Chapter One.

The White House Files Excerpt

Sweat dripped down her brow, urged on by the relentless sun that beat down. She rubbed her hand across her forehead, depositing a trail of dirt in its wake.

“Zoom in,” the director said, shoving yet another camera in her face. “Excellent, Roslin excellent. Serious face, just like you are working.”

She wanted to scream that she was working, but she had learned the hard way that any outbursts were seen as viewer bait. Last time she had said something her face had played across every feed for a week. She had endeavored to be as boring as possible since. Maybe then they would take that camera and shove it where the sun didn’t shine. Or at least aim it at her face a little less.

So far it hadn’t been working.

Picking up the trowel she resumed scrapping away at the layers of sediment. She had been digging down inch by inch for days, trapped in her own personal roped off box. It was an archeological dig of utmost importance, one that she had only ever dreamed of being a part of. To be here, now, in the shadow of one of the most influential and iconic buildings in American history, was one of the greatest moments of her career. One that was only slightly marred by the cameras that were now tracking every move she made and broadcasting it across the world.

“Again Roslin, be one with the dirt, feel the dirt,” the director exclaimed excitedly.

If that had been the most aggravating thing that he had ever said, she would have had more patience for it. But it wasn’t, not even close.

Roslin still found the idea that anyone would want to watch her work strange and unnerving. Never mind the fact that for being billed as a reality feed, it was anything but realistic. She would never normally wear make-up, have her hair done, or be wearing an outfit this constricting and uncomfortable on a dig. They had taken something that she had loved to do and instead turned it into some sadistic form of torture.

She drew the trowel across the scarred earth again, more aggressively this time than she had intended. A sharp screech reverberated as the metal from the trowel came in contact with something just below the surface. She instinctively drew her hand back as a rush of adrenaline poured through her.

This was it, this was the moment she lived for. Around her a flutter of activity commenced as cameras zoomed and lighting was adjusted. An eerie silence fell over the site, even the director who hadn’t stopped talking since he arrived was quiet.

“Just dig Roslin,” Martin finally said breaking the silence.

She looked up, her eyes burning, there would be no mistaking how she felt about his suggestion that she just dig.

“We need to photograph the site,” she protested, “record the position so we can reference it later.”

“It’s being recorded, what more do you want?” he said pointing at the cameras.

“It’s not the same,” she protested.

Roslin may be smarter, more experienced, and more knowledgeable than Martin, but he was the boss, and he was used to getting his way. Martin was also several years Roslins’ senior. As a result he frequently reprimanded Roslin, convinced that only he knew best.

Roslin on the other hand regarded him as a pretentious sleaze who was at best lazy and at worst a tyrant. He had the appearance of someone who had once been deeply handsome with dark tan and chiseled features. If the stories were to be believed, with it had come the partying and philandering across town, a different girl every week, sometimes every night.

The years of excess now showed in the perpetually puffy and just slightly droopy look of his face and body. Much to Roslin’s disgust and surprise, the womanizing hadn’t slowed down with his changing physique. If anything it had accelerated in the years that she had known him.

“To follow protocol,” she said evenly refusing to move, “we need to do this right.”

“It’s an order Roslin, not a suggestion.”

“No,” she responded flatly.

“Fine, I’ll do it myself,” he said as he stepped forward.

“What are you doing?” she exclaimed. “You’ll destroy the site.”

She looked around for a sign that anyone was going to do or say something.

“Anyone?” she asked, desperately looking around in vain.

She had known before she had even asked that no one would step in to intervene.

Martin puffed his chest out as he moved in to continue. He had won, and he was going to make sure she knew.

She felt helpless as she watched Martin scrape the trowel aggressively through the layers, pushing the dirt back haphazardly.

As angry as she was, she couldn’t help but to push forward with everyone else, craning to get the best vantage point. She was as excited as anyone else to see what was going to be uncovered. The air hung with a palpable anticipation. Even though they had been digging for weeks, they had discovered absolutely nothing until now. It was the dig of the century. To be given access to the site where the White House had once stood was the kind of thing that made careers.

She gasped as the final layers of dirt were swept aside and an image came into view. Around her echoed the surprise of others

“Is that-”

“It can’t be-”

It was though, she was sure of it. The circular impression, the border of stars, the eagle depicted in the middle clutching arrows and olive branches.

“It’s the presidential seal,” she said definitely.

Not only was it a presidential seal, it was one of the best preserved presidential seals that she had ever seen. Not many had survived.

“What is it on?” a voice asked.

Roslin peered in closer, looking past the image for the first time to the surface below.

“It’s a door,” she said, breathlessly.

“Well then let’s open it,” Martin said as he grasped the handle and pulled.

Editing.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike editing? Yes? No? Well, I’m not sure if I have or haven’t but yeah, editing is not my favorite. In a way I like parts of it. I like that feeling of all of the little pieces coming together. When all of the words feel just right or the plot twist you had planned falls into place perfectly. Thats the good part.

The bad part is when the massive amount of words seems overwhelming. When you change something on page 98 and your 99% sure that because of that you also have to change something on page 35, no wait, maybe it was 42, no, maybe- well you get the idea. It’s tedious, and meticulous and for whatever reason I really struggle with doing it in a purely electronic format. I prefer hardcopy, red ink in the margins editing… which would be fine if it wasn’t slightly less expensive to routinely print out sections of the book for editing. Let’s not even talk about the number of trees that end up being sacrificed for the cause either.

Needless to say I am trying to become a reformed, more environmentally conscious editor. Trying being the operative word there, but hey progress is progress right. Unless you are completely sleep deprived in which case you are probably like me and not making any progress at all.

In other (not editing or writing related news) the instafreebie experiment was a success. Or at least I think it was. 856 samples were downloaded, I ended up with slightly less emails because initially I had made it 100% voluntary. The logic there was that I didn’t want to force anyone to sign up for emails that they weren’t really interested in. My email inbox is seriously out of control so I felt like I would be a hypocrite destroying the inboxes of others. That said, the opt in rate was low. Less than 10% low. I don’t plan on doing newsletters, or any type of regular emails. The only emails I plan on sending is to announce a new release. Personally, I don’t have an issue with people who want to unsubscribe. I’m slightly concerned about having a high unsubscribe rate initially which apparently the mailing list companies frown on (though I for the life of me do not understand why… people unsubscribe… people subscribe…. whatever). In the world of scam/phishing/junk emails… an author newsletter doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But hey whatever. It’s enough to make me considering manually sending out emails. Almost.

Anyways. Back to editing. T-13 days to meeting a deadline.

The blurb.

Hiring out my blurb writing was the best decision I ever made. Or at least one of… Technically decision(s) because I hired two blurb writers, both who had a significant hand in shaping the final product. I would reccomend both of them. Trust me when I say it is far better than anything I came up with…. 🙂


THE WHITE HOUSE FILES

She’ll do anything to unearth the secrets.

They’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

Smithsonian archeologist, Roslin Williams gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to excavate the areas where The White House once stood. When she uncovers an Air Force One plane containing human remains and a mysterious briefcase, she’s determined to dig up any information on the airplane and the secrets behind it.

However, the dangerous powers behind this age-old scandal have plans of their own. Keeping facts buried is their number one priority and Roslin is getting in their way. With an assassin closing in, to silence her once and for all, Roslin teams up with Special Agent Mark Appleton to unravel this ancient conspiracy. But with time running out, will they unearth the truth before they’re the next buried fatalities?


If you are looking for a blurb writer… I used the following:

The Blurb Bitch (ha)

and

S.A. Soule 

And…. if you are interested. The instafreebie link to sample my book is here.

The cover.

Fun fact. As hard as I thought it was to function hungry…. I have found that it is 50 gazillion times harder to function tired. And let me tell you, I am tired. So, to break up my long absences where I dream about writing, and sleep, and writing in my sleep. Here is a picture of the cover. Enjoy 🙂

Aaaaannnndddd…. on the off chance that you are interested in reading a sample, here is the instafreebie link. Full disclosure. I have no idea how instafreebie works, I just signed up. Also, this is the non-professionally edited version (I’m scheduled for editing mid-June). So read at your own risk. The writing is good (I think), I just can’t entirely speak for the spelling, and grammar, and well, you know, the other important stuff. Did I mention that the writing is good? It is.

The-White-House-Files_ebook.jpg

KonMari your writing.

I am a huge KonMari fan. Huge. For oh, so many reasons.

Less stuff=less stress. And seriously. I don’t want to spend my entire life working just so I can buy more stuff which then causes me to work more so that I can support said stuff. I get tired just thinking about it. Really, you can apply the KonMari principles to just about any area in your life. Email…. belongings….. people….. 🙂

But we are here to talk about writing. One of the hardest parts about writing (for me) is overthinking. Something I can do in spades. Do you need to know the 99.99999999 billion ways a scenario can go wrong? I’m your person. I can tell you. Are you curious about how many different ways something might go? Even the completely implausible, probably won’t happen but still could scenarios? Still your person. In the world of insurance this is probably an extremely valuable skill. Everywhere else. Not so much.

Particularly in writing. There are hundreds of thousands of choices. Little, tiny decisions that all add up to a story. You can spend forever with the “what ifs”. Or you can try to throw in every single shiny idea that crosses your mind. Or you can describe the entire scene in painstakingly intricate detail. OR….. you could just repeat after me. Less is more. Less is more.

Readers are smart. They will fill in the blanks. Granted there is a line there where you don’t want to give too little information. But they are looking for an experience. They want to use their imaginations and intelligence. They want to reason and think. Give them the freedom to do that….. makes the job of writing easier and the job of reading more enjoyable….

Less is more.

Stop waiting.

We spend so much time waiting. Waiting for the right time. Waiting to grow up. Waiting for other people. Waiting for permission. Just waiting.

I was browsing pinterest this morning. Super productive pastime… I know. But as I was going through photos, I found myself thinking… that would be nice “one day”.

Then I caught myself and wondered what the heck would I be waiting for. Why not now? And if not now, when? So often we wait, thinking that a better time will come along. One less busy, or more perfect… but two, five, or twenty years down the road we look back and realize. That was the perfect, less busy time. We just were too busy looking for the perfect moment that we weren’t experiencing  the perfect moment.

Now, some things are worth waiting for. And you can’t always have everything you want just because you want it now. Striking that balance between action and planning can be tricky. Too much planning and you end up with inaction. Too much impulsivity, and you end up with poor decisions.

When it comes to writing though. I think a lot of people wait. They wait for someone to tell them that they can. You can’t write a book because your too young or I can’t write a book because it’s too hard. You can’t write a book because you don’t know how or I can’t write a book because my ideas aren’t good enough, you can’t write a book because….. When really, it’s a book. Not only that, it’s your book. You can do whatever you want with it.

Just write it already. Being too young for something is probably the biggest lie out there. At least when it comes to writing. Age is irrelevant. Either you can do it, or you can’t. And yeah, writing a book isn’t exactly the easiest thing ever. But it’s not the hardest either. It’s one of those things that has gained a reputation of being a lot harder than it actually is. And the even better kept secret/lie. You won’t know how to write a book, until you do it. So not writing a book because you don’t know how… is just a fulfilling prophecy. As for bad ideas… they are out there so who knows, it could actually be bad. But here’s the thing. It’s a big world and your not going to make everyone happy. You could have the best idea ever and someone will still find a reason to hate it. Same as you could have the worst idea out there and I bet you anything… that eventually someone will find a reason to like it.

Thing is, you won’t know until you try. And you aren’t getting any younger. So my advice for the day (week/month/year) if you want to write a book, write it. The only thing stopping you is yourself.

Taking care of business.

Slowly. Very slowly. Things are getting done.

Mail chimp. Check.

Perhaps you noticed this? Were annoyed by this? Quickly clicked “x” and hope to never see it again? All possible. And I won’t take it personal. As someone whose email inbox regularly hovers over 10,000 (yes it’s disgusting. I know)…. adding to someone else’s inbox was really the last thing I had in mind. Besides I still question the effectiveness. But who knows. Whatever. I did it. So at least I can feel accomplished for the day.

Cover. In progress.

I may or may not be annoying my cover designer? I’m not sure. I don’t think so? I hope not anyways. This book has been slightly more complicated than I originally anticipated. The Lily books were easy. The artwork… once I found it was just right. It was also a simple genre in comparison though. This book… well…. it’s a political thriller. Except it’s funny. And set in the future. And apocalyptic, and historical fiction, and conspiracy… all in one. I promise. It’s entertaining. And fun. But it does make the cover experience…. well interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

Blurb. Half done. Donish?

A long buried secret. A persistent archeologist. And a dangerous covert organization…

Smithsonian archaeologist, Roslin Williams gets an amazing opportunity to excavate the site where the White House once stood hundreds of years ago.

When the excavation begins, Roslin stumbles upon a shocking find—the Air Force One plane containing human remains and a mysterious briefcase, which only leads to more questions than answers…

The televised dig immediately attracts the attention of a powerful shadow organization intent on ensuring the secrets contained within Air Force One remain buried, and a assassin is dispatched to eliminate Roslin.

After she is attacked, Mark Appleton, a former Secret Service Agent, is hired to watch over her, but Appleton realizes with Roslin’s life in danger, there’s no one they can trust.

As the layers of betrayal and deception are slowly peeled away, a scandalous cover-up is revealed that will have worldwide repercussions. Together, Appleton and Roslin embark on a perilous journey to outrun the evil forces allied against them in order to unravel this ancient conspiracy. And unless they can avoid the sinister adversary who shadows their every move—this volatile, ancient truth will remain hidden forever.

In all of it’s current glory. I think it will go through a few more edits, but I’m actually pretty happy with it at the moment. I totally took the easy way out with this by the way and hired someone. And I would do it again. Not even a question.

The book.

Details. Details… In my defense it’s mostly done. I will completely finish it after I finish the next two books in the series. Why…. well so glad you asked. Part. Because I needed a break from book one. Part. Because I figure if things go super crazy in the next couple of books and I need to change something in book one that it will be easier…. Part. Because I want to? I don’t know. Because I can?

Really all of the above but I think it’s mostly because as it turns out I detest editing. Hm.

The next books.

I’m behind on book two. Haven’t even started book three. I’m not worried about my self-imposed deadline yet… I think. I’ll check the calendar and get back to you on that one….