Today I’m sharing a short excerpt from my unpublished manuscript, BLOOD UNDER WILL.

CONFESSION: I don’t write feisty women who stand strong and quip in the face of danger. If that’s your deal, there are thousands of books sitting on library and bookstore shelves waiting for you.

I believe when a character—male or female—is put into a terrifying situation, it is the writer’s responsibility to bring the reader into that terror. There are many who label this voyeuristic. Not true. It’s the world in which we live. I fully support readers who are uncomfortable with truth on the page. I understand the need to escape from both societal violence and the day-to-day humdrum. But fact is, thousands of women (and men) are victimized every day and being funny, clever, or plucky has rarely, if ever, saved anyone.

If reality disturbs you, stop reading here. I won’t be offended. Just please don’t disrespect my work by calling it exploitative.


(If you don’t squirm, I haven’t done my job)


My Killer’s Life/Dr. John/Flickr

At his demand, she watches him masturbate, watches the flush bloom on his thin chest and the ropy veins stand out on his long neck. She listens to his thick wheezing breaths as he strokes himself. He assures her as long as she’s alive and he is aroused, the game will continue. If she averts her eyes he punishes her, probes her wounds with the scalpel. Or worse, tells her about the animals he’s tortured and what he will do to her dog and cat once the game is over. Just when she thinks she is too numb to feel, the mention of her pets maddens her. She tries to bite him and he laughs. The rage comes in waves as the torment in her shoulder ebbs and flows. When the hurt eases, she screams curses and struggles against her bonds. This struggle is hers. She controls when the restraints dig into her flesh, and she revels in it.

He positions the blade as her body convulses, and agony again rips her shoulder. Her head whirls. For one blissful instant, she reaches toward nothingness. 

He slaps her. “Don’t you fucking dare. This game needs two players, and like it or not, you’re in the lineup.”

She wants her world to go dark, wants to crawl inside herself and never come out. Fear stokes her need, but pain makes escape impossible.

“My shoulder’s dislocated,” she tells him. “The weight is unbearable. Please—” To her horror, the plea comes out as a sob.

He tilts his head and studies her, his face unreadable. “Okay.”

He reaches with the scalpel and cuts the restraint on her right wrist. A scream bubbles out of her as the useless arm drops. 

Is there a genre you don’t enjoy reading?
If so, why?


Hope to see you Wednesday for IWSG!