Good News 1 of 5 (and yes, I am going to make you wait for the others). ENCHANTED EVER AFTER IS DONE and out to Beta readers, and, of course, I am biting my nails (not quite literally). This is the end of the contract (DOES NOT MEAN THE END OF THE SERIES...YET). I think the end of the story is the fastest plot I've ever done. And, just for being you, I have the original opening scene below (which has long gone by the wayside).
Twilight, Mid September, Denver, Colorado AND in the game Fairies and Dragons
Kiri Palger – Moonsilver – stared at her fallen partner, Saturnina, as giants jumped on her body in the Deathgulp Forest.
"Wha’ happened?" Shannon, the person running Saturnina, asked over her mic, a little tinny since it was electronic and Shannon was actually in her home across town.
For a minute Kiri considered lying. But she was the long-distance shooter and she loved her sonic bow and arrows. She’d be doing the same thing again.
She cleared her throat softly, so the mic didn’t amplify it. "You were fighting the giants next to a high explosive tree burl and I, um, shot it. Took most of you out."
"Dammit, they’re stealing my new wings!"
Kiri winced as the pretty transparent wings were ripped off Saturnina’s back. Kiri opened the email program and sent her friend some gold pieces to replace them. Least she could do.
Shannon said, "I think this forest mission is too difficult for us, and I’m wiped. It’s been a hard work week. Let’s call it a night."
They’d only been playing an hour, but Kiri agreed. "Yeah."
"‘Porting to the Dome," Shannon/Saturnina said.
"Kk," Kiri said as she hit the spacebar on her keyboard to do the same. During the few seconds it took to zone to the safe area, her game concentration and adrenaline faded and dark weariness filtered through her, muzzying her mind. She let her shoulders slump.
When she was in the Dome, a safe lounge for good fairies, she saw the sparkly Saturnina rise with a groan and shake her limbs. "Got the gold pieces, thanks," Shannon said.
"Kiri, have you talked to your neighbor, Jenni Weavers yet?"
Kiri’s heart stuttered for real, even as she let Moonsilver sit on a couch. Jenni Weavers was the best writer for the game, Fairies and Dragons. The woman had moved into a developer position.
"But you sent in your resume and application for the job," Shannon pressed.
"And your docs have your Mystic Circle address on them, so she knows you live in the same cul-de-sac."
"Following the plan then. Go, Kiri!"
"I intend to say something to Jenni tomorrow at the block party. Sure you don’t want to come?"
"Unlike you, stalker-girl, I have a man."
Shannon’s voice softened. "I know how much you want this."
"IT always sucks, especially end-user software support. Nature of the business. By the time they get to us, users can be fuming."
"The game developers are opening that new area in the game next year, Pegasus Valley. I know I have good story arcs for it," Kiri said.
"I liked them," Shannon said.
"Thanks. It’s real luck that the folks who bought out the company are based here in Denver. I’ve got a shot at the job. I have the background and some credits."
"You can do it."
"Good to hear that," Kiri said.
"It’s true. See you Sunday brunch," Shannon said.
"Mmmmm," Shannon purred. Her guy must be doing the neck-kissing thing on the other end of the line.
"Smooches to Averill," Kiri said.
"Mmm. ‘Night." Shannon’s mic thumped and sounds of smooching came. Shannon’s character began the logoff countdown.
Kiri just stared at the computer screen. Blinked. Her shoulders and fingers ached, but sometimes the game beckoned more than reality. And once you began spending more time in the game than anywhere else, you were in trouble. She logged off.
May you enjoy your work, even that which isn't quite right, today.