My husband had the storyline to Misery’s Fire come to him in his dreams. When he tried to tell me about the premise, he had a hard time putting it into words. Frustrated, he finally sat down and tried to write the story idea for me, and what he gave me was absolutely brilliant. So good, in fact, I tried to use it as a prologue to the book. Needless to say, the prologue got voted down by beta readers, but most of the information was still used – peppered throughout the book in places where it fit. I still use this piece my husband wrote to describe the story – I think it does a much better job outlining the book than any synopsis I can write. Here it is:
Her name was Misery. Before you ask, it had nothing to do with the movie about the crazy nurse, or the book which I guess came first.
She was given her unfortunate name by my mother who mistakenly thought it would provide her with a charmed life. My mother’s name is Joy, and aside from a very few exceptions, she’s lived a life full of truly miserable days. She was convinced the fortunes of the world hinged on mostly luck and believed that giving my sister the name Misery was the first step in insuring she would live the life Mom always dreamed of having for herself. If the name Joy brought her nothing but misery, then the name Misery should bring nothing but joy.
Misery was my younger sister by a year and we were always very close. Until I was six we all lived with our grandmother who was in every way to us what a mother should be. When Grandma passed away we continued to live in her apartment, but with Mom being gone all night and asleep all day, we were left to fend for ourselves.
Mom worked nights in a bar and spent more time looking for the man who was going to solve all of her problems than serving drinks and food. Misery was a much better cook than our mother, and could make something edible out of almost anything I was able to steal. With the exception of when we were forced to go to school, we spent every minute of every day together. We were as close as any brother and sister could be. This had as much to do with the fact that we were so much alike as it had that there was no one else in our life.
The only luxury item in our home was the black and white television one of Mom’s potential saviors left behind. We were only able to get three channels, and by the time we saw a movie it probably had more than one sequel. Between the daytime talk shows, and the many programs in which people relied on television judges to solve their problems, we were both budding psychiatrists and lawyers. We’d sit around at night when we couldn’t sleep and discuss how to solve all of life’s injustices. If we had spent more time watching crime dramas, I may have done a better job of avenging my sister’s murder.
When I found myself in Hell I learned several things. One, there really is a devil and he does rule over Hell. Two, an eye for an eye does not extend to the lives of the gang members who did not personally kill your sister. Three, when you splash gasoline all over a body shop you also splash the gasoline on yourself. The fourth and most important lesson I learned was before you light the match with the intentions of burning down the gas station and killing the man who murdered your eighteen-year-old sister, you would be wise to leave the building instead of waking him up so he could see you pass your judgment on his life.
In Hell, everyone is assigned their own demon caseworker. His job is to make sure you are as unhappy as possible and Hell lives up to its reputation. As far as I could tell it was working as intended for everyone else. Much to my caseworker’s disappointment, after living through the death of my sister, none of the Hells they created for me had the desired effect. From my experience in life, the only thing that made it worth living was being able to spend time with my sister. My life without her prepared me perfectly for Hell. I had no expectation of happiness without her and this made it impossible for them to make me feel any worse.
My caseworker would spend hour upon hour talking with me. Trying to find out what, if anything, could be used to unlock in me the promises of Hell. During one of his most frustrated moments, he took a cue from me, a comment that seemed innocent enough at the time. He was asking me about why the last Hell he created for me had no effect when I told him that after living through three years of high school I thought I could endure all he had to offer. So he promptly beamed me back, in true Spock-style, to the fiery pits of high school.
Misery’s Fire is now available for purchase at Amazon or Smashwords.