DEE W. SCHOFIELD The humorous writing of Dee. W. Schofield
  • Short Stories

    The Feeling of Doing My Job

    A Story About Writing

    Romance writer Sherry Rudd can’t seem to start her new novel. Nothing feels right, nothing looks good enough. Panic sets in until one magical afternoon when she gets a little help. A meta story about writing a story that even non-writers can identify with.

    Available for 99 cents in all electronic formats on Smashwords, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and many others.

    Published by WMG Publishing

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    The Feeling of Doing My Job

    Dee W. Schofield

    Copyright © 2011 by Dee W. Schofield

    Cover photo by Kre_geg/Dreamstime

    When you live in a noir world, the color of blood is black. Shining, dripping black.

    Sherry Rudd stared at the words on the screen, then shook her head in disgust. “That’s the dumbest way to start a romance novel I have ever seen.”

    Her dark-brown cat named Fudge just looked at her from his perch on the three-drawer file cabinet and then closed his eyes again. He was used to her talking to herself. She did it a great deal, especially when the writing wasn’t going well and right now it wasn’t going well. In fact, it wasn’t going at all.

    “Give me a break, it’s bad,” she said to the cat. “Honest, this one is worse than the other starts.”

    She had been saying that all afternoon about everything she wrote. Actually, she had been saying that for weeks. She could image that poor old Fudge was getting as tired of her not starting her new novel as she was.

    The door was closed to the spare bedroom that had been converted to her writing office when she had sold the first novel to Harlequin. A closed door told her two kids she was working and was not to be disturbed when they got home from school, which would be any moment now.

    But chances were the door would make little difference. It seldom did with teenagers.

    Her dozen published book covers were framed on one wall and bookcases filled another two walls with her reference books. She had two desks and two chairs in her office. One desk for just writing and the other desk for business stuff and internet games and e-mail.

    A cup of fresh coffee sat beside her writing keyboard filling the small room with a wonderful rich smell.  She had even put on her most comfortable slippers to get into a writing mood, even though she knew she had to go back out in an hour to run errands and get something for dinner.

    The view out the window of her writing office was of a tree-lined meadow behind her house and the old swing set that her kids had outgrown years and years ago. She had never bothered to have it removed. The rust reminded her of time passing.

    The sun was shining on the brown grass of the meadow with promise of an early spring in the Midwest, even though most of the trees showed no signs of buds. After the winter, any sign of spring would be a relief.

    But unless she got started, she was going to be in this office all spring and summer just staring out the window instead of outside working in her garden and driving the kids to soccer practice.

    If she didn’t get started soon, the kids’ deadbeat father might actually have to help some with them. And that would be a war just to get him to help for ten minutes. Never worth the fight.

    Six months to deadline and she was already starting to panic. Her other books had started so easy. Sometimes the writing had been hard, but she had always managed to hit her four pages per day and got to her deadlines just fine. She had managed two books per year even with the kids and divorce for seven years.

    Until this book.

    Nothing about starting this book was coming easy. She had been struggling over it for almost a month now. And the more she struggled, the harder it got.

    She stared at the words on the screen for a moment longer, then highlighted them and hit the delete key.

    Nothing.

    They remained like ugly reminders of how stupid she was.

    “Don’t do this to me now,” she said to her three-month-old computer, highlighting the words again and hitting the delete key one more time.

    Nothing.

    Those ugly words stayed.

    She tried to close word, but it wouldn’t close, so she tried to force quit the program and it wouldn’t do that either.

    “Stuck,” she said, managing to not bang her fist on the keyboard while she stared in frustration at the words “Shining, dripping black.”

    She hit return and the cursor moved down a line. “Maybe that was the problem,” she said and tried to delete everything again.

    No luck. The cursor just kept blinking, waiting for her to type the next line. So she did.

    Julia Connors staggered down the dark alley holding her side, trying to stop the blood from draining between her fingers from the gunshot wound in her side.

    The words typed out fine.

    “That should do it now, Fudge,” Sherry said to her cat. She carefully highlighted everything on the page and hit the delete key.

    The words remained.

    “This is getting stupid,” she said. Again she tried to shut down the file, then the Word program. Nothing.

    Those words were staying on her computer screen.

    “Screw it,” she said and reached down and unplugged the computer from the battery backup.

    The screen went dark.

    Outside her office she could hear her kids come in. Twins Danny and Penny, both freshmen in high school. Both full of more energy than she could ever remember having.

    She plugged her computer back in and turned it back on, sipping on her coffee as it booted up, working to get herself to calm down. She couldn’t afford another new computer right now. Not until the signing advance on this book arrived and there was no telling these days when that would be. She used to think she could write books faster than a publisher could pay her. At least she could before this book came along. Luckily the kid’s deadbeat father at least held a job and paid child support.

    She thought about the book as the computer went through its start-up sequence.

    Sherry even had the silly novel mostly outlined. She has the plot written in a notebook right beside her writing computer. She picked up the notebook and read the one paragraph summary of the book she had done.

    Julia Connor, her main character, is running from Julia’s violent ex-husband when Julia meets a cute Doctor Ben Sill who helps her hide. Julia is attracted to the doctor at once. Problems with Julia’s ex-husband forces Julia to stay away from Ben for his protection. That’s the center of the book as they meet and then can’t meet and so on. Finally, in the climax, at the last moment Ben stops the violent ex-husband from killing Julia. Ben and Julia live happily ever after. The End.

    Sherry liked that idea, felt it had the chance of being her best book. She knew everything about Julia, about the evil ex-husband, about the hero, Doctor Ben. She had done character sketches of all of them. Everything was all ready to go.

    If she could just get the stupid book started.

    As she watched, the computer came back up, the Word file opened again, and those words she had typed once again filled the screen, the curser blinking, waiting for her to type more.

    “That’s not possible!” she said.

    She tried everything again. Deleting, forcing the program to quit, everything.

    The stupid computer was not going to let her give up on this file.

    “Mom!” a call came from the direction of the kitchen.

    She started at the file for a moment longer, then sighed, took her coffee and went out to see what the emergency was this time, leaving the words there on the screen.

    Four hours later, tired and a little angry, she took a Diet Coke and headed back for her office to try to fix the computer problem before giving up for the day. The kids were supposed to be doing their homework, but at the moment she didn’t even much care.

    As she neared the small office, she could hear the keys of her computer clicking away behind the mostly-closed door. No one was allowed to even be in her office, let alone use her computer!

    She pushed the door open to yell at the person with the gall to sit in her chair and stopped.

    She was sitting in her chair.

    Or a direct copy of herself was sitting there. A twin.

    But she didn’t have a twin.

    She closed her eyes and leaned against the doorframe. It really had been a long day. Now she was hallucinating. She needed a glass of wine and a movie.

    The copy of herself glanced up and frowned. “Sit down and shut up.”

    “What?” Sherry said.

    “Sit down,” the copy of Sherry said indicating the second chair in her office at her business desk, never missing a beat as her fingers flew over the keys. “And shut the door. I’m writing here, can’t you see?”

    At different times in the past when her kids or ex-husband had interrupted her, she had used those same words and used the same angry tone.

    Sherry felt herself get very dizzy but somehow she managed to get to the second chair and drop into it.

    This couldn’t be happening.

    There couldn’t be two of her. That wasn’t possible.

    Fudge was back on the top of the file cabinet looking puzzled but not worried as he looked first at Sherry and then at her duplicate.

    Sherry sat there taking deep breaths and watching her duplicate type.

    Not possible, yet on the woman’s hand was her ruby ring she had bought in college and on her own hand was the same ruby ring.

    And they were both wearing the exact same jeans, blue blouse, and comfy writing slippers with the rip along the right edge of the left foot.

    Finally Sherry’s duplicate stopped typing, hit the save key, and sat back. “First chapter done and if I do say so myself, it is pretty damned good.”

    Sherry looked at herself and frowned. “First chapter on what?”

    “Our new book of course,” her duplicate said. “Just promise me you won’t try to delete it until you get a good night’s sleep and can read it clearly with that critical nature of yours.”

    Sherry rubbed her eyes and sat back. “I really need that doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting off.”

    Her duplicate just laughed. “Nah, you just need to lighten up a little, let me out a little more.”

    “Who are you?” Sherry asked.

    The other Sherry laughed. “You really are stuck, aren’t you? I’m you’re creative side. Over the last couple of books you were burying me more and more in trite plots and cliché. I couldn’t take it any more, I had to break lose for just a little while. Have some fun.”

    “I’ve fallen asleep,” Sherry said, closing her eyes and rubbing her eyebrows right where she always got sinus headaches. “I’m dreaming.”

    Her other self said, “Yup. You dreamed the first chapter’s worth. Now just trust me on it.”

    A second later Sherry opened her eyes and she was sitting behind her own writing computer. In her writing office. Fudge was asleep on the top of the file cabinet.

    And she was alone.

    The file was still open on the screen in front of her, but now it was almost twenty pages long.

    An entire first chapter done. In one day.

    She never wrote that fast.

    She scrolled back through it, having only a vague memory of writing it all. But she had written it, that much she knew.

    Or part of her had written it.

    She glanced at the clock on the computer. She had been in here for four hours. Her Diet Coke can was empty. And she had a vague memory of saying goodnight to both her kids while she typed.

    She also remembered ignoring the phone ringing twice, not even bothering to go look to see who was calling like she always did.

    How had she done that?

    What really had happened?

    She closed the file and this time the computer let her. She had already backed the file up it seemed, so she shut down her office, shut off the lights, gave Fudge a good pet, and then headed for bed, stopping first in the bathroom to stare at her tired face in the mirror.

    Once again she was looking at herself. Only this time it was a mirror image. And she knew that image existed.

    “What a dream,” she said aloud, her voice tired.

    In the back of her exhausted mind she could hear part of herself, a deeply buried part of herself, laughing like a young girl.

    And then that voice deep inside said, Fun, wasn’t it?

    In the mirror there was almost a twinkle in her eyes.

    Then the voice in her head said, Can I come out and play again tomorrow?

    “Maybe, just maybe,” Sherry said aloud to the mirror.

    And for the first time in years she felt excitement again about her writing.

    And the little voice was right. It really was fun.

    -

    Other Short Stories by Dee W. Schofield

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    The Romance Novel Challenge

    A Story of Sex, Dating, and Romance Novels

    Hanna had a job and a life that just didn’t let her meet men. So her boss invited her into a very special book club. And one night Hanna decided to take The Romance Novel Challenge. With luck she just might live happy ever after.

    This wild look at a new use for romance novels might just change forever how you look at book clubs.

    Available for 99 cents in all electronic formats on Smashwords, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and many others.

    Published by WMG Publishing

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    Mated in the Morgue

    A Romance of Near Death

    Not really dead, not really alive. That’s how Debbie finds herself one fine day in a hospital morgue when the man of her dreams walks in to do an autopsy on her perfectly wonderful body. He thinks she is totally dead. Then things get really weird when he starts talking about dating her. Was her prince charming nothing more than a pervert? Could he find out the truth about her in time?

    Available for 99 cents in all electronic formats on Smashwords, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and many others.

    Published by WMG Publishing


    <img style=”width: 200px; height: 300px;” src=”http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Morgue-Web.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”" hspace=”2″ vspace=”1″ width=”50″ height=”75″ align=”right” />
    <h2 style=”text-align: left;”><strong>Mated in the Morgue</strong></h2>
    <h3><strong>A Romance of Near Death</strong></h3>
    <em>Not really dead, not really alive. That’s how Debbie finds herself one fine day in a hospital morgue when the man of her dreams walks in to do an autopsy on her perfectly wonderful body. He thinks she is totally dead. Then things get really weird when he starts talking about dating her. Was her prince charming nothing more than a pervert? Could he find out the truth about her in time?</em>
    <strong>Available for 99 cents in all electronic formats on Smashwords, Kindle, Barnes &amp; Noble</strong><strong>, Sony</strong><strong>, Apple, Kobo</strong><strong>, and many others.</strong>
    <p style=”text-align: right;”><em>Published by WMG Publishing</em></p>
    <p style=”text-align: right;”></p>
    <p style=”text-align: right;”><em>-</em></p>


    Don’t Rust on Me Now

    A Science Fiction Romance

    Can romance be real between two androids on a poison planet with beach sand in all the wrong places?

    Available for 99 cents in all electronic formats on Smashwords, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and many others.

    Published by WMG Publishing

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    ——

    Iron Eyebrows

    A Romance With Too Much Hair

    Maria Webb hated men with too much body hair. But then a magical guy with a lot of hair came striding nude toward her on the beach and everything changed. This time she fell in love with a man with very bushy eyebrows and some special talents that no one would have expected to find with a nude man on a nude beach.

    Available for 99 cents in all electronic formats on Smashwords, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and many others.

    Published by WMG Publishing

    Dee W. Schofield is the paranormal romance pen name for a bestselling fiction thriller writer. For more information about Dee W. Schofield, go to deewschofield.com.

DEE W. SCHOFIELD

Young Dean Dee is one of the pen names for bestselling writer, Dean Wesley Smith. Dee writes humor and science fiction romance, sometimes combined. For more information about Dean, or any of the books or stories mentioned here, go to his blog at www.deanwesleysmith.com or write to Dean at Dean@deanwesleysmith.com.

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