyone when it goes live.

Also, don’t forget to please subscribe to my newsletter for the latest updates.

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8 Ways To Get Into The Mood (To Write)

Artists, especially writers, talk about “finding the muse” which means finding the inspiration or motivation to create something from nothing.

Someone recently told me they were having troubles starting their daily writing, like for the first 10 minutes or so. They wanted some advice. Now, I gave it to them, and I want to expand on that notion here.

Here is a list of things you can do to help get the juices flowing:

1) just write – even if it’s crap, sitting down to write anything is better than nothing

2) go for a walk

3) go for a drive

4) read the last few pages you had written the previous day, to get a feel for where the story is going

5) drink a cup of coffee (or tea)

6) meditate

7) take a cold shower

8) exercise

This list is by no means complete–lists typically never are. This is just what I could come up with off the top of my head.

Feel free to comment on how you get the creative juice flowing.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter, for the latest updates on future publications.

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