NaNo 2014: Julian Files, excerpt 4 || NaNo Day 11: 35,481 words

There isn’t much reason for this; I just randomly felt like sharing another excerpt.


 

Driving down the dusty street, with the broken windows and the empty plant holders, Julian saw the merit in staying cautious. If whoever had his brother really did have guns, then Cedrick and Julian were walking into a gunfight without even a knife. Julian had a taser, true, and he would use it if needed. But if there was more than one person armed and dangerous, a taser was about as useful as a piece of paper telling them to be nice and pretty please just hold off on attacking until he was finished with the first.

Although, the mental image of that was almost enough to want to try it one time, just to see what sort of faces he’d pull out of his adversary.

The street began to bend strangely, digging into space that otherwise would have been left untended, and with it the houses came perilously close to the tracks. It was at the apex of the curve that they saw it.

“There!”

Julian hardly heard Cedrick. All he saw was the house.

Pale green, with scalloped accents in white and blue and shades of purple. A porch that had been white picket at some point but now was as peeled and grey as a rotting vegetable. Lights that were long burned out, guttered and broken in shards that sliced the sun’s rays into pinpricks of white. That was the impression he had of the house; lost shades of white fading into greys and blacks and shadows, and hues that bled out like oversaturated watercolor.

It was just as he remembered the Greenes’ house, but with more time gone by to settle ghosts into its bones and sighs into its creaks.

He wondered what they would find inside.

 

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NaNo 2014: Julian Files, Excerpt 3 || NaNo Day 10: 33,230 words

More Julian Files! I had planned, briefly, to post the chapters as I wrote them. And then I realized that would be bad for my mental health and creativity for writing this, so I decided not to do that and to stick with random snippets. I’m sorry šŸ˜¦ I have this terrible tendency to think something is brilliant late at night, and then the next morning go, “Oh, but then reality.”

Anyway, did you notice the word count?? WTF. I’m bizarrely ahead of schedule–I’ve never been this fast at writing a story in NaNo, ever. But honestly, this has been so much fun to write. So far I have POVs for Julian, Cedrick and baby Boyd, and I don’t know yet but it’s possible Viv will even get a go. (If she doesn’t it’s only because I will be writing Domino which is all Viv, all the time). It’s unedited (of course) so expect terrible wording and typos– and there are some details I still need to fact-check to make sure the timing is right–but I don’t even care! I’m sharing it anyway! ohoho!

My goal this NaNo is to actually finish the book in this month–which is likely to be much higher than 50,000 words–and not just stop at 50k because that’s the goal NaNo set.

Ok, ok, all disclaimersĀ aside, let me just say that I chose the below excerpt because it’s just, very… It’s very Cedrick. It’s why I love him, whether or not anyone else ever will, same as I love Vivienne whether or not anyone else ever does. It’s been really fun writing him, and yet it also underscores to me how different life would have been for Boyd and Vivienne both if the past had been different.

Ok excerpt now!

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NaNo 2014: Julian Files, excerpt 2 || NaNo Day 2: 10,399 words

Another Julian Files excerpt. As I mentioned yesterday, I might stop these excerpts if I decide to post the whole thing as a book, or even if it just seems like no one is interested and it’s taking up unnecessary space. Whatever works! We’ll see!

By the way, as this is NaNo, the below excerpt is unedited–as will be any NaNo excerpts I do.

Anyway–look! This time you get Cedrick POV with baby Boyd cameo.

 


 

The receptionist looked ready to deny him entry beyond the front area at first, but then she gave Cedrick a second, more searching stare. At first he was too harried to understand why, until he realized why she looked so familiar to him.

Cara Jorgenson, sister of Timothy Jorgenson. Almost five years ago, when they were both teenagers, Timothy had been murdered in their house when Cara had left to find food rations. It hadn’t been long after the bombs, which had claimed their parents’ lives. Cara had been left suddenly alone, with no one to help her, and no one to find her brother’s killer. She’d been desperate when there had been almost no investigation, and had finally resorted to calling the local news media to see if anyone would pick up the story, maybe put pressure on the police department. Cedrick had been the only one who had listened, and while he hadn’t been able to do much through his job, he’d exhausted his resources trying to find someone who could.

It was how he’d first met Julian, the only private investigator who had given a damn about the story. With Julian’s help, and Julian’s contacts in Lexington PD to the decent cops left on the roster, they’d eventually found out who had done it–but there had never been a trial, because the perpetrator had been killed on the streets not long after the murder. He’d been mugged for the cash he’d stolen from the house.

When Julian and Cedrick had stopped by her house to tell her that, she had been drawn and hollow-eyed, and with bloodless lips she’d said maybe there was justice in the world after all.

“Cara,” he said in surprise. “I didn’t know you worked here now. How are you doing?”

Maybe it was the genuine concern infused in the last question, or maybe it was simply that she appreciated being remembered four and a half years later, but she smiled widely. “I’m… Well, I’m okay. Some days are better than others. I still expect him to walk through the door, but I think over time that will fade.” She leaned forward to peer over the counter. “Oh my God. Is that your little one?”

Cedrick grinned proudly. He nodded and grabbed Boyd from under the armpits so he could hoist him up for official presentation. Simba-style. “This is Boyd. Tell Cara hi, Boyd.”

Boyd obediently stuck his hand out, which Cara took in slight confusion. He shook her hand while saying politely, “It’s nice to meet you, Cara. I’m Boyd. I’m five.” He splayed out all the fingers of his free hand, as if she needed help visualizing such a large number.

Despite the fact that he was being held up like a cat slowly falling out of his dad’s grip, he managed to sound dignified and solemn. Cara did a double take and then burst out laughing. Her cheeks flushed, and she grinned even larger than Cedrick had. She stood up so she could lean at a better angle over the desk.

“It’s very nice to meet you too, Boyd. Should we have your dad put you down?”

“He won’t drop me. He’s very strong. My dad could probably lift a car.”

“Oh really?” Cara’s eyes sparkled as she looked up just in time for Cedrick to smirk. “Is your dad a superhero?”

“Hmm.” Boyd considered that with all the solemnity of a five-year-old with his little train underwear peeking out from his pants while his shirt rode up past his belly button. “He’s not Batman, but he can be close.”

Cara laughed again.

“Gee, thanks, son,” Cedrick muttered, but he couldn’t hide the amusement in his voice.

He set Boyd down carefully, and then tightly grabbed his hand again. He knew Boyd wouldn’t wander off without him but he was always strangely afraid of Boyd disappearing in a crowd. The thought of losing his son was so unbearable that even just imagining it constricted his lungs and set his mind abuzz.

“So, what are you doing here?” Cara asked, eyebrows furrowing. “Are you visiting someone?”

“Actually, yes. An old woman should have been brought in almost an hour ago. We wanted to check her status.”

“Hmm.” Cara dropped back down into her chair and swiveled it back to face the computers. “What’s the name?”

Cedrick hesitated. “I… have no idea.”

Cara gave him a strange look, and Cedrick felt oddly abashed.

NaNo 2014: Julian Files, excerpt 1 || NaNo Day 1: 6038 words :D

I decided to do Julian Files for NaNo 2014 because I have the timeline set and–mostly–right now I just really want to write the past šŸ™‚ Maybe it’s all the MWPP I’ve been reading lately Ā¬_Ā¬;

Anyway, you can read the first two chapters at my Goodreads profile underĀ The Julian FilesĀ in my writing section.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll post the whole chapters as I write them… I’m currently thinking not, because I don’t do any editing during NaNo and that will be damn obvious as I go. And I might just make the whole thing into a book at the end of it, at which point I might not want to post as I go. But we’ll see. For now, have an excerpt!


A faint smile lifted Cedrick’s lips but it wasn’t with the usual enthusiastic grace. No light made to his brown eyes, which dropped to his drink unusually quickly, and Julian remembered Bell’s words from the other day:

He’s been… interesting lately. Secretive.

Julian opened his mouth to ask but before he could, Cedrick was raising his eyebrows and speaking.

“So? Something on your mind that even Kris couldn’t fix?”

Julian’s stared at Cedrick, his mouth working as all previous thoughts rushed out of his mind. “What?”

“Usually you’re in a good mood after a day with Kris,” Cedrick said with a shrug. “You’re not today, though. What’s wrong?”

Julian couldn’t decide whether he was surprised, impressed, or disturbed, and he was sure the indecision must be reflected in his fluctuating expression. He finally settled on drawn eyebrows and a flicker of a scowl. “How the fuck do you know where I was? Ā Are you stalking me, Cedrick Beaulieu?”

Cedrick rolled his eyes and leaned back in his seat, but there was definite smugness in the quirk of his smile. “You’re wearing your Friday jeans on a Saturday, your shirt is rumpled despite how you obviously tried to smooth it, and I can see a hickey by your collar.”

Julian wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of a perceptive bastard like he usually was against others, and found he didn’t much like it.

Accurately reading huffiness into Julian’s silence, a flicker of a smile moved Cedrick’s lips. “One would think I was the PI and you were the journalist.”

“I dunno, Ced. I’ve come to the conclusion that journalists are more alarmingly nosy and freakishly observant than any PI I’ve ever met.”

“You’re basing that off of me?” Cedrick asked in amusement. “Or did you find another best friend journalist when I wasn’t looking?”

“Bell’s included in the deal.”

Cedrick laughed. “He’s a doctor.”

“That’s not all he is!”

“Yeah, yeah, keep it in your pants.”

Julian pointed triumphantly at Cedrick, straightening with a loud, “See?”

Cedrick tilted his head. “What?”

“I never told you I jonesed for the dude, but you know without having to ask! I’m telling you. You’re freakier than your family, sometimes. And that’s damn impressive, with an alien kid and a robot wife.”

Cedrick kicked Julian with no heat. “Hey. That’s my family you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, I know. They could only be your family, seeing as I don’t know anyone else crazy enough to marry a woman like that and pop out a little alien kid.”

“Would you stop calling Boyd an alien already?” Irritation and defensiveness was beginning to creep into Cedrick’s tone and the narrowing of his eyes, and Julian held his hands up in a gesture of peace.

“Whoa, sorry. I was joking. You know I am. I like that kid, all outer space oddities aside.”

“And stop insulting Vivienne. You just don’t understand her.”

“No one does but you, Cedrick,” Julian said more seriously. At Cedrick’s straightening back, Julian shook his head and held up his hand. “That isn’t an insult. I think she doesn’t let anyone else see who she really is except around you.”

“That’s your investigative assessment?” Cedrick asked dubiously.

Julian shrugged and leaned back against the booth. It squeaked alarmingly, considering how it was hard as fucking stone. “You could say that, yeah. I’ve seen enough people in my day who are like her… show one face to the world, and another to the only people they trust. Most people aren’t as selective in their trust as she is, but I know she has to show you something I never see or else you’d never love the woman the way you do. I know you. You wouldn’t stay with someone who wasn’t a hell of a lot more honorable and good than how we normally see her be.”

“She is a good person,” Cedrick said quietly, his gaze dropping to his beer. It was nearly gone, but he still stared at it. He looked strangely sad, until Julian noticed that the color was almost exactly the same shade of gold as Boyd’s eyes. He wondered if Cedrick was thinking about the last time they’d seen each other, when Julian had rather harshly told Cedrick to get his shit together and stand up against Vivienne for not being a better mother to Boyd.

Not wanting to get stuck in another argument on a topic that wasn’t even on point for the night, Julian rocked Cedrick’s knee with a well-placed foot. Shuttered brown showed from behind a flicker of eyelashes, and Julian took that as assent to change the topic.


Oh and here you can see the god-awful cover I made for it this morning in a rush when I realized I didn’t have a cover for it at all -_- It had to be tinystyle for NaNo to accept it, hence it being a little baby pic.

julian-jones-actual-cover

God. It’s so ugly XD OH WELL.

Oh and bonus! Look, I made Julian a PI license šŸ˜€

julian-PI-license-cleared

WIP Files 10/18/14: RESEARCH, Vivienne, Cedrick and Julian Jones

research101814

 

It’s funny how many tabs and various pieces of media I collect when researching. And how starting with one question pushes me back one step, and then another.

For example, I know certain aspects of Vivienne and Cedrick’s lives, but I have been sitting down and finalizing dates and details in order to continue writing Julian Files (Cedrick and his friend Julian from 2005-2006), and to write Domino (Vivienne’s backstory from childhood to 1/27 anthology).

I know Vivienne worked for the CIA prior to the Agency. I’ve been determining the exact title she held, how long she worked there, and more.

  • This means I’m looking at the requirements of working for the CIA, two important points of which are that you must be a US citizen and at least 18 years old.
  • The question then is when did Vivienne gain US citizenship (and trying to make it realistic).
  • This question gets into types of citizenship in the US: birthright or dual citizenship. No one in her family had American citizenship, so she has to do naturalization.
  • Looking at the timeline for that is dependent in part on whether she is married to a US citizen.
  • That leads to the question of whether that includes dual citizenship, and whether Cedrick was able to have that.
  • This gets back to Cedrick’s situation: while he was born in Canada (as I have it now), his mother was American and so was all of her family.
  • In researching whether he could have dual citizenship, it will fall in part on whether or not his mother couldĀ have dual citizenship in the US and Canada or, barring that, if she was able to remain an American citizen while living in Canada.
  • Which then gets to the question of when she would have become a dual citizen, if ever, whether she was able to do so, and thus at what time in her life did she meet Braeden, and at what age did she move to Canada.
  • Knowing that (as I have it now) Cedrick and his siblings were all born in Canada, that means that most likely the timeline has to be before 1976 or between around 1976 (when Amy and Braeden were married) and 1977 (when Riley was born).
    • Cedrick (and Vivienne) weren’t born until 1980, and then Aiden was born 1983.
  • Meanwhile, I know that Vivienne had Boyd in 1999 (at age 19)

Incidentally, Jesus. The Beaulieu family is cursed. Whenever I look at the genealogy I wrote, I remember how much both sides of Boyd’s family were fucked as far as not having long lifespans. A lot of his familyĀ died young, in accidents, or they lived to an old age but it was before Boyd was born. By the time Boyd is born, his living family members are very, very few– and the ones who know of him even fewer, and of those the ones who want anything to do with him are down to one: Cedrick. Just Cedrick.

I also realized how awful the end of Ā the 1990s were for Cedrick:

  • 1994: paternal grandparents Olivia and Bevan die in their home from carbon monoxide poisoning
  • 1996:
    • maternal grandfather William Daniels dies of a heart attack
    • paternal great-uncle Damon Beaulieu dies of natural causes
  • 1998: younger brother Aiden Jacob Beaulieu killed by a drunk driver in an accident. Age: 15. Driver gets off on almost nothing in court.
  • 1999:
    • maternal grandmother Evelyn dies of a stroke
    • Cedrick’s only remaining family killed in the Lexington bombs (mother Amy, father Braeden, brother Riley)

And then Vivienne… her life will be fun to write, but I need more proper research materials. Once I answer all these questions about dual citizenship and CIA and the like, it’s going to be frustrating because I’ll need to focus more on the French aspect of her life, and I really wanted to have better source materials for that.

As it is, I’ll have some wikipedia articles but… I wish there was an equivalent of Born Rich or The One Percent for the wealthy French.

Because Vivienne was really fucking rich in France.

I don’t know if it’s ever been properly explained in the series–probably not, since she rarely talks about herself or her life. If someone wanted to call her princess, while they would be incorrect as far as her not being royalty, they would not be far off as far as considering the amount of wealth, privilege, but also responsibilities, pressure, and expectations she had as a child/young woman. At least, after her parents were killed. Her parents had protected her from that life but their deaths took that more simplistic, loving atmosphere away from her for good.

If anyone knows of good documentaries, or films, (in French with English subtitles is ideal, but I could get away with Spanish subtitles too) or books in English that talk about the wealthy or privileged in France I would LOVE it.

Q&A: The politics of ICoS/Geopolitical influences

This is taken from our Santino & Ais Goodreads group. When we got this email, we both talked about what the answer would be. Santino’s much better at articulating specifics of history so he ended up writing the email. Below is the post he put on GR explaining it and the answer that was sent back.


A few weeks ago, we received an interesting e-mail from a mysterious individual who asked us some pretty specific questions about our inspiration for the geopolitics in the ICoS universe, whether our views have changed in the current political and global climate of 2014, and whether we think there could be a major armed conflict in our world like there has been in the past (and like there was in ICoS before the series started).

Some readers asked me to post my response, so here it is! I’m not including language from the original e-mail since I do not have permission to do so.

Paraphrased questions are in bold.

Warning: May contain spoilers!

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Q&A/FAQ: Co-Writing for a Decade

You can find this blog post at Sonny’s site as well atĀ http://www.santinohassell.com/.

NOTE: if you didn’t see us at Boys in Our Books, visit to find theĀ exclusive cover reveal for Evenfall’s volumes, theĀ interview that inspired this post, andĀ Susan’s series review.

SONNY: Recently, Susan interviewed Ais and me for the new blog Boys in Our Books. The interview got super long so some cuts had to be made to keep the focus on the series, but we thought one of the questions was excellent and is one that comes up from time to time about how we interact, communicate and how weā€™ve stayed friends for so long

If youā€™re interested, our original answers are below with several additions. We broke the question down and answered bit by bit in more depth to take into consideration other questions we’ve been asked over the years.

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