Okay. So, originally I planned for The Catalyst to be one book.
(Rather than two big-ish books)
Unfortunately, as I was writing, I realized the story was too long for one book. At least, one book that I was able to write at that moment.
(I'm getting a little better at writing long stories...baby steps)
However, as I was writing a few days ago, I found some of my old notes. And right there in black and white (horrible handwriting, btw), were my notes pondering if my writing chops were able to pull off a single epic length novel with four parts.
Ultimately, I decided I wasn't that cool and broke it up into two books. For those of you who were less than thrilled with the abrupt ending of the first book, that's what happened. I had to try to find a place to end what was not supposed to end for another 100,000 words or so.
BUT, I digress.
As some of you might have noticed, there are two parts of The Catalyst floating around Amazon. They are the first book (2014) in two parts. Next week, part three will be released. And a few weeks later, part four.
Now, I said all that to tell you this: I will actually be releasing my big book. Yep. I'm going to do it.
All four parts compiled into a single ebook. Basically, the difference between a TV show and a movie.
I'm a little bit excited about it. (A LOT)
It reminds me of that one scene in Step Up, where the main character has to choreograph a dance for her senior project, and she resigns herself to using two dancers even though she imagined it with more. (spoiler alert) In the end, she has a dozen dancers all dancing in canon. Which looks amazing.
And I'm wandering off topic again.
The point is, don't be alarmed or confused about the four part thing. If you bought the first book, you have part one and two. No need to buy it again.
Indra owns this exact coat. He used to have one with a hood (to keep his head dry-ish), but every time the hood fell forward, he went stiff and refused to move until it was folded back out of the way. So, yeah. Now, his head gets wet. You win some, you lose some.
In honor of the nearly-completed and soon-to-be-released second part of The Catalyst Duology, I am posting a chapter a week until the release date. So, without further ado, the first chapter of The Catalyst: Book Two.
The sky above her head was as white as the snow under her
boots. Robin rubbed her gloved hand against her nose. For a moment, some of her
breath was trapped against her face, warming it until she let her arm drop. She
scanned the snow covered parking lot.
She turned away from the sea of white. “Are we ready?”
Amber looked past her to the deserted parking lot. “Addar
says he needs you in the back.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
Robin left the blonde there and stepped inside the doors,
out of the wind. Without heat, the cavernous supercenter was only a few degrees
warmer than the city outside. Robin stomped her boots on a thin, gray carpet
and looked around. Her father stood off to the left in what had been a small
food court. She watched him carefully empty a napkin holder before setting it
down and moving on to the next table.
Robin continued on her way. The rubber soles of her boots
squeaked on the tile floor as she walked. Overhead, the hundreds of fluorescent
bulbs were dark in their utilitarian fixtures. The only illumination came from
the doors behind her and the battery powered camp lights set up along her path.
Her shadow leapt across the shelves each time she passed a lamp.
She wove her way through the aisles, bypassing the grocery
section with its shelves of slowly rotting food. Beyond the liquor and wine
aisles was a set of sheet metal doors. Robin pushed through them without
The back of the store was colder. The light from a single
lamp shone off the polished metal walls. Robin tucked her hands deeper into her
pockets. The chill of the concrete floor seeped into her boots.
The back of the store was filled with boxes stacked on
wooden pallets. Most were items for which they had no use. Electronics, toys, and
fresh food that had been abandoned when the townspeople fled. The building’s
heat had lasted just long enough to insure everything in the meat and produce
The unusable and unnecessary things had been moved to the
side early on. All of their focus fell on the warm clothing, camping equipment,
and nonperishable food. Even with the few survivors at the high school, there
was a dent in the supplies. No grocery store would last forever. Especially,
when they found more people.
She looked over her shoulder to see Addar studying the items
in their sled. From what she could see, he had filled it with canned meats,
vegetables, and pasta they could cook on the propane stove. The generator at
the school was large and gasoline was precious. They had all agreed to use it
sparingly. Only for the lab and a couple vehicles.
“Amber said you needed me.”
Addar raised his head and his silver gaze fell on her. One
corner of his mouth lifted into a faint smile.
“Your opinion, if you would.”
Robin crossed the space between them. She looked down into
the sled. He had gathered the staples of their current diet. There was not much
else to add. Robin started to look up when she caught a glimpse of a brown
wrapper half-hidden by a box of pasta. She bent to take a closer look.
“You like chocolate. I remember from before.”
Robin’s gaze darted up to meet Addar’s. “It’s not necessary.
I should not indulge when so many…” She gave the chocolate bar a longing look. “But
thank you for the thought.”
Addar moved closer to her. One of his large hands settled at
the base of her spine and pulled her toward him until they were pressed
together. Almost a hug. Robin wrapped her arms around his neck to complete the
action. They stood together in silence.
His head dipped and she felt the warmth of his breath as he
inhaled slowly and exhaled against her throat. The loose strands of her hair fluttered.
“If I can make you happy, I will,” Addar said softly.
Robin turned her face into his shoulder. She took a moment
to gather herself, before she stepped back. Her eyes met his.
“I appreciate it, but leave it out. I don’t want anyone
saying we aren’t taking our job seriously.”
Addar’s eyes scanned her face and he nodded. “Very well.”
“I need to check on the others.” Robin started to turn away
and paused. She took the step forward to close the space between them. “Thank
you for the thought.”
“My thoughts are always of you.”
Robin leaned in to brush her lips over his. It was far too
quick to be a kiss, but it eased some of the tension in her chest. She gave him
a small smile and left the storage room.
Robin strode through the aisles toward the front of the
store. When she reached the pharmacy, she paused. The door behind the pharmacy
counter stood open. Nothing on the counter or behind it seemed to be moved, but
the lock on the door was absent. Someone had taken the time to unscrew the
bolts holding the doorknob and lock in place.
Robin stepped around the end of the counter to get a better
look. There was no sign of the missing pieces anywhere. She reached out with
one hand to gingerly push on the door. It swung open soundlessly.
The floor of the back room was littered with empty boxes and
medicine bottles. Robin raised her gaze to take in the wall of shelves. All of
the seasonal medication was gone. Cold, flu, decongestants, and more. All of it
was gone and the white shelves stood empty.
Robin paused inside the doorway to listen for any movement,
but there was nothing. Whoever had come and cleaned them out was long gone. Robin
stepped further into the room. The empty boxes flattened under her boots. She
scanned the empty sections of white shelving and checked the locations against
Aside from the seasonal medication and pain relievers, the
antivirals and antibiotics were missing. Robin pulled open several drawers and
sighed. The vials of saline and sterile needles were also gone. Some things she
could find out in the pharmacy aisles, but the antivirals and antibiotics had
to be sourced from a pharmacy.
Robin gently closed the open drawers and looked around for
anything usable. After a moment of thought, she grabbed a pair of crutches, an
arm splint, and a large ace bandage. They would still need to find another
pharmacy before returning to the school. Robin left the back room and headed for
the front of the store.
Her father and mother stood beside one of the restaurant
tables. As she approached, they stopped talking and turned to face her.
“Good thinking,” her father said. He took the crutches from
her and laid them across the table with a box of supplies her mother had
“Is Amber still working on the clothing situation?” Robin
“Already loaded onto the vehicle,” a monotone voice
Robin turned to see Addar’s second standing just behind her.
The woman’s gaze left her to look over the table of supplies. A spark of
curiosity settled in her usually blank gaze.
“You anticipate injuries?” Vanor’s gaze moved to her.
“Fortune favors the prepared,” Robin said. She tucked her
father’s stack of napkins into the supply box and hefted it into her arms.
“I can carry that,” her father offered, already reaching for
Robin shook her head. “I need to add a few things.”
“Can I help, Dr. Kay?” Amber hurried to her side and peered
up at her. “If it’s just the cold medicine you talked about I can get that. And
some pain pills too, right?”
Robin glanced around. The rest of the group was back at the
front of the store. If she let Amber handle the remaining medication, they
could load the SUV and get on their way. Her eyes met Addar’s.
“Yes. Thank you, Amber.” Robin settled the box in the
smaller woman’s arms and watched her walk away. Vanor followed her, an ever
“Why not get the prescription strength medication?” her
Robin turned back to the table. “All of it is gone.”
Her father frowned. “Everything?”
“Everything we need.” Robin looked over at Addar in time to
catch his glance toward the pharmacy. “We’ll have to go to the one on Main St.”
Her parents looked at each other.
“It will be dark soon, Birdy.”
Robin paused in the act of gathering up the crutches. “I
know.” She stepped around the edge of the table with her armload. “But
MacDonald needs something.”
She walked through the front doors and into the cold of
impending night. Already the sun was touching the tree line. They would be
lucky if they had time to make it to the pharmacy and back to the school by
full dark. Robin walked straight down the sidewalk to the large SUV parked at
The driver’s side door opened. George pressed a button on
the dashboard, before he hopped out of the vehicle. The door to the back cargo
area slowly rose.
“Any problems?” he asked.
Robin let him take the supplies from her arms, watching as
he carefully wedged them in beside the box of clothing. “Nothing
He closed the cargo door. “Of course not, Dr. Kay.”
Robin returned his smile.
When she turned Addar was already at the side of the SUV. As
she watched, he lifted the sled full of food onto the vehicle’s cargo rack.
George slipped past her to hand Addar the tarp. In seconds, the two men managed
to secure the tarp over the sled with bungee cords.
Shannon rolled down the back window. “Is Vivian still in the
store?” She looked past Robin and smiled. “Never mind.”
Robin’s parents exited the store with Vanor and Amber right
behind them. Vanor handed the box to Amber while she pushed the double doors
closed against the worst of the weather.
“That’ll have to ride in the back with us,” George said,
nodding his head toward the box.
Vanor took the box back and she followed Amber to the SUV.
Robin climbed into the driver’s seat while the others filled in the back two
rows of seating. Addar sat next to her in the passenger seat. Just as the last
car door slammed, a loud crash rose from somewhere out of sight. It was
followed by the unending wail of a car horn.
Robin turned her head to look at Addar. He frowned out the
windshield in the direction of the sound.
“Someone must be hurt,” Shannon whispered.
Robin glanced in the rearview mirror to see her parents
exchange a glance.
It's a busy time of year, but (usually) a good time. This year has been interesting. The Dems Trilogy was completed this year. Yay for that! Work started on The Catalyst: Book Two. Which I'm really excited about. And I'm having a Holiday Giveaway!
But first...the news from the trenches! (My Crazy Family)
The Travelling Mice
The Short Version: Mice nested in my mother's car. Under the hood. And ate some wires. She was unhappy.
The Longer Version: My mother lives in rural Missouri. The area is mainly made up of forests, fields, and streams. For a mouse, it is the promised land. In this mousy utopia, there is nothing quite as nice as nestling up near a warm engine on a cool fall day. Sauna, anyone?
So, when a vehicle sits for more than a day outside a garage it becomes a mouse dwelling. A mouse house. A mobile home for the discerning rodent adventurer. Basically, they move in and eat up the place. Like bad hotel guests.
The result is a hot mess of chewed wires, random bits of nesting fluff, and a car that will definitely NOT start. My uncle was roped into helping. Which leads into my second story, The Outdoorsman, and explains where my dad was when he would usually be dealing with the car. Or calling someone to deal with the car. Details, details.
Now, my uncle is great with cars. He's a little cantankerous at times, but great when cars go boom. Or don't. Whichever. He does, however, spend a great deal of time complaining to the car he is working on. I repeat, he complains TO the car. About his day, my aunt, the weather, and (very rarely) the car itself.
It's sometimes a little difficult to keep track of who he is talking to or about. "And it just rains all the- Hand me that wrench- time. How am I supposed to- Try the engine- get anything done with it just- Anything? Yeah, I didn't think it would- raining all day."
And then there was the issue of getting the part. The guy at the parts store in town said it would be "a few hundred bucks" and advised my mother to go "pick and pull" at the junk yard near the county line.
Keep in mind, neither one of my parents are particularly good with cars. The likelihood of either of them finding the make and model they need on the lot and getting the part from it without injuring themselves or others is not great. There could be bloodshed. They could end up on the evening news. It could get ugly.
In the end, a friend of my dad's rebuilt the part and my uncle put it on. While talking to the car.
The Short Version: My dad thinks he is outdoorsy. He's been using a chainsaw to clear out some trees on his property. So far, he has managed to get his truck stuck in mud up to the frame and nearly lose a limb. It's not going well.
The Longer Version: My dad is a city guy. He was born in a city and raised in a city and has mostly lived in cities. He is not outdoorsy. He does not camp. He will never be a park ranger, canoeing instructor, or scout leader. Which is fine. Or it WAS fine, at least.
He recently got it in his head that he is a rugged outdoorsman. The forest is his homeland. He is Daniel Boone. Or Rambo. Or some odd combination of the two. He is one with the trees. Yeah.
In the past year, he has gotten a truck, a chainsaw, and a plot of land. Two days ago, he got the truck so stuck in the mud it took a two pick-ups, a semi with a chain, and an industrial wench to get him free. This follows on the heels of him nearly knocking out power to half the town when he cut down a tree too close to the power line.
I think I should introduce him to NatGeo. That way, he can watch other people chop down trees and build log cabins. It seems safer. He can vicariously be Daniel Boone/Rambo (Danbo?) and keep all of his limbs.