We write. We revise.
Kicking aside the open cat food cans at his feet, Harold made his way towards the derelict porch. As he moved, he noticed a set of toilets, with cushions on the seats, circling a large round table topped by a mosaic of porcelain shards under a large tree. A thin, older man, with a snow white beard and long white hair lounged in a chaise of sorts made from two bidets. The man wore a handmade suit of armor made out of cardboard and spray painted silver. On his head sat what appeared to be an electric coffee percolator with two ram’s horns somehow affixed to either side.
A mustachioed man in a large cowboy hat and red and white patterned shirt with snaps appeared out of nowhere, startling Harold. “Hey ya there fella. What can we do for you?”
A wad of chewing tobacco was evident between his gum and cheek on one side. Harold eyed him with suspicion. These two must be the charlatans siphoning off Peaches money. Harold straightened.
~Excerpt from San Jose Suicide Hotline, a novel-in-progress by James Albert
Then Joel kisses me, a real kiss, full on the mouth. He pulls me into him then drops my arms, wraps his around me. It’s a long slow kiss, gentle but with definite purpose, nothing tentative about it. His lips feel even better than they look. I could stand here forever, I think, wondering how long this kiss has been going on. It could be five minutes or five hours. I only know I am lost inside it. He cooks and he can kiss like this. I want to stay right here for ever, I think, just as Joel breaks away from me. He steps back a little, puts his hands on my arms again which is good because I’m feeling very lightheaded, like I could easily tip over.
Joel looks at me. He mouths what is sure to become my new favorite word, the word I will associate with him forever, the word that started it all.
“Wow,” Joel mouths the word.
~Excerpt from The Difficulty of Ending, a novel-in-progress by Donna Marganella
The cellar at Treteau de Tabarin was a combination dressing room, rehearsal studio, costume closet and no doubt a serious fire hazard. Erik was never sure the place would not ignite into flames when he turned on the gas lamps illuminating the space. Stiff net tutus with sequined bodices packed the clothes racks. Long satin coats with glittering braid hung next to Louis the XIV ruffled shirts. Silver and flaxen 17th century style wigs on faceless mannequin heads stared down from an upper shelf. Two make-up tables were crammed against the far wall and a third one in the corner. A crystal vase with dark brine and drooping spent blossoms stood prominently on the dressing table, a gift from the admirer of the last diva to perform. He had to sidle his way around the overflowing steamer trunk with a peculiar collection of props; a fox horn, a wooden sword and shield, juggling pins, hoops, and various sized colored balls. A unicycle leaned against the wall in a niche beside the door. Permeating every inch was a sickening mélange of talcum powder, grease paint, mildew and moth balls. Late afternoon sunlight filtered in from the narrow horizontal windows near the ceiling on the street side. Erik could see the feet and legs of passersby outside on the sidewalk of rue Pigalle.
~Excerpt from 38 Umbrellas, a novel-in-progress by Michelle Fogle
It was John.
“How about a Falls City beer?” she said in high humor. A laugh went up from the table.
She knew that brand of beer was déclassé, a bad joke, but she drank it with friends downtown in the old Victorian where she lived. They drank it after a busy Saturday renovating the house, covered in red dust from tuck pointing the red brick, or muddy from planting the garden. They laughed their heads off at how bad it was. Even stoned, it was bad.
Now she had something to laugh about with her friends at school.
Ruth felt the pain that had built up during the week lessen under her right shoulder blade . She smiled in the direction of John’s voice on the far side of the round table, cluttered with beer bottles, glasses and bowls of pretzels and nuts. His face was hard to see clearly in the smoke and funky light, but she was glad to hear him say her name, offer her a drink, laugh at something she said. He had a great laugh, quiet from somewhere far away, a sound no one heard much. Dry. Not so much expressing as commenting.
~Excerpt from The Level and the Square, a novel-in-progress by Ruth Roberts