A Spark of Heavenly Fire takes place during the month of December. Originally, the story began on the first with the climax at Christmas, but during one of the rewrites, I got rid of most of the first chapter. So, oddly, the story now begins on December 2. I could have have changed December 2 to December 1, but that seemingly innocuous change would have rippled throughout the book, and I didn’t want to make inadvertant mistakes. I make plenty of vertant ones! It may not have mattered so much if it were any other month, but the Christmas activities needed to take place on the 25th.
To celebrate A Spark of Heavenly Fire‘s month, I will be posting outtakes from the book. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Since the original version is no longer in my computer, I have to retype the pages from my handwritten draft copy. Hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at my characters:
Greg was idly running his finger around the rim of the empty beer mug when Jim appeared in the seat opposite him.
“Jeez, you startled me,” Greg said.
If Greg looked like a matinee idol, Jim was surely a stock Hollywood villain — big and black, ugly and menacing. But one who could move as quickly and as silently as a jaguar. Cat or car, take your pick.
A hefty waitress with a rose tattoo peeping out of her considerable cleavage brought Greg’s second beer, slamming it down on the table so hard that some of the liquid sloshed out of the mug.
“Bring me a coke, will you, Joyce?” Jim said.
Joyce glowered at him, then trudged off, perhaps to get his drink.
“Still on duty?” Greg asked.
“A cop’s always on duty.”
“You know what I mean.”
Jim massaged the back of his neck. “I’ll have to go back to the station, probably have to work all night.”
“What’s up?” Greg could smell a news story — a big story — and wanted a piece of it.
“Off the record?”
Greg hesitated a second. “Okay.”
“I don’t know if it amounts to much, but the brass want it kept quiet. Afraid of starting a panic, I guess.”
“There’s been a lot of deaths from something the medical examiner called ‘projectile hemorrhagic vomiting, cause to be determined.”
Greg hunched his shoulders. “That’s it?”
“If you’d seen the bodies, you wouldn’t ask that. In all my years on the job, I’ve never seen so much blood. Some of the younger guys are spooked. Can’t say I blame them. It’s truly gruesome. And when you consider that most of the victims were driving when they died, you can imagine what it was like out there.”
Greg studied his friend’s grim face. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”
Jim let out his breath in a loud whoosh. “You’re right. Did you hear about the woman who was bludgeoned to death and left lying in the street in a pool of her own blood?”
“I heard about it, but someone else at the paper was sent to cover it.”
“I talked to the pathologist assigned to do the autopsy. She said she won’t know anything for several days, but form a cursory look, the beating was post mortem.”
“Someone beat up a corpse?”
“Jeez, how weird is that! Where does one get a corpse anyway?”
“Unfortunately, tonight there’s no lack of dead bodies lying around. The perp must have stumbled across a woman who died from the hemorrhagic disease and decided to have a little fun. The pathologist said it looked as if the woman had been run over by a semi — just about every bone in her body was broken. At first we thought the beating was done by a gang of teenagers, but we found only one weapon — an eighteen-inch-length of metal pipe.”
“Wow. This is great stuff.” Greg pulled a small notebook and a pen out of his pocket and began scribbling. “The guy who covered the story didn’t get any of this.”
“We’re still off the record,” Jim warned.
“I know, I know. But I can be prepared, can’t I? The proverbial lead pipe! I thought that only showed up in detective novels.”
“Not lead. Galvanized iron.”
Greg looked up in surprise. Jim was either very tired or very worried to have let the detective novel remark pass. A real-life detective, Jim considered most of the books to be simplistic or cartoonish, and he was usually quick to voice his opinion.
Read the first chapter of the published version here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire
Free download: get the first 30% of A Spark of Heavenly Fire free at Smashwords
Read blurb at Second Wind Publishing: A Spark of Heavenly Fire