I thought I'd do something a little different today. Because it's officially Fiction Friday, I would like to share the first four pages of my novel, Mind over Madi. This is the manuscript that my agent, Terry Burns (Hartline Literary Agency), is currently pitching to publishers. Mind over Madi took 2nd place in the Chick Lit category of the 2008 Genesis contest. Before today, I haven't publicly shared any portion of this, so I'm a little nervous, although I have no idea why. It's not the complete first chapter, but only a few pages to give you a peek into the story. I hope you enjoy this first glimpse at the manuscript I hope will be picked up soon!
*I apologize for any formatting issues. Blogger is not cooperating today.
I’m on the run. Unfortunately, not a very fast run. Heels have a way of slowing a woman down. Especially a woman who lives in tennis shoes, loafers, and flip-flops. Why, oh why, did I let Christina talk me into wearing my heels today? Christina is sixteen. She could probably hike the Grand Canyon in heels. Me? A couple hours in pumps and my calf muscles still ache three days later.
Not that I knew when I put them on this morning I’d be darting through the halls of church, fleeing from the likes of Claudia Boeve. Claudia is a hundred and ten pounds of tofu-eating energy who wants to convince me to join her Losing Means Winning Workshop. For the past couple months, she’s been tossing around hints like the salads she eats daily for lunch. But right now, I have no interest in joining her group. I am a Wendy’s woman—hear me roar! Or, Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell or whatever fast food chain I happen to crave at any given moment.
I duck behind a large potted plant to catch my breath. My heart is racing after the two-hundred-foot-dash from my pew to the atrium. Hmmm . . . Maybe God is trying to tell me something.
Peering between leaves, I survey the throng of people still exiting the sanctuary, trying to catch a glimpse of Claudia so I can hightail it in the opposite direction. My husband, Richard, has gone to pick up Emily, our nine-year-old, from her Sunday school class. He’ll meet me and our sixteen-year-old twins—Christina and Max—at the car.
A tall, willowy blonde stands in front of the bookstore, chatting with one of the associate pastors. The blonde is Sarah Price, a friendly acquaintance who happens to be a clinical psychologist. Catching sight of her reminds me that I’ve been meaning to set up an appointment. Not that seeing a shrink is something I’m dying to do, but I need some professional advice, due to some, um, issues I’ve been dealing with lately. Okay, not really lately. More like for thirty years. I only just realized it might do me some good to get some professional advice. Better late than never, right?
Affixing an invisible sticky note to my brain to call Sarah’s office first thing in the morning, I intently search the faces in the crowd for Claudia. Someone grabs my arm and twirls me around, causing me to lose my balance. I crash to the floor, butt first.
The only thing worse than falling in public is falling while wearing a skirt.
I lock my legs together and struggle to my feet. My friend Sylvie does her best to help me up while trying to maintain a straight face.
“So not funny, Sylv.”
“Sorry. You’re usually not so … unbalanced.”
“Yeah, well, blame Christina. She made me wear high heels today.”
Sylvie looks at my feet and raises a perfectly tweezed eyebrow. “I would hardly call those heels. They’re wedges. Now these,” she points a toe, “are heels.”
And so they are. At least four inches. Which explains why today I look her in the eye instead of down about four inches.
“What are you doing hiding behind a potted plant, anyway?”
“I’m avoiding Claudia. She spotted me in church and wants to invite me to be a part of her stupid weight loss group.”
“Joining might not be such a bad idea.”
I fold my arms across my chest. “Thanks, Sylv. Why don’t you just come right out and call me Orca?”
She sighs. “I’m not saying you’re fat. It’s just the whole health thing, you know? It would be good to learn more healthy eating habits.”
“I do eat healthy.” I sound defensive even to myself.
Sylvie grabs the big black purse from my shoulder, as only a best friend would do. Unzipping it, she pulls out a bag of chocolate-covered candies and a bulky napkin that holds the other half of the cinnamon roll I grabbed for breakfast. She waves the evidence in the air. “Care to change your statement?”
“So I didn’t have time to make an egg-white omelet this morning, Miss Calorie Police Officer.” I snatch back my purse and shove the food inside.
Sylvie holds up a French-manicured hand. “Okay. I’m done now. Are we still on for coffee on Thursday? Because there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
Her words are washed away in a wave of jealousy as, over Sylvie’s shoulder, I catch a glimpse of Richard. He stands by the coat rack, chatting with a woman whose back is to me. She wears a clingy off-white dress that shows off her, uh, assets more than should be legally allowed in public. Even though I can’t see her face, I know who she is. There’s no mistaking that gorgeous head of long, thick auburn hair or the sleazy—er, figure-hugging dress. But seriously, there is only one person I know who would ever wear something so … provocative to church.
I can’t help but notice men’s reactions as they walk past Fawn and Richard. The guys try with all their might to avert their eyes but can’t help sneaking a peek when they think their wives or girlfriends aren’t looking. What the men don’t realize is that the women detect Fawn even before they do. But the looks the women give her aren’t quite so appreciative. I watch as a few of the ladies blatantly veer their husbands off in the other direction to prevent them from the inevitable lure of Fawn’s presence.
And there is Rich, trapped in her poisonous web.
Although, for someone who is trapped, he doesn’t seem to mind. He grins like a goofy schoolboy.
I scowl like a jealous wife.