He said WHAT?

dialogueDialogue.

Writers, did you just cringe at that word? Lol. Most writers either feel they write strong dialogue or they feel like it is the hardest thing on the planet. Which one is it for you?

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that might help when writing dialogue for your story.

  1. Think about how people sound. Read it out loud. Does the dialogue sound like your character would sound? Does it sound too formal? Most people use contractions when they speak. Correct grammar tends to fly out the window during conversations, so don’t make it sound too formal.
  2. Do all the characters sound the same? Everyone talks differently. Make sure your dialogue is a good match for the person speaking. A child does not sound like an adult. A teenage girl should not sound the same as her mother. A doctor uses terminology people without medical experience wouldn’t know. Make sure the dialogue fits the person.
  3. Are you using the dialogue to move your story along? Reading a whole page of people saying good morning to each other may be very genuine to the way we interact with one another, but on paper, it is totally B-o-r-i-n-g, right? Make sure the conversation has meaning. Bring it to life. Make in interesting.
  4. Add emotion to your dialogue. What kind of scene are the characters in? Should they be happy, angry, sad, or excited? Make their voice match what is happening in the story.baby.jpg
  5. Use your dialogue to really show who your characters are. Some people have certain phrases they tend to use that is unique to them. That can make a character stand out. And don’t forget people lie. Is the character saying one thing, but thinking something else? If you are writing from that person’s point-of-view, you can really emphasize the differences in their thoughts verses their words.
  6. Don’t overuse tags. As long as the reader understands who is speaking, you don’t need to add that tag to every line. Use it when necessary for understanding. A character’s actions can serve the same purpose. People move when they talk. Add a few actions in. Make the scene come to life. Nonverbal cues and body language can tell a lot.

Have anything to add? I know I always welcome suggestions. Please feel free to comment below and add your own advice! 🙂

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Author Amanda Greene’s Real Life Romance

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

 

Would you like to hear how Author Amanda Greene met her husband? It is a real life romance, folks! So sweet! Read the full interview at Coffee Time Romance here: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/Interviews/2016/amandagreene.html#.VurTIJr2YdU

 

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Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Where should I end my chapter?

Learning to find the flow to your writing is an ongoing process that is unique to each author. I know I’m still learning with each book. When I first started writing, one of the things I stressed the most about was where to end my chapters.

You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, but let me tell you, it was for me. I wanted, and still want, to do it the “right” way. I don’t want my readers to feel like I’m making those chapters too long or too short. I want it just right.

So, my approach to this issue at first was to simply count pages. After seven typed pages, I would find a good pausing point and begin a new chapter. There you go. Problem solved.

I’m very proud to say I did not stick with that strategy. I read an article by a fellow writer that made me stop and reevaluate what I was doing. I wish I could have found the article to link to it, but since I read it so many years ago, it’s lost in the big world wide web somewhere. But, oh boy, it was an eye opener for me.

happy-eye-clipart-rcdmkzgc9

In the article, the author stated his goal was to hook his readers so well at the end of each chapter that they had to keep reading until they read his whole novel in one sitting.

Good goal, huh? 🙂

He went on to say that each break in the story was a place the reader might choose to stop, and if they stopped, that reader might not pick that book back up. For an avid reader like myself who finishes any book I start, I was shocked by that. What? The reader might not finish it? No way!

Well, yes way. This is a busy world we live in. The day job, the second job, kids, sports, homework, cooking, cleaning, washing, working in a small bit of a social life…and on and on and on. After all that, is that reader going to pick that book back up at ten o’clock the next night when their eyes are so tired their vision is blurry, or will that reader just turn on the TV and conk out in the recliner?

Even as a die-hard reader, I’ve chosen the TV over the book. That’s life, right?

So, yes, I chose to reevaluate where to end my chapters. I want the same thing with my readers. I want to write so amazingly well that they simply cannot put the book down! Bam! And, THAT’s what it is all about!

86e150a07cb952e0e4f7943d21fb315f

So, where should we end the chapter? My suggestion is simple. Don’t force the ending. Make the chapters match the flow of your story. Don’t worry so much about long or short. Just make sure you choose to end the chapter at a weighty moment.

It doesn’t have to be something as monumental as a death. Unless you are writing a slasher story, I’m sure you won’t have that many people, if any, dying in your book. But, you should choose an important or pivotal moment.

You could choose the ending right as the geek got asked to the prom. Emotional turmoil and intensity can be very important to the reader. Maybe end the chapter right as the hero declares his love for the first time. End the chapter with a mystery, a surprise, a crazy turn of events, or anything that could hook your reader.

As long as the ending matches the natural flow of your story, it should work. And, if we’re lucky, that reader will keep reading all the way to the end before life can get in the way.

Published in: on January 29, 2016 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Quotes Chosen by Readers

I love hearing from readers. It brightens my day!

Here are some highlights from two of my books that were chosen by the readers as their favorite parts. What do you think? Which one do you like, or do you have a favorite you would like to share? It can be from any book or any author you like. Did a certain part of a book you were reading stand out to you? Was there a part that you couldn’t get out of your mind?

I would love to hear it! It might be a book I need to put in my to-be-read pile. 🙂 Comment below, book addicts. I want to hear from you!

 

Cover Art for Altered BeginningsFrom Altered Beginnings:

(1)  His smile was both beautiful and sexy. “You and your friends used to sunbathe at my lifeguard stand on the beach. Maybe you would remember if I took my shirt off.”

His charm worked on her. “So you’re that older hunk we used to daydream about in high school,” she said, flirting half-heartedly.

“Still am,” he said with a wink and mischievous grin.

 

(2)  “I would say yes,” she admitted, “but I would wonder why you would do that for me and what you expect in return.”

“And I would say I expect a little conversation and a little company from the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on.”

She allowed a giggle to slip out. “Oh Jason, you overshot that one. You are most definitely going to be trouble for me, aren’t you?”

He grinned. “With a capital T, sweetheart.”

 

(3)  “Jason, if you don’t write this story, I’ll gladly give you what you want. That’s not a problem. Okay?”

She was out the door as soon as those words were out of her mouth.

Jason stared dumbfounded at his front door. Had he heard her right? Had she just offered to sleep with him in exchange for him not writing a story? He had never felt like a bigger jerk. And to think he had been trying to tell the girl that he cared for her.

 

(4)  His eyes met hers so suddenly that it felt like a physical force, and she instinctually leaned away from him. He followed. “It’s you. You’re my ideal. I love you. I won’t leave.”

“Love doesn’t work that way, Jason.”

“I wish I could go back in time and pistol whip every ass that ever taught you that. I love you. I know you can’t trust that yet, but you will.”

 

The Curse of a Mind smFrom The Curse of a Mind:

(5)  “This is Aidan Wolfe,” Cash said.

She recognized the obvious attempt to get her to speak. She was astounded that she, of all people, would be tongue-tied in front of a man. Her team stood watching the awkward moment in a tense silence.

“Mr. Wolfe, this is my boss, Chris Chambers,” Cash continued after another uncomfortable moment.

Chris watched in horror as Aidan extended a hand to her. She couldn’t speak to this man. There was no way she was going to touch him.

 

(6) “What do you want?”

A new circulation system for starters, she thought. “Look, I’m not interested in more than what went on last night. I’m sorry.”

“That’s a shame. I know a few tricks with my mouth, too.”

She felt a blush warm her neck and cheeks, eliciting a chuckle from Aidan.

“I’ll do the dishes,” he offered.

Published in: on January 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Ebook Sale! 50% off!!!

From now until the end of the year, you can get any of my ebooks for half off! How awesome is that? Ho ho ho!!! Merry Christmas! 🙂

Use the links below to find the coupon code to use for this offer!

 

againstthegame_front2

Eric Teague is moments away from making history. Thanks to him, the world of gaming is about to experience technology like it has never seen before. When his new establishment, Against the Game opens, playing video games will be a thing of the past.

Players experience the game as if it is real in a virtual reality. There is no TV, no console with wires and controllers. The game feels absolutely real.  No matter the person’s health or physical ability, they will be the characters in a world without limits.

But, all too soon, reality breaks into Eric’s moment when something goes terribly wrong. He and his best friend Lacey get trapped in the virtual reality of the supercomputer behind his establishment. It is definitely no longer just a game. The danger is real. The consequences are real. And, Eric and Lacey’s fight for survival is more than real.

To live, they must win, and to win, they must overcome the biggest challenge of all: to trust and to love.

http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/destiny_booze/Against_the_Game.html

 

The Curse of a Mind sm

They can’t win. The perpetrator is using a marvel in the medical field known as techlepathy, a combination of technology and telepathy to produce a telepathic result. He’s reading their minds. How can they possibly get away when he knows their every move?

Chris Chambers is a private investigator with great instincts and a shady past. She works with a skilled team on cases that most P.I.’s won’t touch. She’s hardened to life, hardened to people and as tough as the military trained her to be.

Her team’s newest case is a construction worker by the name of Aidan Wolfe. Aidan is hardheaded and successful, a man with no friends and a long list of enemies. Someone is trying to kill him, someone with extraordinary gifts.

The perpetrator thinks Aidan did something to him, and he wants revenge. He’s coming for Aidan, Chris, and her team. He wants them all to die in a terrifying manner; but first, he’ll make them face their worst fears.

The intensity grows as Chris and Aidan deny a growing attraction for each other while they fight to stay alive. Her life is a constant test of control and he makes her feel anything but in control. She doesn’t do relationships and he doesn’t do casual. There is no middle ground for either of them.

The investigative team and Aidan will be confronted with their worst enemies—themselves. They are cursed to face their own thoughts, inner fears, prejudices, and every private feeling or emotion they have as this man toys with their minds and hearts. Can they survive? By the end, will they want to?

http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/destiny_booze/The_Curse_of_a_Mind.html

Cover Art for Altered Beginnings

The headline in the small town newspaper read Girl Missing, Presumed Dead or Worse.

Leigh Lawson returned to Nags Head, North Carolina after four years with a huge shock. That big and bold headline
was about her! Everyone thought she was dead!

The truth was that she was doing well. While gone, she had gotten clean from drugs and worked hard to get her
bachelor’s degree in engineering. With her life back on track, she returns home in hope that she will receive a warm  welcome. Instead, she gets the townsfolks’ disdain.

Everyone hates her, everyone except Jason Altarez, an ambitious and resilient reporter with his sights locked on Leigh. He chases her with oozing charm and romance, but does he really want her or is he after his next story?

Leigh’s life soon spirals out of control when the police recruit her for an undercover assignment. They want her to go back to the life of her troubled teenage years, back into the drugs, and help them to bring the local drug supplier to conviction. It may be Leigh’s only chance to redeem herself with her family and friends. If she can complete this one
assignment, the town will forgive her. The only problem is that she needs to figure out how to stay alive in the process…

Jason is her continuous partner through it all, proving his dedication to her as he struggles to keep her safe. Leigh wants to believe he is a man of his word. She wants to believe that her heart isn’t completely foolish for falling for him, especially when she discovers evidence that Jason may be working for the very drug dealer that Leigh is trying to have arrested. Will he betray her in the end or will he demonstrate the most romantic notion of all – that love at first sight truly exists?

http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/destiny_booze/Altered_Beginnings.html

Cover Art for Predetermined Endings

Angelica Chappell’s story made huge headlines. Only a few months ago, she released a new pharmaceutical drug
called Krytonix that effectively slows the spread of cancer cells. She had no idea her story would attract the attention of
a serial killer. Suddenly, she is a target whether she realizes it or not. This killer is interested in more than her life. He
wants her reputation, too. His first mission is to sabotage Krytonix.

William Pierce worked undercover for the FBI for five years to bring down a ruthless mobster that he ultimately is forced
to kill. Two months have passed by since that assignment. Still, William saw things he can’t talk about. He did things he
can’t talk about. He believes his soul is damned. Returning to “normal” everyday life isn’t an option. He isn’t the same
man he used to be. He refuses to return to FBI headquarters, and instead, becomes a rogue agent with an agenda.

When Pierce’s agenda leads him to Chappell, it will take both of them to keep Angelica alive and figure out who is after
her. William soon finds himself developing feelings for Angelica. Too bad for her killer, William worked as a trained hit-
man for the mob. Will he find her killer and hand him over to the legal system to see that justice is served, or will he
search and destroy?

http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/destiny_booze/Predetermined_Endings.html

 

acceleratingcircumstancesJenny is different. She can read people’s minds.

At age seventeen, Jenny Reid was arrested for killing her own mother. There was no evidence that an intruder entered
the house. No one believed her as a teenager when she tried to tell them how she felt the killer’s rage saturated within
the walls, that she knew the presence of evil had been there. The police thought she was crazy, not psychic.

A conviction was never made in the case due to lack of evidence. Jenny is still the sole suspect, but now, she is doing
something about it. She’s on the right side of the law, an FBI agent determined to finally find justice for her mom.

The time has come to set things right and nothing will stand in her way. She’ll come up close with evil again and face
the ultimate choice—kill or be killed in these ACCELERATING CIRCUMSTANCES.

http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/destiny_booze/Accelerating_Circumstances.html

 

 

Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Goodreads Giveaway! Win a signed print copy of AGAINST THE GAME!

Are you on Goodreads? Enter to win a signed print copy of Against the Game at the link below!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/s…ainst-the-game

againstthegame_front2

Eric Teague is moments away from making history. Thanks to him, the world of gaming is about to experience technology like it has never seen before. When his new establishment, Against the Game, opens, playing video games will be a thing of the past.

At Against the Game, players experience the game as if it is real in a virtual reality. There is no TV, no console with wires and controllers. The game feels absolutely real. Kids get so much more than puppeteering cartoonish characters through a game of basketball. No matter the person’s health or physical ability, they will be the characters in a world without limits and they will experience what it is really like to compete as a pro ball player.

During test trials, kids called Against the Game “amazing,” “fantastic,” and “miraculous.” One kid declared it was the best experience of his life. Indeed, everyone knew it was going to be something big enough to alter the whole gaming industry. For Eric, it meant a long awaited dream come true.

But, all too soon, reality breaks into Eric’s moment when something goes terribly wrong. He and his best friend Lacey get trapped in the virtual reality of the supercomputer behind his establishment. It is definitely no longer just a game. The danger is real. The consequences are real. And, Eric and Lacey’s fight for survival is more than real.

To live, they must win, and to win, they must overcome the biggest challenge of all: to trust and to love.

Do my friends and family know that I’m a romance author?

againstthegame_front2

Many writers keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to me know that I write? You can find out the answer to that question and more in my interview at Kam’s Place. Follow the link here: http://www.superkambrook.com/2015/10/author-showcaseinterview-and-review-of.html

There is also a new review of my recent release by Kameron Brook. Read her review after the interview. I think she liked the book! 🙂

Why did I write my new release? Find out today at Romance Lives Forever.

againstthegame_front2

Would you like to know why I wrote Against the Game? Would you like to know who my favorite fictional character is? Find out these answers and more by visiting me today at Romance Lives Forever. I hope to see you there!

http://romancelivesforever.blogspot.com/2015/09/booze.html

Happy Release Day to me! Against the Game is here!

againstthegame_front2

Buy Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Against-Game-Destiny-Booze-ebook/dp/B014G92WEW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1441367665&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/against-the-game-destiny-booze/1122576809?ean=9781940707525

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/572066

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/against-the-game

Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba5zIAfcTUE

Eric Teague is moments away from making history. Thanks to him, the world of gaming is about to experience technology like it has never seen before. When his new establishment, Against the Game, opens, playing video games will be a thing of the past.

At Against the Game, players experience the game as if it is real in a virtual reality. There is no TV, no console with wires and controllers. The game feels absolutely real. Kids get so much more than puppeteering cartoonish characters through a game of basketball. No matter the person’s health or physical ability, they will be the characters in a world without limits and they will experience what it is really like to compete as a pro ball player.

During test trials, kids called Against the Game “amazing,” “fantastic,” and “miraculous.” One kid declared it was the best experience of his life. Indeed, everyone knew it was going to be something big enough to alter the whole gaming industry. For Eric, it meant a long awaited dream come true.

But, all too soon, reality breaks into Eric’s moment when something goes terribly wrong. He and his best friend Lacey get trapped in the virtual reality of the supercomputer behind his establishment. It is definitely no longer just a game. The danger is real. The consequences are real. And, Eric and Lacey’s fight for survival is more than real.

To live, they must win, and to win, they must overcome the biggest challenge of all: to trust and to love.

Excerpt:

There were more than a couple snakes, more than ten, upwards of even hundreds. There had to be thousands of them. The dirt of the tunnel was hardly visible beneath the reptiles. Indeed, the floor looked as if it moved.

It would be impossible to walk through them without getting bit. Would he have time to hit the button before he died in the game? He had to get out before the venom killed him. That was the only way he would survive.

He looked down at his bare feet and cringed. No matter, he had to do this! There was no other way out of there. He had to get to that red exit button so he could save Lacey and Paula. Nothing else mattered.

Why wouldn’t his damn feet move?

Taking a deep breath, he strived for courage. He pictured Lacey in his mind, reminding himself what he was doing this for. She needed him and he would not let her down.

After one more breath, he took one hesitant step forward, burrowing his foot slowly down between the snakes, feeling for the floor. He had to use his toes to ease in between them, even scoot a few out of his way. If he could manage not to hurt them, maybe he could avoid a bite. Maybe.

He had to force himself not to jerk away from the feel of the snakes sliding against his bare foot. This was absolute torture. It was hell.

Finally, he placed his foot to the floor and moved forward with the next foot. One step was down and he wasn’t bitten. He tried to move as little as possible, but he was helpless against the trembling that violently shook him.

Eric didn’t consider himself a coward. Only an idiot wouldn’t have been scared. He was smart enough to know he was probably one step closer to his death.

His foot hit the floor again, so he attempted step number three. He held his breath through the next few steps when he felt some very large snakes in the mix. It had to have been a python. At least that kind of snake wasn’t poisonous. The bite wouldn’t kill him. It would just cause a lot of pain.

Eric winced when he felt a sharp pain just above his left ankle. It was a snake bite. He tried hard not to jerk away, afraid that would cause more bites. It hurt so badly. This snake didn’t give a quick bite and recoil. No, it bit and started chewing.

Without any other choice, he ignored the pain and kept going, dragging the snake along. His next step was wobbly and he stepped down on a snake. It bit, a quick attack this time, not clinging to him like the other one. Then, he felt another bite. Maybe it was a different snake or maybe it was a second bite from the same one.

It was time to get moving. Going slow wasn’t working anymore.

He quit worrying about where his feet went and started moving faster. Leaping over the snakes and landing softly became the new strategy. He had to get to that exit sign as quickly as possible.

The snakes continued to bite him with just about every step he took. He kept close to the wall and used one hand for balance so he didn’t fall. If he went down, he wouldn’t get back up.

He started feeling nauseous. His head started swimming and he had to lean on the wall more and more as he went. Who knew what kind of snake venom he had in his blood stream by now? He knew one thing was for sure. He didn’t have much time or he was not going to make it to that button.

The distance seemed more and more impossible to him even though he was now three quarters of the way there. He didn’t think he would make it before he passed out. He hated damn snakes. He did not want to die this way!

His feet grew slick beneath him and Eric knew the moisture was blood, his blood. His hands began to tingle and he realized he had bites there as well. Were these stupid snakes jumping now?

Three more steps and he went down. He couldn’t help it. His legs just gave out. He had no choice but to start crawling.

The reptiles went into a biting frenzy, attacking him everywhere at once, and he let out a scream. Many of them stayed attached, flopping against him. The pain was everywhere now. He couldn’t distinguish one bite from the next. He hurt all over.

This was a terrifyingly for-real horror movie scene. He couldn’t think of a more horrific way to go out of this world, but he didn’t stop. He couldn’t. He had to keep moving!

It was definitely a miracle that he made it to the end of the hall, but he did. The exit button sat above his head, ready for him to push it, but he couldn’t get up. He tried. The tingling that was in his hands had spread everywhere. He was numb, whether from a side effect of venom or from a state of shock, he couldn’t be sure.

“Come on!” he growled at himself.

He tried again, digging his fingers into the wall to pull himself up. Again, he thought of Lacey. He couldn’t let her die because of his creation. That was unacceptable to him.

He shook violently, but his body did rise. He used his very last burst of energy to slam his fist into the exit button. Then, he let himself fall into unconsciousness.

Contest:

Readers, would you like to win a copy? There will be a giveaway today! Leave me a comment for a chance to win! 🙂

Are you ready? AGAINST THE GAME is coming 9/4/15!

I have a release date, folks! It has been too long since I’ve put a book out, and I am so proud of this one. I sure hope readers love it as much as I do! 🙂

againstthegame_front2

Blurb:

Eric Teague is moments away from making history. Thanks to him, the world of gaming is about to experience technology like it has never seen before. When his new establishment, Against the Game, opens, playing video games will be a thing of the past.

At Against the Game, players experience the game as if it is real in a virtual reality. There is no TV, no console with wires and controllers. The game feels absolutely real. Kids get so much more than puppeteering cartoonish characters through a game of basketball. No matter the person’s health or physical ability, they will be the characters in a world without limits and they will experience what it is really like to compete as a pro ball player.

During test trials, kids called Against the Game “amazing,” “fantastic,” and “miraculous.” One kid declared it was the best experience of his life. Indeed, everyone knew it was going to be something big enough to alter the whole gaming industry. For Eric, it meant a long awaited dream come true.

But, all too soon, reality breaks into Eric’s moment when something goes terribly wrong. He and his best friend Lacey get trapped in the virtual reality of the supercomputer behind his establishment. It is definitely no longer just a game. The danger is real. The consequences are real. And, Eric and Lacey’s fight for survival is more than real.

To live, they must win, and to win, they must overcome the biggest challenge of all: to trust and to love.

Excerpt:

There were more than a couple snakes, more than ten, upwards of even hundreds. There had to be thousands of them. The dirt of the tunnel was hardly visible beneath the reptiles. Indeed, the floor looked as if it moved.

It would be impossible to walk through them without getting bit. Would he have time to hit the button before he died in the game? He had to get out before the venom killed him. That was the only way he would survive.

He looked down at his bare feet and cringed. No matter, he had to do this! There was no other way out of there. He had to get to that red exit button so he could save Lacey and Paula. Nothing else mattered.

Why wouldn’t his damn feet move?

Taking a deep breath, he strived for courage. He pictured Lacey in his mind, reminding himself what he was doing this for. She needed him and he would not let her down.

After one more breath, he took one hesitant step forward, burrowing his foot slowly down between the snakes, feeling for the floor. He had to use his toes to ease in between them, even scoot a few out of his way. If he could manage not to hurt them, maybe he could avoid a bite. Maybe.

He had to force himself not to jerk away from the feel of the snakes sliding against his bare foot. This was absolute torture. It was hell.

Finally, he placed his foot to the floor and moved forward with the next foot. One step was down and he wasn’t bitten. He tried to move as little as possible, but he was helpless against the trembling that violently shook him.

Eric didn’t consider himself a coward. Only an idiot wouldn’t have been scared. He was smart enough to know he was probably one step closer to his death.

His foot hit the floor again, so he attempted step number three. He held his breath through the next few steps when he felt some very large snakes in the mix. It had to have been a python. At least that kind of snake wasn’t poisonous. The bite wouldn’t kill him. It would just cause a lot of pain.

Eric winced when he felt a sharp pain just above his left ankle. It was a snake bite. He tried hard not to jerk away, afraid that would cause more bites. It hurt so badly. This snake didn’t give a quick bite and recoil. No, it bit and started chewing.

Without any other choice, he ignored the pain and kept going, dragging the snake along. His next step was wobbly and he stepped down on a snake. It bit, a quick attack this time, not clinging to him like the other one. Then, he felt another bite. Maybe it was a different snake or maybe it was a second bite from the same one.

It was time to get moving. Going slow wasn’t working anymore.

He quit worrying about where his feet went and started moving faster. Leaping over the snakes and landing softly became the new strategy. He had to get to that exit sign as quickly as possible.

The snakes continued to bite him with just about every step he took. He kept close to the wall and used one hand for balance so he didn’t fall. If he went down, he wouldn’t get back up.

He started feeling nauseous. His head started swimming and he had to lean on the wall more and more as he went. Who knew what kind of snake venom he had in his blood stream by now? He knew one thing was for sure. He didn’t have much time or he was not going to make it to that button.

The distance seemed more and more impossible to him even though he was now three quarters of the way there. He didn’t think he would make it before he passed out. He hated damn snakes. He did not want to die this way!

His feet grew slick beneath him and Eric knew the moisture was blood, his blood. His hands began to tingle and he realized he had bites there as well. Were these stupid snakes jumping now?

Three more steps and he went down. He couldn’t help it. His legs just gave out. He had no choice but to start crawling.

The reptiles went into a biting frenzy, attacking him everywhere at once, and he let out a scream. Many of them stayed attached, flopping against him. The pain was everywhere now. He couldn’t distinguish one bite from the next. He hurt all over.

This was a terrifyingly for-real horror movie scene. He couldn’t think of a more horrific way to go out of this world, but he didn’t stop. He couldn’t. He had to keep moving!

It was definitely a miracle that he made it to the end of the hall, but he did. The exit button sat above his head, ready for him to push it, but he couldn’t get up. He tried. The tingling that was in his hands had spread everywhere. He was numb, whether from a side effect of venom or from a state of shock, he couldn’t be sure.

“Come on!” he growled at himself.

He tried again, digging his fingers into the wall to pull himself up. Again, he thought of Lacey. He couldn’t let her die because of his creation. That was unacceptable to him.

He shook violently, but his body did rise. He used his very last burst of energy to slam his fist into the exit button. Then, he let himself fall into unconsciousness.

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