Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Fright Factory (Sample Sunday)

A 900 word excerpt of my new book, The Fright Factory.

(WARNING some coarse language remains in the sample)

Now available at Amazon.

Wesley saw motion from the corner of his eye.

Jesse wandered into the room. “Howzit going?” He had a length of chain and a padlock. He looped the chain between the two chairs, pulled up the slack, and then clicked in a lock. With a second length of chain he secured Wesley and Robin to the cast iron fireplace. Where Robin had been able to slide along the floor earlier, they were now secured in place.

Jesse showed them both a candle with a hole drilled through the middle near the base of the stick. He set the candle in a brass candle holder on the coffee table. He walked to the kitchen and returned in a few seconds with a long red stick, obviously dynamite. He used duct-tape to fasten two more sticks to the first and he set the three next to the candle. He then took a long string that looked like a fuse and threaded it through the hole in the candle.

Wesley wasn’t sure what Jesse was doing but he knew it wasn’t good. Jesse took the camera off his shoulder strap and began to film Wesley and Robin. Brandi entered the room with a long butane fireplace lighter. She wiggled her ass for the camera and licked the end of the starter seductively and then headed for the candle.

Oh shit, oh shit! Wesley began to understand what was about to happen. He tensed in his chair and glanced at Robin who appeared to know what was occurring as well.

“Wes?” Robin said in a low whisper.

Wesley watched as Brandi enacted a dramatic, slow motion lighting of the candle. The wick lit and then the flame increased. Jesse carefully moved the table a few feet closer to Wesley and Robin. Brandi stood back from the candle about the same distance as Wesley and blew a long, hard breath at it. The flame flickered and danced but remained lit.

“You all can huff and puff but I’d say you have about 20-30 minutes before those three sticks blow the roof off this sh**hole and you along with it.”

Both Jesse and Brandi turned and walked for the front door. Jesse stopped and then said, “Smile now. And please…please make this good! Huh?”

“Have fun,” Brandi giggled.

The flame continued its morbid dance as Jesse opened the door, Brandi followed, and both exited. Wesley watched the smoke of the flame and he could smell that the candle was scented with flowers.

“Wes! What are we going to do?” Robin was pulling on her tie-straps and kicking her feet. The chain made a metallic jingle. “Do something. Don’t just sit there!”

Wesley began to pull at the strapping with every ounce of strength. He pushed with his feet and tried to stand. Nothing. The candle continued to flicker as if mocking them. The scent was growing stronger as the flame grew taller.

Robin was gulping in long breaths and then exhaling as hard as she could. The flame shrank and twisted and then shot higher in the increased oxygen. She did the same maneuver again and again. “For f*** sakes, Wes, blow!”

Both were huffing, wheezing, and blowing and still the flame danced and flickered, and when they stopped the flame was taller.

“Okay,” Wesley said, winded. “On three, fill your lungs, and when I signal let’s blow together. Okay?”

Robin nodded.

“One-two-three.” They filled their lungs, held their breath, and looked into each other’s eyes. He gave a small nod and they both blew out as hard as they could. The flame burned away from their view as they exhaled, appearing as though it had been extinguished. Wesley felt a moment of triumph, however, as soon as their lungs emptied, the flame darted for the ceiling once more.

“F***!” Robin said between gasps. “All we’re doing is helping it to burn down faster.”

“I agree.”

For the next several minutes they struggled at their bonds. Faster, desperate movements. Robin was screaming and swearing and he could see tears streaming down her face. He looked at the candle and saw less than an inch of wax above the hole with the dynamite fuse. He began to feverishly kick his feet and tug his wrists hoping for a loosening or the break of a strap. Instead, the rear legs of the chair snapped, sending him over backwards, resulting in a loud crack when his skull met the wood floor.

He shook his head slightly and glanced up at Robin next to him. She was straining to see him as he fought to meet her eyes. He could not see her face.


“Um—think so.”

“Half an inch,” Robin said, in a small, childlike voice.

“I know.” They were both quiet for a few seconds. Wesley was able to move enough on the floor to see the candle. He couldn’t see Robin’s face or stand or break free of the chair but he could see that damned candle.

“I’m sorry,” Wesley said.

“Huh, why?”

“For bringing you here….”

“You only did because I was pressuring you for us to get away.”

“I love you, Robin. More than you know.”

“I do know, Wesley. I love you too…I’ve loved you my entire life….”

“I feel bad—for the kids. This will be hard for them….”

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Character Interview: Dwayne Johnson and Dee-Dee Roland from "Bent, Not Broken"

Bent, Not Broken is about a man named Dwayne Johnson who is plagued by severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We watch Dwayne struggle as what are normal day to day activities for most of us are much more challenging for him. His anxieties are compounded by the fact that his co-workers gang up on him by moving things in his cubicle that he needs to have just so. You can't help but to feel for the poor guy. Dwayne meets Dee-Dee and falls in love with her, but his many issues will be the cause of much strain and difficulty in the relationship.

I sat down this morning with Dwayne and Dee-Dee from author William R. Potter’s novel, Bent, Not Broken.

Q. You two met in the story. How long have you been a couple?

Dee-Dee: Four months now—four and a half actually. (She glances at Dwayne with a hint of worry in her eyes.)

Q. Dwayne. How does it feel to be in a book? (Dwayne continues to rub his hands and shuffle his feet. He stands, reaches for an empty chair, lifts it and then removes it from the room to leave three chairs in total. He sits. His squirming has ceased, and he has a slight smile.)

(Dee-Dee leans toward me and whispers, “Dwayne won’t touch the even numbered questions.”)

Q. Okay. Dee-Dee. What is it like to be in a book?

Dee-Dee: It was weird at first. Being on display like that. But, now I think it’s kind of cool. Definitely a conversation starter at parties.

Q. What do you think of William Potter, the author?

Dee-Dee: He’s a hack! (She smiles)

Dwayne: Dee this one is mine! Mr. Potter—I think he did a good job. I mean he didn’t make me look like a total freak.

Q. How is Dwayne coping with his OCD? Just say pass if this is too uncomfortable.

Dee-Dee: Dwayne is doing wonderfully. I don’t have to remind him to take his meds as much anymore and he is working really hard in therapy…I’m proud of him.

Q. Dwayne, how has your anxiety made having a relationship with Dee-Dee difficult?

Dwayne: Everything is always tough for me—so it’s normal. I have to work at the relationship a lot—just like I have to work at not wanting to run to the bathroom to wash after shaking your hand.

(Dee-Dee touches Dwayne’s knee and he takes her hand in his.)

Q. Dee-Dee, how has Dwayne’s anxiety made dating difficult from your point of view?

Dee-Dee: It hasn’t! (She blurts quickly and then sighs.) Being with Dwayne has been the best relationship of my life. (She pauses for a few seconds) I was with this one guy who drank too much and sometimes he’d slap me around. Dwayne doesn’t like it when there’s six cans of beer in the fridge…so I drink one first. (She smiles at Dwayne.) He’s impossible—you know?

Q. Dwayne, you’ve struggled with alcohol in the past. Does that continue to cause you problems?

Dwayne: No, I haven’t had a drink since Dee had that scare with the baby. Sometimes, when things get hard I would like to drink…but so far I’m good.

Q. Dee, what do your parents think of Dwayne?

Dee-Dee: It’s just my Mom. She worries about me because I have made some bad choices regarding men. But Dwayne impressed her when he rushed to the hospital and wouldn’t leave my side until we knew everything was okay.

Q. Dwayne, do you still work at that awful office with those three…colleagues tormenting you like that?

Dwayne: No way! Dee got me on where she works. I stock shelves and work in the warehouse. It’s hard work and it’s dusty and I get my hands dirty…which is really good for me.

Q. Now an easy one and then a couple tougher questions. Where are you both from?

Dee-Dee: Dwayne is from here in Vancouver, and I’m from Montreal.

Q. Who is the most important person in your life and why?

Dwayne: For me it’s Dee. My parents…they don’t understand me…they are…they’re ashamed, embarrassed of me. (Dee squeezes his hand.) She teases me a tonne but she has always been good to me—very good. I love her.

Dee-Dee: Enough with the sappy stuff, Johnson. I mean, who is the chick here?

Q. Can you tell us about a really bad experience and how it changed you?

Dee-Dee: Of course this one falls to me. (Her face is strained with emotion.)

Dwayne: (He looks at Dee-Dee then to me) When (he clears his throat) when Dee was fifteen or so her brother’s friends got her drunk…then they—they took advantage of her.”

Dee-Dee: So I um—have trouble trusting men, now.

Q. What do you guys see in your future and is it a future together?

Dee-Dee: Well, I am expecting, so I hope that somebody does the right thing soon and puts a ring on my finger before I’m out to here.

Dwayne: Dee! You know I’m saving up for a nice ring. I already asked her—but she said no.

Dee-Dee: I didn’t say no. I said don’t even ask me if you don’t have the hardware—I mean come on—a lady has standards!

Dwayne: What lady? (He pretends to look around for someone else.)

Dee-Dee: Okay, Johnson. That’s it. When this guy is done… (She gives Dwayne a soft punch in the shoulder.)

Q. Okay we’ve had some pretty serious questions. So I’ll lighten up for this last one. Do you think William Potter will write you into another story?

Dee-Dee: Potter is working on a detective novel I hear. It would be cool if he made me a CSI or a cop. But he is a guy so I’m sure he would write me in as a hooker or the next bimbo to get sliced and diced.

(Dwayne is getting fidgety again. I decide to end things early) Okay thank you very—

Dee-Dee: (Whispers to me) I think that’s fourteen. Would you have one more by any chance?

Q. Yes I have one more. If someone makes a movie of your story, who would you like to play you both?

Dwayne: I think Dee looks at lot like Ann Hathaway. I think she would do a good job.

Dee-Dee: For him, hmmm. (She smiles) I think someone like Woody Allen could pull it off.

Dwayne: That guy is like—sixty!

Dee-Dee: I don’t think Danny DeVito is doing anything.

Dwayne: Dee! He’s like three feet tall and…. oh, you’re just evil!

Okay, thank you, Dwayne and Dee-Dee. Good luck with the baby and I hope you get that ring soon, Dwayne.

Originally published by Rose at The Plot

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