Category Archives: Published Works

Laszlo: Chapter 1

What you are about to read is my very first publication. I’m not overly proud of it but having found a few kind reviews online, it goes to show that even the work I’m not crazy about, is liked. If you don’t want to wait for me to continue to post chapter by chapter, the full work is available on Amazon, here.

Interested in reading a review? Here’s one I found from India!

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I. The Ravine

“This isn’t right. We should’ve been there by now,” said Noelle. She kept her left hand on the steering wheel and her right between her thighs. She reached over and turned the heat dial up a notch.  

“That nice old man said it would take a good hour and a half to get there,” Kim chimed from the backseat. Snuggled under a blanket, she flipped through the pages of a popular magazine and clicked her retainer on and off with her tongue. Ben turned around from the passenger seat and glared back at his friend. Kim smiled and stopped clicking.

“Thank you.” Ben returned to his previous occupation of staring out of the window.

“Can you check the radio again?” Kim looked up to see Noelle’s blue eyes in the rear view mirror.

“The signal isn’t strong enough.”

Ben reached over to switch on the radio but there was only static. The ghost of a voice passed but the signal struggled to reach through the mountains. “Are you sure you pulled the antennae out all the way?”

“Yes, for the last time. It’s a shitty car.”

“Just asking a question.”

“One that you’ve already asked twice.” Noelle switched the radio off and glanced towards Ben who was studying the darkness outside of the window. “What does the map say?”

He jerked his attention back to the map and fumbled with the flashlight. “The map says…we should have been there by now.”

“Maybe we should turn around.” Kim pulled a compact from her purse and reapplied her bright, Rockin’ Red lip gloss. “We could go back to Dunmore for the night.”

“No.” Noelle put more weight on the gas pedal. “We’re not turning back now. It can’t be much farther.” She looked at Kim through the rearview mirror. “I probably should have let you drive.”

Kim shrugged as she pulled her platinum hair up into a bun. “I wouldn’t be much good. Last time I saw my father was freshman year of college. That was six years ago. He wasn’t living out here at the time.”

“What’s this place called again?” Ben held the map closer to his face.  

“How are you reading that map if you don’t even know where we’re going?” Noelle asked.

“I know the general area.”

“Christ. You really are a waste of space.”

“Sitting right here, thanks.”

“If I didn’t want you to hear that I wouldn’t have said it.”  

“Can you guys not do this for ten minutes?” asked Kim.

Ben muttered an apology and went back to the map. “It’s not like it’s hard to find civilization on this thing. Whenever there’s a knot of roads, I know there is a city.”

“That’s fascinating but that doesn’t help us. We need to find civilization on this road.” Noelle saw Kim rummaging through the luggage in the mirror. “Snacks are in the cooler.”

“Music?”

“The player is in my bag. Front compartment.”

“Thanks.”

“We’ve been in the car for at least two hours without music and now you pull out the headphones?” asked Ben.

“It beats listening to my two best friends bicker.”

“We’re being good,” they argued simultaneously.

Kim smiled and shook her head. “Thank you guys for doing this.”

“You’re welcome,” said Noelle. Ben grunted in agreement.

Noelle waited and watched in the mirror while Kim inserted the headphones into her ears. The lights from the player’s LCD display coated her face in a soft blue hue. Her eyes, heavily lined with black makeup, were closed, and her lips moved to an unknown tune. There were numerous chains that hung around Kim’s neck baring different crosses and pendants. “She does have strong faith, I’ll give her that.”

Ben reached into the backpack at his feet and pulled out a thick woolen hat. “I’ll never understand it,” he said, stretching the cap over his bald, ebony scalp.

“Neither will I.”  

He glanced back at Kim before addressing Noelle again. “Do you think she suspects anything?”

Noelle shook her head. “No but if we don’t get to her dad’s house within the next hour, there won’t be anything to suspect.”

“Why couldn’t we have had the party on campus? I mean we’re grad students. We rule that place. We could’ve gotten whatever we asked for, I bet.”

“Too obvious. Trust me. She thinks she’s spending her birthday with her two best friends and her beloved father. She wouldn’t expect everyone else to drive all the way out here for spring break.”

“So what happens if we don’t find Elkins?”

“They’ll probably send out a search party if her dad is anything like the stories she tells.” Noelle turned the heat dial up another notch. “If we keep at this road we’re bound to find something. If it’s not Elkins then we’ll get better directions.”

Defeated, Ben turned the flashlight off and folded the map. He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut. “I think that old man in Dunmore was full of shit.”  

“In his defense, I’ve been driving below the posted speed limit. It’s unbelievable how dark it is out here. I expect a deer or something to dart across the road at any minute. And I can’t understand why we haven’t run into any village or passed another car. I know the Appalachians are more inhabited than this.”

“They probably don’t come out much once the sun goes down,” said Ben. “Nothing to do out here.”

“Yea, I’m not a huge fan of the cold either.”

“At least you don’t have to deal with shrinkage.”

Noelle laughed and looked back at Kim. The platinum bun on top of her head bobbed to the music. She was not paying any mind to their amiable behavior. Noelle turned her attention back to the road as the eyes of a large creature reflected the headlights. Noelle jammed her heel into the brake pedal and cut the wheel to the right. Ben dropped the flashlight and clutched onto anything he could find as the tires lost traction on the icy road, sending the car downhill.

Copyright © 2015 Regina Bethory. All Rights Reserved.

Interested in reading the whole thing? Laszlo (The Chronicles of Noelle, Book 1) is available here.

Book Excerpt: In Articulo Mortis [Draft]

This excerpt is not from the final draft of the story nor is it a complete rough draft. I believe this is about the 3rd draft of this particular scene. The only two characters here are Theresa, the town mortician, and Overbey, a man who may or may not be who he says he is… The complete novel will be available for purchase in 2019. Even though the excerpt is brief, I would love to hear any thoughts from all of you in the comments section below.

One of the things I’ve always struggled with as a writer is prose. The con of being a theater major is that we focus so much on dialogue and not at all on prose- because there is no prose in a play besides stage direction. If you’re reading Shakespeare, the only stage directions are [They enter.] [They exit.] and [They fight.]

I find that my prose is normally bland or entirely too wordy. I’ve been known to include too much detail in my rough drafts or ramble on about something unimportant. Again, this is not the final draft below. Instead, this is a look at the in between stage.

Happy Reading!

-RB

Excerpt from In Articulo Mortis. Book 1.

“I see you’re a fan of Jack,” she pointed to the glass of whiskey he had poured in her absence.

He raised the glass towards her. “Didn’t think you’d mind.”

“I can see that. You’re aware it’s before noon?”

“Would you like some?”

Theresa shook her head. “The dry bar was left here by the previous owner. It collects dust.”

“Shame.” He circled around and took a seat in front of her desk.

“Aren’t you on duty?”

“I like to mix business with pleasure.”

“Well, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” She paused. “I suppose I should ask why you were following me this morning?”

“Following you?”

“I saw your car.”

“A lot of people drive cars like mine.”

“This is a small town, Agent Overbey. I know what everyone drives.”

He flashed a fake smile. “Why would anyone have reason to follow you, Ms. Fairholm?”

“You tell me.”

Sitting back in his chair, he took another swig of alcohol. The ice clinked against the glass. “This is a very nice office you have,” he said, opting for a change of course. “How long have you been a funeral director?”

“Several years now. The position used to belong to an older man named Michael Hallowell. When he passed, I applied for the job. But I’m sure you already knew that.”

“Sounds like a lucky break then,” he said, ignoring her last statement.

“Timing is everything.”

“Did you have anything to do with it?”

“What?”

“Mr. Hallowell’s death.”

“That’s absurd. How would I-”

“Answer the question, Ms. Fairholm. I can’t help but notice that you’re first instinct wasn’t to say ‘no.’”

“No,” she said firmly. “I had nothing to do with Michael Hallowell’s death. Are you trying to accuse me of killing someone to gain employment and then killing others to keep said employment? If I didn’t know any better, that’s sure what it sounds like.” Theresa stared him down, refusing to break eye contact or blink.

Overbey broke the silence as he broke into another fake smile. “Of course not. Why would someone go through that much trouble to get a job? Especially as a funeral director. Who would fight for such a grim job? It was simply mindless chatter,” he unsuccessfully reassured.

“Agent Overbey, I really hate mindless chatter. Could we cut to the chase?”

As he began to speak, her attention jerked towards the window. A shadow passed. Overbey sensed it and followed her gaze. “Are the shadows distracting you?”

Her worry faded. He could see it too. “No. The boys must be outside cutting the grass.”

“I don’t hear a lawn mower.”

“Maybe they’re picking up trash.” She threw her hands up in exasperation. “There are things to do outside besides tending to the lawn. I asked them to clean this morning.”

“They seem like nice boys.” Continuing to take a swig of his drink, he refused to break eye contact. “Where did you find them?”

“Locally. They both started as interns. They help with preparation for the services, arrangements with the church, taking care of medical documents at the hospital, and keeping the place clean. After all, a funeral home is, first and foremost, a business. But here we are off on a tangent again. I don’t think this is what you came here to talk to me about. Am I right?”

“Yes, Ms. Fairholm.” He pulled out the notepad from before and began scribbling notes before he asked her anything further. The shadow at the window passed again but Theresa heard the vacuum cleaner running in the lobby and footfalls from the attic storage. It couldn’t have been the boys. She glanced back at Overbey to see if he had noticed anything strange but his eyes were on her. “You had any strange occurrences lately in your home or around the workplace?”

“Define strange.”

He refused to comment as he wrote something else down.

“Am I under some sort of interrogation?” Her eyes darted to the window again as another shadow passed.

“You seem tense.” He followed her gaze again. “Is there something distracting you?”

“I’m sure you’ll write and say whatever you want about me. I don’t know who pissed in your cornflakes or why you came all the way from… Where did you come from, Agent Overbey?”

“Kansas. Wichita, Kansas.”

Theresa paled. “Right.”

“Do you miss home?”

“This is home.”

“Are you not from Wichita, Ms. Fairholm?”

She inhaled deeply, losing her patience. “You know the answer to that. Get to the point.”

“Starting on the day your brother died, there was a three day period of strange events in Wichita, ending with the disappearance of a young man named Abram Wallace. Does that name mean anything to you?” He set the empty whiskey glass on the corner of her desk.

“No. That was over twenty years ago. I was a kid. I don’t remember much.”

“You don’t remember hearing his name on the news?”

Her hands instinctively balled into fists. “Forgive me for being preoccupied with Sebastian’s death.” She shook her head. “This is ridiculous. You expect me to remember one missing person that disappeared in Kansas over twenty years ago and may or may not have been near me? People go missing all the time.”

“Not from death row!”

Current Writing Projects for 2018

Dear readers, I thought I would take a moment to discuss my current writing projects for 2018. It may seem like I’m taking on quite a lot but keep in mind that I do not plan to publish all of these this year. Instead, I plan to release two this year and at least two next year. I would love to hear feedback on any thoughts you may have. Please comment below to reach me.

In Articulo Mortis

Available in 2019

Yes, I’ve finally set a deadline and release date for my precious Mortis. I first got the idea for this debut novel when I was in college. It has changed and morphed in so many ways that it barely resembles the original concept. This cover art has also already been tweaked so what you’re seeing isn’t the final product.

The story takes place in the 1990’s when a small town mortician is recruited by the Grim Reaper to help collect souls. Complications arise when there are others after those same souls as well as the mortician herself. She must decide whether or not to sacrifice her own soul in order to help the Grim Reaper in his mission – which he does not fully disclose.

The first book in the Mortis series will be available exclusively at Amazon for the first six months. After that, it will be available at Barnes and Noble and on other digital platforms such as Kobo, iBooks, scribd, and the NOOK.

The World Beneath

Available in 2019

I don’t remember how to idea for this story came about. I’m being rather bold in setting a deadline and release date for myself as the middle and end of this story is very hazy. The beginning, however, is very clear to me. The story is about a teenage boy from a broken family who has just relocated to a new school. During a casual weekend hockey game with other local kids, he falls through the ice of a large lake. As his friends and neighbors scramble above the surface to rescue him, he falls into an underwater world that is war-torn.

As I continue to work on this story, more ideas are coming out of the woodwork, or out of the water, so to speak. I’m not sure who my audience is for this one – whether it’s young adult or mainstream science-fiction/horror. It seems odd to not know this far along in the story. Something is missing but it won’t be come December.

The Crutch

Available in 2019

The Crutch was originally a short story idea that turned into a novella. It is loosely based off of a dream I had in which a magically- inclined  student has their magic taken away as punishment for relying on it too heavily – for using magic as a crutch. The student must then learn how to defend themselves and rely on the good of other people to not only survive, but also to stop a string of criminal activity on campus. Does it sound lame? Let me know in the comments below. The story line is not fully developed yet.

The Alchemist’s Advocate (Title subject to change)

Coming 20??

The Alchemist’s Advocate started out as the single story of a slave who earned favor with the Lieutenant of her capture’s army. It was more of a “coming of age” story with a slow burn romance developing halfway through. However, I realized that I had several half-developed fantasy ideas that could easily be intertwined with one another for a Game of Thrones- esque story. Though I could never be as fantastic as Mr. Martin, it presented me with the opportunity to take several smaller ideas and turn them into something far more grand. The story has since been merged with previous WIPs currently titled, “Eleven,” “The Book of Manal,” “The Faust Reformatory,” “The War project,” and, “The Great Conjunction.” I’ve even thought of turning it from fantasy to science-fiction. Thoughts?

ELM12

Available 2019

ELM12 was an idea that came from one of my electrical theory classes. I had a teacher who refused to believe in ghosts but was a full-time believer in aliens. He said that when people like air force pilots and police officers commented on seeing things while on duty, he had to believe them. So I was compelled to write about a U.S. Navy Pilot who had seen something.

This story is largely developed and the first third of it has already been written as a rough draft. I am not satisfied with the cover art on this one though so that will be changing.

If you’d like to hear more about these projects and stay up to date on my progress, please become a patron on My Patreon Page. Patrons will receive exclusive access to excerpts not seen anywhere else as well as progress updates.

Happy Writing.

-RB

Laszlo: The Seven Year Novella

When I first sat down to write Laszlo’s story, I had no idea it would take me seven years to complete and publish it. However, during the long process, I learned a lot about myself and my writing. Here are some of the most common questions that friends and fans have asked me about the process.

Where did the original idea come from?

The original idea for Laszlo came from a show I was watching on the Sci-Fi (Syfy) channel back in 2008 called “The Estate of Panic.” I was a fan of the host, Steve Valentine, and somehow intrigued by this idea of coming to a large estate with a tall, dark and handsome host- A host that you weren’t sure whether you could trust or not. That’s where the story started.

Originally, there were only two characters- Laszlo and Noelle. I’m not sure if that is normal or not for writers. (As if ‘writer’ and ‘normal’ are often used in the same sentence together.) Often, my ideas start out with one to two characters. The rest step in later. As the story evolved and fleshed out, characters like Ben, Dalca, and Kim emerged. I’m so glad they did…otherwise, it would have been a really boring tale.

Why did it take seven years to finish?

I was under the impression that while I should be writing every day if I didn’t feel the muse, I shouldn’t. I later realized my mistake. A writer writes every day no matter how they feel. The muse won’t always be there.

I’m also a perfectionist and that goes against writing in a very big way, especially when it comes to fiction. I spent a lot of time editing as I went and constantly tweaking and changing things before the story was completely written. That can slow someone down big time.

What did you struggle with the most during this project?

Pinning down the plot was a struggle. I had a clear beginning and a clear ending in mind when I first sat down to write. The middle was a mess- the dreaded drag of the middle- but it ended up working. The ending evolved and ultimately, I like that I opened it up to continue Noelle’s journey because, for a time, it was going to end in that chapel. Dalca’s character changed too and he ended up becoming much more than I had anticipated. I grew to like the guy more than Laszlo. That’s why their roles tango the way they do.

What did you learn after publishing for the first time?

I learned two of the most important lessons when it comes to writing. 1) Don’t wait for a muse and 2) Have a plan for the sagging middle.

I’m halfway between a ‘pantser’ and a ‘plotter.’ I believe in the building of a skeleton and my skeleton wasn’t complete when I started Laszlo. Now, my skeletons are complete when I start the first draft of a project. It makes writing so much easier. I still edit a little as I go. That’s not a rule that I’m against, though a lot of writers are. It makes the editing process at the end a lot shorter if I’m constantly going back and fixing grammar and spelling mistakes off the bat.

~~~~~~~~

Laszlo is currently available here.