Indie Author Answers #47: The Myth of Luck

In which I ponder the quasi-gentlemen’s disagreement between Jim Kukral of Sell More Books Show and JA Konrath that luck does or does not affect indie author success. My thoughts? Tune in to find out. Plus, we read this chapter of my unpublished novel and critique it, live on the show:


23: Megan


Megan paced the parking lot of her therapist’s office while talking on her cellphone to Hayden, her younger sister. Megan was wearing black slacks, heels, and a baby-blue turtleneck sweater. For some reason, it just seemed appropriate to wear nice clothes to therapy. Dress for success.

“You’re telling me, you had sex with him yesterday, and today, you just… poof, put him out of your mind,” Hayden said.

“I tried to.”

“Damn, girl, you’re a little heartbreaker.”

“Shit, Hayden, it’s not like that. It’s more like… the spell is broken, you know? The day I talked to him for the first time at the laundromat, until I slept with him, I thought about him every day. Like my brain was on repeat. Then, I hooked up with him, and this morning, I woke up and I felt different.”

“Okay, that’s understandable. Was it a good lay?”

Megan rolled the ball of her foot over a stray pinecone in the parking lot. The pinecone disintegrated under the weight of her foot as she rocked it back and forth. “It was okay, I guess. We were both kinda drunk.”

“How about some details?” Hayden said.

“I’m not in the mood for that. It happened, and now I feel like shit. If Chris finds out, I’m dead. That’s all I want to say about it.”

“Help me understand how it went down. Did he totally put the moves on you?”

“Jeez, Hayden, you’re so damn persistent,” Megan said. “Actually, more like I put the moves on him. I got a couple beers in me, and I got bold.”

“You got smashed and took advantage of this poor guy. I guess I’d totally do the same thing, if he was cute enough. Or he doesn’t have to be all that cute, if I drink enough Goldschläger.”

Megan had thought that she had possibly intimidated him because she came on too strong. Brian acted shy and unwilling at first, but when they were in his room, and the clothes were off, the rest progressed as expected: awkward, exciting, over too quickly.

“What happened afterwards? Were you like, ‘okay, thanks, I gots to go’?” Hayden said.

“No, Hayds, it wasn’t like that. We talked for a while, then I went down and said goodbye to him at my car, and went home and went bed. He wanted me to stay, but I just sleep better in my bed. Anyway, this morning, I made breakfast, and then I went for a run. By the time I finished my run, it was just like… I was ready to move on.”

Clay on the basketball court… that had been a judgment mistake, but this was serious. She had broken her marriage vow, which carried legal ramifications along with it. The more she pondered that fact, the more the aching of guilt turned into throbbing. “We made plans for lunch today, but I didn’t show up.”

“That’s not like you,” Hayden said.

“True, maybe I was a chicken-shit not to show up and not call. But I spent half the morning crying, how was I supposed to show up to a date with this guy and pretend that everything’s normal? I didn’t even know what I was supposed to say.”

She considered the possibility that he might view her as a conquest. The thrill of the chase would be over, and he would return to his normal life. Guys could be like that. However, the more she thought about that, the less likely it seemed. He was too damn unassuming to be that kind of person.

“I’m not sure what to tell you, Megs. I don’t really see what the big deal is, I mean, your husband doesn’t own you. You had a little fun, so what? I know you’ll figure it out, though. You always seem to find your way out of these kinds of things. Just spend some time with it; you’ll be fine.”

Had a little fun, so what? Megan looked through the glass door into the lobby, and she could see that Dr. Foster’s door had opened. Time to go in. “Maybe you’re right. Thanks, sis,” Megan said. “I’m at my therapist’s office. I need to go; I think she’s ready for me.”

“I love you, Megs. Call me if you need anything.”

“You too, sis. I’ll be okay.”

She rehearsed what she thought Dr. Foster would say as she entered the building, and what she would say in return, and tried to weigh if the cost of unburdening her soul would be worth the potential judgment she might receive.

I don’t have to tell her everything, do I? Therapy is my time, it’s my growth, and I should be able to go at my own pace and reveal whatever I want.

Megan took a seat outside the office and thought about her last session, in which she had blurted out a stream of anxious ramblings about Wiles and the pistol she witnessed him holding the day of the laundry run-in with Brian, and about her visit from Walker back in January. She had told no one else this information. Megan had been careful not to give Dr. Foster specific details about any crime (or potential criminal act), which Megan knew would compel the doctor to alert the police.

“No one should feel unsafe in their own home,” was all Dr. Foster had to say about it.

The easy way out would be to call the phone number on the card in the locked box underneath her bed, tell Walker what she had seen, and send Wiles to prison. Then, the house would be hers, and maybe Walker would fulfill her promise and bring Chris home. But along the way, there would be hearings, arraignments, jury trials, testimony rehearsal, sentencing, and perhaps more.

Would there be Witness Protection? How far up the ladder is Derek?

For all she knew, her roommate was some big-time crime lord, and sending him to prison would put her in the position that if she somehow endured the process, her reward might be that she and Chris had to live in a new town with new names, unable to contact their family and friends. And Chris, how would he react to her sending his brother to prison? Would he support her, or would he resent her and grow bitter at her betrayal of the family? She had no way of knowing. Can I build a life with a man if I’ve snitched on his brother to the federal government? If he finds out about the cheating, will he even want to build a life with me?

“Mrs. Wiles?” the receptionist said. When Megan looked at her, the receptionist motioned towards the open door of Dr. Foster’s office. Megan collected her purse and quietly entered the room.