Excerpt, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

Would you like a peek at my next novel?

Several times in the last six months, I changed my mind about what I should write. Then I chose the novel my heart advised, but I haven’t wanted to mention any specifics about it until I made more progress. I’m still writing the first draft, but I’ve reached the point of no return, and talking about it now will spur me on to the finish. So today I’ll tease you with these bits.

hair_thumb.jpgThe excerpts below are glimpses into some of the story elements—I can’t reveal a major conflict just yet. Since the story is told from my protagonist’s point of view, it’s appropriate to begin with an introduction to her. She looks and speaks like this:

Just as we sit down to dinner, my future flashes before me. Within a few years, I’ll be another rich, suburban mom, shopping in my designer jeans, high-end pumps, and diamonds, driving my Escalade and carpooling to soccer and ballet, scheduling hair, spa, and Botox appointments between luncheons and teas, followed by endless cocktail and dinner parties. In other words, my future sucks.

 

It’s about:

My hands return to my belly. I love this baby. I want this baby. But it isn’t real to me yet. Like the nursery, the baby is wrapped in a dream. A promise not yet fulfilled.

He steps up close behind and wraps his arms around me, clasping his hands over mine. We linger in the embrace for a moment. Does he understand how safe I feel when he holds me?
 

It’s about:

A realtor’s sign is staked in front of the house. I didn’t know the owners, but I’m sad to think of them leaving it. How sad I would be to leave that house. I didn’t want to move away from here. There. I’ve admitted it. That’s why I haven’t settled in. Okay. Now I will. Done and done. His house is my new home.
 

It’s about:

I kneel on the edge of the bed, so I can kiss him. “I love you.” I start to pull away, but he slips a hand around the back of my head and pulls it back to his. His kisses are tender and fierce, hungry and satisfied, sweet and vulgar, always a contradiction, like himself. After a moment, I push him away. “I need a shower.”

“No.”

“I want one, then. Tell that mighty lance to calm down.”

He lifts the sheet and looks down. “Haste ye not, thou mighty lance.”

“Smartass.” I smack him with my pillow and run for cover in the bathroom.

It’s about:

I hate this woman. I despise her. And I’m angry at myself for letting her sit here and humiliate me. She’d love it if I gave her the satisfaction of answering with the No she expects.

I stand abruptly. “Excuse me, I heard a shout from the nursery.” Please let me look steady on my feet and not cry as I leave the room. I make it to the top of the stairs before the tears win out.
 
It’s about:

Are you buying me off? Is this hush money? Throw a little money at me, so I’ll stop questioning my great and powerful husband?”

“Stop being so dramatic.”

“Stop being such an asshole. Ten thousand dollars is a ridiculous amount to have in a checking account.”

“Then transfer it to savings. Or buy a CD. Or bury it in the damned yard.”

“I don’t want it.” I throw the statement to the floor, as if I can rid myself of the money by discarding the evidence of it.

He sighs. “What do you want? Really. What is it? Is it possible for me to do anything that will make you happy?”

“Yes. Stop shutting me out.” He stares at me long enough for me to realize he’s just as angry as I am, and then he walks to the door.

“I suggest you rethink that. Who shut who out first?” In a gesture that feels all too final, he slams the door when he leaves.
 
It’s about:

Everyone tries to act like nothing bizarre happened yesterday, which only makes me feel more like a freak, like I’m too fragile to bear the weight of reality. If I get one more pat on the hand or one more hug I might start screaming. I don’t think anyone has looked me in the eye all morning. I can almost hear the eggshells crunching under their feet.

It’s a relief when the guys and Kristen stumble out to the patio. At least they’re acting normal, sleeping until noon and then fully waking themselves by jumping into the pool.

Ten minutes later, the men exit the house and seat themselves at one of the tables, so I know the food is on the way. “Lunch,” I call out to the swimmers.

Kristen surfaces at the edge of the pool, close to me. “Got your demons back on the leash today?”

A collective gasp is followed only by the sound of water dripping off the guys standing at the edge of the pool. I smile and give her a big mental hug. “Thank you for asking. And yes, they’re secured.”

~~~~~

So there you go. I hope something caught your interest. I altered some of the text and removed character names, hoping to keep you in suspense—though I expect some of you are too clever for that.

Excerpt, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

It’s not as easy as I thought!

Choose one!

“Dear God, think before you speak next time.” That’s the advice a friend gives my main character in The Brevity of Roses. I wish I’d done that before I promised to share my favorite passages of that novel with you. I quickly discovered that’s not an easy task. I love too many of them, but that’s not the only consideration.

What makes a selection a favorite—particularly, among words you’ve written yourself? Is it the actual word choices, the syntax? Is it the emotion evoked by those words? Is it the importance of those words to the storyline? Or could it be just that you know how hard you struggled to get that passage right? Possibly, it’s a combination of many or all of those things.

Though they were among my favorites, obviously, I didn’t want to select passages that revealed key plot elements. (I hate when they do that in movie trailers.) I found myself choosing mainly solemn parts, like this:

It had been a long time since she pulled out, dusted off, and examined the memory of her life immediately following Stephen’s death. At first, grief covered her like skin, defining her, holding her together. Gradually, it sloughed off, and collected into another form—pain without warning, like a cat hiding under the bed reaching out its paw to swat her when she least expected it. Finally, it ceased breathing and became only an object, a fact of her life, but that object cast a shadow—the dark, formless absence of Stephen. This shadow lay over her so long she became oblivious to its presence. Then Jalal lifted it like a veil, and now she craved this new sun-filled life.

and this:

Yet, he haunted her. When she sat alone in the kitchen, the scent of his spices wafted around her. When she walked down the hall, her heels echoed his voice from the living room. While she worked in her garden, his beautiful herb pots accused her. When she woke in the night, for just a moment, she felt his weight beside her. Here, a dried pouf of blue where his can of shaving gel had sat. There, a word he jotted on the scratch pad on the desk—Halcyon. Everywhere traces of him remained, if only she looked close enough.

And she did.

But Brevity’s not all deep and dark, so I looked for something light-hearted, with dialogue, and chose this:

Renee arrived precisely on time, and entered the house without knocking. Jalal noted she wore one of those soft summer dresses instead of her usual tee and shorts. And her hair—set free again—cascaded to her waist. “I didn’t know what we were having for dinner,” she said, setting two bottles on the counter, “so I brought a red and a white.”

Jalal glanced at the labels. “You have excellent taste in wine.”

“No,” she said. “I just used to work in an excellent upscale restaurant.”

“I am preparing fish, so the Sauv Blanc will be perfect.”

“You really cook?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said, “it keeps me from starving.”

Funny. So, you’re a gourmet cook, a renowned poet, a financial genius. What other talents do you have?” She pinched a bite of salad. “Mmmm, that’s good.”

“Thank you. The dressing is my own recipe.”

“And …?”

Jalal glanced up, eyebrows raised.

“I asked what other talents you have.”

He shook his head. “I do not even claim the three you think I have.”

“Well, I’ll judge the first one for myself tonight, but the other two are common knowledge.”

“Oh, yes … what would we do without Wikipedia?”

“Smart ass,” she said.

“Now, that one, I will claim.”

Then, my friend Kasie suggested one of her favorite “fun” scenes. It’s not only fun, but it illustrates the dynamic between Jalal and his mother and sisters, as well as the beginning of Meredith’s attraction to his family. You can read that here: Jalal and the Carpet Weaver’s Daughter. Enjoy.

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