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NaNoWriMo is over, thank goodness! Did I enjoy it? No. Do I regret doing it? No. Will I do it again? No. At least I don’t think I will :)

Winner-120x240I always wondered what it would be like to be a part of National November Writer’s Month, and now I know. This year instead of sitting back and reading everyone’s up-and-down stress and triumph stories, I decided it was time to try it out. I launched in with much enthusiasm and at about the half way mark, desperation kicked in. That’s when my writing went from readable to rubbish. By the end on NaNoWriMo, I hated the way I was writing. It made me feel terrible that I was churning out such rubbish just to make a word count target. 

The good thing about this last month, was that I wrote a number of scenes that belong in future books. The total word count for each of my YA fiction books is about 36,000. So I knew when I started the project that I would have a chance to start on some other ideas that have been tucked away for future use. This was a good way of making sure I reached my 50,000 word count for the month of November. So, God willing, I will have another two books in the Operation series in the coming years.

So, thank you NaNoWriMo for the experience.

DJ

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NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close, and so is my effort to reach 50,000 words for the month. And here is your last look inside Operation Romeo Sierra before it comes out next year in print. I do hope you have enjoyed getting to know the characters.

The officer in front of him approached and Andrew put his window down.

    ‘Detective Hallen, please turn the engine off and step from the car.’

Andrew turned the key and slowly opened the door. His heart was pounding, but he didn’t let his fear show. The officer indicated for him to walk towards him.

‘Turn around and place your hands on your head.’

Andrew obeyed the instruction. ‘What’s this all about?’ He suspected that Kat was somehow behind this. 

    Once the handcuffs were on and he was moved further away from the car, other police officers poured out of their cars, swarming over his. 

  As he was being led towards the back door of the patrol car in front of him, he heard Sam cry out and his heart dropped. Pulling away from the officer that had hold of his arm, he spun around in time to see two officers dragging Sam from her hiding place on the floor behind his seat. She was screaming at them, hitting and kicking out with all her might.

            ‘Sam,’ he yelled. ‘Sam…’

            The officer grabbed his arm and shoved him towards the open door, but he dug his feet in as he tried to see what was going on.

  ‘Dad,’ screamed Sam. She struggled desperately, lifting her feet off the ground and almost twisting free. 

    Another officer moved in and she was successfully pinned down.

  ‘Don’t hurt her,’ shouted Andrew, trying to go to her. Another officer grabbed his other arm and he was dragged backward towards the patrol car and he shouted again for them to not hurt her. 

  ‘You’re already in enough trouble,’ warned one of the officers. ‘Don’t make things worse for yourself.’

            Sam was still yelling and he couldn’t see her anymore. ‘I didn’t know she was there,’ Andrew said helplessly, repeating it over and over. But nobody was listening to him. 

            From inside the patrol car, he twisted in his seat and saw Sam being bundled into the unmarked car that had been following him. She was crying and still struggling.

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Here’s another snippet from Operation Romeo Sierra – and as of tonight, my NaNoWriMo word count sits just over 40,000.

‘Any news?’ Andrew asked as he dumped the shopping on the counter.

  Bobby shook his head as he headed out of the kitchen. ‘I’m just going to wake Steve up.’

    Scott saw the colour drain from Andrew’s face as his expressions clouded over, and asked what was wrong.

Andrew shook his head and dropped onto one of the kitchen chairs.

‘What just happened?’ Scott asked, pulling out another chair.

  Andrew shrugged. ‘Some kind of flashback, I guess,’ he said, still a little confused. ‘I suddenly remembered Sam waking me up one Sunday morning.’

‘Tell me,’ Scott urged.

  Bobby was back in the kitchen, pouring boiling water into a mug, reaching for two more coffee mugs he fixed a drink for Andrew and Scott as well. 

  Andrew began to relate what had happened. ‘It was just after Kat and I had separated,’ he said. ‘Sam was staying with me for the first week of the holidays and it was our last morning.’ He paused for a moment. ‘Sam had gone home covered in bruises after our roughhousing, and it had been another nail in my custody coffin!’ 

      

  ‘Dad,’ the whispered word in his ear became reality through the fog of sleep.

  ‘Dad,’ Sam said, a little louder. ‘It’s morning, and you said “in the morning”.’

  Andrew grunted. She was on his bed – he could feel it moving.

  ‘Dad, wake up.’

Andrew could tell it was only just light even without opening his eyes and he grunted again.

She shook his shoulder and he wished she would go back to her own bed. Perhaps if he ignored her, she’d go away.

‘Dad, Dad,’ Sam suddenly cried out in a panicked voice. ‘The Philistines are here!’

Andrew shot upright and looked at her blankly, trying to get his brain into gear. 

She collapsed on the end of the bed, laughing and slapping the bedcovers.

  ‘The what?’ he demanded.

  ‘The Philistines,’ she spluttered through her laughter.

   Andrew shook his head. He had no idea what she was talking about!

‘You know… in the Bible, Samson and Delilah.’ She scrambled up onto her knees and began acting out the scene with much gusto. ‘Delilah cried, “Samson, Samson, the Philistines are upon thee”. And he woke up in a real hurry.’ Her arms suddenly dropped limply to her sides. ‘But it was only a trick.’ She looked at him with a big grin. ‘It worked on you too. I’ve never seen you get up so fast.’

  That did it! Andrew lunged for Sam and dragged her down beside him. She squealed and wriggled and begged for her freedom as he pinned her down and tickled her. 

  ‘Never,’ he growled through clenched teeth. ‘Not until you promise to give me the most lavish breakfast within your power, and an apology for such a rude awakening.’

  ‘No-oo,’ she cried, laughing and twisting as she tried to get free. 

‘Say sorry,’ ordered Andrew, ‘And that you promise me a breakfast I’ll remember.’ 

The tickling continued until she gave in, crying, ‘Okay, Okay. I’m sorry and I promise.’

  He let her go and collapsed down beside her.

   As she scrambled off his bed, she warned, ‘If you go back to sleep, I’ll send the Philistines in again.’

He made a grab for her, deliberately letting the pyjama top slip out of his grip as she squealed and took off running. He lay back against the headboard as his bedroom door slammed shut. He was wide-awake now, and his bed was a wreck! He missed her so much.

 

Andrew let his fingers run up and down the sides of the coffee cup in front of him.

Scott chuckled again. ‘She sounds like quite a character. What did she end up giving you for breakfast?’

  A grin spread slowly over his face as he savoured the memory before sharing. ‘A ten dollar note and some McDonald’s vouchers from the local paper.’ 

   There was genuine laughter from everyone. That was when Andrew realised that Steve was there too, leaning against the wall.

   Andrew nodded to him and asked if he had slept well.

  ‘Just fine, thanks.’

  Bobby sat down at the end of the table, a bunch of letters in his hand. ‘The mail came while you were gone.’ He handed Andrew four envelopes and held onto the fifth one. ‘You can open those, but with your permission, I will open this one. It is from Melbourne and has no return address on it.’

I hope you enjoyed that :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is well underway, and as of yesterday, my word count is creeping up nicely and stands at 28,353 words. Todays extract from the book I’m working on, Operation Romeo Sierra, is what was uploaded last night. To set the scene, Scott has arrived at the school hoping to catch the Smith kids before they went home…

Scott was momentarily stunned as he watched the young person flee from Doug’s car. Honing in on that person to the exclusion of everything else around, he noted how the feet hit the ground, how the arms swung, the narrowness of the shoulders, the twisting of the torso – it was a girl dressed as a boy. He was positive! He watched till she disappeared around a corner and then his attention jumped back to the Smith kids. Judging from the stunned expression on their faces, they were just as surprised as he was. But there was no point pursuing the youngster, the lead was too great. The back of his neck prickled uncomfortably. Surely that wasn’t …

Dragging his phone out as he walked backwards towards his car, he pointed to the teenagers. ‘Go home. Now! And nobody leaves the house till I get there,’ he ordered. ‘Do you understand me?’

He waited for their acknowledgement before turning and running back to his car.

‘Where are you?’ demanded Scott into the phone. ‘Drop everything… I need you to do something for me …’

Just after Doug arrived home, Detective Brad Carpenter’s car pulled in behind his and the teenagers watched as Brad and a female officer both got out.

Brad smiled reassuringly. ‘I have to keep an eye on you … Brings back memories, doesn’t it?’ he joked, referring to the times he’d kept an official eye on them in the past. ‘Scott says that I’m to stay with you boys, and Julie is to stay with you girls. No one is to talk to each other without one of us being present. Sorry guys. It could be a long afternoon.’

Back at Andrew’s house, Scott took a deep breath. He wanted to go in and demand to know what Andrew knew, but he sensed that a confrontation would just make Andrew defensive and could even result in him trying to escape them.

Walking around the back of the house, Scott could hear the low drone of the Kitchen-aid mixer as soon as he opened the door. Andrew was  oblivious to his arrival – studying an open cookbook, a tea-towel over his shoulder.

Bobby was sitting in the corner with his arms folded, watching.

‘He’s making a cake,’ stated Bobby dryly.

A cake? At a time like this, Andrew was making a cake? Now Scott was positive that Andrew knew something. He had stopped checking the computer for emails, and had stopped asking if there was any news, and he was making a cake

Scott sighed and silently shook his head. Without a word, he turned and left.

I hope you enjoyed that :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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NaNoWriMo is underway and I’m going strong :) Last night I updated my tally to 14714 words. Today I thought I’d share a peice from Operation Romeo Sierra. For those who know the series, this book focuses on Andrew.

‘Samantha Sabian is missing,’ Bobby said. ‘When did you last see her, and do you know where she is now?’

Andrew felt as though he’d been punched in the stomach. Missing! What did they mean by missing? His stunned gaze locked with Bobby’s. Hundreds of thoughts buzzed through his head in a split second and for a moment he forgot about the others, until Bobby’s voice got through to him. He was asking if he needed the question to be repeated.

  Dumbly, he shook his head. ‘What do you mean, “missing”?’ he demanded.  

‘Answer the question,’ Bobby said. ‘Do you know where she is?’

‘No, I don’t!’ He suddenly felt cold – goose bumps covering his skin. She’s missing? How could that happen?

Bobby spoke again. ‘When did you last see Samantha?’ 

‘What do you mean by “missing”, repeated Andrew loudly. ‘How long has she been missing?’ There was a moment of silence. Andrew’s face registered shock, disbelief then anger as everything suddenly added up. ‘You think she’s here!’ he accused hotly. ‘You think I somehow smuggled her across two state boarders and have her hidden here!’

He shot up from the table, shoving his chair back angrily. ‘If Sam is missing,’ he fumed loudly as he pointed towards the front door, ‘you better get out there and find her!

‘Sit down,’ Bobby ordered softly.

Scott left the bench he was leaning on and rested a hand on Andrew’s shoulder. ‘Take it easy, partner.’

Andrew rounded on him angrily. ‘Take it easy?’ he demanded. ‘You knew she was missing and didn’t tell me?’ He shrugged free, took a step away and shook his head. He felt betrayed and angry as he rammed his hands into the back pockets of his jeans, saying out loud, ‘I don’t believe this is happening.’ He silently cried out, Oh Sam, what have you done? 

Bobby stood up and opened his mouth to speak, but Scott cut him off by holding up one hand. 

‘Andrew,’ Scott said. ‘I only found out about this a few hours ago.’

‘A few hours?’ he cried. ‘Then why is everyone hanging around here instead of looking for her?’

Scott gently urged Andrew back towards the table. ‘They are looking for her. Now, sit down and answer their questions, or you will leave them with no alternative but to arrest you for obstructing their investigation. You won’t be much help to Samantha if she can’t contact you, will you?’

 Andrew saw sincerity in his partner’s eyes. Arrest? Did he say arrest? His shoulders slumped as he reluctantly returned to his seat and stared stonily at the two officers opposite him.

‘When did you last see Samantha?’ Bobby repeated the question as he too resumed his place at the table. 

Andrew hesitated before he said anything. There was a court order forbidding personal contact between himself and Sam. If he told them the truth, he could end up locked up again. But there was too much at stake for him to not tell them something, because if they found out before he told them… He didn’t want to think about that. 

I hope you enjoyed that :)

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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