Tag Archives: Jessica MacIntyre

Blackbird: Chapter One

Greetings blog land! Well, it’s been well over a year since I blogged and I really wasn’t in a good place the last time I wrote something. I’d like to get back into doing it but right now I’m focusing on the release of my new book, Blackbird, which will be available as of June 15th. The cover reveal is tomorrow and I’ll post the cover here as well, but for now here is the first chapter of what is going to be a new series.

Chapter One

            The memory of the pain was always raw and not something she liked to relive. It was only when something forced it to the surface that it would replay, involuntarily, in her unconscious mind. Once it began, it simply could not be turned off. The blood, the screaming, the cold when she was discarded out into the night scared and disowned. Fifteen is too young to be all alone, especially with such a burden.

Chelle stirred in her sleep, the concrete floor cold underneath her as the events played themselves out once more. She felt it all. The searing and ripping as her back released its secret for the first time, like rusty, jagged blades slicing her open, spilling her blood and dignity all over the floor of her parent’s tiny rundown living room.

Her father, who thought of himself as merciful, had brought out the belt…again, and there was no one to save her. There was never anyone to save her. No siblings. Just she and her useless mother, standing watch as leather met skin over and over.

Crack, crack, crack…

 

When the beatings first began she had pleaded for sanity, for understanding. It had only taken one or two of them to understand that any plea for clemency was falling on deaf ears, and so, she had taught herself to endure it, biting down on her lip so hard that she drew blood each and every time. Her teeth had left a small but permanent scar on the bottom one which she now always covered with lipstick. Not because she was afraid others would notice, but because having to see it staring back at her when she looked in the mirror was unbearable. Chelle was loath to see her reflection as it was.

There was no memory of what she had done to deserve the beating on that night. It was something so insignificant that she hadn’t bothered to file it away. What she did file away – which her subconscious mind liked to drudge up at unexpected times – was the anger. Raw, biting anger that had overcome her like no other time before. An anger so powerful and unforeseen had risen from the core of her very being at the sheer exhaustion she felt for having to endure his sick little ritual for so long. It was rage she lived with now as a constant companion, having to keep it just below the surface lest anyone find out what she was.

On that night the anger had nowhere to go, and with nothing to stop it she had felt the stabbing pain and the blood running down her back as her shirt was left in shreds, hanging on by bare threads as they emerged, one from each shoulder blade.

Wings. Giant black wings that sprouted from her back. So heavy and awkward that they had leveled her to the floor. Something else happened too. As she stood and reached for her mother, a scared and whimpering child in pain, she had grabbed her father’s old and cigarette burned easy chair to steady herself. Although worn and ready to be discarded it was a sturdy piece of furniture, one she had jumped on and bounced in for many years, and yet under the slight touch of her hand it broke into pieces. Stumbling into the kitchen she had fallen against the table, shattering that as well sending splinters of wood scattering all over the kitchen floor.

Horrified and frightened her father had grabbed his .22 gage shot gun, aimed it at his only daughter, and with unsteady frightened hands screamed obscenities at her. “What the fuck are you?” he had yelled as he pointed the gun as best he could while trembling violently. “Get the fuck out of here! Fuck off and don’t come back.”

Don’t come back? But where was there to go? Now everything blurred as she sought out her mother and she heard her own voice, small and frightened, beg, “Mommy…please!” Her mother had taken one look at her and stood behind her husband, now pale and trembling as well, frightened of her own flesh and blood. All of her mother’s life was now fear. Fear of her brutish husband, and fear of Chelle, who was now confirmed as a monstrosity.

“Dear god, Chelle. Please just go. Do what he says. Go and don’t come back.”

Don’t come back. Those three words cut her worse than the razor sharp wings that had torn their way out of her very bones. She stood for one moment longer, hoping against hope that they would change their minds. Praying that they would put down the gun and help their bleeding, frightened little girl. Her father had simply steadied his finger on the trigger to show that he was serious.

Fine. If that was the way they wanted it she wouldn’t come back, not ever, not even if they begged. Chelle threw the door open, breaking it from its hinges as she did and ran out into the night confused, scared…alone. All her life she had been alone in one way or another, and now at twenty-five she was still alone, waking up on the cement floor of an empty house, a stranger’s laundry room.

Sitting up she hugged her knees to her chest and rocked back and forth still reeling from the dream. Why couldn’t it just leave her be? Wasn’t it bad enough she had to keep herself separate and apart from the world? There was no peace, not even in sleep.

Checking her watch she was even more aggravated to see that it read 5:30 a.m. She had only been asleep for an hour and now she wouldn’t get back to sleep at all. Of all the luck, especially on a day when she had volunteered to work a double. Work, today would start at 11:00 a.m. and not be over until 3:00 a.m.

Working at the bar was draining and over the last three months she had seen a lot of young waitresses come and go, mostly because of ‘Billie the Bitch’. Billie had flawless straight teeth, a fancy upbringing, a fake tan and hair so blonde that it was practically a shade of white. Over the last little while she had been taking more liberties to be the bitch that she was, seeing as how she was now engaged to the owner and about to marry into one of the most well-known families in Halifax. Her real boss, Robert Cole, was the owner of many successful bars downtown and Chelle worked at the main haunt, ‘Cole’s Bar and Grill’.

It was a mid-priced establishment where families would eat in the dining section during the day, but turned into more of a party place after ten o’clock. The tips were good and the pay was decent. There weren’t too many assholes compared to other bars in town and it was certainly better than stealing to survive, although she wasn’t sure what she was doing right now by squatting in this house was any better, but it sure beat the March cold. Thank god for snowbirds. If it weren’t for seniors who vacationed in Florida she would be in a shelter, or freezing to death on the street.

 

This particular house had kept her warm for two winters now. The thought of getting a place of her own had crossed her mind. She had enough money saved but putting down roots just seemed scary. She’d called a place home once, and as awful as it had been she had felt like she belonged there, but what was the point of getting used to something and getting attached only to be told to leave and never come back. Fear kept her running, but it also kept her safe. Nothing in her life was permanent. The only normal thing she had was a bank account and that was only because most places in this day and time wouldn’t pay you without one. She hated it.

Grabbing her backpack and never turning on a single light she felt her way to the bathroom. The layout was familiar to her from having done this hundreds of times. Once in the windowless bathroom with the door safely closed she turned the light on and proceeded to wash her face with the supplies and towel in her bag. She never used any of their things, except for water. She washed her clothes by hand in the sink or tub and dried them on the drying rack in the laundry room. Just because she slept here didn’t mean she had to intrude any more than she already was. The less space she took up in the world the better. A connection to anyone or anything only left you hurt. This job was starting to come with connections and if it hadn’t been for the great money she would have moved on already. Three months was usually the limit.

Turning the light off again she made her way back down into the basement and crawled into her sleeping bag once more, this time to stare at the ceiling and think of something, anything else. There were books upstairs on shelves that looked enticing and would be a great distraction, but she couldn’t bring herself to touch them, and so she simply lay on her old sleeping bag on the concrete floor. When the sun rose and she could see without having to feel her way around she rolled up the sleeping bag and placed it behind a stack of boxes. She needed to get out before any of the neighbours were up. She knew their schedules because she had watched them for two years now and so quickly grabbed her backpack, headed up the basement stairs and out into the street, locking the door behind her and then placing the key above the doorframe in the hiding place where she’d found it.

All of these neighbours were retired and so they rarely made a move before 9 a.m. Now it was time for her to find some place to be. A coffee shop would do, or perhaps the library, the big new one downtown. Maybe she could find a little space there and doze off for a bit before having to report to Cole’s.

 

 

 

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What Writing Is Not!

what writing is not pic

Question: What are a writer’s obligations to a reader?

Other than to provide them with a story, not much. Although from scrolling through various posts on Facebook and Twitter you would think it was a hell of a lot more. Over time since I’ve started self-publishing I’ve seen readers say things like (paraphrasing here):

-Writers need to know that cliff-hangers are only acceptable if the next book in the series is already available.

-Cliff-hangers are not acceptable AT ALL!

-It is not acceptable to kill off a main character. Ever!

-Books that don’t contain a HEA (that’s, ‘happily ever after’ for those of you not familiar with the term) are not acceptable.

-It’s not acceptable for the protagonist to be a jerk, or be flawed in any way.

I could go on and on. This is just a small sampling of what I come across on a daily basis while scrolling. I think we’ve, sadly, gotten to a point where a lot of readers feel that a book is a ‘product.’ Although a book is something you buy and pay money for, it is NOT a product, it is a piece of ART! It may or may not be art that you personally enjoy, but it is art nonetheless and as such you have no right to bark at the artist as to what is ‘acceptable’ and what is not. If we were to take dictation from people as to what to write and how to write it there would hardly be any point to sitting down and doing it in the first place. A piece of writing is a piece of that individual’s soul. A lot of writers, myself included, use this art as a method of catharsis. If I sat down and wrote simply to follow a bunch of rules people think I should follow to make my book more enjoyable to them I may as well just sit on my ass and eat ice cream, and I do that plenty enough already!

Honestly if you feel that passionately about writers following all these god forsaken ‘rules’, perhaps you should be plotting a novel yourself! Write it following these directives you hold so dear, but be warned, someone is waiting around the corner to point out any and all rules YOU would be breaking. There would also be some who would say your book is ‘boring’ or ‘predictable’ as it doesn’t take any chances at all.

There are very few TV shows that actually inspire me to be a better writer, but The Walking Dead is one of them. The reason? They routinely break all of the rules I’ve listed above, and then some. Both the show and the comic have little to no regard for avoiding cliff-hangers or killing main characters. My god, that’s what makes the show so exciting. You never know who is going to bite the dust from week to week. Quite often it’s someone I’ve grown fond of. The writers are absolutely fearless and I am always in awe of how thing play out. It’s popular in part, I believe, because very few shows right now are taking the kind of chances they are. I salute them.

Of course you are welcome to like what you like. If you want the things listed above there is nothing wrong with that, but if you read a book that didn’t give you any of those things it just means you didn’t like it, not that the writer did it ‘wrong’. Writers are very appreciative of anyone who likes their work, but most of us don’t want to write a certain way just to placate people. It feels like selling out. That’s the beauty of building your own world. There’s no way to do it wrong because there is no ‘wrong’. And like I said, if you’re that passionate, Nanowrimo is coming up. Try creating your own.

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ECT Treatment #2

ECT Treatment #2

Today (October 1, 2014) was my second round of ECT treatment. You’ll be reading this tomorrow because I just don’t seem to have it in me to leave the hospital on days I get the treatment done. This one went just as well as the last one, except for the fact that I woke up crying. I have no idea why, but I cried all the way back to my room where they gave me some Gravol and I passed out for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ve never had a good relationship with anesthetic and so I blame it on that. After I was forced to have a caesarian birth with my son (not the spinal block kind, but the kind where they knock you out completely) almost nine years ago now, I woke up the same way. Hopefully Friday will be better. Not that today was bad. It actually went pretty well. I’m happy with the way things are progressing so far. I don’t feel any different, but perhaps once I rest up over the weekend I’ll see a little bit of a change. Then it will be three more treatments next week. I’m not sure how many I’ll have all together in this beginning stage yet, but we’ll see. I’m willing to stick with it if it’s going to make me better.

The hospital itself is fine, all except for the food, but since when does any hospital have good food. Thank god for hubby who comes to get me and takes me to get something decent to eat once in a while.

Well, that’s about it for now. I hope all of you are doing well. The next update will probably go up sometime during the weekend.

Chow for now.

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ECT Day One

lightning

Today was ECT treatment day one. I had the bilateral procedure (both sides of the brain) done and I have to say it was not at all like I was expecting. The anticipation of it was much worse than the procedure itself. When I woke up I didn’t even realize it was over. I was laying on the stretcher thinking, “Geze, I hope they take me in soon.” Then someone appeared over me and told me they’d sit me up in a few minutes.

The treatment is done in a separate building on the hospital grounds and I was taken back through a series of underground tunnels. I assume they took me there the same way, but I don’t remember that at all.

Right now I feel alright. I’m a little out of sorts and have a slight headache. If I stand up too fast I get a little vertigo, but it’s not bad. I’m writing this from my room and will post it tomorrow when I feel more up to going out. For today I think I’ll stay put. I have The Big Bang Theory on DVD and will probably just marathon that for today.

Wednesday will be treatment number two and hopefully it will go as well as the first one. I have three scheduled so far and beyond that I’m not sure what the plan is yet. So far I’m very hopeful. If today was any indication, this treatment is nothing to be afraid of, but I’ll reserve my full judgement for when it’s all finished.

Chow for now.

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Stumbling In The Dark

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Hello Blogosphere!

Last time I wrote about my decision to begin ECT treatment. Looks like that’s going to happen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week. That will be the first round and we’ll go from there. I am very much hoping for a good result.

I’m sitting here at Starbucks, looking out the big glass windows and it’s a beautiful day in Nova Scotia. 26C (That’s 79F for you Americans.) Everyone is out in their shorts and tank tops, sipping their Frappuccino’s and enjoying summer’s one last hurrah. They all seem so happy. I wish I felt as happy as they did. I can fake it pretty well. Today however I am just jealous. They might be faking it too, who knows? But they are smiling and laughing and I can’t feel happy at all, not even a little.

I’m hoping that in a few weeks that will change. I’m tired of feeling this way. Right now it feels like the world is closing in. The only thing keeping me going is that perhaps this treatment will cause the world to open up.

Terrible depression is hard to explain, but if you’ve been there I don’t have to tell you because you already know. That’s the place I’m in. I’m stumbling around in the dark right now, but I hope to join those of you in the sun, sooner rather than later. God, I hope this works. People have asked if I’m worried about the risks. Sure, but you know what? I’ll do anything…ANYTHIHG to stop feeling this way.

So, send me all the good vibes you can muster starting Monday. I really need it. A lot of you have expressed your support and I can’t tell you how much it means. I just need you to bear with me for a little bit longer.

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Decision

storm clouds

As any of you who read this blog on a regular basis know, I suffer from psychotic depression. Not that there’s really been a ‘regular basis’ of sorts for the last few months as I’ve kind of disappeared because of it. I have felt unwell for a while now. But today I made a decision.

Before I tell you what that is, just let me also say that I have been dealing with this illness for over two decades now. I have been patient, I have tried treatment after treatment, some with much (albeit temporary) success and some with none at all. I am a big believer in psychiatric medication, and in fact, I would not be sitting here today writing this without it. Some refer to anti-depressants as, ‘happy pills’. Believe me, they are not happy pills, but they are, ‘I think I’ll stick around for a little longer and not jump in front of that truck today’ pills. But lately their effects have been either waning, or the condition is just getting worse.

This morning I had a visit with my psychiatrist and told her I wanted to try ECT, also known as Shock Treatment. Yes, it’s gotten that bad. She suggested new medications or an increase in the one I’m on, and I told her that although I’m not opposed to that idea, it’s a process that may take years, and I’ve already been dealing with this for a couple of decades. I’m 39 years old. I can’t work and I have two young children that I don’t feel I’m caring for or enjoying the way I should be. This treatment has an 80% effectiveness rate and I didn’t see any reason not to try it at this point.

She agreed.

So now I just have to wait. In many places they will give you ECT on an outpatient basis, but not in Halifax. You have to be admitted for the first course of treatment. So on Monday she’s going to begin the process of getting me a bed and getting started.

Am I scared? I’m fucking petrified! But I’m more scared of the years I’m going to lose if something isn’t done. I have the potential to get much, much worse. I do have an advantage over a lot of people in that I’ve seen how effective this treatment can be first hand. I’ve had dozens of hospitalizations over my lifetime and have watched other patients receive ECT and the positive results were dramatic. Even though I have this awful depression, I now at least have some hope.

I’ve been mulling this over for a while and have done a lot of research. The good, the bad, the ugly. I know what the risks are and, to me, they are worth it. So, depending on how I feel, I’ll probably blog about it. One of the side effects is memory loss, but for most people it’s minimal and for some it’s none at all. I may totally forget that I said that. On my return home I plan on telling my family that I’ve forgotten how to cook though. Dinner? What’s that? I think you guys better do it.

Stay tuned.

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Now Available! – THE DEVIL AND THE DIRT ROAD

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 Click the book cover to be taken to Amazon to purchase!
only $2.99!
When Lucy Morgan, a small town newspaper reporter living in Oban Cape Breton, is given the assignment to interview a dying woman who served life in prison for the murder of her own son, she believes it may be the springboard to a bigger, better job. Soon the story Alice Sutherland reveals on her deathbed disturbs her so deeply that Lucy’s own life is thrown into chaos. Alice has never denied the murder itself, but when she finally reveals the reason for it Lucy is left reeling. Soon a similar string of events begins to unfold in Lucy’s life and the only way to stop it may be to walk the same road as Alice.

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