First, I'd like to apologize for the scant number of blog posts and lack of visiting I've been doing... If it makes you all feel any better, I've been using my computer time on writing - I'm hustling through some revisions that I think are really an improvement to the novel (don't you hate when you think you're done and then figure out you're really not?)
Besides the first page I'll be posting below, I've also been working on something new. I hadn't intended to, actually. I intended to take this time to work on shorts and leisurely read, and then start researching my next middle grade novel (which is still on the horizon, just pushed back a bit)... but this idea fell into my head and keeps fleshing itself out, so I'm running with it... maybe it'll be a big burst that goes nowhere, maybe it'll become something great. I'll have to follow it to see a bit better, but that's what's been taking my time lately, so I apologize for the absence, bear with me while I get my creative imps under control... okay, I likely won't control them, I like them when they run amok... but I'll try to stop in more often in any case.
Some lovely writers and readers participated in my first page critique a few posts ago, and gave me great feedback on Marigold Mourning, which I've put to some use. Nearing the end of the comments section there, I said I'd post the revision when it's done... this is actually a bit longer than a page now, but I'll post the whole. Same rules apply. Would you keep reading? Would you stop, where, and why?
Marigold's First Page and a bit more:
Marigold stopped short at the sight of the tulips standing upright against her screen door. She never heard the gate squeak open. She’d only been to the alley and back. It couldn’t have taken her more than a minute. Maybe she wouldn’t have heard it from the alley, though. Her scant blond eyebrows drew together above a small pug nose. Where did the flowers come from?
She brushed straying locks back into her ponytail and turned to look at the open yard. There was no one there. Not a shadow. Not a sound. Whoever left them had to be lightning quick to place the bouquet all the way up on her step and leave without her noticing.
Her gaze fell on the open back door as a sudden chill ran up her arms – a prickling sensation that raised the fine hairs all the way up to her neck. Should she check the house? Maybe she should run to a neighbor’s.
“The hell with that,” she thought, “it’s my friggin’ house!”
As she maneuvered up the porch steps, each creak of the wood sent her top teeth a bit further into her bottom lip. She peered in through the window, the bright kitchen lighting made dreary in contrast to the August sunlight outside.
Grabbing the flowers, she searched for a card of some sort, knowing there wouldn’t be one – there never was. The stems were wrapped in lavender ribbon, and she tapped them against her palm, as she paced back and forth over the small porch.
“I’m being silly,” she thought, still pacing, “Too many of Kay’s admonishments to lock the doors and windows... young girl in the big city, blah, blah.”
She looked skyward, as if she might reprimand her sister through the paint chipped boards of the house’s overhang.
“I’m a big girl now. Besides, boogiemen leave creepy things, not fresh flowers.” She said it aloud to prove her point.
Marigold held her breath and opened the door. She plunged into her kitchen in a reckless clatter, as if the noise of her arrival might scare any intruder away. She shoved the flowers into the garbage and grabbed the phone off the counter, hoping her dialing finger would be quicker at nine-one-one than an intruder’s machete arm might be.
“Haaaaaaa!” she yelled, holding the phone over her head as she whipped open the closet door.
After making sure there was nothing more insidious than outdated clothes hanging there, and wondering why she ever thought she could wear orange, she continued her rampage. Marigold shoved back curtains without reservation and mangled innocent boxes under her bed with a broom handle. At the end of her mad dash, she wound up in the kitchen, chest heaving in exhaustion and, perhaps, a bit of pride when the ringing doorbell made her shriek like a little kid on a scary ride at Disney land.
Okie, dokie... feel free to comment, critique, and generally skewer.