When You Aren’t Wonder Woman

Hello peeps.  The last time I posted something personal, I discussed beginning my Ph.D. program.  I’m two quarters in, and I can’t juggle everything.  I receive two job offers this summer, so I am now teaching at the university I have been with since 2015 and an additional college.  That’s four days of work a week, plus grading and other essential functions.  Besides that, I’m a wife and mom.  I’m a friend and a daughter.  In order to prioritize, the Ph.D. has to be put on hold.  I’m okay with that.  After all, I want my family and friends to remember me for spending time with them, not for having a nose in a book (which is what I have done all summer).  Things may change between here and the first of the year, but I highly doubt it.  I am going back to my first love:  fiction.  I miss writing fiction more than I can even explain.  So, I am already picking up where I left off with my Between Worlds Series.

There are a few more weeks of scheduled posts coming, and then I will post this quarter’s work, but thereafter, it’s back to fictional writing and posting for me.  I am NOT Wonder Woman.  As much as I would like to be able to handle three jobs (I was also given a teaching assistant position for the Ph.D. program), being a wife, a mom, spending time with my family and friends, fitting appointments in there, and trying to find time to sleep, I can’t.  Something has to go.  For me, it’s the quest for higher education.  However, that doesn’t mean I won’t go back to it.  It may just be temporary.

So, thanks for reading my scholarly stuff!  Fiction will be on the way very soon!

Best,

Tracee

Teaser Tuesday: The Fine Line

011ef8b80b63a56 (1)Robin watched him walk to drawer and pull out an ace bandage and walk back to the gurney. He put the bandage on the gurney and then walked to a nearby closet where he pulled out a pair of crutches, propping them against the wall. “These are going to be your best friends for the next week.”

She frowned.

He walked to the end of the gurney and started wrapping her foot with the bandage, his touch tender and careful. He smiled a lot as they made small talk.

Wendy walked out to respect their privacy.

He grinned sweetly as he helped Robin stand with the crutches.

“Thanks, doctor… I mean, Matt.”

He smirked.  “Listen, you’ll probably think I’m crazy or something, but I was wondering if maybe sometime you’d like to go out for coffee or something.”

3d of the fine line “I don’t drink coffee.” Robin said with a vague smile.

“Oh.”  His eyes dropped as the rejection registered.

“But, I could handle a meal sometime,” she said invitingly.

Teaser Tuesday: The Fine Line

3d of the fine lineHe paused hesitantly as his mind went to a more serious place. “Let me ask you something Curt…”

“Sure,” he answered as he crossed his arms.

“The people who lived here before, did they ever say anything to you about strange things happening in the house?”

Curtis took in a deep breath and then exhaled. “Well, the house sat empty for about 12 years or so when you folks decided to buy it. The people that lived there before kept to themselves. They said ‘hello’ to us maybe twice the entire time they lived there; never said anything to us about anything strange though. Everything okay?”

“I was just curious.” He didn’t hide his unsettledness well because Curtis caught on quickly.

“You sure you two are okay?” he asked with concern in his tone.

“Oh yes. It’s nothing serious, but Robin and I hear things sometimes. And I’ve been feeling a little strange too.”

Haunted House“I don’t know anything for sure, but that house,” he said as he lifted his chin toward the daunting structure, “has a long history. You might want to research it. Maybe that’ll help you understand what’s happening.”

“Okay, Curt. Well, um, thanks. I better get back to work though. I’ll send Olivia over when she gets here,” Matt concluded as he waved and headed back to the mower.

Teaser Tuesday: The Fine Line

3d of the fine lineA week passed. Matt invited Robin to his apartment. When she arrived, she calmly walked to the door and knocked. She heard commotion inside and a little girl squealing. Quickly the door opened and she saw Matt with a beautiful little girl with curly blonde pig tails perched on his back.

“Hey,” Matt said breathlessly. “Wanna play?”

She smiled.

“Matt, you should have told me you had your daughter this weekend.”

“Oh shut up and get in here,” he said playfully.

She opened the screen door and watched him run down the hallway as the little girl screeched loudly. He let her down at the end of the hall and she ran toward Robin.

“I’m Olivia,” she said sweetly as she put out her hand to shake.

“I’m Robin,” she said as she knelt and shook her hand. “It’s very nice to meet you Olivia.”

“My daddy calls me Olly.”

“Oh, okay. Olly.”

“My daddy said you were pretty,” she said with a wide smile.

“That’s sweet. Well, your daddy is pretty handsome, too.”

“I know. My mommy said that all the nurses think he’s hot,” she blurted out.

Teaser Tuesday: The Fine Line

3d of the fine lineRobin nervously waited and then watched as Matt walked back into the room. She felt him crawl under the covers and settle in beside her.

“Come here,” he invited as he opened his arm to her.

She put her head on his chest as she draped her arm over his waist. Delicately, he caressed her back with the tips of his fingers, tracing the outline of her shoulder-blade.

Even with her fear, Matt felt like home to her.

FREE through January 31st!

I am almost finished with my new novel. To celebrate, I’m offering my very first novel for FREE! For those of you that prefer using Amazon, just send a price match request to an Amazon admin. Otherwise, you can download it for free from Smashwords.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/530522

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Teaser Tuesday

Abstract backgroundHalloween approached. Robin and Matt decided to let Olivia throw a Halloween Party at the house for her friends at school. In preparation for such a grand occasion, Robin took Olivia to the local party supply store.

As Olivia stood in the aisle, Robin observed her closely. She talked to herself. Quietly, she listened as she hid on the other side of the aisle.

“I can’t help you right now. I’m shopping,” she whispered. She paused.
“I don’t know. I’m kind of new at this. Yes, I see you, but I’m in a store.” She paused again. “I can’t help you right now.”

Robin didn’t say anything to Olivia. From what she read in books about such things, however, she believed she understood what was happening. The trauma of the sexual abuse opened up a pathway for Olivia; a part of her brain and her soul that lay dormant until now. Robin believed Olivia possessed special abilities. She knew Olivia could see and communicate with the dead and she also knew Matt would never understand.

As they made their way home in the Jeep, Robin knew the subject needed discussion.

“Who were you talking to back there in the store?” she asked.

Olivia’s face grew pale.

“Oh, I was just talking to myself; trying to decide what color balloons I wanted.”

“Olly, you don’t have to lie to me,” she assured her.

Silence fell between them. Robin didn’t want to push her. She knew in time Olivia would open up and start asking questions.

TEASER TUESDAY

Abstract backgroundMatt impatiently waited on Jennifer’s call. Weeks had passed since the investigation. He sat in his office contemplating everything that had happened. All this time he believed there could be nothing more than this life; there could be no heaven, no hell; nothing. He realized how wrong he had been. He still wasn’t completely convinced of things, but he certainly believed there was some kind of hell because at times he felt like he had been living in it.

Matt looked through his wallet for the business card from the Ghost Hunters. Before he found it, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He looked down at the touch screen. It was Jennifer. “This is Dr. Gregory,” he answered.

“Dr. Gregory. This is Jennifer with Midwest Ghost Hunters.”

“I was wondering if we’d ever hear from you again,” he responded curtly.

“I apologize for the delay, but the minister I needed to track down was on a missionary trip. He returned this past weekend. I discussed your situation with him and he has agreed to come to your home.”

“Good. When can we do this?” he asked anxiously.

“He said he can come tomorrow if you like. The team is going to video record the exorcism.”

“That’s fine. I just want this over with so we can get on with our lives.”

“We will also work on getting rid of the other three spirits.”

“That’s already been dealt with,” he continued. “My daughter took care of that.”

“That’s wonderful!” Jennifer exclaimed.

That evening after dinner and after Olivia went to bed, Robin and Matt sat on the porch swinging. The couple remained quiet, holding hands. Matt peered over at Robin. Behind her, he could see into the living room. Standing in the window was the large black entity. He turned his body toward it. He saw what he perceived to be its face with red, glowing, hate-filled eyes. The darkness started taking shape. The solidification caused more concern.

“You can’t have her,” he blurted out.

Robin jumped. “What?”

“She has more faith than I could ever have and that’s why you hate her. I won’t let you steal my wife.”

“It’s here isn’t it?”

He nodded.

Work In Progress Wednesday: Dr. Matthew Gregory

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This will be the last WIP post. I’ve lacked the time to focus on my writing, so when I start working on Kacons diligently, I’ll start posting WIP again. Hope you all have enjoyed the character reveals and introductions to current characters. Thanks for following along 🙂

From published work, THE FINE LINE and THROUGH GLASS DARKLY (March 2015).

Dr. Matthew Gregory was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio. He came from humble means. His father own a construction business. His mother was a stay-at-home wife. He had an older brother, with whom he did not get along with. However, when his father died of cancer, Matthew and his brother realized how foolish they had been and put their differences aside for the sake of their mother.

Matthew graduated valedictorian from his high school. Although he was given an upbringing in the Baptist Church, he didn’t really buy into it. So, he became an atheist. His studies furthered his belief in science as the all-powerful answer to all questions.

As a young student in medical school, Matthew had his pick of co-eds. He was handsome, charming, and complete eye candy. He took advantage of this, fully. Quickly, he learned that the game wasn’t so fun to play and “dating” took time away from his studies. So, he put those things aside and put his efforts where they belonged. He focused on his education.

He graduated from The Ohio State University Medical School with significant honors and quickly returned home. In the nearby town of Oxford, he was hired on as an E.R. doctor. He was assigned to the graveyard shift. This suited him just fine. He liked the excitement and the challenges of emergency medicine. Private practice, he felt, would be entirely too boring for him.

It was during his work at the hospital he met his first wife, Sheryl. She was older than him and extremely beautiful. Just a neonatal nurse at the time, Sheryl seemed sincere and kind. They met in the cafeteria one night, both of them pulling in a long shift at the hospital. The chemistry was immediate and whether they had anything to talk about or not, didn’t matter to Matthew. She was an outstanding lover, or so he thought at that time in his life. Above all else, Matthew felt like it was time to settle down. He was tired of the dating scene, so he and Sheryl married. He had no idea it would be a ritualistic nightmare.

1966894_703402993106307_5301043973677488889_nQuickly, Matthew realized Sheryl had a problem staying faithful. When she ended up pregnant, he felt obligated to stay. Thankfully, Matthew’s mother pitched in to help with the newborn daughter because Sheryl was right back at it with other men. Eventually, the pain grew too hard to deal with and Matthew and Sheryl divorced. For the sake of their daughter, they kept things very civil.

One evening in the E.R., Matthew was assigned to a patient who would truly change everything about his life. He was pretty outgoing, but he wasn’t the type of man to ask a stranger out on a date. He had been hurt since Sheryl. A lot. He had dated women who liked playing games and loved to be chased. As far as he was concerned, he was beyond that nonsense. He asked women out that he knew either from the hospital or the local clubs where he hung out. Nevertheless, there was something about this patient that Matthew just couldn’t ignore. She was sweet and she had a way about her that drew him in. It went beyond attraction though.

She came in with a busted up ankle and as he examined her, he literally felt electricity going through him each time he touched her. Even though it was a nurse’s job to take her to x-ray, he happily volunteered to wheel her to radiology. The more he talked to her, the more he wanted to ask her out. So, he did. He took the chance. He thought for sure she would think he was insane, but she accepted a breakfast date with him.

From the first moment he saw her and from their conversation in the E.R., and even more, their date after his Saturday shift, he felt like he’d known her his entire life. They closer they got to one another, the more he wanted to be with her. From the start, he felt comfortable around her and enjoyed her company. He was able to be honest with her and to actually be himself. He didn’t have to pretend or put up walls or be someone he wasn’t. He could relax with her. Robin Hillard swept him completely off of his feet. He wasn’t ashamed to admit it either.

Matthew had a vision of buying an older home and fixing it up. He worked with his dad and his brother, so he knew how to do carpentry and finish work. There was a house he had his eye on for years. He could see himself living in it with Robin. In fact, he could see himself being Robin’s husband; being with her for the rest of his life. His daughter, Olivia, loved her. What wasn’t to love? She was amazing!

2866347560_d741c03dcaNo one ever seemed to want Pikeview Manor. It was in a gorgeous part of the county on a piece of land that suited Matthew. Up a long lane set against a wooded area and a large field, he knew he was destined to buy it. So, he started researching it and found out who the owner was. He made an offer and it was accepted. He secured the home before he even proposed to Robin. He had faith she would say “yes.” And she did.

Months of renovation and they finally moved in. Matthew felt like his life could finally start, but he had no idea that every ounce of who he though he was would be tested by strange phenomenon surrounding the house. He didn’t dream that he’d married a spiritualist either. He figured that he and Robin were on the same page with their beliefs, but he quickly found out he was wrong. Matthew had to decide what he truly believed and had to be strong for Robin. He had to dig deep to even find his faith and he had to try to wrap his head around things that were truly out of this world. Matthew never dreamed that the house would hold such a dark past and that those shadows would burst forth into the present, nearly killing his wife and tearing their marriage to pieces.

TEASER TUESDAY

Abstract backgroundAnticipation filled Robin as Tuesday evening’s softball game approached. She and Wendy drove to the ball field together. They pulled onto the gravel lot and when they arrived, disappointment rushed over Robin as she realized Matt’s truck wasn’t there. She wondered if he decided not to come. She wondered if he decided to stand her up. Insecurity turned to anger as she thought about how she didn’t need the headache or worry of such trivial things.

A calm inner voice spoke to her mind clearly reassuring her be positive. But, the conversation with Wendy echoed in her brain planting seeds of doubt. She just knew she couldn’t deal with more heartbreak. Drama was not her style either.

The dugout filled with co-workers little by little. Robin made her way to the group of people as Wendy stayed behind and spread out a blanket on the warm grass. Others sat with Wendy. Some brought lawn chairs.

The police department’s team congregated in the outfield. Colin Baker walked to the children services dugout. He had an insatiable crush on Robin. He had a genuinely sweet disposition. Robin owed him a lot, too. She had always been aware of the crush, but she wasn’t interested in him romantically.

He approached with a grin.

“Ankle doing ok?” he asked kindly.

She smiled as she watched his curly blond hair blowing in the warm breeze. With a nod, she sighed and put weight on it.

“I think I’ll live. Thanks for asking. By the way, I can still run pretty fast, so you guys better watch out.”

She smirked.

“Oh,” he chuckled, “well I’ll have to make sure I keep up with you this evening then.”

Just as Matt predicted, her ankle healed without complication. She was thankful for that, but being cooped up in the apartment made her feel like a caged animal; it brought out the worst in her. The few days off of work helped her build some much-needed strength though. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, she needed a break from work.

Soon 6:00 turned into 6:15 and Robin’s anger grew, the calming inner voice overridden by frustration. Being stood up made her feel completely humiliated even though she was the only one who knew that plans were made for Matt to see her play ball.

As she stood in the outfield fuming, she heard the roar of a diesel engine and the gravel crack under the tires. She glanced over to see the white truck pulling in.

The game continued as the opposing team took the field. Happily, Robin ran to the dugout looking forward to a drink of water.

Still put off, she made no effort to go to Matt. The anger seethed from her. Again, the inner voice spoke up telling her to be patient.

From the corner of her eye, she saw him sitting on the blanket with Wendy and some of the other spectators. Robin stood, her shoulders squared and her arms folded defensively. She continued watching as he excused himself from Wendy’s presence and walked toward her.

He wore a pair of dark washed jeans, black Converse high top tennis shoes, and a plain gray v-neck t-shirt. He wore aviator sunglasses and his head was down as he continued walking briskly toward Robin. The wind blew his hair everywhere. His shirt clung to him, his upper body muscles cutting through the fabric of the cotton shirt. Robin’s heart sped up.

Nonchalantly, she turned her head toward him. He smiled and waved. She smiled superficially and walked to meet him.

“Hey,” he said as she got closer, “I’m sorry I was late. I went to the wrong field. When I realized kids were playing, I knew I was in the wrong place.”

“It’s okay,” she lied.

“Really, I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to think I wasn’t coming, so I tried to call your cell, but you must have already been on the field.”

“Really, Matt, it’s okay. Mistakes happen, right?”

Shamed by guilt, she realized she hadn’t checked her cell phone before going onto the field. He smiled and then took a deep breath.

“I was wondering if you wanted to watch me bowl tomorrow night. Some of the doctors and nurses formed a league. We meet in Oxford every Wednesday night.”

Pleased with the invitation, she grinned, “Sure. What time?”

“We start at 6:30. I usually go right to work afterward, so can you meet me there, otherwise I’d pick you up myself.”

“I can meet you there. That’s no problem.”

With grins, they parted and she made her way back to the others. When she reached the dugout, she looked in her bag. Sure enough, a missed called from Matt showed up on her phone at 6:03. A text from him at 6:08 said, “Got lost. OMW to the field.”