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Eggs in a Basket

Ten days ago, I sent my latest manuscript to my hard-working agent. She has multiple manuscripts to read from her stable of clients. Mine is fifth on the list. It will be a while before I hear back from her.

I contemplate my next project going forward. Input, dear readers? Here’s the scoop; I have three other manuscripts in various states of completion and editing. One deals with a nurse beset with multiple life issues including the downfall of the hospital where she works. Another manuscript was shopped to several publishers. The main character, as it turns out, wasn’t likable enough. Thus, the book languishes. The third is a sequel to the shelved book. (Screeching brake sound inserted here.) Thing is, The publishing industry wants authors who have a basket of fresh eggs, not just one and done. Whether my latest manuscript is published may, in part, depend upon if I can demonstrate the ability to produce more work of the same quality.

I have some ideas percolating. One is a humorous story of friends who decide to hike the Camino de Santiago. Another is a historical novel based on a circuit rider in Canada, told, in part, from the horse’s viewpoint. Right now, however, I think I’ll dust off the novel about the nurse and see if I can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. I think it has the bones to do it.

I’m excited about the recently completed novel. It’s based on my short story, The Leavings, and retains the title. Here’s an excerpt from the second chapter. The main character, Huntley Bannister, is returning from a swim in Lake Michigan, when he meets Margot Lederer:

A mile inland, Lakeview Road teed off Bates Road, crossed Fairwater River, and from there led to White Birch Beach, an exclusive private stretch south of Fairwater. There was a red MGB parked near the bridge and a pretty woman kicking the daylights out of it. Huntley eased off the accelerator, eyes plastered on the shapely girl in a yellow halter top and bell-bottom jeans. Her long hair whipped across her back as she gesticulated and, he guessed, swore at the disabled vehicle. His interest abruptly ended when the Mustang edged onto the shoulder and rattled over several hard bumps. He steered back onto the asphalt, chagrined at his inattention to the road.

He should stop, he should offer help, but given the uncommon vehicle and the fact that it was headed in the direction of the enclave of wealthy summer residents, Huntley figured the driver wouldn’t give him the time of day. He’d had run-ins with the people who lived beyond the bridge, families with old money who returned every summer and let their progeny run wild. It kept all three Fairwater village cops busy. They often turned their heads. People with money could get their kids out of trouble.

Huntley intended to keep going, but little thoughts wormed into his conscience. What if no one stopped? What if someone took advantage of her? The nearest phone was a good mile away. He took a deep breath, turned his car around, and drove back. He was, after all, a mechanic. There were many ways she could bruise his ego, and he thought himself a chump to offer assistance. He parked the Mustang beyond the little red car and eased his six-five frame out the door, running his tongue over the angled tooth.

She looked his way, paced a couple steps, tossed her head, and put both hands on her hips, having a stare-down with her car. Huntley swept a hand over his mouth, hiding his amusement. The closer he got, the prettier she was, about five-five, with large, blue-green eyes and brows that feathered upward in the middle. Her nose was narrow and strong with a small indentation at the tip that was repeated as a slight cleft in her chin. Her lips were full, her mouth wide. Petal pink lipstick set off a well-tanned face that was framed by sun-bleached golden hair.

“Hi,” he said, a flutter in his throat. “Car trouble?”

“I didn’t stop here to admire the scenery.”

“Sorry, dumb question.” He was going to say lots of people stopped to look at the swans that nest in the marsh along the river, but thought better of it. “Nice car.”

“It would be if it was running.”

Her voice was surprisingly powerful for a woman of her size, a little husky. Lauren Bacall sexy. He raised a brow. “When was it last serviced?”

“Serviced? As in taken to a garage?”

He nodded.

She shrugged. “I’ve never had it in.”

“How long have you had the car?”

“What does that matter?” She wiped hair from her face. “Two-and-a-half years. A sixteenth birthday present. Some present, piece of crap.”

“Has it been hesitating and sputtering?”

She stared at him, her brows arched. “What are you, some kinda car wizard?”

“I’m a mechanic. I fix cars for a living.” He waited for the dismissive shrug, the laugh. A simple mechanic. Little miss expensive sandals, perfect teeth and clear skin was going to tell him to go suck a lemon. Instead, she brightened.

Ah, love. Who doesn’t enjoy a good old tale of boy meets girl? But complications quickly set in and tragedy and heartache are ahead for Huntley. Lest the reader think this is a romance novel, it is far more literary and historical.

Fingers crossed, this novel will get published. In the meantime, I need to be writing the next one.

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