Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 10

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By 11:00, they had smoked an entire bowl, eaten all the bacon and drank all the orange juice. Julie’s bladder was full and so she decided to finally get out of bed. She used the bathroom as Logan stood in the doorway and recounted what he remembered from the night before.

 

He went to George’s with a group of people and they drank, a lot. There was kareokee…somebody got mad…yada…yada….yada….

 

The only thing Julie could think about was how great it felt to piss but she was glad to have Logan’s voice, filling the space in her empty apartment. Once she had finished peeing, wiped and pulled up her own Tomboy boxer briefs, she noticed Logan was staring at her, wordlessly.

 

“What?” She asked self-consciously.

 

Logan answered without cracking a smile. “I seriously thought you peed standing up. I guess you just proved me wrong.”

 

“You DICK!” Julie exclaimed and threw a roll of toilet paper at him.

 

They both laughed and Julie rolled her eyes in the mirror.

 

She yawned at her reflection and noticed that she looked like a pile of warm shit.

 

“How do you do it, man?” She asked. “You had a ROUGH night but you’re up early making breakfast and shit…and you look amazing?”

 

Logan thought about it. “I’m Irish,” he replied. Then he gave Julie her favorite, impish smile.  

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Coming Home and Coming Out Chapter 9

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Back at her apartment, she stripped Logan down into nothing but his boxer briefs, laid him on the couch and placed an empty wastebasket next to his head. In all this, he said nothing. Julie wiped his auburn brown hair out of his eyes, tucking it behind his ear with one finger. Then, she kissed him on the forehead and walked to her desk.

 

Mama Rosa’s pizza was still smiling at her from the screen. Behind her, she could hear Logan vomit in the wastebasket and then groan. Julie sighed, closed the lid on the laptop, fixed him a cup of water and then collapsed in her own bed. Within a moment, she was fast asleep and the weight that had collected on her melted away.

 

The next morning, Julie awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee. She glared at the clock on her bedside table. It was 9:00 am. She covered her head in her pillow, protesting the start of a new day. Just as she had decided she would spend the day in her bed, 10,000 Maniacs floated from the kitchen and crawled under her head pillow.

 

“Becuase the night belongs to lovers

Because the night belongs to us.”

 

Logan’s voice joined in on the second refrain and Julie couldn’t help it. She lowered the pillow from her head and joined in.

 

“Have I doubt when I’m alone

Love is a ring, the telephone

Love is an angel disguised as lust

Here in our bed until the morning comes.”

 

Logan was leaning on the frame of the doorway, still dressed in only his boxer briefs. He held a plate piled with bacon and a glass of orange juice. His blue eyes were squinted and his lips were pursed in a boyish grin. Julie envied his beauty.

 

He raised one eyebrow. “We have to stop meeting like this” he teased then walked to the bedside, placed the plate of bacon and orange juice on the bedside table, and sat down on the bed beside Julie.

 

Julie chuckled and took a piece of bacon off the plate. Between chews, she said “I hope this is turkey bacon”.

 

Logan huffed, reached in his pocket and produced a small glass pipe. “Wake and bake?” He asked. He did not wait for an answer before he lit the bowl and took the green hit….and so they smoked.

 

As they smoked, they talked. They talked about nothing in particular. He didn’t mention Tawny and she didn’t mention Michael. The pair just existed in the moment. It was so effortless to exist like this with Logan.

 

“If all boys were like you, Logan” Julie mumbled.

 

Logan was mid sentence in a rant about postmodern-something when Julie said these words. His sentence erupted in a deep laugh. When Julie didn’t laugh back, he tilted his head to the side, frowned and added, “What? You would make me your wife?”

 

Julie laughed too hard. When they both composed themselves, she added seriously. “If all boys were like you, it wouldn’t be so hard to at least pretend, you know?”

 

Logan rested his head on her chest and sighed. “I know, Jewel…I know.”

 

They lay like this for a while and the feeling hung between them. They were drawn to one another because of the commonality of their fears and regrets. They had both given up something to embrace their true selves and for this, they would always be bound.

 

“THIS is community.” Julie thought and she realized that Logan was more family to her than anyone back in *town name*. Then, she remembered the invitation, the phone call, and the wedding.

 

“I’m going home,” she said.

 

Logan huffed. It was a small gesture but Julie knew that she didn’t have to say any more. He got it and this is why she loved him so. She never had to explain herself to him.

 

After another moment, Logan sat up, put the pipe to Julie’s lip and lit it for her. She took a long hit from the pipe and as she did, she stared at Logan. His lip was busted, why hadn’t she noticed it the night before.

 

Once she had exhaled a thick plume of smoke, she said “Your lip.”

 

Logan raised his fingers to the busted spot, self consciously, lowered his eyes and muttered “Yeah.”

 

This was the entire exchange on the matter. She didn’t press for any more information. She knew him too. Instead, she took the pipe, pressed it to his lips and lit it for him. As he inhaled, she vowed to kill Michael next time she saw him.

Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 8

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Back at her apartment, she stripped Logan down into nothing but his boxer briefs, laid him on the couch and placed an empty wastebasket next to his head. In all this, he said nothing. Julie wiped his auburn brown hair out of his eyes, tucking it behind his ear with one finger. Then, she kissed him on the forehead and walked to her desk.

 

Mama Rosa’s pizza was still smiling at her from the screen. Behind her, she could hear Logan vomit in the wastebasket and then groan. Julie sighed, closed the lid on the laptop, fixed him a cup of water and then collapsed in her own bed. Within a moment, she was fast asleep and the weight that had collected on her melted away.

Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 7

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When Julie woke up, she had 15 new missed calls. She was groggy when she picked up her cell phone and checked the call log. Tawny had called 4 times. The other 11 missed calls were from Logan.

 

“Shit” she muttered and she fought her eyes awake enough to find the clock in her living room. It was 1:45am.

 

“FUCK!”

 

She dialed the phone with shaky hands and paced while it rang 1…2….3 times…Voicemail…

 

“Fuck, fuck fuck!”

 

She tried again. This time, Logan answered on the first ring.

 

“Where are you, is everything okay?”

 

The voice on the other line was slow and slurred. The only words she could make out were “Michael’s” and “Locked out” followed by a string of obscenities and what she thought sounded like pounding fists on the door.

 

“Logan!” She spoke sternly into the phone. “Stay there. I’m coming. Whatever you do, don’t go anywhere and DON’T pound on the door anymore. Just sit there quietly. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Silence….”Logan, I’m serious. You don’t want to make him mad.”

 

“Okay” Logan muttered.

 

‘Click”

Coming Home and Coming Out Chapter 6

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When Julie woke up, she had 15 new missed calls. She was groggy when she picked up her cell phone and checked the call log. Tawny had called 4 times. The other 11 missed calls were from Logan.

 

“Shit” she muttered and she fought her eyes awake enough to find the clock in her living room. It was 1:45am.

 

“FUCK!”

 

She dialed the phone with shaky hands and paced while it rang 1…2….3 times…Voicemail…

 

“Fuck, fuck fuck!”

 

She tried again. This time, Logan answered on the first ring.

 

“Where are you, is everything okay?”

 

The voice on the other line was slow and slurred. The only words she could make out were “Michael’s” and “Locked out” followed by a string of obscenities and what she thought sounded like pounding fists on the door.

 

“Logan!” She spoke sternly into the phone. “Stay there. I’m coming. Whatever you do, don’t go anywhere and DON’T pound on the door anymore. Just sit there quietly. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Silence….”Logan, I’m serious. You don’t want to make him mad.”

 

“Okay” Logan muttered.

 

‘Click”

Writing for Profit or Writing for art, does it matter? #NanoWriMo

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The month of November is coming to an end and thousands of novels are coming close to their completion (as a first draft, anyway). Some of those novels will end up in the hands of literary agents and publishers and some will end up being self-published. Somewhere in the world, a writer will look in the mirror and say (as I did last year), that I CAN be an author…and so they will become one.

Probably the most important question asked of any author is “Why do you write?” The answers to this question vary from author to author, from project to project and from interview to interview and perhaps the greatest debate about the answers to this question is “Do you write for the money?”

This is precisely what the IRS wants to know about your writing activity and the answer can have a bigger impact on your tax return than you may know.

When I enrolled in the HR Block tax course, I was surprised to learn that there are a few ways writers can claim their writing earnings and expenses.

  1. Writing as a business
  2. Writing as a “Passive Activity”
  3. Writing as a Hobby

Writing as a Business

This is probably the most common method used for claiming writing income and expenses but, it’s not always the best way and it’s not always necessary. If you claim your writing activity as a business, you will file Schedule C: Profit and Loss from a Business, along with your regular 1040 return.

You will be allowed to claim expenses against your Writing proceeds and if you have a loss, the loss is deductible against other types of income (such as wages or interest). In the case of a business, however, you will be required to pay Self Employment Tax, which covers the cost of Social Security and Medicare for Self-Employed individuals.

Writing as Passive Income

Royalties from writing can also be claimed by filing a Schedule E: Passive Income Activity. Writers who file a Schedule E, will not be required to pay Self-Employment tax but Passive Loss from writing is only deductible against other Passive Income. So, a loss from writing as a Passive Activity will not reduce income from wages, interest or other income (but may reduce income from a rental or other Passive Activity).

Hobby Income

If writing is purely a Hobby and the writer has no expenses, whatsoever, to claim against the profit from writing, the income may be entered directly on Line 21 of form 1040: “Other Income”.  The full amount will be taxable and may result in a tax liability for the author (if the income is large enough to produce more taxes owed than was overpaid from other sources of withholding).

****Although losses from Hobby Income can be claimed on Schedule A: Itemized Deductions, this is often not the best route because the expenses would have to be more than the standard deduction for your filing status (along wiht other itemized deductions, of course).

How to tell if you’re writing for Business or Passive Activity?

The IRS defines a business as an activity “that which occupies the time, attention and labor of men for the purpose of livelihood or profit.” So, we see that the most important concept that separates writing as a business from writing as a Passive Activity is intent. Obviously, if you are a career author and you make your entire living from being an author, you are writing as a business.

However, if you are a self-published author, an independent author or you have other (more significant) sources of income, it may be a little more difficult to determine if you should file as a business or file as a Passive Activity. The IRS gives the following guidelines for determining whether an activity qualifies as a business or a passive activity (the full article can be read here)

In order to make this determination, taxpayers should consider the following factors:

  • Does the time and effort put into the activity indicate an intention to make a profit?
  • Does the taxpayer depend on income from the activity?
  • If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond the taxpayer’s control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?
  • Has the taxpayer changed methods of operation to improve profitability?
  • Does the taxpayer or his/her advisors have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?
  • Has the taxpayer made a profit in similar activities in the past?
  • Does the activity make a profit in some years?
  • Can the taxpayer expect to make a profit in the future from the appreciation of assets used in the activity?

***The IRS notes that if a business activity shows a loss for 3 out of 5 years, it is (by defult) Passive Income (and vica versa).

In the end…

I wrote this, to educate Authors of their options but in the end, each situation is unique and it is important to have a Tax Professional look at your personal tax situation to determine whether your writing activity should be claimed as Business Income or as a Passive Activity.

I would also like to urge you not to attempt to file your own taxes, if you’re still not sure about what is your best option (or what counts as expenses). The great thing about the age that we live in is that you never have to leave your house to get quality tax preparation by a Tax Professional.

If you would like me (a fellow author), to prepare your tax return this year, all you have to do is email me your tax documents at my HR Block email: ashley.willis@tax.hrblock.com. I can prepare your tax return and email your return to you for review. Once you give me the okay, I can electronically file your return, from the HR Block office, and you never even have to move out of your favorite writing chair. 😀

Either way, I am always open to help fellow writers and answer questions about all of this. My work email is: ashley.willis@tax.hrblock.com and my personal email is acwilliswriting@gmail.com. Feel free to email me if you have a question which applies to your particular situation.

I is for Ideology…Finding Your Writing “Voice”…#atozchallenge

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As a writer, it feels like I am always looking for “my voice”. Maybe that’s just the journey I’m on right now and sooner than later, that will be over and I will move on to a new career challenge. Of all the research I have done about finding your writer’s voice, one of the best I have found comes from Goins, Writer.

I think it’s important, however, to examine exactly what the writer’s voice is and possibly discover where it comes from before actually attempting to find it. After all, the thought of “having a voice” seems to be such an intangible thing. It’s something that, if you do a little work towards getting published or read the comments on any author’s amazon page, you will find mentioned a lot. It seems that everyone is looking for an author with a unique voice….but what exactly is a writing voice? Where does such a voice come from.

The writing voice seems to be, on the surface, all about style. How does an author describe things? How does he/she define characters? What is the author’s pacing like? These things are often deemed to be an expression of the writer’s voice. This explanation doesn’t really work for me. I think it comes from growing up in the Appalachian mountains. In those lands, one can’t really take a person’s choice of words to be a correct assumption of their level of intelligence or an expression of their true thought.

The writer’s voice is much deeper than a simple choice of words or the structure of the author’s sentences. It is a literal expression of the writer’s soul. Of course, a clear stylistic approach to this expression is important but when it comes down to it, an author’s personal ideology is more related to the writer’s voice than anything else.

Ideology is defined as “a system of ideas and ideals”. Even the most primitive individuals posses a sense of this. It is the ideology of the author which will peak out beneath the system of writing that the author tries to use. The biases of the author, the subtle systems of ideology that exist within the author, and the basic beliefs that the authors hold will always come through in syntax. Finding your writing voice becomes a matter of embracing this ideology and finding a way to fuse it into the very fiber of your written word.

D is for Distraction….#atozchallenge

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Today’s A to Z topic is distraction. It’s something that all writers have to deal with but in the world of self-publishing where most of us are also employees, wives, mothers, ect full time, overcoming distraction can be a real challenge. How hard can it be, you ask, to find a quiet corner in my house and write? Let me tell you a story. This afternoon, I set down at my computer, turned on my writing music, brought up Scrivener and started to write. I had written 89 words when I turned around to see this behind me:

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So, I’ve written 89 words toward my word goal for CampNanoWrimo in the past 2 days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I have been blessed with the most amazing children ON THIS PLANET…and I welcome moments like this because they are too precious to wish away.

Still, the worst distractions for me aren’t even external. It’s the internal distractions that really hold me back the most. There are days when my brain is a steady train of thought and days when it feels like everything thought in the world, apart from my “writing thoughts” take priority.

Writing Rituals

One way to overcome distraction and focus the brain for writing is to develop a writing ritual. I actually wrote a post about my writing tools for a blog hop a while back and it talks a lot about my writing process and distraction so I wont go into detail about it right now but you can read that post here: Roping the Wind…The Writing Tools that Work for my Scattered Brain.  As a companion, here is an interesting post on famous author’s writing strange writing rituals that I thought would be fun to share.

So, whatever your outlets in life, what are your distractions and how do you deal with them?

…and as always, check out my fellow AtoZ Bloggers...

 

Blathering Blatherskite…#atozchallenge

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If, within your mind, there was conjured an image of Gizmoduck, you are officially awesome.If you remember that he was originally a bean counter named Fenton Crackshell, you’re doubly awesome…but what does Darkwing Duck have to do with writing? The answer is nothing. However, the phrase “Blathering Blatherskite” does.

Blatherskite, in case you’ve ever wondered, is a word of Scottish origin that is defined as “a person who blathers a lot”. So, the phrase “Blabbering Blatherskite” translates literally as “Blabbering Person who Blabbers a lot“. This is redundancy at it’s best. The word blabbering is repeated and can be removed  without changing the meaning of the phrase. Because the show was aimed at children (who had no idea what a Blatherskite was), nobody seemed to notice.

Sadly, the literary world isn’t so forgiving. After I released my first novel Darkness Within, I realized that the novel would have benefited from a little less blabbering. Not that it’s not a good novel…it just isn’t as polished as it COULD have been. Of course, I’m sure that a lot of authors feel that way about their work.

So, what could I have done to release a more polished novel? Firstly, I could have waited more time to release it. Better yet, I could have utilized the proper resources. That’s right, I could have used Beta-Readers (another “B” word). I’m going to be honest here…I don’t really know much about beta-readers. I mean, I’m familiar with them but I don’t know enough to know where to find them or what qualities they should have when I do.

So, I’m asking for advice from my fellow author-buddies. According to this article on Beta Readers by Belinda Pollard, beta readers can be found beside the pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Pollards article is really good and it does a great job at defining the qualities of an ideal beta-reader but I still don’t understand where to actually find them. So, I’ve decided to open up the comments section of this post for advice, resources and general words of wisdom about beta-readers.

Bloodstained Lives…Interview and Playlist with Ronald Griffin

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I have been jamming out to the playlist for Bloodstained Lives all week (see below) and I am really pumped to do this week’s interview. Ronald Griffin is one of the authors that was featured a few weeks back for the Charity Blog Hop and his novel, Bloodstained Lives, is one of the most innovative and exciting stories of its kind to date. Check out the Book, Interview, and (of course) the playlist below…

About Bloodstained Lives

51HBaMTNK8L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Namon is a young man with a destiny that has haunted him since his birth. His parents were murdered to protect his existence a secret from those that would cause him harm. His godmother Katrina raises him to the best of her ability. Months before his 18th birthday though events occur that force her to reveal his destiny. He is one of the last White Wolves a rare secret race of werewolves blessed with holy powers that enable them to protect humanity from all creatures of darkness. During his journey he must learn to control his abilities and prepare himself for the inevitable confrontation with the vampire responsible for his parents’ deaths Cyrus. It is Cyrus’s goal to put together an ancient amulet that will enable him to summon the demon dragon Galamythe to carry out his lost love’s final wishes.

 

Interview With the Author

You released your debut novel, Bloodstained Lives, at the end of last year. What was your Facebook-20140117-064748inspiration for it?

Blood Stained Lives was actually based off of a short story I wrote years ago. One day I just decided to rewrite it and expand it. So I added in many more characters, a better plot, and several entertaining parts to it.

What sets Bloodstained Lives apart from other stories in this genre?

I would think it would be the broad range of characters and creatures that are in it. Creatures that would normally be bad guys can be good guys, and even some creatures that you don’t really read or hear that much about anymore. Plus there is a little bit of history to the characters as well. Each one has their important role in the book and you will find yourself being attached to each of them in one way or another. 

Stories about Vampires and Werewolves aren’t always scary these days. How would you rate Bloodstained Lives’ horror factor?

Blood Stained Lives is more action, drama, and comedy than horror.

I know that you feel like you have been pulled toward writing horror and paranormal novels since you were young. Was there a particular influence for this? Were you hiding under the covers and reading Stephen King novels at a young age, like I was?

Lol actually I was more into the Stephen King movies. Silver Bullet was my favorite and I think that was the one that sparked my interest in werewolves. I have always loved wolves but when you add the supernatural factor in it. That always makes it more interesting to me.

I love that you maintain a blog mini-series for your novels. Have you also been working on a sequel novel?

Yes I am currently writing the second story titled Blood Stained Deception which I have aimed at an august release. Along with the second book though I plan on taking the entire blog mini series and putting it in a book as a collection to sell along with the other two books. I am giving a little bit more back story to characters in the first book with the series, as well as introducing new characters that will be in the second one. One for instance is the bad mouth short tempered pixie Jewel. I just posted her story recently on my mini series blog site. She also comes across everyone’s favorite little gremlin as well in that story.

Finally, give our readers a good farewell. What is it the last thing that you want people to know about you and your work?

I would rather not say farewell because I want everyone to be with me through this journey every step of the way. So instead of farewell, I will say see you next story and keep an eye out for my short stories.

Playlist for Bloodstained Lives

My immortal-Evanescence
Crazy Train-both Ozzy Osbourne and Bullet for my Valentine versions
Beautiful-Akon
Walk-Foo Fighters
Dance the Night away- David Banner
Super Bass- Nicki Minaj
Secrets- One Republic
Hero- Skillet
Awake and Alive- Skillet
Already Over- Red
Anything, Anything- Drama Rama
Bring me to Life- Evanescence
Headstrong- Trapt

Ronald Griffin Bio

Bio-Ronald Griffin is a 31 year old Author who grew up in Georgia and still lives there today. His current writing style includes paranormal fantasy and horror. He has been writing since he was 9 years old when he wrote a Tiny Toons Adventure skit for his class and it was well received. From there, he was absorbed with writing about Superheros but once high school hit, the supernatural started calling him, especially the werewolves. This is where his latest The Blood Lives Saga was born. He also writes short stories for various anthologies and some of them even for charity.

Social Media Links
Book Links
Websites
http://bloodstainedorigins.blogspot.com/ (blog mini series for my novels)