As promised on Facebook last night, I am posting the first teaser of Blood and Sand today, and if you click on the new book page, you can see a preliminary synopsis of the book, which I'm predicting to be a summer release. I'm over half-way finished writing it, but I prefer to be conservative in my estimates to allow for revisions and editing.
I sent off Chapter One to my Beta readers. yay!!! Nervous. Queasy. Relieved.
There is a core simplicity to the English language and it’s American variant, but it’s a slippery core. All I ask is that you do as well as you can, and remember that, while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.
I checked my naked reflection in the mirror and silently thanked my mother for the spa gift certificate she’d gotten me for Christmas. I pictured myself doing what I couldn’t remember with Forrester the night before and giggled, wondering if he appreciated my um, clean slate.
“Apparently no one keeps hair down there anymore, Jennifer,” Mom had said. She’d gone on to tell me how much my father had enjoyed her Brazilian but I hung up to go Clorox-out my ears and vomit.
I stood there nude for a count of sixty, making myself wait to check my Blackberry. My arms looked pretty toned. I’d been to the gym a lot in the last several months to alleviate Beverly-induced tension. Plus, since I wasn’t sleeping with anyone, I’d had a lot of energy to burn off on the treadmill. My legs showed my efforts and if I squinted and made no sudden movements, I couldn’t see a jiggle. “Not too shabby, Jenny.”
Just waiting for my little netbook to fire up…trying to fit in some work during the kid’s fencing class. Mr. Fred should get some sort of badge of honor for not throttling any of the 8 preteens with swords.
Tuesdays are jump rope club and early dinner, fast and furious homework and Daddy waiting patiently to get picked up from work.
Okay. Looks like Scrivener and my computer have kissed and made up….better get to it.
….there’s a little magic in Big In Britain?
It wasn’t there in the beginning…when I first dreamed of Jennifer and Michael, they were caught up in a dance, literally doing a Tango. In my dream Michael pushes the envelope, making advances, trying to get Jenny to finally admit the truth. In this moment, Jenny figures out that he knows she’s lying and worse, he knows she know he knows.
Magic seeped in on its own last fall when I took a solo retreat in the woods to work on the book. Maybe the solitude got to me? It could’ve been cabin fever or fairies or the rusty, rusty well-water. In any case, I think the magic is here to stay since I can’t seem to write it out of the story.
After their dance, Jenny soaks in a hot bath and has what my Mother would call a “Come to Jesus Meeting” with herself about Michael and the magic between them. Enjoy this snippet of my still-rough draft.
“Without any other option but to let it in, I began to consider. The sensation of opening your mind to magic overwhelms. You know when you remember something really important that you‘ve forgotten? It’s May. And, suddenly, out of the blue, you recall on April 1stth you put the envelope with your tax return in a drawer—a special place where it wouldn’t get lost— then promptly forgot all about it. The initial reaction is similar; the panic spreads from your gut upwards until it prickles up your face, along your hairline and makes the blood pound in your ears. But, when you acknowledge magic (and I don’t mean magical feelings or fairy tales or illusion– I mean actual fucking magic) your life has no other choice but to drastically and irrevocably change its heading.
The tax return? That was easy. I popped the envelope in the mailbox and hoped for the best. I’d convinced myself that just …forgetting about magic would make my life less complicated. But, as much as I wanted to—one can’t send magic out with the next parcel pick-up or cram it back in the drawer.
I sat in the tub for a long time that afternoon. I really could have stayed there for days but eventually the water went cold. I stood under the shower, my head hanging, watching the water drain and decided it was time to rinse off and pull it together.”
Okay. I must have been in some kind of hazy NaNoWriMo fever last November 30th when I clicked save and counted myself as “done” with the first draft. The last third (more like the second half) of my novel has too many scanty placeholder pages instead of meaty chapters.
Pages like these: (I have inserted spoiler blockers where necessary.)
This is the part where Jen & Michael ______ via ______.
This is the part where the truth about______ is revealed to ______. Lots of tears, angst. Light bulbs.
MF’s Friends discover ________.
MF’s film opens in LA. The see each other again?
Next time, I am writing my novel backwards. I will fawn over the end first, feeding it enough to make it fat & happy while I still have enough brain cells. Crap.
The plot’s there. I just neet to fill it all out. I think I will pretend it’s a series and now I have to work in earnest on Book 2 and send Book 1 out for a Beta read……Ok, that’s what I’ll do. Onward. Frick.
I wrote this as an exercise/warm-up. I am not sure if it will appear in the final draft but I sure had fun with it.
“Michael Forrester’s friends Hannah and Sarah agreed to meet with me. After a ridiculous amount of rigmarole (choreographed by Forrester, for his own amusement, no doubt) the lobby of my hotel won-out as meeting-place.
Sarah and Hanna have known Forrester for years. They worked together in a touring company, doing children’s theater right after college.
Forrester’s manager gave me a list of topics about which I am not to enquire. Again, this is more nonsense. The list includes: Michael’s romantic relationships, favored sexual positions, his weight, whether he’s had plastic surgery and his opinion on the United States’ debt ceiling.
Three seconds into the interview I feel as though I am being punked. Like Michael, his friends thrive on the ridiculous, pushing past convention and barreling through to absurd. I spent our twenty-seven minute interview near tears –from frustration as well as laughter. The following is an excerpt of the interview.
JENNIFER: Did you have a sense years ago that Michael would “make it” so to speak?
Hannah: Make it? He hasn’t made it. Not until he gets his Cover girl contract.
Sarah: Yeah, he has a lot to prove before he’ll get the call from Weight Watchers.
Hannah: Yeah, he needs to go to rehab, gain forty pounds and get divorced from Eddie Fisher.
Sarah: Eddie van Halen.
Hannah: He would never marry Eddie Van Halen. His type is more clean-cut.
Sarah: Like Eddie Murphy.
Hannah: Exactly. And don’t think Eddie doesn’t know it, the ego on that guy.
JENNIFER: Did you think right away, ”Wow, this guy’s got that special something”?
Hannah: Yeah, we were pretty sure but then he took antibiotics for it and was fine.
Sarah: We knew he was talented, of course. And,itchy. Very,very itchy.
JENNIFER: What makes Michael stand out at the Fringe Fest? His shows sell out every year and his fans seem especially…
Hannah: Enthusiastic! They love him.
Sarah: He never holds back. He goes all out, every minute of every performance.
Hannah: He is not afraid of looking foolish or unintentionally ironic. He doesn’t care if he looks good. He sings balls-out in this show and he’s got no voice whatsoever.
JENNIFER: What about his reviews from last year? Two critics in particular said he seemed listless and un-engaged.
Hannah: That’s expletive deleted bull crap. Those fucking critics have no idea.
Sarah: Did you know he had to be hospitalized after that show?
Hannah: He had a hundred and four degree fever. He had the expletive deleted flu.
Sarah: Then he caught pneumonia in the hospital.
Hannah: And, a kidney infection.
Sarah: They had to put him in a medically induced coma.
Hannah: Then while he lay unconscious, clinging to life, his room was burgled.
Sarah: And he woke up in a bathtub of ice missing a kidney.
Hannah: He got it back though.
Sarah: Because of the tracking device.
Hannah: Leftover from his days as a covert black-ops sniper.
Sarah: He’s the hottest sharp-shooter on two continents. Seriously, though, he did have a fever.
Hannah: And he did go to the hospital. Except here they call it hospital. Not the hospital.
Sarah: You cross the Atlantic and suddenly parts go missing from your person. I think we need to call Interpol.
JENNIFER: So why do you think Michael has stayed here and not gone back to the States full-time?
Hannah: You have to go where the work is. You can call it “America”, by the way, and we won’t pretend to not understand. Canadians.
Sarah: Americans can take themselves too seriously.
Hannah: The British love a fool. They don’t suffer fools, though.
Sarah: That’s profound, Hannah.
Hannah: Yes it is. They like to make fun of themselves and each other.
Sarah: And they love him here because he loves them. They love laughing at him and it makes them feel like they are special because he is using his genius to make fun of them.
Hannah: That’s his gift, really. He makes you feel like you are the only person in the room when he’s with you. He listens so closely to what you say—like with a hundred and ten percent of his attention—
Sarah: It is unsettling when you first meet him. He is king of eye contact and he asks a lot of questions. He studies you, your every move–like maybe you’ll be his next project.
Hannah: He gets a lot of pussy that way.
Sarah: Hannah! Okay, yeah that is true. He always has some girl on the line.
Hannah: Apparently his expletive deleted is ginormous. “