It takes me about ten minutes to drive from where I saw the man to my home and in that ten minutes, I'd mapped out the basic story. What would the man do? What was he willing to do? What if he looked like someone's husband? What if he looked enough like someone's husband that he could sire a child that the husband was unable to father? Yeah, I know. I'm warped that way. Work with me here. =) Day Labor began just like this.
I allowed the idea to roll around in my mind for about two years. Last year when I lost my day job on October 28th, I decided it was my chance to join in the fun of NaNoWriMo for the first time. Day Labor became my project for the month of November. From November 1st to November 29th, I worked each night on my project and finished up with a novel 50,448 words long.
I still need to polish it and get it out to a publisher, but at least I know I have one more novel finished. It's a good feeling.
Unedited Excerpt of Day Labor by M.J. Conrad (Jena Galifany)
Chapter 1 – 2005
Mark Langston stood in the doorway to the Chief of Detectives, Grant Langston's office. Grant took his time in responding to Mark's knock. Obviously annoyed, he tossed down his pen and leaned back in his large leather chair as Mark entered and closed the door.
"What do you want?" As usual, Grant showed no pleasure at seeing Mark.
Mark pulled an envelope from his pocket. He held it up, and crossed the plush carpet in the large office. As he reached the mahogany monster of a desk, he tossed it onto the surface, and watched it slid to a stop at the edge of the blotter. "I want an explanation."
Grant didn't look at the envelope. His gaze locked instead on Mark, his jaw clenched and released before he spoke. "Now that you're married, I wanted you to know that you will receive nothing from my estate in case of my death. You have no part in my will. Just so you can let that new wife of yours know it."
"Why would Beth care? She has her own money. She doesn't care about yours." Mark burned with anger at the insinuation. Beth had more money than Grant Langston ever dreamed of having.
"So my name and my status didn't get you a bride? Congratulations." Grant commented in bored monotone.
Mark slammed his hand on the desk as he leaned toward his father. "I've done everything I could my entire life to please you. I've worked my ass off through school and college to be the son you'd be proud of. I've solved several cases that were beyond anything even you've ever handled. Now, after one of my greatest successes, I get this letter. What kind of a father are you that you’d expend so much energy hating your son?"
Grant carefully weighed his words before he let them spill from his lips. "The kind of father who only has a daughter." He smirked, and rocked back in his chair, his trained eyes watching Mark's face for a reaction.
Mark felt as if he'd been kicked in the stomach. "What are you saying?" He knew damned well what was said but couldn't wrap his mind around the words, or believe them. Not after thirty-five years. Why wouldn't Grant, or at least his mother, have told him before?
"You’re the fancy detective. Figure it out." Grant leaned his forearms on his desk, and continued before Mark could respond. "Do you recall a local incident some thirty-six years ago. A criminal was shot during a home invasion. You probably read the case file when you studied local issues."
"The man was into pornography and drugs." Mark thought back to the case. "Rape, too, I believe."
Grant nodded and clapped his hands with sarcasm. "He gets the gold star."
Grant folded his hands on the desk. "The man had taken a gun from the home office and attempted to shoot the homeowner when he walked in on him. It was a cut and dried case of self-defense."
"What's that got to do with rape?" Mark was confused. He saw by the look on Grant's face that the older man took pleasure in traveling the long road to where he was going.
"What the report didn't say – because it was covered up – was that the bastard raped the man's wife. That woman was your mother and that bastard that I took great pleasure in shooting was your father. I don't think he left you anything in his will either."