Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wicked Good - Chapters One and Two

Chapter One
"Mom, I don’t feel safe." Fifteen-year-old Rory Falcon said.
Archer Falcon opened her eyes and tried to focus on the illuminated hands on the clock beside her bed.  It was either ten minutes after midnight or two in the morning. A cool September breeze blew through the open window.  A Bangor, Maine sanitation truck rolled along the street, whirling brushes spraying water and sweeping the road.
Lit by a moonbeam, Rory paced at the foot of her bed, following the path he had previously worn in the carpet. Five steps forward, five steps back.  Repeat.
I don’t feel safe. Archer knew the meaning of the words. Rory's counselors used it; the high school used it; the psychiatrists used it.  He was contemplating suicide.
She pulled the string on the faux Tiffany lamp next to the bed, feeling tears in the back of her eyes and tightness in the hallows of her throat. She looked at him to assess. There were no new cuts on his arms or chest. His face had narrowed over the last year and his chest and shoulders had broadened. His deep blue eyes were watery and sad.  His mop of golden hair was mussed.  He was wearing black flannel pajama bottoms peppered with white skulls.  He wore black, even his pajamas, so people would not approach him.
Archer had prepared a written list years ago for moments like this. She no longer needed to refer to it. She had it memorized.
Speak quietly. Assess the situation. Keep calm. Involve Rory in his own care. Call crisis hotline. Call psychiatrist. Go to Emergency Room.
He stopped moving and faced her. Dark circles lurked under his eyes.
"Have you slept at all?"  Archer asked.
"No, and I have a really bad headache."  He pointed to the top of his head. A tear escaped down his cheek. He quickly wiped it away.
What were the best options?  She didn't want to take him to the emergency room since she didn’t want him admitted to the psychiatric hospital. The last time he had been there, four years ago, he had befriended a boy who had stabbed his cousin over a Nintendo game.  He didn't need to learn anything else from the teenagers there. Tomorrow was the first day of school. Would this latest crisis end by morning or would he miss the start of tenth grade?
Archer slid out of bed.  “I’ll get you some Tylenol.”
 In the bathroom, she shook the red and white bottle until two caplets landed in her palm, giving her just enough time to make a decision.
She returned to her room. “Let’s call the crisis hot-line.”
No longer necessary. For the moment. Five foot nine inch Rory had taken her place in bed, wrapped from head to toe in her blanket.  She touched his cheek, smoothed his hair, loving the feel of him, hoping he would find his way.

 Chapter Two
At her office, Archer leaned back in her chair and thought about that morning. Rory had insisted on going to school.  He hadn’t wanted to miss the first day.  She had felt anxious.  She wanted to excuse him from school so she could watch him “eyes on”, as the experts said.  He probably would be fine.  He had made his own lunch, searched for the specific black t-shirt he wanted to wear and left on his bicycle for school in a good mood.
Archer looked at the document on her desk. Motion to Decrease Child Support. She shook her head, felt anger boil in the pit of her stomach. This time, it wasn’t a client hiring her to defend the motion. It had been filed by Wayne, Rory’s father.
“What a loser,” Archer said.
“What?” Delores, her secretary, called from another room.
“Nothing.” She put the pleading down and picked up the phone, about to dial Wayne’s number, then stopped. Talking to him would get her nowhere. As usual.  She thought about her response to the motion. Would You’re An Asshole be legally sufficient?
Delores walked into her office, dropping several pieces of mail on Archer’s desk.  “Did you want me to schedule mediation for the Tamina case?”
“Yes, and I put some pleadings on your desk for Goodrich.  I’ll need those to go out today.” Archer turned in her chair and looked at the mementos and photos of Rory hung on her law office wall, crooked no matter how many times she straightened them.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you.”  Delores said.  “Judge Morton called again. He said to remind you of your plans for lunch and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.   Do you know what he’s talking about?  I don’t have that on your calendar.”
Archer shuffled through her mail.  She knew what he was talking about but didn’t want to say, yet.  The phone rang.  As Delores left her office, Archer stuffed the linen envelope from the Governor’s Judicial Appointment Committee into her purse.
 She turned again to her wall.  Rory with Grandma Rose and The Little Mermaid at Disney World. The story Rory had written in second grade that began “onca pana time”. The note from his sixth grade Assistant Principal congratulating Rory for not being sent to detention for an entire month, failing to mention that for two weeks, school had been closed for winter break. The photo of three-year-old Rory with his head in the dog’s bowl. 
Her favorite photo was of four  month old Rory wrapped in the little yellow blanket she had brought him home in.  Only his perfectly round face was visible.  His eyes were wide and alert.  His mouth was formed in a happy oval.
At first, it had been cute when Rory would insist he sit under the rotating ceiling fans at Wal-Mart.  It had been endearing that he would not go to day care without his toy dump truck, its wheels worn down from the constant pressure of his spinning. It had been funny that his pounding on the floor at day care during nap time disturbed the prickly principal on the floor below.  His behaviors became less cute when he was almost kicked out of kindergarten for spinning on his bottom during circle time and refusing to stop. And then there was the one parent-teacher conference Archer would never forget.
“I’m retiring,” Rory’s first grade teacher had said, “unless you get Rory to behave.”
Archer had tried and failed. The teacher retired.
Could she commit to a judgeship and parenting Rory?
Delores’ voice rang out on the intercom, “Kara’s on line one.”
Archer snapped out of her trance and froze for a moment. Why would Kara, her best friend and the school principal, be calling her so early?
She picked up the phone. “Is he alright?”
“He’s drunk. Get over here. Now.”

Wicked Good - Another favorite swordfish recipe from Archer and Amy (by Victoria Allman, yacht chef and award winning author)

Calabrian Swordfish
with Garlic, Lemon and Capers

4 swordfish steaks
2 lemons, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
36 grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 head of garlic, peeled and sliced thin

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lemon, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel (flaky sea salt)

In a large bowl, marinate swordfish in lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and oregano for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, bring white wine, chicken stock and 1 head of garlic to a boil in a wide-lipped skillet that will fit all 4 swordfish steaks in a single layer (this may need to be done in 2 different pots to have enough room).

Reduce the heat to medium to simmer and add swordfish and marinade to the skillet. Simmer for 6 minutes and gently flip the fish to simmer for an additional 6 minutes on the other side.

Remove the swordfish from the skillet and place on individual plates. Spoon half a cup of the cooking liquid over the fish dividing garlic equally. Garnish each fish with Italian parsley, capers, and red pepper flakes. Squeeze a quarter of the lemon over each fish. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Serves 4

Trish and Jo's Vegetarian Version: Easy to substitute tofu for the fish. Marinate it the same as the swordfish and then sear it for 30 seconds in a hot pan on each side before poaching it in the liquid. Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock.

Thanks, Victoria Allman, for another great recipe. Victoria is the author of 
Sea Fare: A Chef's Journey Across the Ocean and 
SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey With Her Captain
available at:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wicked Good - what the critics are saying...Sahily F., Arcadia, CA

             Sahily discovered Wicked Good on this blog and e-mailed me to say she was reading it. I asked her if she wanted me to e-mail the entire manuscript to her. This was her response:

            "I would love to have the entire manuscript but I must say though, I was so intrigued after reading the first chapter that I started clicking away and found your blog archives and spent a good part of my day today reading the first 39 chapters! Just could not stop myself and am thinking of going home tonight and reading some more! I see a lot of myself in Archer."

                                    Sahily, February 16, 2011 at 12:28 a.m.

           Then, I received an e-mail from Sahily later that day at 5:12 p.m.

           "I actually couldn't stop reading last night and finished the rest of it on your blog site! Major kudos to you and your sister, amazing job. I am very much looking forward to the continuing adventures of Archer and Rory!"

          Thanks, Sahily! Jo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wicked Good - A Wicked Good Contest Press Release


     The Contest: Amy and Jo are proud to announce a wicked good contest:


     How do I enter?: Write your answer in the comment section below or e-mail it to

     The Judge: The esteemed interviewer, Paul Bunyan. 

     The Prize: The first place winner receives a personalized, autographed copy of award-winning author and chef Victoria Allman's book SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey With Her Captain (see Swordfish recipe previously posted on February 14, 2011). The second and third place winners receive our kudos. All entrants will receive autographed copies of Wicked Good if it's ever published!

    The Contest deadline: Thursday, February 24, 2011 at midnight (only because that's our mom's birthday!)

    The Disclaimer: Amy and Jo are not required to use the winning entry as the plot or subplot for Wicked Wise but if we decide to steal some or all of the idea you can't sue us (pretty please?!).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wicked Good - what the critics are saying...Anne W., Bangor, Maine

      "Amy - I am in awe of you and Joanne. The raw poignancy of the story combined with the style of prose had me eagerly awaiting each new chapter. Cheers!"

                                  Anne W., Bangor, Maine

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wicked Good - Archer and Amy's favorite swordfish recipe (by Victoria Allman, yacht chef and award-winning author)

Swordfish En Papillote
(baked in paper)

This is an easy and tasty way to cook fish. You create a steam oven with the paper that keeps all the flavor and juices in the package while cooking. The vegetables and steam create a sauce for your fish.

2 lemons, juiced
12 sprigs thyme, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
18 grinds black pepper
6-6 oz swordfish steaks

¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, sliced thin
1 orange pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons capers, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 grinds black pepper

6-2 foot pieces parchment paper

In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice, thyme, garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Whisk together and remove 1/3 of a cup. Set aside. Marinate swordfish in remaining mixture for 15 minutes.

            Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, sauté the olive and garlic for 2 minutes to golden.  Add red onion and sauté 2 more minutes.  Add orange and yellow peppers and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add zucchini and sauté an additional minute. Add cherry tomatoes, capers, red wine vinegar, sea salt and pepper and remove from heat.

            Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

            Lay one swordfish steak in the center of each of the parchment paper pieces. Divide the vegetables evenly on top of the fish. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved lemon/olive oil mix over each bundle.
            Fold the paper up like you are wrapping a present and crimp each end to seal and secure all the juices inside the envelope.

            Place the paper package on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

             Either, open the packages and slide the contents out onto a plate of rice or, serve them in the packages so that when the guests tear open the paper they get the first waft of aromatic steam that rises from the fish.

Serves 6

TRISH and JO (who are vegetarians) like Victoria's non-fish alternatives: substitute seared tofu, portabella mushroom or a circle of butternut squash for the swordfish. If you use squash, increase cooking time by 20-30 minutes.

Thank you VICTORIA ALLMAN for this delicious recipe. Victoria is a chef on a yacht and the award-winning author of two memoir/cookbooks: Sea Fare: A Chef's Journey Across the Ocean and SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey With Her Captain. You can buy her books at or visit her website at 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wicked Good - Life is Good Award

Congratulations! Reads, Reviews, Recommends has chosen your blog for the Life is Good Award: 

         Thanks, Kate. We appreciate your support of Wicked Good. 
                                      -Amy and Jo

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wicked Good - Amy and Jo Interview - Part Four

Amy and Jo Interview – Part Four
Live from Bass Park, Bangor, Maine
     This is Paul Bunyan’s fourth interview of us. You can read the previous interviews by scrolling down below The Daily Puppy, go to Blog Archive, then

      Amy and Jo Interviews 1 and 2: go to 2010, December, and scroll down to Amy and Jo Interview – Part One and Part Two.

      Amy and Jo Interview 3: go to 2011, January, and scroll down to Amy and Jo Interview – Part Three.

    If you want to read a real interview of us, go to:

PB: I just finished reading Wicked Good. That was awesome.
Amy and Jo: Thanks.
PB: Now that you’ve posted the final chapter of Wicked Good, what are your plans for the novel?
Jo: We’re hoping to get it published traditionally. If not, we’ll have to see what we want to do.
Amy: Getting it published traditionally would be great but we’ve achieved our goal which was to keep working on Wicked Good together and having fun.
Jo: And we’ve started the next book in the series, Wicked Wise.
Amy: We’ll be posting the first chapter soon.
Jo:  What if we don't get it finished?
Amy:  We will.  And we can always change it.  No one will remember.
PB: Will you blog Wicked Wise too?
Jo: Maybe when it’s finished. We’re going to post chapter one as a teaser so fans of Wicked Good will keep Archer and Rory in the backs of their minds. When Wicked Wise is ready to be shared with the world, readers will feel as if they’ve been reunited with old friends.
PB: Any hints as to what is going to happen in Wicked Wise?
Amy: It will continue to follow Rory as he leaves his teens and tries to figure out where he wants to take his life. And while Archer feels helpless - like most parents who have to let their children live and learn on their own - she becomes empowered too.
Jo: Wicked Wise will be different from Wicked Good in that it involves a completely new adventure, new challenges and some new characters.
Amy: And while Wicked Good was about unconditional love…
Jo: Wicked Wise is about acceptance of who we are, imperfections and all.
PB: That sounds great. When can we expect to get a sneak preview of chapter one?
Jo: In the next few days. And while we will not be blogging every day as we’ve been doing, there will be some additional features and updates on the Wicked Good blog.
Amy: And don’t forget, if any readers want us to send Wicked Good to their Kindle or other e-reader, or to their e-mail address, we’d be happy to do so. Just leave a comment for us on the blog or e-mail us at
Jo: And if you’ve enjoyed reading about Archer and Rory, please tell all your friends.
PB: Thank you, Amy and Jo. I loved reading Wicked Good. This statue wishes you a woodpile of success. Until our next interview, this lumberjack is signing out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wicked Good - What the critics are saying...Minda A. from NY

     "Just finished chapter 80. Not just "wicked good".....wicked FABULOUS!!!! When you originally mentioned that there were 80 chapters, I was concerned how long it would take to read and if you would really be able to hold up the intrigue. WOW! The chapters just flew by. It was like an addiction. I couldn't wait until I received the next chapter. I can't thank you enough for sharing. Good luck on the next book. Can't wait to read what's happening in their lives. You've created real people! I feel like I know them and I actually care what happens to them...without having the burden of having to do anything for them, except feel sorry for them, love them and root for them!"

                            -Minda A. New York

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wicked Good - Rory says I know who's going to win the Super Bowl


         "I know who's going to win the Super Bowl," Rory says.

         "Who?" Trish asks.

         "The Green Bay Packers."

         Trish playfully smacks him in on the arm. "Since when do you like sports?"

        "I don't. Unless it's lawn mower racing. But I know the Packers are going to beat the Steelers. Look at the colors of their uniforms."

         "Green and yellow. So what?"

        "They're dressed just like the Monster Mowchine!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What the critics are saying - Anne A. from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

       "Joanne, Wicked Good is terrific. I have moved my computer chair out of the way and instead placed my rocker and my favorite blankie here at my PC at home so I may read what you and your sister have written. Love so much of it; those of us who know the Northeast will appreciate the photos and can relate to so much – both visually and verbally. GREAT JOB. My friends with teens – please read!"

                                      Anne A., Fort Lauderdale, Florida