Stacey Blog

Indianapolis, born, bred and raised thriller author, Stacey Carroll is known for her unique perspectives on life and fiction. Influenced by Anne Rice, Stephen King and the Grimms Brothers, combined with the pure hatred of Disney endings, her novels are equally gritty and sexy with well-developed, realistic characters.

Additional influences on writing are her degrees. She has a Masters in HRD, a Bachelors in Aviation and a Computer science minor. All of these factors and her experience in flying Cessna 152s, 172s, King Airs and Piper Senecas have resulted in fiction novels that feature satisfying mature content emphasizing the characters.

Below are her rants, raves, curiosities and other writing tidbits that don’t fit anywhere else.

 

For those who don't know, I like to maximize my productivity, and part of maximizing my productivity is utilizing social media autoschedulers to make sure all my posts go out in a timely manner.  This is extremely helpful in the summer when I'm inundated with fiction and content orders.  My scheduler of choice is WoopSocial.  They allow unlimited social media posts for free.  If you want detailed analytics, they charge for that feature, but they do give you your first 10 days for free, so that's nice.  The problem with Woop is that they've been 75% down since February 28.  I didn't think too much of the problem at midnight on the 28th.  I expected it to be fixed by the morning so I could schedule my posts for March.  It wasn't.  When I contacted their customer support, they were aware of the problem and said to wait at hour.  That was at 1:pm on the 1st.  It wasn't fixed by 3:pm, and it's not fixed today, March 3rd.  This put me in a real bind.  All my social media was set to run out of content between midnight and 1:AM on March 2nd.  This means I have 10 hours to schedule 2,500 posts.  I'm in trouble.  At that point, I started digging into other options - something I have done numerous times over the last few months.  Nothing has changed on the autoscheduler front.  There are no new autoschedulers and all the free options are severely limited - like 10 to 30 posts at a time, if you're lucky.  Some only allow you 10 to 30 A MONTH.  That's not helpful.  So, I ran across Social Oomph.  This isn't the first time I've run across them, but their free account is limited in the fact that it only posts to Twitter, but I'm out of options.  I think I can IFFIT to Facebook.  I'm going to have to go for it.  I'm running out of time.

My Social OOmph Experience

I fill out the lengthy account creation app for Social Oomph and signed up.  Yes, they sent a verification email, and I had ot click on the link.  Thanks spammers for making life more difficult, but anyway.  Once I'm in, I start scheduling posts.  I use a 24 hour cycle.  So, I have between 72 and 96 posts per day, and they run every 24 hours.  There's no problem with that scheduling.  I've done it with Woop.  No one complains.  Twitter is cool with it.  What Twitter wants to make sure of is that you are not spamming the same post over and over again and irritating your followers.  I get it.  I've had that warning when I accidentally double-clicked the Tweet button.  It really is to stop back to back posts that could quickly become obnoxious.

I start scheduling posts by the day, and I get through 2 rounds of them.  So, I have 2 posts scheduled for the next 31 days.  It's 5:pm.  I need a faster way.  I have 8 hours left before all feeds go silent. In depseration, I click the "Try Pro for 168 hours" checkbox.  This is going to give me the ability to post 1 post and recycle it for every day at the same time.  The immediate problem that I see is that after 168 hours, this could all fail.  It's a free trial.  However, the hope is that in the next 7 days, Woop gets their scheduler fixed, and I can go in and schedule posts normally.  For now, this is the only option I have.

 

It takes me 3 hours to schedule all those posts, even with the repeater checked, but I get it done before my feeds go silent.  YAY!  It's done at least for the next week.  I can relax.

Except: I didn't Pay Attention to Something 

When I signed up for that 168 hour free trial, I ignored a warning that was right below the 168 free trial button.  That warning said that spreadsheet uploads and the ability to schedule more than 12 posts an hour was not available in the free trial due to SPAMMERS.  I should have paid more attention to that, but my immediate thought was - who the hell wnats to scheudle tweets every 8 minutes?  What that really says is that their platform may have Twitter blocks on it, and their rating with Twitter may be junk.  I ignored this when I should have ran away quickly.

Saturday at 2:AM

I had been keeping a close eye on my posts all day Saturday.  Everything was working fantastically.  Posts were going out every 20 minutes.  I wasn't getting instability errors.  It's looking good.  Then, long about midnight, I notice nothing has hit my Twitter feed for 3 hours.  What?  There were no emails alerting me to the fact that these posts hadn't gone out.  I logged into Social Oomph to see what the problem was.  I had all kinds of warning everywhere about not being able to post the same thing within 48 hours.  What?  That's not a Twitter problem, but just in case Twitter had changed something between Feb 28 and March 2nd, I copied out the last failed scheduled post and manually posted it.  No problems.  Social OOmph has some issues to work out.  Their standing with Twitter is definately on shakey ground if Twitter has this type of limitation on thier application.  Since I had already had numerous posts fail, I quickly deleted everything that was already scheduled.  Whatever this platform's problem is, I don't want it affecting my account.  Then, I quickly scheduled 3 or 4 posts with TweetDeck for the overnight and went to bed.  Far fewer that what should have been going out, and I paid for that in the morning when I looked at my account stats.

Sunday Take 2

Sunday morning, I get up late, knowing full well all my feeds are silent.  This is exactly the scenario I was trying to prevent Friday.  I checked WoopSocial.  They're still broken, so my option is to retry Social OOmph on a 48 hour repeating cycle.  Keep in mind, that I only have 168 hours of pro available total, and their issue Saturday night has caused me to be unable to use at least 8 of those hours.  I very quickly schedule 3 posts to cover 11:20AM to 12:20PM just so I can get moving on the feeds and start to reschedule on a 48 hour timeframe.  I reschedule for about an hour.  Then, I checked my Twitter feed.  Nothing has gone out.  I look on Social Oomph, same errors.  Same 48 hour problem....  I deleted everything I had just scheduled because really - something heinous is going on with this scheduling platform.  I've never come across this, and I've been doing 24 hour rotating posts for several months now.

I Emailed Customer Service

At that point, I went over to Hootsuite, which I really cannot stand and scheduled the maximum allowable posts - 30.  This is the last thing I wanted to do.  30 posts buys me 8 to 10 hours.  That's it.  Once I had that done just so I could get rolling again, I contacted Social Oomph's customer service.  I explained that I was trying out their system, and why I was trying it out.  Then, I detailed everything in that post that I have paid out here, because it's not normal.

They got back to me within 30 minutes.  Fantastic!  Maybe I can get some insight.  I opened the email, and what they had written was not suitable for anyone's eyes.  Yep, it was that inappropriate and unprofessional.  In fact, I won't even post it here, but suffice to say, the comment was pretty much what I expected after all the hell the site itself had caused me.  They do not care about their business or anything else to do with it.  Personally, I cannot recommend them at all, and I would warn you to stay clear.  Luckily, it doens't look like thier Twitter problems have manifested on my Twitter profile or feed.  I can still post, and it doesn't look like anything is being "shadowbanned", but we'll see.  I'll have to keep a close eye on it.

Other Reviews for This Scheduling Platform

As I dug deeper, I realized, Social Oomph's problems have been going on for quite a while.

From g2Crowd:

 

"Unusable interface led me to better, cheaper competitors"

 

What do you like best?

At the time it was the most affordable product that offered the "infinite queue" — that is, queuing up content that would repeat itself once everything was posted.

What do you dislike?

The user interface was so terrible, clunky and confusing that I couldn't remember how everything worked. Plus, other services ended up being cheaper and way more easy to use, like PostPlanner or RecurPost.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Go use PostPlanner or RecurPost instead. They have the same recycling posts feature and are way easier to use. I also liked SmarterQueue too.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I wanted to be able to queue social media content up once and forget it. That saved me a lot of time and worry.

 

 

"Social Oomph - Great While it Lasted"

 

What do you like best?

Social Oomph was the most affordable social marketing tool I found for multiple social media accounts.

What do you dislike?

After using it about a month, Facebook deleted the app and told me if I used it again I would lose my Facebook account, so evidently Facebook considers it spam.

Recommendations to others considering the product

It is very economical, a little confusing to set up. But almost got me kicked off of Facebook.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Economical way to post on multiple social media accounts. Saved time and money

 

End Comment - Avoid at all costs.  It's not worth it, especially since it looks like it may actually cause harm to your social media accounts if left i nplace long enough.  Facebook considers it spam, and at this point, I'd say Twitter does too.

 

 

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Tips On Updating Your Blog and When You Should Do It 

The answers will be revealed in the following sections. 

1)Your Regular Audience 

Do you consistently deliver high-quality content to your readers? You should be updating your blog on a fairly regular basis. Remember that your core readers are the ones that start your loyalty. They are the ones that will help you build your site from the ground up. 

Some people update their blogs at least once a week, while others do it once a day. The choice is yours. You should ask yourself whether or not you are proficient in your content and building your blog? You should have nothing to worry about if the answer is yes. 

I suggest updating it a few times a week until you have established your primary audience. Once you have built up that loyalty you need to keep the blog going then you can pump the brakes a little bit. 

 

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If you’re a freelancer, you have probably been bombarded by all those free tax software and filing commercials, and you are probable wondering if completing and filing your taxes is really free. The short answer is NO! for the majority of tax software companies/.  I actually found a couple that may truly be free, but it's not the tax software companies that you hear about all the time.

 

The Biggest Offender and False Advertiser: TurboTax

 

Free Free FreeFreeFree

 

Laugh Laugh LaughLaughLaugh

 

 TurbotaxfreeThis image to the left is what TuboTax wants you to believe - That you can prepare your taxes and file your federal and state for FREE.  Unfortuantely, if you are a freelancer, this statement is not true.  It only takes looking at their list of exclusions to determine that you are not covered by this:

 

Situations not covered in TurboTax Free Edition include:

  • Itemized deductions (Schedule A)
  • Business or 1099-MISC income (Schedule C)
  • Stock sales (Schedule D)
  • Rental property income (Schedule E)
  • Credits, deductions and income reported on schedules 1-6, such as the Student Loan Interest Deduction

If you dig a little deeper, you'll actually be quite offended.  The very first FAQ question, tells you how this service that you cannot use is being paid.

How does TurboTax make any money?

Customers with more complex tax situations will file with our other TurboTax products that provide all the right forms and guidance they need. 

 

Yep, that's right, you, my freelancer friend, are paying for these "free" filers with the super expensive tax software that you will be forced to purchase.

If you are wondering just how expensive your taxes are going to be this year if you choose TurboTax, just take a look at this:

Turbotaxself employed

 

Your self-employed tax software will cost you $89.99 right this second, if you choose TurboTax.  That is only to file your federal.  The state is an additional, unlisted fee.  This is also the most expensive tax software, and Turbotax won't let you choose another one because you have 1099-MISCs and business income and expenses.  They are basically charging freelancers what they would charge larger businesses that aren't sole-proprietorships.  You're also paying for that free tax software you can't use.

 

Free Free Free, my tail end.  NOT FREE

 

 

 

 

 

H&R Block - Is Their Free Software Actually Free for FREElancers?

Nope

 

HRfreelancer

While H&R Block does offer a FREE tax software package, it doesn't include the ability to add 1099-MISC or business expenses.  You must have W-2s only, and you may have retirement income, social security income and student loan interest.  In other words, it's not free for freelancers, and once again, the self-employed must purchase a much higher level of tax software.  if it makes you feel better, it's not the highest priced taxed software, it's the second highest priced tax software at $79.99 ($104.99) and $36.99 per state. In other words, you are going to pay a minimum of $116.98 to file your taxes.  Hope you paid your quaterlies, caise YIKES, if you also owe.

 

 

 

 

 

TaxAct: Is TaxAct's Free Tax Software Actually Free for Freelancers?

Again, we have a resounding NO!

 

While TaxAct does offer a free version of thier tax software, it's not for freelancers.  It's for people who have W-2 income and no business expenses or income, and they certainly don't have any 1099-MISCs.  What's intersting about this one is that you can be married, but you cannot have kids or dependents.  That's $.9.95.  

In fact, their basic software line-up doesn't even include a tax software package for freelancers.  It stops at Premier+, which is $34.99 plus more for each state. 

 

So, where is the software for freelancers?

TaxactfreelancerIt's under a different menu item called "Self-Employed Taxes", but it's definately not Freefreefree.  It's $49.99 and $39.99 per state, which means as a freelancer, you will be forking over a minimum of $89.88 to file your taxes this tax season.  If it makes you feel any better, they've actually lowered this price.  It was closer to $80 just to file the federal last year.  It was an additional $36.99 to file the state, and so far, these guys are the cheapest, but they are still a far cry from all those freefreefree commercials.

 

 

 

 

Jackson Hewitt - Are These Guys Free for Freelancers?

Buahahahhaa NO.

 

These are the guys you actually see all over Walmart.  I think.  It's actually been a while since I've been in a Walmart store.

 

jacksonfreelancertaxJackson Hewitt does offer a free software package, but it's for single people or couples with no children who have incomes under $100,000.  You can only take the standard deduction, and they only accept W-2s and unemployment as income with their free tax software.

 

Freelancers must purchase their $49.99 (1$09.95) package.  State filing is charged at $36.95 per state.  This makes them slightly cheaper than TaxAct, but not by much, and the minute they stop their sale, they're the most expensive tax software so far.  Definately not Freefreefree.

 

 

Other Tax Software Companies

 

Credit Karma: Free Premium Filing

It says it's free.  In order to find our more and if it's actually FREE for freelancers to file, I'd have to create an account.  It does say it works for individuals who have a side-hustle.  The end conclusion is - I don't know if this is free for freelancers.  If you've used this as a freelancer or tried to, let us know how it worked in the comments.

Liberty Tax: Premium

$52.47 for Federal

State Additional - Not listed

Free TaxUSA: Deluxe

It looks free with the state being an additional $12.95 for the Deluxe version.

 

End result: You can find extrmely cheap tax software solutions as a freelancer, but they aren't with the big three or four.  You'll probably have to go with a lesser known tax software provider in order to get affordable tax software. Is that a good idea?  The choice is up to you.

 

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This is a pretty common scenario. You’ve scoured the Internet or the content mill where you want to hire your writer, and you can’t find any good samples. You’re either seeing no samples or small excerpts of other pieces. While it is frustrating, it’s quite common. Freelancers tend to sell everything they write, so if you don’t see any samples, you can reasonably assume that they’ve sold everything. That’s not a bad thing, but how do you figure out your chosen freelancer’s writing style if they don’t have any samples?

1. Dig a Little Deeper

If you’re looking at a freelancer’s business website and not a writer profile on a content mill, take a look at the pages. A professional writer is going to maintain a certain level of quality across their website. Read a few articles. While this probably won’t give you their specific professional writing style, it’ll give you an idea of their standard writing style, which is still helpful, especially if you want a very relaxed tone.

2. Look for a Prewritten Content Section

Even if they don’t have any full samples you can read, most freelancers will have some type of Prewritten Content Section. These are articles that the writer wrote on various topics in various industries so that clients can view most of the article then purchase it hassle-free. Reading the 25 or 30 percent of the prewritten article can give you a good idea about your prospective freelancer’s writing style.

3. Ask

If you really can’t find enough content to determine the freelancer’s style, ask. Some freelancers do keep samples on their computers that they will send out to clients when asked, or they may have bi-lined content on other sites where they can direct you (The latter only works if you are using an independent freelancer that’s not bound by the TOS of a content mill to not provide you any contact information, not even thier real names.). Other freelancers don’t have any samples available because it’s all been purchased. It really depends on the freelancer. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

4. Order a Sample Article

If you really think the writer is going to work out, but you want to make absolutely sure, most writers will accept paid test orders. This is typically an article topic of your choice between 500 and 1,000 words. You can expect to get anywhere from a 30 to 50 percent discount on the sample order with no obligation to purchase future articles. If you love it, you can order more articles at full price. If you hate it, well you can continue your search for a freelance writer.

 

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If you’re looking for blog posts, webpages and articles that you can share on your website and through your social media channels, you might be wondering what the different is between content on demand (prewritten articles) and custom content. The truth is that there isn’t much difference. Either way you choose, you will still get high-quality content that is plagiarism checked and free of horrific grammar and spelling errors, and in most instances you are still purchasing 100 percent rights to the content. This means you can treat it as if you wrote it.

Custom Content

Custom content is content that was written specifically for you and/or your business. When you order custom content, you choose the topic, the keywords and the length, and you provide directions and information for how you want the content written and what specific items you want included in the topic. The freelance writer then writes the article, blog post or webpage according to your directions and input.

Benefits of Custom Content

  • You choose the topic, title and content details.

  • You get to communicate with your content writer at your leisure.

  • You’ll get exactly the content you need.

  • You get a certain number of free revisions.

  • Your content is checked for accidental plagiarism.

  • Your content is proofread and free of spelling mistakes and grammar problems.

  • Your content is thoroughly researched.

  • Your content is 100 percent formatted and delivered to you (usually as an email or Google Doc).

Cons of Custom Content

  • It’s pricey. Custom content can cost as much as $2 a word, depending on the experience level of your freelance writer, word count and instructions.

  • It can take a long time to get your content. Many professional freelancers are booked days if not weeks in advance with prior content orders.

  • Rush jobs are typically charged at higher rates, meaning if you want to be next on the schedule, you’ll pay a premium to move ahead of other clients and their orders.

Content on Demand (Prewritten Articles) 

Content on demand or prewritten articles can be a convenient option for business owners, bloggers and website owners who do not have a lot of time to wait for their content and aren’t afraid of tweaking the content to fit their needs. This type of content is written by the freelance writer on the topics of his or her choosing. Then, they are made for sale on the freelancer’s website or other websites that sell prewritten content. This content still typically comes with 100 percent rights and it’s plagiarism checked and free of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Pros of Content on Demand

  • It’s ready to be purchased right now.

  • It’s typically much less expensive than ordering a new custom article specifically written for your business, blog or website.

  • You don’t have to talk to anyone. Once you pay and download the article, you can adjust it as you see fit.

Cons of Content on Demand

  • The content usually needs adjusted to precisely fit your needs.

  • Professional rewriting and adjusting the content costs an additional fee.

  • Your specific topic may not be available.

  • The precise information you want included in the article may not be there.

How to Choose Between Custom Content and Content on Demand

Choosing between custom content and content on demand will depend on your budget and your specific needs. If you are simply looking for basic content to fill space on your website or blog or have limited funds for new content, purchasing a premade article, blog post or webpage will work just fine. If you have a specific topic, formatting requirements and specific details you want included in the content, you’d probably be better off ordering a custom article and paying a little bit more.

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If you need fresh content for your website or blog, you may be wondering if your chosen freelance writer or writers write the type of content you need. The good news is that most freelancers provide a list of topics and examples directly on their websites or in their content mill profile so that you can quickly check to see if they write on your topics.

Finding a Content Mill Writer

Many content mills, including Constant Content, Content Writers, CopyPress, nDash, Prose Media, Scripted, Steady Content, Textbroker, Upwork, Writers Access and Zerys, encourage their writers to fill out their profiles in detail. This means that upon searching for a specific set of writers and viewing their individual profiles, you will be able to see the content topics they write, the types of content they write and their preferred rates.

The challenge to finding a good content mill writer is the volume of writers available. Searching “construction” or “HVAC”, for example, may gives you results for 100s of writers, and searching through them may be a time-consuming task. However, once you find your preferred writer, you should be able to get your content written in a timely manner.

Finding an Independent Freelance Writer

Finding an independent freelance writer that isn’t part of a content mill may be a slightly more difficult task. You’ll have fewer to choose from as a whole, but the quality of your results depends on your Search Engine search skills and your willingness to page through results that may not be entirely accurate, depending on the search engine’s algorithm.

For example, searching “construction freelancers” pulls up a list of content mills not independent freelancers. The same is true if you search for “HVAC freelancers”. Needless to say, this doesn’t help you find an independent freelance writer that you can communicate with and work with to create your ideal content. Another option is to search your city, using a search term like “Indianapolis freelancer”. This should give you a good list of freelancers in your local area. Then, all you have to do is view their webpages.

The ideal independent freelancer will have lots of content on their website, including topics they write, prices, frequently asked questions and examples. They may even have on-demand content that you can purchase and use right away.

If your independent freelancer doesn’t list your particular topic, but it’s close to a different topic or industry that they do have listed, you can always email them or contact them via their contact form.

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Some of you may be wondering what character or who is Shadow Conn.  Shadow Conn is a character I created more two decades ago.  She made her first appearance in a telnet chat room sometime in the late 90s.  From there, I played her in the Camarilla (White Wolf) live action LARPs.  She is actively played in Vampire New Orleans, which is an online PBEM RPG.  She is also the character template I use for all my female main characters in my novels.  She's currently a character in the Blooddoll series.  She was the template for AVIA CONN BAYS in the AVIA series, and I still very much play her today in her original and advanced forms.

 

But here's the original, offical Shadow Conn character biography from 2003.

 

Character Name:

Shadow Conn LeSombra Tenebroso

 

Clan:

The Tenebroso Dynasty


Hierarchy Position:
Regent

Personal History:
In 2010, Shadow turned 108.  Long gone were the leather pants and weaponry that made her look like a tiny assassin.  In their place were the trappings of the gloriously filthy rich.  Most of her clothes bore no brand name and those that did were heavily tailored to her very small frame.

She found her way to New Orleans in 2002, and in eight years, she could boast some major accomplishments.  She was Bonded to the Tenebroso Elder and not for money or power, though he had both - She loved her Bonded.  She was Regent.  She had cleaned up Europe to point of a finely tuned machine and she didn’t openly war with any Tenebroso.  Though, whether that was her personality, her Bonded, her position, or her scary scary abilities, no one quite knew.  If asked, she probably would have responded that her blanket is better than their blanket.

Shadow was born to darkness in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her Sire moved her to Indianapolis, Indiana shortly after her embrace. For the first few years, she was under the care of her GrandSire, Jacques LeSombra Dark and had very limited contact with the man who actually made her. But that ended after 10 years.

Shadow stayed with her Sire for another 66 years. During that time she was beaten, drained, tortured and made to be nothing but a vampiric blood doll for her Sire's amusement. After all, this had been how it started, this would be how it ended. Shadow finally grew extremely tired of the abuse. She began to coerce the servants into letting her out more than once a night and she began plotting. Plotting for her freedom. Plotting to escape. Anything was better than the hell she was currently experiencing. Towards the end her Sire's humans started helping her escape at night to feed. Sometimes they just let her feed off them as long as she didn't kill them. They also began to plot with her.

Shadow snuck into her Sire's chambers early one evening before he awoke. The previous night she had drunk from many inebriated men knowing that her Sire would then feed from her taking in all of that drunken blood. While her Sire was still in a deep, drunken sleep she staked him through the heart with a pencil she found on his desk, and drained his blood completely, taking in all of his power. She then cut off his head with his own silver sword and burned his body along with the rest of his haven. The flames shot 100 feet in the air thanks to the humans leaving canisters of kerosene laying around for her easy use. The deed actually made the papers and the national news. The police are still searching for the arsonist in Indianapolis.

The drinking of her Sire's blood was both a blessing and a curse. Along with his advanced power over shadow manipulation and his knowledge, she also took in all of his thoughts and the atrocities that he had done throughout his life making her already nightmare filled days even worse.

She fled to New Orleans as a runaway, unaware of her family line or even that of their history. Her Sire had never bothered to tell her who she was or where she came from. She was nothing more than an accident. The only sign that she might be something more than a runaway is her unconscious and untrained manipulation of shadows far beyond that of any Tenebroso currently living.

The nightmare filled days are gone. Intense telepathic intervention by Cade solved that problem.

When New Orleans died in a fiery demolition of Werewolves and Believers, Shadow fled with Cade to San Francisco. Deciding instantly that she didn't like San Francisco, she left after spending less than 24 hours in the city. Her destination for the next two years was Terre Haute, Indiana. She went back to her hometown. During that time, she spent her nights researching her past, her Sire, and her Grandsire. There was no one that could help her with this task other than herself - and so - she dove into it. When she finished, she had everything she needed, and 10 bank accounts.

It was a little fraud and a little help from the Devious Queen of the Tenebroso that brought Shadow back to New Orleans six months before anyone else knew that it was reopening to the Vampires. What Shadow did then is subject to speculation, but the rumors of darkness and cool death surfaced. What happened to the King of the Tenebroso? Shadow doesn't know and doesn't care. She was never told and never asked. She was on her own assignments. The only thing that is known, is that whatever Shadow did, it earned her the position of Regent and six trips overseas to forcefully re-secure the businesses they had almost lost.

Upon arriving back in New Orleans, Shadow had hoped for a calm night. Instead, she was ordered by the Queen to kill Marek Tenebroso, Cade's Childe. For hours, Shadow attempted to garner Cade's attention, but aside from staring at her attire and collar bones, she couldn't manage the task. Finally, using the Bond, she asked for his help only to be delayed and denied.

Within minutes of her last plea, Marek was dead, but not by Shadow's hand. Accusations flew. Screaming matches ensued. Her own Bonded accused her of Betrayal. However, Shadow remained concrete in her words. She did not kill Marek Tenebroso. In fact, she hadn't killed much of anything. The reports had flown in to Carolina - royalty dead, king potentials assassinated. Yet, nothing pointed towards Shadow. Evidence mounted. Shadow even brought back the evidence of Gastone LeSombre Tenebroso's death - a ring. Yet, she swore to Cade that she had only killed a handful, and her reasons were not of the Queen.

Betrayal. Staunchly stubborn in her answers, Shadow maintained her innocence.  The stress mounted.  Finally, unable to tolerate anything else, the appearance of Victoria Tenebroso sent her over the edge. Cade was her Bonded. In a flash of rage, bones were broken and Victoria was thrown from the Plantation. Surprisingly, Cade exited with his mistress, leaving Shadow alone with Joost and Giselle. Neither understood.

Giselle refused to believe that her Sire had shoved Shadow, gripped her, yelled. None of it. Joost and Shadow knew the truth.

Chaos and hours later, a mental yell from Giselle prompted Cade's return to the mansion. Unable to console Shadow or himself, Cade retired to bed.

Still distraught, Shadow spent hours on the phone with Sean only to fall asleep atop Cade. Denied at sunset and still upset, Shadow exited the Plantation to spend quiet time with Sean. Their location was a new art gallery. Shadow loved art. She loved paintings and statues and quiet. However, all the silence did nothing to alleviate her upset. Growing more withdrawn, she stepped outside only to be returned to the gallery by Sean.

Sulk evident, Cade finally turned his attention towards his extremely unhappy Bonded. The misery had to stop. The separation was killing them. Suddenly, Shadow found herself exactly where she belonged, Cade's arms. Exited to the limousine and a securely tucked away blanket, Shadow finally relaxed. She was home with her Bonded.

 It didn’t cure things, but it helped.  She no longer worried about sleeping in an empty bed.  It didn’t happen.  The affairs slowed considerably.  The turning point was in Cade’s office.  She’d come downstairs because she wanted to talk and she really wanted a hug.  She expected a pat on the head maybe a kiss.  She got several kisses, and they did talk.  It was business oriented, but it was something.  Then, they did something they hadn’t done in years.  The sex was brutal, destructive to the furniture, and intensely satisfying.

In the coming weeks, their lives slowed.  They had time to talk or argue as they were want to do in the beginning.  Communication was ridiculously hard for both of them.  It took them a couple weeks to resolve all outstanding issues.  The rest of the time was spent in the bedroom with brief exits to take care of matters that could not wait.

 

Why am I posting this here now after 23+ years?  Because someone is actively trying to commit intelectual property theft by stealing this character.  I am working on trying ot figure out who this entity is and on getting legal representation.

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