Till Death Do Us Part–Chapters 6-10

Spooktacular Sunday October 2015

Hi Ya’ll! I hope you enjoyed last weeks free read.  As I mentioned last week I appreciate all comments and constructive criticism so feel free to leave comments!

Till Death Do Us Part Cover red title

Till Death Do Us Part

Copyright © 2015 <Cathy Brockman>

All rights reserved

Edited By Ellie Mack

Proofread by Vicki Locey

Novelette: 17,121 words (63pages)

Genre: Male/Female -Supernatural, Contemporary

Heat rating: 2

Blurb:

 What happens when we die? I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me, Bill Parker, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my wife Mandi and my kids alone. So, I stayed behind, attached to my wife… I mean my widow.

 

Currently she’s seeing this new guy. I don’t trust him for one second. He has an air of danger about him. It’s my job to protect her and my family, but how do I protect them when the only contact I have with her is in Mandi’s dreams?

1-5 can be found here:

Chapter 6

Free shows abound

I awaken, the next morning, to lots of clattering and loud voices coming from the kitchen.

“I don’t care! You’re my wife and I have the right to make love to you any time I want. You should be more compliant! This is getting old!” Mark kicks the chair out with his foot and sets his coffee down on the table, so hard that it sloshes over the side.

“Actually, I’m not your wife yet!” She puffs up like an angry cat, crosses her arms over her chest, pursing her lips in that oh so familiar scowl. “I won’t be if you don’t show me a little more respect! The last couple of weeks it seems as if you’re changing!” She tosses a dishrag at him and smacks him in the face with it.

That’s my feisty baby doll! She may look sweet and innocent, but she can be hell in heels when she’s had enough.  Wait a minute! He said wife and she said wedding? What the hell? I hope that I misheard!

“Honey, you know I love you and wanted to wait until I had enough tips saved up to get a ring, but will you marry me?”  He doesn’t even kneel. Just blurts it out. She looks as shocked as I am.  Then shocks me more when she faintly says a yes. I know she’s only doing it for financial security and because she doesn’t like living alone. I’m not sure of his motive yet, but I don’t think it’s love. He has some issues and I’ll find out what they are. A light bulb goes off in my head. While they’re busy arguing over breakfast, I’ll go upstairs to their joint office and see what I can find.

After a couple of hours digging, I hear Mandi’s music playing loud. That must mean the leech has left. I hear the mower outside. Shit, he’s sucking up.

I haven’t found anything on his desk. In fact, there isn’t much there at all—just a calendar, his pay stubs, and the receipts of his recent purchases. I knock them on the floor as I leave the room.

Downstairs is a sight for sore eyes. Mandi has on a pair of tight-fitting exercise shorts and a sport bra. She goes to the utility closet and pulls out the broom, mop bucket, mop and vacuum, along with her basket of cleaning supplies. I always get a kick out of how organized she is. Everything has to be in the right spot. Heaven forbid you get something out and don’t put it back. I notice she has the living room basket, so I settle on the couch to watch the show.

I always loved watching Mandi clean the house. No matter what she does, she gives it her all.

She gets her supplies all lined up on the bar, which separates the dining room –  her dusting items, the glass-cleaner, a roll of paper towels, a blind duster and a stack of white soft dusting cloths. I grin, as she sprays the ceiling fan duster and tries to slip the gadget over the blade. The fan moves and she totters and stumbles. I decide to help. I get up on the nearest table and steady the fan so it doesn’t move as she slides the duster back and forth a few times over each blade. She’s sneezing and cursing under her breath. I hop off the table, flick the dust bunnies out of her hair and move to the next one. After we finish the two in the long living room, one in the dining room, and the one in the kitchen, she lays the long handled duster next to the stairs.

I chuckle because she stands with her hand on her hip and the other on her chin, with one finger extended to her pull lightly on her perfect lip. Her face scrunches up and it’s so cute, as she contemplates the scent she will use today. She chooses the lemon; placing the orange, lavender and rain cans of duster, glass cleaner and liquid cleaner back into the basket, she sits it on the kitchen counter. She turns off the radio and places her mp3 player in the cute, little, frog speaker dock.

The music begins and Mandi sets off wiggling and dancing around the living room, meticulously removing each of the whatnots on the table to the tune of Golden State of Mind by Joy Wave. I laugh when she picks up the spray can and uses it as a microphone. Her and Kelly used to dance around cleaning together like this when Kelly was little and stayed home on the weekends. Kelly became a very good duster—and she can sing too. Her mom…not so much, but she’s a riot to watch. She sweeps, mops and vacuums next. All the while, she’s belting out the current tune playing, shaking and shimmying. She always said Saturday cleaning was her workout for the day.

I heard the lawn mower stop and the weed eater start up. Mandi did an encore performance in her bedroom, office and bathroom. She leaves Kelly and Will’s room and bathrooms to them.

After gathering the supplies, she traipses back downstairs, heading into the kitchen. She unloads the dishwasher, wipes down the counter and flops into the booth in the breakfast nook with a bottle of cold water. I had joined in with the dancing with her, holding her tight during the slow songs. The way her body glided with mine, it’s as if she knew that I was holding her.

Mandi gets up to toss her bottle in the recycling bin, when Leech comes inside and tracks wet grass onto the mudroom floor. The jerk doesn’t even have the decency to brush off before he comes in.

“Hey! I just spent the entire morning cleaning! Can’t you at least brush off and take off your shoes?”

He shoots her a nasty look, but quickly turns it into a smile. “Sorry, darling, I was so thirsty that I didn’t think about it.” He goes to her and pulls her into his arms (after kicking off his shoes and leaving them in the middle of the mudroom.) “I forget you’re a neat freak. Remember, only a few months ago I was a lazy bachelor.”

You’re still a lazy bastard… I mean bachelor. I thump him hard on the head.

“What the hell! Mandi, why did you just thump me on the head?”

“I didn’t, but should’ve for you are dragging all that grass in on my wet floor and getting me all sweaty. You had better be glad I hadn’t had my shower yet, or I would’ve done more than thump you.” She handed him the broom, as she headed off for her shower. Another one of her cute quirks—she takes lots of showers and baths. She puts her clothes in the hamper, even if she only has them on for an hour or so and hasn’t done anything. She claims that if they touch her body, they need washing. Gotta love that gal!

I turn to see Mark sweep his mess into the dustpan. I can’t resist knocking it away just as he starts to dump it into the trash.

He curses and looks around furious. “I’m warning you to quit messing with me or you’ll regret it. I’ll figure out who you are soon.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

What’s the big rush?

 

The next few days are about the same. It seems like Mandi and Mark are arguing quite frequently, and he is staying away a lot more. Of course, that makes me very happy, though it doesn’t seem to make Mandi as pleased.

While he is out, I take my place in Mandi’s bed, holding her. I look forward to visiting her again in her dreams. I can’t get into her dreams on my own, but she can call me in by dreaming of me. It hurts me a little that she hasn’t dreamed of me since that one night.

I’m pleased by the fact that Mandi seems to be having second thoughts about Mark. But, then again, she only let him stay out of need. A loveless marriage will never work.

Tuesday evening, they are sitting at the dinner table. For once, all four of them are together.

I keep pushing the fork away as Mark tries to put it in his mouth. I know that’s juvenile, but  even the kids thought him missing his mouth and spaghetti falling all over his long pointed chin and shirt is funny. I like hearing them laugh.

I would dump the whole bowl on his head, but that may frighten the kids, so I stick with tiny, subtle tricks.

Mandi grins and I wonder if she has figured out what I am doing.

She gathers the dinner plates and goes to put them in the sink and get dessert.

“Bill, stop messing with Mark,” she whispers.

I guess that answers my question. I open the refrigerator door for her, since her hands are full of plates, silver wear and napkins. I pick up the cheesecake and set it on top of the plates in her hands.

“Thanks. Don’t do anything more to Mark. Do you hear me?” She whispers again, as she makes her way back to the table.

I am so tempted to push his head into his dessert, but I refrain. I don’t want to make Mandi mad at me.

“This looks good. You always make a good dinner.” Mark takes a bite. Murmuring ‘mm mm’ about his mouthful.

The kids nod in agreement, as they dig into the delicious looking cheesecake, making noises of appreciation of their own.

“So, I was thinking we should go this Friday and get married.”

Forks clank to the saucers; I think one may have hit the floor. All eyes are set on Mark, even mine.

“Why so soon? I mean, we haven’t had a lot of time to discuss it or plan a wedding or anything.” Mandi appears more nervous than surprised.

I can tell because she always twirls a strand of her hair when she is nervous or anxious.

“I just figured it would make things easier for you. I’m sure those busybodies at your church, and at work, are whispering and spreading rumors. I just want to make things are good for you, dear.” His broad smile is as fake as a three-dollar bill. When he drops the smile, I notice a little twitch in his left eye. Is he nervous? Worried? What is this man up to?

“I don’t think I can pull off a wedding in just one week, Mark.”

“Sure you can. We don’t need anything fancy; you’ve already had your storybook wedding. Besides, a big wedding costs lots of money. I figure we can go to the courthouse Friday, if we get our license by tomorrow.”

The tension in the room gets thicker and thicker.

“My family will have a cow if I elope!”

“Well, why don’t you call your pastor and see if he can marry us Friday evening? If so, then all you have to do is call your family. I’ll call my sisters and you can have a small wedding. I will even pay for a cake and some fixings for punch, but let’s keep it simple. OK?” He picks his fork back up, shoving the last bite of cheesecake in his mouth. I hope he chokes on it.

The silence stretches and stretches. Both kids sit quietly, slowly nibbling their desserts, keeping their eyes cast down.

“OK. Fine.” Mandi concedes quietly.

No! No! No! I pace around frantically. How can I stop it? I only have a week! I have to find out what he is up to and fast. I slam my fist into the wall where she keeps photos of us with the kids. My picture crashes down.

Everyone jumps, startled. All eyes are on the mess on the floor. I hear Mandi mutter, ‘Sorry.’

“You didn’t do it. It must’ve been a small tremor. Either that or you have a ghost.” Mark looks over at Mandi with a smirk on his face.

Mandi jerks her head up, eyes wide. The kids shake their heads in disbelief.

Mark gets up, goes to the broom closet and retrieves the broom and dustpan. He bends over, picking up my picture. He takes a long look, before placing it on the table. His thin lips curl up into an evil grin.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8

There’s a ghost in the house

The leech doesn’t have to work tonight, so I’m stuck with him. The way he is hanging on Mandi and is all lovey-dovey makes me want to gag, so I decide to see what the kids are doing.

Will is in his room playing some game where he chases zombies. I glance around his room and realize that he has all sorts of zombie posters, though they are mostly games or movie ads, a stack of the Walking Dead DVDs, a few comic books and tons of gaming books and magazines – no wonder the kid doesn’t have a girlfriend, he is too busy killing zombies or figuring out how… At least his calendar was the swimsuit issue!

After watching a few minutes, I slip into Kelly’s room. It is no longer pink and frilly as it was a few years ago. Gone is all of the princess stuff, except for her tiaras that rest on top of her bookshelf with her pageant trophies. I notice there aren’t any recent ones. I guess she has outgrown those.

I notice her school books tossed on her bed. She is supposed to be doing homework, but she is on the computer and the phone at the same time. She is so much like her mother, always multitasking.

I browse around at her bookshelf and the photos of her and a few friends when a bit of her conversation catches my attention.

She’s relaying tonight’s dinner conversation with her friend on the phone. It sounds like she’s torn about the wedding. She likes that Mark spends money on her, gets her what she wants, but she doesn’t like him all that much. Perhaps she is too much like her mother.

She laughs at something the other person is saying. I am about to leave when I hear her say, “I think we have a ghost in the house.”

 

                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9

Speak now or forever hold your peace

I am getting a bit nervous that everyone’s noticing me. Well, at least they think the house is haunted. It’s not the house that’s haunted since I can go anywhere Mandi goes. This means I will be attending my widow’s wedding today. Great! I wonder if I can stop it.
I sit quietly in the car as we head to the church. Mandi and Kelly are both quiet. It feels more like we are going to a funeral than to a wedding. Kelly helps carry in her mom’s dress and stuff. Kelly has apparently dressed at home. After everything is out of the car and inside the church, Kelly plops down in a pew,  puts her ear buds in and begins texting on her phone while listening to music. Mandi’s sisters are in the back, setting up the cake and drinks. That leaves Mandi alone in a small room getting ready.

As she takes off her yoga pants, I grab her dress while her back is turned, hoping if I hide it, she won’t go through with this charade.

“Bill! What are you doing?”

Oops, I’m busted.

I try to tell her, but she can’t see or hear me. Darn!

She grabs for the floating dress. I hang on for a moment.

“Bill, you let go right now! I know you don’t want me marrying Mark. I understand. But you are dead now, and I have to move on.”
Reluctantly I relinquish my hold on the dress. At least it’s not a traditional wedding gown. It’s a pretty, simple sundress with pink flowers on it. She will look beautiful, as usual.

“Please don’t mess this up for me. You don’t have to worry. I don’t love him like I did you, but I need him. You understand that, don’t you?”

No, I don’t understand. Well, I do. I know it’s hard making ends meet alone, but I can’t understand why she chose him. She could do so much better.

I stand silently as she finishes getting dressed. I even walk down the aisle with her. She smiles as I link my arm through hers. “No more shenanigans, I mean it,” she whispers, as we leave the room and stand in the back waiting for our cue.

Finally, their song begins to play, and we make our way down the aisle. I hate leading the woman I love down the aisle with a man that I don’t trust. But, what can I do?
I could do plenty. I could knock over the candles, but I don’t want to hurt anyone or damage the church. I could flood the baptismal booth, and the pastor would have to postpone the ceremony. But all that will do is delay the inevitable. Instead, I step aside and study one of the panels of stained glass while they say their vows.

“I am very proud of you. You’re doing a good job though we don’t agree with the things you are doing to the man.” I jump at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. Turning around, I see a short, rather pleasant looking man. No, he isn’t dressed in white, glittering, or has wings. He’s dressed in a casual tan suit with a pale blue shirt underneath.

“I didn’t mean to startle you.” He gives me a reassuring pat on the shoulder and a gentle smile.
“Who are you?” I look around to see if anyone else is noticing our conversation, but all eyes are on the wedding taking place.
“I am Peter. And, before you ask, no I am not a disciple! I am assigned to watch over you and help you when I can.”
“Why have I not met you until now?” I glance back at Mandi and sigh.
“We like to give new charges time to get accustomed to their new jobs. You are doing quite well. I know it is hard to watch your loved ones move on, especially this, so soon.” He motions back to the couple taking vows that neither of them means.
“I wanted to tell you that you are not alone. I am always near. Call my name and I’ll be there.”

“What no music or dancing with the lyrics?” I chuckle, turning to find I am once again by myself. I focus my attention back on the funeral—I mean wedding—taking place.
I’m happy that they chose their vows and not the traditional ones. There was no honor, cherish, obey or love till death do us part. Just some sappy crap Mark said and a simple agreement from Mandi,  then a swap of rings. When the pastor says “Is there anyone here that has reasons why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace,” I see Mandi’s eyes flit around anxiously, the muscles in her jaw twitch nervously, as she sucks in a deep breath and holds it. I resist temptation and remain silent, though, when the pastor says you may kiss the bride I knock a hymnal off a side table to cut it short.
When we arrive back at the house, there is a sprig of strange flowers hanging over the door with an apple slice that looks like a star attached to it.
Mandy “aaawwws” as she takes it down and brings it inside.
As we open the door, we are assaulted with a strange odor. It smells like burnt weeds, maybe herbs.
It looks like our Mark had been busy here while we were at the church. There are candles all over the house, some around pictures that have me in them. I have to say, it is a bit creepy.
I am about to gather them up and toss them in the trash when the door opens, and Mr. Leech walks in with Kelly. She had conned him into taking her to get a big tea at the drive-in since it was still happy hour.
“How sweet! You decorated the house while we were at the church!” Mandi hugs Mark.
He looks around anxiously and flashes a fake smile to Mandi.
“Yuck! What’s that smell?” Kelly whines grabbing her nose.
“It’s incense. I thought you liked it,” Mark says casually.
“Yeah, but not one that smells like someone burned a pot of dressing or set weeds on fire. Why is some of Mom’s rosemary sprinkled around all these weird candles?” Kelly asks.
“I was just trying to make the house smell good, sorry. I chose the wrong kind of incense. I thought Frankincense smelled better than this.” He sets the box of gifts he is carrying on the bar that separates the kitchen and dining room.
“I’m gonna grab my stuff to stay over at Amy’s tonight. Will has already gone to one of his friends. I can’t remember which one. I’ll be ready to go in a few minutes. Will one of you take me?” Kelly waves in the air as if trying to make the smell disappear.
“We both will. I think I’ll take your mom out for dinner and show off my new bride.” He pulls Mandi in for a kiss.
“Ewwwwww! Get a room!” Kelly dashes through her bedroom door.
Mandi goes to freshen up quickly, and Mark heads to the study, so I follow him. He hurriedly grabs a stack of books,  shoving them into the bottom desk drawer Mandi gave him to use.
After they leave, I open the drawer and pull them back out. The title of one is, How to Get Rid of Unwanted Ghosts. Another is a book of spells; there is one on herbs, another on candle magic. I laugh. Obviously, this stuff doesn’t work, but it will give me something to read, while they are out to dinner, and occupy me while they are in bed consummating their marriage. I shudder at that thought. I take the book of candle magic and pick up Mandi’s mp3 player and headphones, as I head back to the guest room, which I now call my room. There is a paper sticking out of the book on candle magic, so I pull it out to find a list printed from the computer of local mediums. Why is he so desperately trying to get rid of me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 10

Happy Holidays, Ho! Ho! Ho! And all that good stuff.

 

After the wedding, things become relatively normal. Winter has set in though, and it is cold. The holidays are frantic with Mandi and Mark arguing some about what to do and when to go where and at what time, as well as what  gifts to get for whom.

 

After a bit of fussing, and some unfair tactics, Mandi gets her way. That’s after a bit of compromising.

They agree to split Thanksgiving up into two visits. They will go to Mandi’s family first. Now, I always loved going there to visit, especially Thanksgiving. Mandi’s mom is an excellent cook. She goes all out with ham, turkey and dressing, chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole (Kelly’s favorite) and of course pie. Lots of pie! I think that was my favorite.

This year is no exception. The dessert table is full of fruit salad (Mandi’s favorite), chocolate pies (Will’s Favorite), pumpkin pie, and my favorite–Pecan Pie.

I wonder if I can taste anymore. I haven’t been hungry or thirsty since I died, but what I would give for a taste of that pie. I catch no one looking and cut a little sliver before taking a bite. I can still taste, I think, or do I just remember how good it is, because it is as delicious as I remembered! Wow and all this time I thought I couldn’t eat.

After lunch, the family split up. Mandi and Mark drop the kids off at my mom’s, but Mandi doesn’t go inside. My heart aches when I see Mom come out on the porch and wave to Mandi. I wave back, wishing she could see me. I haven’t seen her since the funeral. When Mandi drops the kids off for a visit, she always stays in the car. Maybe I can talk Mandi into taking me there one day, perhaps the next time she dreams about me.

They head to Mark’s younger sister’s house for dinner. It’s still early, so Mark settles in with his brother-in-law to watch the ball games. Mandi sits in the kitchen with two of Mark’s sisters. The other one watches the games with the men. Mandi and Mark’s family get along fine. They seem to love her, which doesn’t surprise me. Mandi is the kind of person that everyone loves. I can’t help but notice that she looks lost and sad. Sure, she has a big beautiful smile, but I know that is her public face. The fire I love so much about her seems to be dwindling to barely a flicker these days. I hate seeing her like this.

Thanksgiving finally is over, but the Christmas season has just begun. I notice Mandi has put most of it off until the week of Christmas, which is very unusual. She usually starts in the summer and by now has the biggest part of shopping over and her baking under way. She hasn’t even mailed out Christmas cards this year, which she usually does the weekend following Thanksgiving after decorating the tree, the house, and the yard. She hasn’t done any of that. I was never big on the holidays until I met her, and then I got caught up in all her enthusiasm. Where has it gone?

A few days before Christmas, Mandi is in the mall trying to find a gift for Mark. After walking for hours, I see the big bookstore ahead, so I give her a slight nudge towards it.

“Darn it, Bill. Quit pushing me! We can’t go until I find Mark a gift!” she exclaims.

The woman passing her gives her a funny look and quickly moves on. I can’t help chuckling. I finally corral her into the bookstore, though she went straight to the coffee shop.

After she finishes her big raspberry latte with soymilk, she heads straight for the exit back into the mall. At least we had to walk through the maze of bookracks. As we reach the self-help and non-fiction aisles, I notice a book called How to Exorcise a Ghost. I give it a shove, and it falls on her foot.

“Damn it, Bill, that hurt!” She picks it up, her eyes widening at the title. “Don’t tempt me!”

Oops, wrong choice.

“Come on. Enough wasting time. I’m not going to find Mark a book in this section.”

The man at the end of the aisle looks at her as if she sprouted an extra head and hurried off.

I see a big book of spells in front of her as she puts back the last book. I look around, and no one is near. It seems everyone is avoiding the woman that keeps talking to herself. I pick up the spell book and gently push it into her chest. She takes it and looks it over. “What on earth are you trying to tell me?” She flips open the book and begins browsing through it. I look over her shoulder, and when she gets to purification spells, I put my hand on the page, so she can’t turn it. She reads a few lines, and her brow lifts when she spots a page with herbs and candles.

“Hmmm, I think I see now. So, why would Mark be doing purification spells, and if he has, why haven’t they worked?”

Another woman enters the aisle, but as Mandi keeps talking to herself, I mean me, the lady turns away. This was more fun than the tricks I played when I was alive. My favorite was making a fart sound in a crowded aisle, looking around, saying ‘Ewwww,’ who did that and walked away. Will got a big kick out of it.

“Are you still here, Bill? Darn, I wish you could answer me!”

I drop a book beside her, so she knows that I am still here.

“It says here the purification only works on negative energy. Maybe that’s why the spells aren’t working; either that or he isn’t qualified to do them. It says here you have to be a true believer or a practitioner, and if the spirit is not full of negative energy, it still may not work.”

She puts the book back on the shelf and wipes her brow. “I’m glad it didn’t work. I need you now more than ever.”

She then gathers up a baseball collector’s book for Will and a couple of coin savers and coin collector books for Mark, along with a boxed set of Beautiful Creatures for Kelly. She also finds a couple of cookbooks she doesn’t already have in the sale bin. I’m surprised she found even one she didn’t already own!

At the checkout, she swipes her debit card.

“I’m sorry, it says to use other tender,” the clerk says politely.

Mandi scowls. “I know there’s money in here, I just got paid yesterday.” The cashier wipes it on her shirt and scans it again.

“Sorry. Still not working.” The clerk hands her a little slip that says to call her bank. She digs around in her purse and pulls out a credit card.

“Sorry, Ma’am. Do you have cash?” The clerk shakes her head handing back yet another refused the card.

A line is now forming behind us. Mandi huffs and takes out another credit card.

Another, “Sorry.” The pleasant tone of the clerk vanished two cards ago.

Mandi leaves the books and heads straight out of the door. In the car, she calls the number of her bank. “Overdrawn? No Way.”

She calls both card companies. “Over the limit!”

I can hear her heart pounding and pull her close to me as she sinks into my arms, sobbing violently. I wipe a tear from her chin and kiss the top of her head. She lets out a long sigh and starts the car up. As Christmas music floods the small space, she slams the button, shutting the music off.

Back home, I follow her in the door, ready to watch the action.

I can’t help from saying in a deep, exaggerated voice… “Let’s get ready to rummmmmbbbbbble!!!”

She attacks full force. “Why the hell is my debit card overdrawn, and all my credit cards are over the limit?”

“Hi, honey, where’s my good morning kiss? Seems like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“I’m not in the mood for your bullshit. I gave you my check yesterday, and you were supposed to deposit it with yours. How can we possibly be overdrawn when I had money in there to begin with?”

“Calm down, honey. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.” He reaches for her, and she slaps his hands away.

“Don’t touch me. Explain.”

“I took them to the bank as soon as I got off work. I did work late.” He lightly smacks his forehead like in that popular vegetable juice commercial. “That’s it… I deposited the checks after hours, so they just aren’t on the books yet. The money should show by Monday.”

I want to smack him in the face.

“Monday? I need the money now! I have a few gifts I need before Monday morning. I need to buy some groceries and stuff to make my candy for work,” she shouts.

He walks nonchalantly to the fridge and takes out a bottle of cola. “Look, I get paid Sunday. I’ll ask for an advance and give you all my tips. How’s that?”

“I don’t have much choice, do I? Monday, I want to see the deposit slip.”

I watch as he swallows hard, his fingers nervously drumming on the bottle. “I’ll try to get to the bank as early as I can Monday, and see if I can get this cleared up. That is if I don’t have to work over. With the Holidays there are lots of parties and I need to work for the extra money. ”

“I suggest if you want to eat here and sleep in my bed, Monday you produce a deposit slip with my check and yours, plus the other two hundred dollars I already had in there.” The pictures on the wall shake as the door comes to with a loud bang!

Mark raises the bottle to his mouth, and I give the bottom of it a rough smack.

Loud expletives fill the room as Mark lets the bottle go. Cola everywhere! When Mark lifts his hand from his mouth, I am disappointed that there is no blood.

“Damn you! I think you chipped my tooth!”

Good. A victorious smile spreads across my face, and the door lets out another bang as I go to find Mandi.

 

 

I hope you are enjoying it so far! Come back next week for the exciting conclusion!

 

 

Spooktacular Sunday–Till Death Do Us Part

 

Spooktacular Sunday October 2015

Hi Ya’ll. Since I love October  and Autumn so much I thought I would celebrate. For the next three weeks, I am going to share my first complete novelette with you.

Till Death Do Us Part is a short, sweet romance about a Ghost husband that can’t let go of his wife. So if you like a sweet story about true love check this out.  If you like it and have friends you think will lie it, feel free to invite them to read as well. Also any shares, tweets etc is much appreciated. I would love to hear what you think even if it’s constructive criticism in the comments. SO without further ado, here is part  1 of Till Death Do Us Part

 

Till Death Do Us Part Cover red title

Till Death Do Us Part

Copyright © 2015 <Cathy Brockman>

All rights reserved

Edited By Ellie Mack

Proofread by Vicki Locey

Novelette: 17,121 words (63pages)

Genre: Male/Female -Supernatural, Contemporary

Heat rating: 2

Blurb:

 What happens when we die? I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me, Bill Parker, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my wife Mandi and my kids alone. So, I stayed behind, attached to my wife… I mean my widow.

Currently she’s seeing this new guy. I don’t trust him for one second. He has an air of danger about him. It’s my job to protect her and my family, but how do I protect them when the only contact I have with her is in Mandi’s dreams?

 

Till Death Do Us Part

Chapter 1

Not all spirits come in a bottle

Mandi, Mandi, Mandi. What on earth have you gotten yourself into now? I looked down at my wife–perhaps I should say widow. I couldn’t suppress a chuckle as she dumped her drink in the lap of a big, burly man–her new, now apparently, ex-boyfriend. It’s a good thing no one can see or hear me. I knew she had been seeing him off and on for a month or so now and was mad at him earlier. I sat on the bed beside her as she argued with him on the phone. Evidently, he couldn’t get out of work to pick her up and take her out, but would come to her house after he got off. She wasn’t happy because he never took her out but always met her at the bar, or came by her house late at night for a booty call. I can’t blame her for being angry with him, she deserves much better than that. I wish I had been more attentive to her. Perhaps taken her out more and brought her more flowers and small tokens of my affection.

I can’t blame the man for wanting her, even if only for a piece of ass. She has a mighty fine ass if I say so myself. I should know. We were married six years and she was the love of my life.

I’d follow him and see what his intentions are, but I can’t. My spirit is attached to her, so I can only go where she goes. I can see or move around freely as long as we’re in the same vicinity. ‘Attached at the hip’ now has a new meaning for me. I’m not physically attached to her hip, but I am attached to her soul. Anyhow, that’s how we wound up in this nightclub… if that’s what you want to call it. I call it a dive. I never took her to these kind of places and never understood why she would go here. I guess she is just lonely. She always did like to be shown attention.

She went with her friend Janie, whom I truly wish she’d quit hanging around with. I can’t interfere. All I can do is watch and guide her. I can’t even speak to her. Not in person that is. She never listened to me when I was alive, so she surely won’t now.

The man took getting a cold beer in his lap better than I figured. He cursed loudly, balling his fists, but never hit her. I couldn’t help but laugh when she told him to ‘Go fuck a goat!’ just before she dumped the drink. He said he wasn’t able to get off to take her out, but went to the bar for his friend’s birthday party, thinking she was sitting  at home, waiting for him to come by later.  I never left her sitting at home alone. Well, except that one night we argued and I never came back.

Of course, after she showed up he wanted to be with her, but didn’t invite her to the party table.  He didn’t want her to accept drinks or dance with other men. If he knew Mandi, as I do, he’d know better than to tell her what to do. Of course, she’d do the opposite. After she dumped the drink, she headed straight to the bouncer at the door. She knew he had an eye for her and was playing it for all she could. I think he is more trouble than the one she just dumped, but I can’t do a damn thing about it.

She would’ve been better off with the correctional officer, even if he does have a wife he is hiding. I knew this from listening to his conversations in the bar with his friends whenever we were there. I also knew he loved Mandi and wanted to leave his wife, but Mandi wouldn’t go for that if she found out. I wouldn’t have told her he loved her even if I could. Maybe I should’ve. Then she wouldn’t be jumping out of the frying pan into that very big fire. Tonight will be the start of a long, hard journey for me to keep her safe. Besides, this is just the beginning.

 

I wish I were able to grab her and stop her from making this mistake. Even if I could, she wouldn’t believe me. All I can do is keep an eye on her. I can’t do anything to change the future, but I can try to keep her safe. That’s why I chose to stay here with her so I can at least make things easier for her. You might think I’m her guardian angel. In a way I am. She’s my soul mate and I’ve been given the choice to be her guardian or move on, out of this realm. I couldn’t leave her.

It breaks my heart to watch her fawn all over this man. I step back and watch while he smiles at her. His eyes hungrily roam her scantily clad body as she provocatively saunters back to her friends. Stepping over to the owner’s table, he asks if it’s time to leave the door. If you ask me he is too scrawny to be a bouncer. They agree to let him mingle with the crowds now, keeping the peace. He taps the man beside her and takes that chair. Soon they’re on the dance floor bumping and grinding against each other. Her boyfriend (well ex) comes out of the restroom and stands at the edge of the dance-floor. When the song ends, he grabs her by the arm and whispers in her ear. She slaps him, jerking her arm away from him. The bouncer steps forward. I expect things to get ugly. Her recent ex is huge man, and though the bouncer’s tall, he’s thin. The other man would make two of him, or more, width wise. He has a lot of muscles where the bouncer doesn’t. The larger man glares and then looks longingly at Mandi, my tiny little kitten at barely five feet and one hundred pounds, who’s angry gaze burns into him. He throws up his hands and exclaims, “She’s all yours. She’s too much of a pain in the ass for me. Good luck.” My kitten turns into a tiger, lunging after him. The bouncer grasps her by the waist, pulling her into the air, holding her tightly, her feet kicking. He’ll have bruises tomorrow. Good.

I can’t hear what he’s whispering to her, but she finally calms down, then sits back into her chair. The bouncer goes to the bar and comes back with a beer and a tall frozen pink drink for her. Mandi looks at it before she takes a sip. She gazes back at the door as if she’s hoping the other man will return, and then reluctantly scoots her chair closer to the bouncer. His name’s Mark Wallace, by the way. I guess you’re wondering who I am, too. My name’s William Steven Parker, but you can call me Bill. It’s nice to meet you.

 

 

 

        Chapter 2

I’m not the only uninvited guest

 

When we get home, I head to the guest room. The downside of staying here with her is I have to watch another man paw and ravish my wife’s body. It tears at my soul every time she brings a man into our home. At least I have the option to go anywhere in the house and don’t have to stay in the same room she is in. I lay on the bed. I don’t have to lie down or sleep, but I like to. It makes me feel as if I’m still human. I got lucky that she was so drunk, and she didn’t last long though the minutes seemed like hours before the moaning, groaning and shouting stopped seeping through the walls like an unwanted specter.

I was happy when he left. I lay down in my usual place by Mandi, with my arms wrapped protectively around her. She seems to snuggle right into my arms like old times. A slight smile lights her face as if she can feel me.

A few hours later, I heard the door open, so I went to check it out. There was Mark carrying boxes! He placed the first armload on the sofa. I locked the door as he went back out. He came in with another armload, placed it beside the first, and then went back out. I locked it again, hoping eventually he would take the hint, and I even took a pair of his shoes and set them about halfway to the couch. I laughed as he stumbled over them, spilling some clothing he had piled in his arms. He looked around scowling and picked up the clothing and shoes to put them back on the sofa.

This time, he propped the door open with a box. I moved the box out on the porch, shut, and locked the door. This was the most fun I’ve had in ages. I heard cussing outside the door and then he appeared again with a rather pissed look on his face. He looked into Mandi’s room and then looked back at the pile of boxes that had mysteriously fallen off the couch–with my help. I did it all very quietly, so as not to wake Mandi up. I thought maybe he would freak out, or at least get the hint he wasn’t wanted and pack up to go back to wherever he came. No such luck. He came back in and straightened the mess a bit. He put Mandi’s keys back on the table by the bed before he crawled back in beside her. I debated throwing the stuff out the door but decided I’d let Mandi deal with him in the morning. I did rummage through it leaving it tossed around instead of neatly packed. Mandi hates messes This should be good.

 

Chapter 3

Saved by the Yell

 

Morning brings another comic scene. A blood-curdling scream jolts me from my bed. I run into Mandi’s room and find her sitting up wrapped in sheets. Pure terror mars her lovely face. Mark is standing beside the bed, furiously tugging his pants up his long boney legs. He is the polar opposite of her last boyfriend. This one is over six foot tall and nothing but skin and bones. He’s also a good 10-12 years her senior. She always has had a thing for tall, older men. He finally calms her down somewhat. I can hardly wait until they venture into the living room and she sees the boxes.

After dressing, he heads to the kitchen while Mandi is in the bathroom. I can’t help but reach out and wrap my arms around her as she leans against the sink gazing into the mirror. I can practically feel her confusion. As I stand behind her cradling her in my arms, my hands resting on her soft abdomen and chin resting on her head, I swear I feel her relax into my body.

“Oh, Bill! What have I gotten myself into now?” she sighs, as she lets the sheet slip off her small but curvy body and steps into the shower.

Can she see me? Surely not. She wasn’t looking at me or screaming at the top of her lungs. I’m sure that would be most people’s reaction to seeing a ghost for the first time. She’s nothing like most people, but I’m pretty sure she would’ve either screamed or slapped the crap out of me for being so stupid and getting in that car after drinking so much. Heaven knows she berated me for days after the funeral.

 

I leave her to her shower, so that I can go see what this idiot is up to now.

I hope he’s loading the boxes back into his car. I’d help him if I could without causing a commotion. I doubt boxes floating through the air would go unnoticed. I’m disappointed as I walk through the living room, still stacked with boxes, and find Tall-Dark-and Dangerous in the kitchen making breakfast. He opens the French doors and gazes out on her patio, looking over her beautiful backyard oasis.

 

My Mandi loves her gardens and mini orchard. She planted two of each kind of fruit trees and unbelievably they all produce plenty of fruit every year. Mandi has more than a green thumb. She works magic with any sort of plant.

Tomcat slinks up to the door from his hidden spot. He looks up at the stranger with his back arched, hair standing on end, to hiss fiercely, before he darts off the porch. Odd! I’ve been sitting on the deck and he has never reacted to me like that before.

I slip up behind the man and shove him as he opens the screen. He stumbles slightly. I’m not sure who is shocked more, him or me.

“Babe, please give me a chance to explain. Let’s have breakfast on your beautiful porch.” He looks around the kitchen. His eyes narrow slightly in my direction. I don’t think he sees me as he continues to search around the room cautiously. Each time his gaze reaches mine, he hesitates before moving on. The third time around the room he stares straight at me, squinting. “Who’s here?”

“What the hell?” A loud, angry shriek comes from the living room.

Phew. Saved by the yell.

I take a seat to watch the battle, but am disappointed when Mandi folds so easily. This guy is smooth. He manages to convince her to let him move in by offering to pay all utilities and help with groceries and other necessities

After considerable deliberation, she gives him two months to see how he will get along with the kids.

I know she is struggling to make ends meet, but I really figured the Social Security check, she was getting for the kids since I died, would be enough. I didn’t realize just how hard being a single mother with two teenage kids would be. Willy now prefers to be called Will, and didn’t let up until Mandi broke down and bought him a car. His check makes the payment and pays the insurance for that, leaving very little to put into the household funds. Kelly’s check goes towards Mandi’s car payment and insurance, since in a few years that car will more than likely go to Kelly. Mandi makes a little over minimum wage as a cashier at the local grocery store, so I can see how his offer would be hard to refuse.

I suppose you could say he is handsome, and Mandi is definitely pretty, plus her sweet naiveté is hard to resist by any warm-blooded man. By the sounds she made last night, not being bad in bed clenched the deal.

After breakfast, Mandi offers to help Mark unpack. She sends him to get a shower first. I think she needed a moment to ponder how she always gets herself into these awkward predicaments. I watch as she walks slowly back into the living room to glare at the boxes cluttered about.

I step behind her, wrapping my arms around her tightly. “I’m so sorry babe. I should’ve worked harder to win you back instead of drowning my sorrows in alcohol.”

 

Chapter 4

Can you feel me now?

 

It’s no surprise to me that after the two-month period Mandi lets him stay.

I could do nothing but watch as Mark went out of his way to win over the kids. When the alternator went out on Will’s car, Mark showed him how to fix it himself instead of taking it to a repair shop. Since it was my son’s car, I didn’t sabotage the job, but I did drop a wrench on Mark’s head once and hid a few of the tools and parts. I was hoping, after buying a couple wrenches and pieces of the parts a few times, he would give up. No. This man is relentless.

Mark even talked Will into playing ball again and practiced with him every day. Will hated baseball, but Mark convinced him he just hadn’t had the proper support. I swear he grinned at me once when he said that.

I would knock the ball out of the air or toss it into Mark’s face. Will thought it was hilarious. I could tell that Mark was pissed every time Will laughed at him, but he put on a fake smile and kept on.

Kelly decided to go to the Prom with a boy that’s a year older. I wanted to scream no. Mandi tried to talk her out of it by telling her they couldn’t afford a dress, shoes, hairdo and makeup.. Mark interfered by saying he would take Kelly and her mom shopping. He went all out on buying a new boutique dress, jewelry and shoes to match. He even went as far as purchasing gift cards from a salon for the day of the prom. Mani/pedis for both of them, and a massage for Mandi while Kelly was getting her hair done. Kelly was so happy, she actually flung herself into his arms. I guess girls are easily bought! Will doesn’t seem to care one way or another if he was around.

One evening, after an infuriating ball practice with Will and getting hit in the face twice by the ball, Mark was alone in the bathroom. He looked into the mirror and snarled. “I’m not sure who you are, but I’m guessing you are Mandi’s ex-husband. Oh right. You’re not just ex, but dead. So move on, friend, I’m taking your place. You won’t discourage me, no matter what you do, only make me more determined to take her from you.” I replied by spraying shaving cream in his face and slamming the door as I left him alone. I’d bump his arm to slice his damn throat shaving, but those cheap razors he uses would barely cause a nick. Besides a dead man with a slit throat in my wife’s bathroom would not only be traumatic for her and the kids, but look suspicious to the police. No, I’ll bide my time and find a way to get Mandi to get rid of this creep.

On the weekends, he took them all out for picnics, to the zoo, and other things that they could get done during the day since at weekends he worked nights at the club. I cherished those weekend nights, when he was at work, to get to cuddle with Mandi on the sofa or lay in bed with her until he came home. It was on one of these nights that I discover a newfound ability. I could actually visit her in her dreams. 

Chapter 5

Only in her dreams

 

I’ve had a very bad day with Mark and I’m so happy when he goes to work. Mandi didn’t seem too happy with Mark either as she sighs in relief upon his departure. She must have had a rough day as well. She took a long hot bath after Kelly went to bed. Will’s out, as usual on the weekends, staying with a friend, which I noticed has been a new habit since Mark moved in. I don’t think Will likes him much either. Both kids always have friends over a lot on weekends, but Mandi rarely lets them stay at other people’s houses, unless she knows the parents very well.

I sit on the bed and wait for her to return. I know she will grab a glass of wine, her Kindle and read a while before she goes to sleep. She turns over on her side, closes her eyes and I take her into my arms. We do this often, just not as often as I’d like, since the leech moved in. I know he spends a lot of money on her and the kids. He works two jobs, but doesn’t pay much on the bills, unless Mandi complains she can’t pay one. So yeah, he’s a leech.

Anyhow, I wrap my arms around her and hold her as her breathing slows and she dozes off.

“Why did you have to leave me?” She sighs.

“I never meant to. I just couldn’t deal with not being with you and seeing you with other men.” I find myself answering her. Then she turns to me, and I realize something is different. She is standing, facing me, wearing a cute sundress not the gown she has on as she lies snuggled in my arms.

“I’m so sorry sweetheart. I was young and impetuous. I guess I should’ve listened to Mom when she said not to rush into things. You were so sweet and fun to be around. I knew my parents couldn’t pay for college and I messed up on getting scholarships. I felt marriage was the way to go. You were my best friend and rock. You know that, right?” She says softly as she reaches up, timidly touching my face.

She cradles my face in her hands, and I can feel them. Damn, her mouth feels like heaven to feel her touch! I would give anything if this wasn’t only a dream.

“Yes, I know baby-doll. I never blamed you. It’s as much my fault as yours. I should’ve moved on when you wanted a divorce and never let you run around with Janie and that group. I knew they were a bad influence. I just couldn’t let you go.

“I should have tried harder to be what you needed. Both your family and mine warned me but I didn’t listen.   Instead, I got more jealous and hurt and let it build up inside of me. I wallowed in my self-pity and drowned myself in alcohol.

“I shouldn’t have contested the divorce and put you through so much turmoil. We should have seen a marriage counselor. There are so many what ifs and should haves, but it’s too late to worry about all that. I promised I would never leave you, and I’m keeping that promise.” The sorrowful look in her eyes made the tear in my heart for her that bit wider.

“Are you truly here with me or am I just imagining things? There are times I’m so sure I can feel you near me. At night, I cherish the thought that you are holding me, comforting me when I feel so lost. Please tell me I’m not crazy and somehow you found a way to stay?”

I reach with my thumb to wipe a tear that slides down her face.

“Yes, I’m here with you. I don’t know how it happened, but I am. I made you a promise that I intend to keep.” I run my fingers through her long red waves. Oh! How soft they feel.

“I love how you always play with my hair. Do you like the new color?”

“You’re always beautiful to me, baby-doll. The red does suit your complexion and brings out the green flecks in your eyes. I’m glad you’re out of that black phase though.” I lean closer and pull the silky strands in my hands to my nose. I take in the fresh, clean smell of her shampoo—not flowery or fruity—just fresh and clean.

“I was supporting Kelly, and I kind of liked the dark look. But yeah, I’m glad that didn’t last too long.” Her soft chuckle is like music to my ears.

“You’re a good mother. I didn’t like the fact our daughter was reading books on Wicca and dressing all dark and witchy-like. I thought you were out of your mind when you told her to bring you the books and let you read them. You were right, though, to let her go through her phase. Knowing what she is reading and doing was smart.”

“I knew that if we protested, she’d just do it anyway. I would have, in her place.” She chuckles again. Her hand reaches to the back of my head and strums her fingers through my hair. Chills run down my spine with every touch, causing my blood to heat and my body to react. Even though I’m dead, this woman still arouses me. I let my hand slide down the length of her hair, caressing her back but stop just below the curve of her hip. Then, I pull her closer to me. I can’t believe this is happening. I wish she would never have to wake up and we could stay this way forever.

Her eyes widen as she feels my erection pressing into her stomach.

“Why can I see you now? I thought I could feel you near me during the day, but I never see you. Why now?” Her breath is so sweet: like orange, mint and chocolate.

“I don’t know. I had no idea you would be able to feel me at all. Maybe it has to do with the times you said you felt your grandmother’s presence. Also, you have mentioned your mother said she could see or feel spirits, even talk to them in dreams. Whatever it is I am glad.”

“I never thought of that. I’m glad you’re still here.” She kisses me.

Her soft lips meet mine. First with a light brush—it’s like magic rushes through me. My lips part for her, begging her to enter and explore. The tip of her tongue traces my mouth, top to bottom and her teeth gently nip. Then she delves inside. Our tongues intertwine, dance and tangle.

And then the door opens.

Mandi moves in my arms in the bed. She wakes up suddenly. I feel like my body tears away. Part of me feels like its missing. Mark tosses his clothes onto the floor—not even bothering to go shower. The smell of smoke and alcohol is so strong that it nearly makes me sick. I don’t know how Mandi can stand it.

“Babe, why don’t you grab a quick shower. You know I hate the smell of smoke. It sets off my asthma.” She pushes him away when he tries to kiss her. “At least go brush your teeth.”

He grunts as he rolls off the bed and stalks into the bathroom. I hear the water run and him spitting in the sink. Soon he’s back, jerking her into his arms. She lays limp as he nuzzles her neck.

I want to grab him and pull him off, but I’m not sure I can. I haven’t been able to touch anyone but Mandi. Have I even tried? I refrain for now. She chooses to let him live with her, but I’m hoping that changes soon.

He keeps nuzzling and groping her, but she just lays there. Has she gone back to sleep? Finally, frustrated he lets her go—muttering to himself, as he takes matters into his own hands. I see Mandi let out a sigh of relief, and her hand releases the sheet she had grasped. I slip out of the room and head back to what I now call ‘my room’ for the rest of the night. I have no desire to watch the leech pleasure himself.

 

 

#Ro-ManicMonday…Lover’S Leap

Sitting in my dad’s third floor apartment in downtown Hannibal,one of my favorite things is the  spectacular view.  From his window I get  a different  look at  the river. I Can watch tug boats working, speedboats zipping along, the riverboat running its tours, driftwood floating down the river and trains chugging along.

Each window I look through I get a different view . I can see how Mark Twain got his indpiration for Tom a Sawyer and  Huck Finn using such s lovely, quaint town. Forgive the extra mistakes please I’m having to work from my phone. There are caves here that are supposed to be  the caves that inspired the stories but they are long and narrow so I can’t walk th with my bad hip and claistrtphobia.

LOVER’S LEAP does have a tragic ran tic story.  The story is written by a man  named Aurthor O Garrison. He claims to have gotten the details from ‘sncient inscrptions and a birch bark manuscript”  according to the Hannibal Courrior Post’s Sesquintennial Edition.

The story is similar to ones I’m most towns with high cliffs . You can find the story here. http://www.hannibalparks.org/parks/lovers-leap/

It is quite a sad story. I find it hauntingly beautiful and whenever I visit the cliff and see the big birds hovering above I wonder if they are spirits of the lovers that lept.

Yes I realize I have an overactive imagination! I am a fiction romance writer what do you expect?

I adore this town and you will notice s similar one in my upcoming contemporary romance I hope to have out next year.

Do you have a story about a lover’s leap or old folk lore in your town?

Put on your hard hat! Why do I love V.L Locey, Sharon Moore, Christina Cole, Flossie Benton Rogers, and Cassidy Frazee’s blogs.

Write about it Wednesday

I have talked over the last few weeks about the different stages of writing. The actual writing,http://cathybrockman.com/2015/05/06/put-your-writing-hat-on/ Research http://cathybrockman.com/2015/05/13/lets-go-digging/ Alpha readershttp://cathybrockman.com/2015/05/20/5850/ editing http://cathybrockman.com/2015/06/03/5908/

Now the fun really begins. Let’s put on our carpenter hat start building a platform.

hard hat

When I first started writing, social media was so daunting and a few groups I was in encouraged you to get social media coaches. In which I did. A good social media coach teaches you the steps of building a strong platform. Just like any other platforms if the foundation isn’t strong it will collapse and you will fall on your… well, you get the idea. Of course, with this as most other things in my life, I went overboard. Where my coach said choose three or four social media sites and only work them a few hours a week, I chose as many as I could find and worked hem a few hours a day. Soon I was overwhelmed, burned out, and still not too many people knew who I was or cared( good thing since I didn’t have time to finish any books). After lots of trial and error, I finally caught on and downsized. I found a few that are easy enough for me to use and just stick with that as a base and occasionally reach out in other new areas. Usually, I find the best bet if one of those work replace one that doesn’t work with this one so you don’t get back into the habit of too many social media sites.

When should you actually begin this platform? All the sites you read and coaches encourage you to begin as soon as you start writing. I will have to agree but don’t go overboard. Recently I got overwhelmed again and began at square one.

From my experience, I suggest you do build a good website first. Choose if you will blog on it daily, weekly biweekly or what and be consistent. I also suggest you pick a day a week to do the bulk of this and pre-schedule as much as you can. I found this gives me much more writing time during the week.

Creating a good schedule is key. Put your writing first then give yourself an hour a day and do your social media then and maybe an hour to work on your blog as well. Set a timer and when it goes off walk away. My timer is my best friend( when I actually use it).

DSC00079

Do posts that encourage your audience to seek your writing out. Don’t just post about your book constantly. What are your books about? Do they focus on one thing? Do they center around food or Myths? Here are five of my favorites.

Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme ehttp://www.sharonarthurmoore.blogspot.com/ by Sharon Moore s one of my favorites She shares all sorts of cooking tips, recipes and guest posts.She also occasionally talks about her books and I will say the cute titles and fabulous food pictures on her covers along with the bits she gives on her blog has sold me her book.

VL Locey http://thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder.blogspot.com/ Is one of my favorite authors both M/F and M/M. Her books re a bit on the sexy side so enter this one with caution. I think I have and have read every one of her books. She has fewer posts than some of the others. She has some guest posts and news of her releases and a personal post or two about her life on her hobby farm. Also some cute duck, goose and puppy pictures from time to time!

Cassidy Frazee https://wideawakebutdreaming.wordpress.com/  is a science fiction and fantasy writer and her posts are a bit longer. She shows us her timeline on scrivener and gives some insight on the characters and how the story is progressing. I also love seeing how she uses the Scrivener Writing program.

Flossie Benton Rogers http://flossiebentonrogers.com/ I love how she has Mythic Monday. Her books center around myths and magic so she posts about the topic ( yes I am about to break down and buy the Witch Fae series! I want Demoness Dreams badly and will need to read the others first.I also love the way she does her reviews it is very interesting and unique.

and Christina Cole http://christinacoleromance.com/ Though Christina hasn’t posted in a while I loved his blog. She had a day or so a week with a favorite recipe and I loved seeing the different ways people cook some of the same meals I cook.

As you see, each one is extremely different.

You can see here how each of these authors target a specific audience.

These are a few of my favorites, I had to limit the number of blogs I actually read each day as that was another thing that was consuming too much of my writing time, but there are so many awesome blogs out there!

 

I decided under good advice to do a little work on my previous blog. In the past, my blog was full of blog tours, other author’s books, cover releases, reviews and the like. It was 99 percent other author’s and not much about my writing or myself. So the first of the year I hired someone to redesign my website for me and got a domain name and here ya go. Cathy writes Romance at cathybrockman.com was born! I cut back on my posting of other authors and keep that to mostly one day a week. If I read and review a book I think was great and want to share I post that as well, otherwise the website is now more oriented to you the reader, myself and my work.

I love to cook and organize things, garden, craft and do trash to treasure. With the way, the economy is I find that a lot of you like to find new ways to stretch the budget. So I do a food and craft post on the weekends. I hope as my actual writing progresses to get back to a free story or at least some teasers for you as well.

But a good website, schedule, and a plan is only the bottom of the platform. Then you gotta get social!

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