Guest Post: Liz Coley

Greetings my friends!

Today, I’m excited to have Liz Coley, one of my long-time writer friends from OWW, as a guest poster. She’s releasing a new series that I think y’all will love: Tor Maddox. Tor’s a precocious teen news junkie who finds herself wrapped up in a conspiracy or two. Tor’s a really fun character to read (I beta read for Liz back in the day), so I’d invite you to check it out. Now, on with the guest post!

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Unkind Cuts – Deleted Scenes

In the long history of the Tor Maddox series, the highest high was when I got “the call” from an agent to whom I’d submitted. She was offering me representation. She adored the story and characters, hated the original title (Best Friends), and wanted to know if I would cut 15,000 words. She didn’t tell me which 15,000. That was my job. Gulp.

As a writer who prefers drafting to revising (unusual, I know), this was torture. But hey, to get your first agent after years of trying, you’d agree to shave your head if asked. I hit the delete key.

It’s always interesting to me to watch the deleted scenes from a movie—stuff the director and writer originally thought was brilliant which ended up on the cutting room floor.

Here’s a glimpse for you of my sweepings.


TOR MADDOX: UNLEASHED (deleted scene)

At the park, Cocoa dashed into the melee, tail wagging. I sat down on a bench in the shade by a couple of old ladies. They sat close together, speaking quietly, but not so quietly that I couldn’t hear.

“I’m so sorry about Max,” one was saying to the other. “You must miss him dreadfully after so many years together.”

“Betty, I can honestly say he was my best friend. Next to you, dear.”

Betty patted her gently on the arm. “I’d like to come to the service, if I may.”

“Of course, Betty, of course,” said the woman holding a crumpled lace handkerchief. “I’ll email you all the details.”

Whoa. Modern widows, I thought.

“How’s Sam taking it?” Betty asked.

Sam? The son perhaps? I’m so bad about listening in on other people’s conversations. I must have forgotten to stop being Nancy Drew, teen detective.

“Look at him,” she answered, pointing to a basset frisking with Cocoa. Ah. Sam the dog. “See how sad he looks?” How could she tell? Bassets always look sad. Even when they’re frisking.

“Poor dear,” said her sympathetic friend. “Was it very painful for Max?  Near the end?”

“Terrible,” the first woman replied. “His lungs were ruined. He fought for every last breath.  Eventually I had to put him to sleep.”

Oops. Not her husband. I don’t think we’re doing that to people yet, except in Oregon and Vermont.

“I’m sorry,” I interrupted. “I couldn’t help overhearing. What happened to your dear Max?” The ladies acted pleased to have a fresh face to talk to, not bothered by my inquisitiveness at all.

“Oh my dear,” the handkerchief woman said. “He came down with the dog flu, that’s what the vet said. But I know I had him vaccinated as a pup. Didn’t I, Betty?” Betty nodded. “The vet couldn’t explain why the vaccine failed. He wanted to autopsy my poor Max, but I said, ‘I’m sending him back to God in one piece, the way I got him.’”

I wondered if Cocoa was vaccinated before we adopted him. I wondered if God appreciated getting Max back in one piece or if he would have preferred donating Max’s body to science so they could figure out why he died.

Suddenly, I wanted to get Cocoa out of the park, away from all these drooling, barking, sniffing creatures carrying God-only-knows what germs on them. We ran all the way home.


That was 404 words down, and 14,596 to go!

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Tor Maddox: Unleased, the first book in the Tor Maddox series, releases on May 1st. It’s up for pre-order now–check it out. And congrats to Liz!

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