We write. We revise.
It was beginning to feel like they were really a team, with Erik bringing his own ideas and talent to the equation. Vincent trusted and seemed to really appreciate him, too. How different this was from his collaboration with Claude. He didn’t feel the same uneasiness or mistrust he’d felt after Claude scored the Gymnopédies. And the fears of being too amateurish he’d known in his work with Patrice were long gone. He still yearned to compose grand Musique, but for now, this was fun, he was making a real living, and Vincent was a consummate professional not out to swindle him. It wasn’t his dream, but he could do this for a season or two.
~Excerpt from 38 Umbrellas, a novel-in-progress by Michelle Fogle
“I know,” he says.
“Well, I strongly suspected,” he says. “Now I know.”
“I should have said something earlier, before,” I say. “I’m sorry …”
“What are you apologizing for? Charlie’s the one who should be sorry.” Joel is smiling as he says this and although I’m not sure why, I smile back. He starts to laugh and I laugh too, nervous at first, but then with relief. Joel’s not shocked or upset. I’m pretty sure he finds this as farcical as I do. We both get stupid with laughter, giggling until we have to wipe our eyes. Joel takes a deep breath and says between laughs, “Let’s face it Vela, my brother’s fucked us both.”
~Excerpt from The Difficulty of Ending, a novel-in-progress by Donna Marganella
I can remember walking past the store on our way to the school bus stop. We’d pause outside the plate glass window and watch my mother slide velvet trays of prim diamond solitaires and slinky gold rope chains into display cases, then switch on small metal lamps that looked like aquarium lights to entice passersby on their way to the courthouse across the street. I’d knock once on the window with my knuckle (trying not to leave a print) and she’d look up from the cases and wave, satisfied that we were safely on our way to school.
For thirty seven years, five days a week, that store was her life. She balanced the daily receipts, made bank deposits, calculated payroll, and answered the phone in a cheery, yet professional manner. Tetts Jewelry and Gifts, Mrs. Frankson speaking. How may I assist you today? She Windexed the windows (inside and out) and exterior of the glass cases every morning, erasing the looky loos’ smudges. She cleaned the bathrooms twice a week (Mondays and Thursday) and the break area refrigerator as needed. She washed out Mr. Tetts’ mug daily, made sure coffee was ready when his Oldsmobile pulled up behind the store at 9:45 a.m., and there was always plenty of Creamora and wooden stir sticks. She looped Christmas garlands, taped Cupid silhouettes on the walls, positioned tiny Easter eggs or diplomas or American flags in the display cases to entice shoppers. She wrapped gifts with perfectly squared corners and was the only employee who seemed to be able to change the register tape.
All that, until she had her stroke.
~Excerpt from a story-in-progress by Nancy Nygard
Outside the Petrinado & Finch, LLP building, the dusty, dirty city nestled among the hills of gold shrugged off the indigo night and greeted the approaching dawn. Birds, one by one, awoke from their perches and whistled tentatively, then more confident, songs that soon rose to a cacophony of melodic exuberance. The Ash trees along Truxton Avenue lifted their branches towards the light as the street lamps winked out one by one. The good citizens of Bakersfield, emerged from their homes, their apartments, their trailers, and cardboard boxes, in increasing throngs and joined the bustle typical of a Monday morning. In short, the beginnings of a glorious fall day in the San Joaquin Valley that made all who were fortunate enough to call this region home, happy to be alive.
That is, of course, everyone except Harold Happy.
~Excerpt from San Joaquin Valley Suicide Hotline, a novel-in-progress by James Albert