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Rebecca E. Neely, Author ~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

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suspense

Celebrate THE BETRAYER release TONIGHT!

PARANORMAL ROMANCE LOVERS, YOU’RE INVITED!

Celebrate the release of THE BETRAYER, Book 3 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series tonight on Facebook, in the Wicked Party Room group!

Join THE WICKED PARTY ROOM to attend ==> https://bit.ly/2GUnSTG

Thursday, March 21st from 7-9pm EST

Giveaways, Prizes & Fun!

FEATURED AUTHORS

Rebecca E. Neely ~ A sucker for a happy ending, Rebecca writes the kind of stories she loves to read–gritty, suspenseful and featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.

Maureen L. Bonatch ~ Maureen Bonatch writes humorous paranormal romance and dark fantasy books filled with ghosts, magic, and other things that go bump in the night.

Deborah Garland ~ Her debut novel was a Golden Leaf Finalist for best long contemproary romance. She is currently writing paranormal romance and her first PNR, Drawing Bloodlines, The Princeton Allegiant Series releases April 3. Book 2 will be released October and Soul Mate just contracted Book 3.

Claire Gem ~ Claire Gem is an award-winning author of supernatural romantic suspense. She writes contemporary romances laced with history and set in haunted places.

Rayanne Haines ~ Rayanne Haines is an award-winning romance author. She believes in magic and loves to write about kick-ass women and the alpha men who love them.

Renea Mason ~ Multi-award-winning and best-selling author Renea Mason writes erotic romances which challenge the definition of conventional love. Whether it be contemporary or paranormal, the author of the 2016 Audie Award-Winning Curing Doctor Vincent, prides herself on bringing readers unique storylines, memorable characters, and top-notch audiobook performances in her tales of love, lust, and mystery.

Colleen S. Myers ~ Colleen plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a USA Today bestselling writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antartica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG! Currently, she is working on There Will Be Blood, the second in her YA Paranormal Romance series.

 

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RELEASE DAY ~ THE BETRAYER

GIVEAWAY ALERT

ENTER NOW – MARCH 22ND

Win 1 of 10 Kindle editions of THE BETRAYER and/or 1 $25 Amazon Gift card

“Women—apparently even enemy women—rendered him awkward, nervous. Stupid. He lacked Nick’s charisma, and Dev’s bravado. Over the years he’d tried to emulate both and failed miserably. He was just Curtis, a blend of Keeper and computer geek.”

Yep, that just about sums up Curtis. But he’s going to have to rise to a challenge the likes of which he’s never seen before. Because his realm as he’s known it is about to get turned upside down.

Enter Jordan.

“So then, this was it. This Keeper would finish the job. Forsaken, betrayed by her own people, he would put her down like a horse fallen lame, mercifully and unwittingly ending her misery. Was that some kind of warped, twisted justice, or not? Even if the Keeper didn’t kill her, without the dark energy, she would die.”

Jordan is in store for a journey of her own. In fact, I chose her name because it means ‘rebirth’ to me – The river’s name in Hebrew is (Yarden), meaning “descend” or “flow down”.

She tells Curtis: “Until I met you, my life felt like. . .” She seemed to search for words. “Like I’m dreaming I’m naked in a crowd but I never wake up.”

And what’s the significance of the name Curtis? To me, it’s not a sexy or suave name. It’s the name of a hard working, no frills, practical Keeper, which he is.

Plus, did you ever meet someone who just made an impression on you, for whatever reason? For me, as a writer, I guess that translates into the potential to be a character in a book. It was like that for me, when quite randomly, I was introduced to a Curtis, several years ago, and never have seen him again. But his look served as inspiration….

“All her faculties fully intact for the first time in days, she studied him intently. Tall, maybe six-two. Again, she noted his lean, wiry build, clad in jeans and a T-shirt, Vans on his feet. Not a body cultivated at the gym, but one maintained through a healthy lifestyle. Hair unruly around the edges. Inky blue, close-set eyes, which at the moment appeared perplexed and wary. A long, straight nose. Sculpted lips, drawn taut by a scowl. Shifting his weight, he crossed his arms, his stance matching his hard, uncompromising expression.”

Can a Betrayer fight alongside a Keeper? ~ He’d betray his clan for her. She’s a soldier to the core – but for which side? As they battle to save the human race, how high a price will love and loyalty demand?

Find out in THE BETRAYER, available now on Amazon…

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author.

Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

Writing is Hard: Stumbling Upon Inspiration

Writing is hard. My amazing editor recently reminded me of this simple but profound truth while we worked on my latest manuscript. And I’m here to tell you, she’s right. As usual. It’s hard, mentally, when you have to rework an entire chapter because it’s full of telling, versus showing. (How did I do that? Isn’t this the very thing I advise other writers against?) It’s hard, physically, when the changes span days. And it’s hard to accept that, even after writing four stories, the learning curve somehow gets steeper. But her tough love helps me make my story the best it can be.

Because writing is hard, I seek inspiration and motivation to refill the well, consciously and unconsciously. And sometimes, I stumble upon it.

While mired in my edits, I read Miracle on the 17th Green by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge. Besides taking me on a walk down memory lane (I grew up watching Lee Trevino and my father idolized Jack Nicklaus) I not only saw a little bit of myself in underdog Travis McKinley, his journey inspired me, as did this quote:

“You work hard at something eight hours a day, you get better. Not a lot better necessarily, but a little better and that’s just fine, because improving at golf, or anything else probably, is just a matter of making an endless series of tiny improvements.”

 

As well, my twelve-year old niece renews my writing motivation. I recently read the story she wrote, Dragontopia. Her imagination, along with her sense of pacing and characterization truly impressed me. I’m humbled she’s texting me, asking for tips and advice. I’m honored to help her in any way I can. As we writers know, there’s nothing like talking to another writer. At her age, she’s unfettered by the crush of deadlines and self imposed expectations. She just loves to write, and her dedication at such a young age is astounding. She captures the spirit of writing. What a gift!

My father was a storyteller in his own right, and as a master hunter and fisherman, he likened the outdoors to a classroom, where one learns, but can never learn it all. Most certainly, the same is true of the writing landscape. Embracing that belief is also a gift.

Yeah, writing is hard. To my credit, this current manuscript is part of my first series, as well as the third paranormal romance I’ve written. Damn right the learning curve is steep. But I’m keeping on, keeping on.

I’ve got a lot more stories in me, and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m a storyteller, born and bred. Writing, and editing, with all its heartaches and triumphs, is truly a part of my story, along with my characters’ stories. With four under my belt, I’m just getting started. My plan? I’m going to borrow some of niece’s wonder, keep writing, and keep making an endless series of tiny improvements.

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

Join my VIP Reader List NOW ~ Winner of FREE ebook drawn monthly!

Featured post

Welcome to My Realm!

The CROSSING REALMS paranormal romance series by Rebecca E. Neely ~ Sacrifice or salvation? A chosen psychic few may be both. As Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

Welcome to my realm! With the third book in the Crossing Realms series coming out in March of 2019, I thought I’d dish a little about the series as a whole.

THE KEEPER, Book 1 – A tortured leader of human guardians must join forces with the one woman in the city who can save his clan from destruction: an anxious – and psychic – accountant who has no memory of him. ***Finalist for the 2016 RONE award for Best Paranormal short, sponsored by InD’Tale Magazine.

THE WATCHER, Book 2 – Can a Keeper hell bent on avenging his own death find the answers the clan so desperately needs in the seven days he’s been given, or will he be forced to abandon the woman he loves and his clan, leaving them all to face imminent destruction?

THE BETRAYER, Book 3 – Can a Betrayer with a mysterious ability, ousted by her brood and left for dead, fight alongside the Keeper who saves her—and falls for her—in the throes of the second rebellion, or will she forsake herself and the man she loves as the clan wages what may be its final battle to save the human race?

Welcome to my world, er…realm!

SOME JARGON TO ACQUAINT YOU…

WATCHERS – Beings that exist in their own realm, guiding and guarding the Keepers through missions called Compulsions.

KEEPERS – Close to human as you can get’ beings who guard humans, live in the human realm and exude and exist on light energy.

BETRAYERS – Keepers turned bad. Banished from the Watchers’ realm after the Rebellion, they too live in the human realm, wreaking havoc on humans, from which they harvest dark energy to feed on.

VITALITY STONE – a bright green stone hewn from the Watchers’ realm that gives the Keepers their amazing powers, and defends against Betrayers dark energy…

SIMILITUDE STONE – The antithesis of Vitality stone, this deadly black stone is a conduit for dark energy that enables Betrayers to drain Keepers’ energy…

The Geary clan of Keepers lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA as carpenters. They’re almost exactly what they appear to be: blue collar Irish Catholics, born and bred in the ‘Burgh. Their M.O.? Humans forget their interaction with them, so they’re able to go about their Compulsions more easily…

The Pittsburgh brood of Betrayers lives in the recesses of the city, and can be found wherever human pain, violence and suffering exists…

SOME CHARACTERS YOU’LL MEET ALONG THE WAY

Haenus Vickery – brood master of the Betrayers, who’s hell bent on destroying both humans and Keepers, and reclaiming the Watchers’ realm as his own…

Abel – an up and coming brood master who’s got a secret of his own…

Nick Geary – Jaded clan leader of the Keepers, who seems doomed to love a human woman who’s forgotten him, time after time, for thirteen years…

Libby Klink – a skittish accountant who’s as terrified of her recent and strange intuitions as she is of her mundane existence…

Dev Geary – a former Keeper, hell bent on avenging his own death…

Meda Gabriel – a cagey, street smart bar owner with a unique skill set…

Curtis Geary – A Keeper/computer guru whose neat, logical world is about to tilt on its axis…

Jordan – A Betrayer with a mysterious ability, ousted by her brood and left for dead…

Tan – Meda’s German Shepherd, a rescue who’s got an uncanny sense about people…

SOME OF MY FAVORITE LINES…

THE KEEPER, Book 1 – Libby gasped. Through the glass, his eyes bore into hers, stormy seas of blue fury, devouring her with heat and hunger and impatience.

THE WATCHER, Book 2 – This was his Compulsion. His method. His madness.

THE BETRAYER – Consequences. Padding through the warehouse, laptop in hand, intent on his task, his Vans silent on the concrete, the word resounded in Curtis’ brain. For what his clan had done and was about to do.

MUSICAL INSPIRATION…

This is Why Music Tells My Story  – read my blog about some of my musical inspiration for the series as a whole.

TATTOO, MOTORCYCLE OR GERMAN SHEPHERD FAN? I also blog about cool stuff from each story. I invite you to stop by and have a read.

This is Why She Rides a Motorcycle

Storytelling and Tattoos: For the Love of Art

This is Why She Rescues German Shepherds

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
All books available on Amazon

Epic and 80s – Love Stories That Speak to My Heart

The year? 1984. On the silver screen, all Samantha Baker wanted for her sixteenth birthday was for Jake Ryan to notice she was alive, and Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese were running for their lives from a lethal cyborg who promised he’d ‘be back.’ Fast forward five years to 1989. Sally Albright and Harry Burns had just begun a decade old argument about whether or not men and women could ever really be friends.

What do they all have in common? Sixteen Candles, The Terminator and When Harry Met Sally are all love stories that’ve become a part of me and my imagination, and continue to speak to my heart, years later.

And they’re all stories that convey the lasting, soul deep, quirky, crazy and desperate facets of romance, passion and love that I’m keen to put on the page for my readers.

I was an awkward, impressionable fourteen year old in 1984. I got Samantha Baker. In a lot of ways, she was me. And I wanted to be Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. She gave me hope, along with thousands of other girls who didn’t have the perfect hair, body, outfit or friends, that love would find a way. And she did it by staying true to herself, and by being kind to Farmer Ted, a.k.a the geek. Lots of laughs to be sure, but the tender dreams in her young girl’s heart echoed my own—and that’s what permanently etched this flick across my heart.

Every time I watch Terminator, I hope Kyle Reese will somehow escape the clutches of the Terminator and have a happily ever after with Sarah Connor. How can I not? He crossed time to find and save the woman he loved. Is there anything more romantic? Or more thrilling than watching the pair run for their lives? From the safety of my seat in the theater, I still remember watching the eighteen wheeler almost run them over. The fleeting amount of time that Kyle and Sarah share is, to me, the indescribable essence of true love in many ways. And this flick captured it, beautifully. The End. As Sarah says, ‘they loved a lifetime.’ And so they did. Time, in and of itself, is meaningless, a paradox in a story about the future. And then, not at all. The special effects might be simple by today’s standards, but the music has me hiding under my pillow every time. This one’s a keeper!

Every time I watch When Harry Met Sally, I think I love it more. Kudos to the incomparable Nora Ephron. The stories within the story cover the gamut, from like to love, from marriage to divorce, from friendship to courtship. And the struggles and triumphs are just as relevant today. I love that Harry and Sally are the complete opposite of love at first sight. How fascinating in our world of instant gratification. Too, the couple interviews throughout not only endear, but echo their journey. Love wins. It works. It’s strange, sometimes unexpected. But young or old, we’ve all got a story to tell. Of how we’ve lost. And won. Too many reasons to count, but this one’s on my permanent HEA list, because I walk away with the message, loud and clear: love endures.

Stories don’t change. But we, the readers, the viewers, do. Not only because of life experiences. But because of the story itself, I like to think. I’ve revisited these epic faves as I’ve moved through the seasons in my own life. From the comical to the confused, the passionate to the paranormal, every time, I think I find a little bit of myself.

To bring us full circle, my daughter (who, interestingly enough is sixteen) was watching an episode of The Vampire Diaries recently on Netflix. As I was making dinner, I caught the tune playing at the end. A cover of The Thompson Twins song, “If You Were Here”, by the Cary Brothers.

Red Porsche. Bridesmaid’s dress. “This is the guy!” Need I say more?

Fun fact: Molly Ringwald actually played Sally Albright in a stage production of When Harry Met Sally, circa 2004.

This post originally appeared on USA Today’s HEA blog.

Join my VIP Reader List NOW ~ Winner of FREE ebook drawn monthly!

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com 

Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

All books available on Amazon

It All Started with 25 Cents

I’m a huge fan of Aldi’s grocery stores. If you’ve never been, you put a quarter in the grocery cart slot to ‘rent’ it while you shop. When you’re finished, you return it to the cart station, lock it back up, and receive your quarter.

The kindness of strangers I’ve witnessed over a mere quarter warms my heart each time I visit the store. People will graciously offer you a quarter for the cart, as you’re returning it to the store. When I’ve done the same, some people have even refused it, saying they’re passing it on, because it was given to them.

That’s the kind of paying it forward I’m talking about.

And that one simple, small act of kindness just seems to set the overall tone for the shopping experience. Yesterday, it was extremely busy in the store. But people weren’t stressed, complaining and muttering. Everyone seemed fine with waiting, even laughing about how crowded the aisles were. People were patient, polite, saying ‘excuse me’. While standing in line to check out, I spoke with the woman behind me, and we commented on different items we were buying, and how good they were.

We’ve all had our share of people who’ve been downright rude, unkind and unpleasant. We all know there’s a lot wrong with the world. Goodness knows social media and the news reinforces that daily. But there’s also a lot that’s right.

And I’m a big believer in enjoying the little things, which can sometimes be huge. The kindness I witness each time I go to Aldi’s is one of them. It warms my heart, renews my faith in people.

And it all began with twenty-five cents.

Happy Monday!

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com 

Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

All books available on Amazon

The ‘Dream World’ of Author Rayanne Haines

Please welcome paranormal romance author Rayanne Haines. Today, she’s sharing more about her latest book, FIRE BORN, Book 1 in the Guardian Series, and the ‘dream world’ that inspired it….

I started writing Fire Born – Book 1 of the Guardian Series about four years ago. I think it has been simmering below the surface for two decades at least. I have always felt in tune with the earths energy and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t believe in magic and other worlds. I often catch glimpses of things in the shadow. Or hear whispers below the surface of everyday conversation.

Often, playing make believe has felt more real to me than real life. Maybe that’s what makes a good author; the ability to step into other worlds, to hear the voices of others and bring them through.

In 2007 I went through a messy divorce and found myself losing all sense of who I was. A friend and I went to see a psychic. Perhaps it was more about searching for “the other” again than trying to find myself, but I asked my questions and the physic gave me her answers. All quite standard stuff. Until the end. She looked at me and informed me that I had two caregivers that stood in the shadows behind me. The truth of the statement hit me so hard I began to cry immediately. She reminded me that if I ever had any questions about my life, all I had to do was ask my question before sleep took me and my answers would come to me in my dreams.

What is strange about that is that I am imminently aware that I have voracious dreams but I’ve never been able to clearly remember them for more than a minute after waking. DreamWalking became a focal point in this story because it is something that I consistently question.

So why do I write Paranormal and why these characters and this story? Because I believe in the earth elements, in the dream world, in that which we cannot see. And I believe these characters have been asking me to tell their story for quite some time. I hope I got it right.

FIRE BORN – Book One of the Guardian Series

Independent, tough as nails, and fierce to her core, Alex Taleisin can’t quite believe it when she has to fight for her life against something not-quite-human in the YMCA parking lot.

That’s when her aunt lets her in on the family secret. They’re immortal—Elementals to be precise, and Alex is the long-lost daughter of the strongest female warrior of their time.

Her guardian (a freaking Dragon!) and the sexiest man Alex has ever seen gives her a choice. Go with him, learn how to control her fire, and find her father’s people, or try to survive on her own. It’s an easy choice considering she’s only twenty-six. And the Elders may already be on her trail thanks to the fight with the nut job in the parking lot kick-starting her dormant DNA.

Enter an insane grandfather, a shifter with a hidden agenda, and a witch with a shoe addiction, and suddenly loner Alex is wishing for a quiet house in the hills with the dragon she’s falling for.

But a fight is coming and Alex knows the only way to find her answers is to trust her powers and become the warrior she was destined to be.

Connect with Rayanne

www.rayannehaines.com

Twitter @inkrayanne

Facebookwww.facebook.com/rayannehaines

Instagram – @rayanne_haines

This is Why It’s Back to School for this Writer

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to my daughter’s creative writing classes. What an amazing experience. I was truly honored and delighted to speak with these ninth and tenth graders, many of whom I saw myself in at that age—full of promise, creative, shy, hopeful, a bit awkward.

After writing professionally for 15+ years, it’s a privilege for me to give back, and share my experience whenever I can. What motivated me further to wrangle an invitation from the teacher was that as a teenager, I really wanted to be a writer but didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know any writers. The internet hadn’t been invented yet. I had no concept of career possibilities in writing beyond journalism. Nor was the kindly high school guidance counselor a help, whose counseling amounted to informing me late in my senior year that I had enough credits to graduate. So much for guidance. But that’s a story for another blog. Long story short, I ended up getting a degree in Accounting. But again, that’s a story for another blog.

With all this in mind, I set out to create a brief presentation for the classes. Certainly, I wanted to tell them about my experience, about having come at writing sideways, from an accounting career. And about how I began freelancing, and eventually writing romance novels.

But much more important to me was to get them talking. Because guess what? It’s not all about me. I even asked the teacher to have the students put together some questions ahead of time so I could be prepared, and not waste any of the 42 minute period.

I also plied the students with chocolate, knowing they would be hesitant to participate. But once I got them going, they really opened up. I asked them their names, why they were taking the class, what their favorite books and movies were. Interestingly, they much prefer a real book to an e-reader.

I asked them to do a short writing exercise, involving show versus tell (I told them how us writers struggle with that too. That impressed them. Yeah, us writers aren’t so big and bad.) I asked them to read what they’d written aloud, which is a big deal, especially at that age. I know adults who get tongue tied if asked to share their work.

What a win/win. These teenagers inspired me with their courage and their creativity, renewed my zeal with their uncomplicated, unbiased opinions and ideas. How precious and wonderful to know they have their whole lives ahead of them. I truly feel if I helped one person that day, or gave someone an idea, a possibility, or direction, then I’d succeeded.

Of course, I was thrilled when my daughter came home and told me that her friends thought I was cool. Especially after she said something like, “You? Coming to talk to my friends? That’s so embarrassing! OMG,” when she first found out I was coming.

In short, these up and coming writers made my day. And the teenage writer in me felt pretty warm and fuzzy too.

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com 

Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

All books available on Amazon

Spring Time, Sewer Lines and Storytelling

It started on Mother’s Day.

Or I should say, it stopped.

My sewer line, that is.

I bought a house a few months ago, and as a proud new home owner, I was on still on the honeymoon, filled with ideas about improvements and projects I wanted to tackle.

Enter TAG. I now know him, and I bet, if you own a home, you do too. He’s an unwanted guest that will not be denied. Many years ago, my father, a wise man, as well as a home and business owner, told me about his visits from TAG. (a.k.a. Turd Above Ground)

That night, his words came back to me with haunting clarity.

After having a relaxing day at home, reading the book my daughter had given me as a gift, and eating dinner with her and my boyfriend, I told him about some water I’d found earlier that day on the floor of my basement, near one of the floor drains. Or, rather, the evidence of it – a sopping wet throw rug I keep in front of the washing machine. At the time, I’d gotten my flashlight, checked the ceiling. It was dry. Had it come from the washer? I had no idea, and I was in the middle of making dinner, so I forged ahead, figuring I’d ask my boyfriend about it later.

My boyfriend is a general contractor who possesses an uncanny ability to fix things. When I told him about it, he raised an eyebrow in his calm, knowing way, almost as if he knew something I did not. He instructed me to flush the toilet, and run water in the bath tub.

Minutes later, he yelled to me from the basement. Stop! I ran to join him, while my brain tried to process what I was seeing erupting from another floor drain. Denial is a funny thing, isn’t it? Was that rusty water, I asked, almost as if I said it aloud, I could make it so.

No. It was TAG.

Unmitigated horror filled me as the seriousness of what was happening hit me. This was bad. Running upstairs to escape the smell, I located the home warranty information I’d been given at the closing, and called the 800 number, pushed the appropriate numbers to get me to the correct menus (you didn’t think I talked to a person, did you?), and placed my service call.

At this point, I feel it necessary to clarify that I’m not squeamish; I’ve raised a child, I’ve had numerous pets, and I worked in my family’s restaurant business growing up. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, and I have, many times. But this situation was proving beyond my capabilities.

Over the next few days, I learned more about pipes, sewer lines and plumbing than I’d ever wanted to know. I listened to my boyfriend’s advice; however, this particular problem was beyond his fixing scope, unfortunately. He was, however, at my side every step of the way, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I Googled and You Tubed my way through the internet, reading and watching more information than I’d ever known existed on the topic. Opinions and prices varied wildly on issues such as root killers, pipes and camera videos. My mind raced. I couldn’t sleep. What if I had to replace it? I knew it could be thousands of dollars and take days to repair.

Captain’s Log, Day 1

I had to leave work to meet the plumbers the home warranty company sent. They snapped on their black nitrile gloves and went to work, their big metal snake shimmying and rattling to some unknown tune. Again, the smell was so repulsive I fled. Thirty minutes later, I was told I had tree roots growing in the line, and guess what? The home warranty doesn’t cover it. Big surprise. I was told the line was open, to get it camera scoped, and that the roots would come back, a common occurrence in the spring time. I paid the fee and they departed, leaving me to clean up a mess I’m not sure I can properly describe in mixed company. That was the low point. The substances I cleaned from the floor and the walls, along with the creatures–yes, you read that right–made my skin crawl.

Worms. Did I mention some of them were alive?

Shudder.

And the smell. An unholy, godforsaken, dehumanizing smell emanating literally, from the bowels of my home, seemed to permeate my nose, my mouth, my very skin. If I’d showered for three days, I don’t think I’d have felt clean. Suffice to say, it was Andy Dufresne escaping from Shawshank prison through the tunnel all over again.

Still can’t sleep.

Captain’s Log, Day 2

Since I was price shopping, I called a local company. The woman on the phone told me proudly that they didn’t charge by the hour, but by the job. That sounded promising. I needed a camera scope, I said. They did that? Great. See you tonight.

I came home from work, and evidence that the line still wasn’t clear greeted me from the basement floor.

Plumber No. 2 snaked the line yet again, scoped it with a camera, and announced the alleged ‘good’ news. Since the line was in pretty good condition, I would able to put in a liner – to the tune of $9,500. Did I say the low point was cleaning up the floor? I burst into tears.

Still can’t sleep.

Captain’s Log, Day 3

The drain is open. I’m taking short showers, and checking the drains constantly, creeping up on them, afraid of what I’m going to find. All is well. For now.

Enter plumber No. 3, an old hand who both my boyfriend and I had used at different points in our lives. I’d wanted to go to him in the first place, but the home warranty dictates that their contractors must be used. My boyfriend had spoken with him over the course of this ordeal, and filled him in about what was going on. Did I mention I hadn’t slept well in three days?

I called him. He chided me, telling me I should’ve called him in the first place. Plumbers apparently have egos. Who knew? Bewildered, sleep deprived, and sick with dread about what fixing this might cost, I tried to explain the events of the last few days and found myself groping for words. Phrases like, ‘raw sewage’, ‘home warranty’, and ‘digging it up’ punctuated the conversation. We agreed on a time for him to come that evening.

It occurred to me was living in some sort of alternate reality; office admin by day, plumber whore by night.

Plumber No. 3 came. He observed with an experienced eye, asking few questions, except for me to run water, flush the toilet, and the like. He eyeballed the drains, which mercifully, were clear at this point. And pronounced, in not so many words, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

I hugged him and praised all higher powers. Truly. He gave me a few suggestions about maintenance, and we emerged from the basement, friends and comrades, our bond forged indelibly as we each of us soldiered on in the war against TAG that every home owner wages.

I’ll bear the scars from this battle proudly. I earned them. And because, at the end of the day—wait for it; you knew it was coming—shit happens.

So, what have I learned, and why am I blogging about this? Common sense, in the form of an older, experienced plumber, will win the day. I still love being a homeowner. And about TAG? My father passed about ten years ago, and in the moment of crisis, his words came back to me. He used to make us all laugh so hard, and I almost felt like he was there with me, commiserating. So, thanks Dad!

Also, this blog is for anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed, uninformed and intimidated by repair men, not to mention short on cash for serious home repairs. You are not alone. Also, this is for anyone who wonders what writers do in their spare time. <grin> Collect experiences!

And, I am a storyteller at heart. I sincerely hope I’ve been able to entertain you with my folly. And who knows? As upsetting as the whole experience was, it’s replete with emotion and strife, perfect for me, as a writer, to tap into when I want a character to suffer, say, by finding themselves in a deep, dank hole in the Earth, clawing through dirt, and coming up with . . . worms.

“May your lines be clear, your position always upwind, and TAG never darken your door.”
–A Brand New Proverb

Rebecca E. Neely is an author, writer, blogger & storyteller. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com
Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.
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