UFI welcomes H.K. Sterling Author of A Taste For Killing. Thanks for Joining us!!
Thank you for allowing me to guest post. Today I will be dredging up the past so I can tell you what I learned that is helpful for the present.
I've always been a voracious reader. When I was five or six, I was stuck on Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books. I felt slighted though, because the Hardy Boys had more adventures in my mind. The Hardy boys were also my first book boyfriend. I'm not sure which one. Either of them would probably do. I loved these series so much I tried to write a Nancy Drew book, but I only got as far as the cover and the first line. What can I say? I was five (or six).
When I was little (yes, I am old now) pamphlets came out in class once a month where we could order books. I was the nerd who went away with an armful every time. Every month it was an argument with my parents because I loved the write-ups so much, I wanted so many of them to read and my parents naturally had limits. And read I did. I discovered wonderful books like The Phantom Tollbooth, A Wrinkle in Time (and the rest of that series), The Outsiders, and so many more.
By age eleven I was heavily into mythology and read up on all the Greek and Roman gods and myths. By sixteen I had discovered Science Fiction and the likes of Ellison, Bradbury, Asimov, Bova, Heinlein, and more kept me busy for the rest of my teenage years. By age twenty I was reading Philip K. Dick, but also reading cross-cultural spirituality books like the Upanishads and The Song of Songs, which I found beautiful. These were a gateway drug into poetry. Suddenly my mind was filled with Arthur Rimbaud, Jorge Borges, Aime Cesaire, e.e. cummings, W.B. Yeats, and many more. I loved them so much I took every poetry and writing class I could in college. I did not major in it though. Somehow I had it stuck in my head that writers made no money and I needed a discipline that would support me while I wrote on the side (I thought then).
As an adult I still read, though not as voraciously because I spend much of my time writing. When I discover a good book now, I savor it like a fine wine. Until this year I also had a dark secret. I thought I was the only person who knew thousands of words and their meanings but had no earthly idea how to pronounce them. That is the flaw that comes from reading voraciously. It was only when I started to interact with other authors that I found this to be a common problem with those who read their hearts out when young. We learned words from context, but no one uses the kind of words we learned, except maybe somewhere in the New York Literati Circles. I learned I am not alone.
If you've made it this far I have some advice. It is just this: Read Anything! Just Read!
P.S. And leave a review.
H.K. Sterling is an author with Breathless Press known for stories with a kick and twist endings. H.K. likes to focus her writing on suspense, science-fiction, shorts, and anything that is spicy and unexpected. H.K. lives in Virginia with her husband who graciously puts up with her passion for writing. H.K. currently has a Mystery Thriller out: A Taste For Killing; and two short stories in the Breathless Press Anthology: My Bloody Valentine.
A Taste For Killing
Mystery and Romance blend together when competing detectives Carolyn Woods and Jack Heart find they are surrounded by murder on every side.
Mystery and Romance blend together when competing detectives Carolyn Woods and Jack Heart are both hired to solve the murder of Pete Wallace, only to realize they are working the same case. To complicate things, Carolyn and Jack have an on again-off again relationship. Then there is Evan Jones, a handsome architect— but he's also a suspect.
Can Carolyn manage to solve the case as more and more murders pile up? Will her relationship with Jack hinder their investigations? And what about Evan Jones? He seems like the perfect man, but could he actually be the murderer? One thing is for sure: someone close to both Carolyn and Jack has A Taste For Killing.
He had six-pack abs, and I wanted to feel the carbonation. This one dressed like the stereotype of a construction worker, down to the handkerchief he used to wipe sweat off his forehead. I don't know if he or the hot day brought it out, but sweat poured off of me too. He had no interest in me as a person, though. I was invading his territory. Still, I enjoyed the view. For my part, I knew my clothes looked crappy. I didn’t have to wear uniforms anymore, but my street clothes, well they were very—street. So there I stood, a turd in the sun in front of this Adonis. Oh well.
He pointed to a small trailer up a muddy hill. The supervisor I asked to see apparently stayed in there. Stayed, as in never left. Great. Mud. Now I'd be a dried turd in the sun. Adonis went back to digging and I started the trek up the hill. At least I came with boots. Steel toed.
Once I made it to the trailer, I heard an argument going on inside.
"Look, I don't care who you are. The plans are publically filed. Go get them yourself!" yelled someone.
Then I heard a voice I knew. Calm, cool, subversive. "Is there any reason you're being so difficult? A man did die on your watch."
An encounter I hadn’t planned on. Well, at least not until later tonight. I knocked loudly on the door and with my sweetest voice said, "Hello, boys. Am I interrupting something?"
"Great," groused the supervisor. "A party." He appeared to me like another stereotype, puffing on a cigar over a fat jowl line and rotund stomach that threatened to overturn the small desk he was behind. I guess there's a reason for stereotypes. He looked about four hamburgers away from a heart attack.
On a wooden chair in front of the supervisor sat Jack. A fellow independent detective, an ally at times, a competitor...and my on and off lover.
"Well, well, well," he said smiling, but I could tell he wasn’t happy to see me. Not here. It meant we were both working the same case. "Hello, Carolyn. Who hired you?"
"Girlfriend," he answered back.
We stared at each other. Complications.
The supervisor didn’t give a damn and said to me, "Well, missy, I'll tell you the same thing I told this guy." He jerked his thumb around to Jack. "The plans are publically filed and that’s all I have to say about it."
I tried a different tactic. "That’s fine with me. I have no problem going downtown for a copy." I wore my practiced, saccharine smile. "But I wonder, could you tell me the name of the architect? Please?" I smiled again. God, this job sucks at times.
The supervisor sighed. "Jones, Evan Jones."
"Thank you so much," I said, smiling my best smile again. "I'll get out of the way and leave you two boys to...whatever you were doing."
I opened the door to go and started to shut it only to find Jack following me out.
"Sure, flash your tits and get what you want." Boy was he in a bad mood.
"There was no tit flashing in there. Face it, testosterone was not a good choice in that situation."
Jack's response: a grunt.
"Besides," I tried to placate him, "I didn’t get the plans either."
"No, you did one better."
"That's assuming the architect will have anything to do with me and cooperate." A thought occurred to me. "So are you going there too?"
"No, I might as well wait and see what you turn up. Besides, I have my own leads."
"Are you planning to share?" Just call me hopeful. As in full of shit, because that’s where hope always seemed to lead.
"No," he said, still grumpy.
"I see. So it's gonna be like that."
"I guess so."
I felt like such a female. Damn. But I had to ask.
"Are we still on for tonight?"
I wasn’t convinced but didn’t push it. God, sometimes I hated myself. But we were good together—when it was good—when his competitive edge didn’t get the better of him. Though I was one to talk. I did the same thing at times. Hence our on and off status. But currently we were supposed to be on. So, I kept it light in the spirit of things to come.
"Okay, master detective, I'll leave you to your leads. See ya."
"See ya," he replied, already preoccupied, pondering a piece of paper he'd taken from his pocket.
I made my way down the hill in my muddy boots.