Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Getting the Message)

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Private detective Tom Mahon has just pulled a gun on the questionably scented—and questioningly  scenting—bruiser who walked into his agency, claiming to have a message for the brother of Bryan Mahon.

The bruiser in question (sorry, couldn’t help it) has just referred to our hero as “prey”.

I didn’t skip anything.  Tom is speaking first:


“Say your piece.”

His leg muscles bunched underneath him and he grinned with bigger teeth than should’ve fit into his mouth. “It ain’t that kind of message.”

He leapt. I fired twice.

He dropped, and I was over the desk and rolling him onto his stomach before he could recover. Silver rounds were too expensive for everyday self-defense, but anything shot out of a forty-five usually bought me enough time for fight or flight.

My first instinct told me to fly—but I’d been ignoring that one for a long time.


I managed to get one or two long sentences in this one, ’cause I gotta be me.  Apparently.

By the way, those of you who know guns, please forgive me any transgressions and know that it will all be fixed once I run it past my Gun Guy,  who keeps me from embarrassing myself with caliber bloopers, nomenclature snafus, and gross violations of the laws of physics. After four or five years, it’s become clear to both of us that I shouldn’t arm my characters with anything more complicated than Louisville Sluggers.

But I think it tickles him that I keep trying.



The brilliantly talented  Teresa Cypher asked me to participate in a “Meet My Character” blog tour.  Her post, which offers intriguing information about Marissa Krade—who may or may not be entirely sane—can be found here.

Mine will be up tomorrow, if you’d like to know a little more about Tom.  There may also be a photo.


44 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Getting the Message)

    • I’m not sure a stickpin would work against a leaping werewolf—or not in a timely enough fashion—but a letter opener certain has merit, Sue Ann! 🙂

    • It’s surprisingly easy to do, with practice. Mine keeps telling me veggies are better than chocolate, and I’ve been ignoring that lie since I was a kid. 😀

    • Thanks, Tina!

      I haven’t finished it, yet, and to be honest, I have no idea if it will ever be out. I’m not writing to contract and I don’t have an agent. But hope springs a turtle. Or something. 🙂

    • My Gun Guy is a 67-year old grandfather who runs a local firing range. He’s lovely, in a sarcastic, ever-so-slightly patronizing way, but “yum” isn’t how I’d describe him. 😉

      I’ll mark the teeth in my MS, but there’s a reason for them—we’ll see if the next few snippets make it work.

  1. ~slapping Tom to get his attention~ “FLY! FLY! FLY!”

    Great snippet, Sarah! The dialect works. The pacing is great. I like Tom. 🙂 He must have driven his mom crazy getting into trouble.

  2. Love the line about the teeth! It makes me wonder if these are the kind of shapeshifters that can shift just a little, like teeth or claws.

    Running away only works some of the time–the rest of the time, it triggers a chase instinct in your aggressor and makes things so much worse.

    • Thanks, Caitlin!

      I haven’t worked it all out, but there’s definitely a transition period of varying lengths, so I’m assuming the initial shiftsigns can be used by some at will.

      Exactly! Wolves in particular will hesitate if you stand your ground, at least for a while. If you run, though, there will be a chase. Or so I’ve read. 🙂

  3. Truly an intriguing and intense snippet that’s flavored with snarky inner thoughts. Loved it. 🙂
    Also loved your behind the scenes narrative about arming your character with nothing more than Louisville Sluggers. Too funny. lol

    • Thanks, Karen! Most of my characters seem to snark. No idea why . . . 😉

      There’s something refreshingly simple about hitting people over the head with big pieces of wood. Or so I assume. >cough<

  4. I’m with Linda. Is there some concern that he might face vampires? Hornady “Critical Defense” rounds run about $25/20 cartridges. 185 gr, FTX with 1,000 fps muzzle velocity. That’s what my characters use. Great knock down power with one shot.

    • I do.

      I’m still figuring out pacing, so instead of the next chapter, how about I send you a scene that might be in chapter three or possibly four? As soon as I make it reader-ready?

  5. I love the play on the fight or flight concept in the last lines, since wild ducks actually can fly. Is he a wild duck? I’m not a huge duck expert, but I know domesticated breeds have lost the ability to fly after hundreds of years of selective breeding to live among humans.

    • He’s based on the Muscovy duck, which can be found in the wild—the idea of a feral duck tickles me—but has also been domesticated. They’re a good all-purpose duck, but a bit too heavy for sustained flight.

      Some domesticated ducks can fly, depending on the breed—and what their owners do to keep them. Running ducks—the kind Hollywood casting directors love—can’t fly. Muscovys and call ducks can. 🙂

  6. The teeth add to the real threat. Musing about the expense of the silver bullet amuses me considering what he is shooting them into. I like the pace of this snippet. Good job.

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