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PJ Allen

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    PJ Allen is a former submarine sailor, professor, and serious Hi Fi enthusiast.

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  1. Includes: inciting incident, setting, tone, protagonist, supporting characters Prologue December 19, 1995 Indianapolis, Indiana Mitchell flipped on his turn signal then glanced down College in the direction of his coffee shop. Shit! Christmas shoppers had swarmed the place. The line for the drive-thru backed off the property and ran down College Avenue as far. as he could see. The light changed. Rather than just give up he went with what he knew. He drove into the intersection then made a quick right onto a parallel side street. He drove around the block then ducked into a mostly hidden alley. That lonely parking spot, the one he'd come to think as his, the one behind the coffee shop and next to the dumpster--was open! He pulled in, kept the engine running, unbuckled his seatbelt then reached over the seat to unfasten Dee's straps. Except, she's fallen asleep. Never wake a sleeping child. Mitchell leaned in and kissed her on the nose. He whispered, "I'll be right back." When he pushed the coffee shop's back door open, the bell above his head jingled. He looked around for Marilyn but didn't see her. No Mari, no coffee. He shrugged and got in line. Time ticked by, and just as his conscious was starting to gnaw at him she walked in from the back. In that telepathic manner of hers she picked him up on her radar, walked over to the urn, filled a large, waxed paper cup and carried it to the counter. He met her there. She pushed the coffee across. He took it, slid some bills toward her, and added, "You're a life saver." Back in the alley, Michell slowed as he juggled between the coffee and his ring full of keys. When he reached the car, he rested the cup on the roof, found the ignition key and unlocked the door. He ticked up the cup and climbed in behind the steering wheel. As he was sticking the key in the ignition something drew his attention from the dash. He glanced up in the mirror, blinked, and a spike of terror struck him square in the heart. Dee's car seat was empty.
  2. 1. Story statement--The morning Pete Mitchell left his six-month-old alone in his car in the alley behind The Broad Ripple Coffee Shop, a carefully conceived chain of events was set in motion. The subsequent investigation suffered, and the result led the authorities to conclude that his daughter was probably already in the ground, buried next to wherever he'd buried his first wife. On the cusp of being hauled downtown for booking, Mitchell reluctantly turned to the only person who had stuck around...the psychic who had adopted him. 2. The antagonist goal--Jillian Montgomery has dedicated years of her life toward a single end...to bring Pete Mitchell down. 3. Prospective Titles: The Hanged Man (card number twelve--part of the Major Arcana of the tarot deck) Both Sides Now (possibly with a connection to the Joni Mitchell lyrics) Feels Like Home 4. Smart Comparables-- E. H. Vick--Mercy Forsaken. Profiler Meredith Connelly begins her hunt for the .40 caliber killer. Jason Rekulak--Hidden Pictures. Fresh out of rehab, Mallory Quinn takes a babysitting job in an affluent neighborhood. W.P. Kinsella--Shoeless Joe. An inexplicable voice reaches out to an Iowa farmer and encourages him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. Alice Sebold--The Lovely Bones. A young girl is abducted and murdered. She watches life move on without her and decides to do something about it. 5. Hook Line with a Core Wound-- In seeking revenge upon the brother-in-law who'd humiliated her, a woman hatches an elaborate plan that begins with the kidnapping of his six-month-old daughter. 6. Protagonist inner conflicts sketch-- Pete Mitchell's unhappy father taught him to be both disappointed and disappointing. He'd grown up fighting to garner his father's approval: solo and ensemble contest, swimming and diving meets, nothing proved good enough, at least not good enough to pull away that blank, dead-eyed, ever-present stare. Ten years later, his wife had left for awhile, and trapped in marriage limbo his sister-in-law made him an offer that he could refuse. Never, however, in his wildest dreams, did it occur to him that his decision would return...with deadly consequences. Eventually Mitchell's first wife returned, and months later committed suicide. That brought a new kind of pain, one that echoed through each day reminding him that he was at least partially responsible. Then, when he least expected it, someone new appeared. It was a bright and funny woman, and she had about her a transformative effect. Mitchell worked up the courage to ask her out. Eventually they married, and she gave birth to a daughter. All seemed well until that fateful morning on his way to work. He left his daughter in the car for just a few minutes, and once more, his world came tumbling down. 7. Sketch the setting The setting moves between Indianapolis, Indiana circa 1995, and the Ohio River neighborhoods of Louisville, Kentucky. The backdrop runs from the busy urban downtown of the twelfth largest city in the nation, to narrow country roads. The true enigma of Indianapolis is its metropolitan feel: a world-class symphony, its NFL and NBA franchises, exquisite fine dining and shopping and the one-of-a-kind Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the 'greatest spectacle in racing,' all completely surrounded by cornfields and roadside produce stands. Submitted by PJ Allen
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