Here’s a little snippet from the first draft of my 1920s gangster novel, The Orpheus:
Finally, she felt his hands on her hips, his fingers dipping beneath the lace of her underwear, finding the hollows of her hipbones. She opened her eyes as his hot breath brushed her stomach. He kissed her there, just above her bellybutton, and she carded her fingers through his dark hair.
“Please,” she whispered.
And I’m going to leave you with that. Happy Thanksgiving! (for my Canadian friends)
The editor in me cringes at that title, but I’m amused enough at the riff on ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic’ to let it stay. And it’s what I’ve been up to lately, if you’re wondering where I’ve been.
Lots of beta reading for friends (including Scarlett Parrish’s upcoming book ‘Bring Me to Life’, which is excellent!)
Scarlett Parrish’s ‘Burn’
Tiffany Reisz’s ‘The Angel’
Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton’s ‘Second Hand’
The Paris Lawyer, by Sylvie Granotier
Collected Poems, by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair
Finishing a novella (‘The Artist’s Muse’)
Finishing the first draft of ‘The Orpheus’
Starting a new novella
Lots of articles on Paris during the Nazi occupation in WWII.
Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky
And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris, by Alan Riding
So that’s what I’ve been up to, mostly. It’s been a productive few weeks, though I feel a bit like a magpie as I flit between books, reading a chapter here in one, a chapter there in another… trying to balance out research reading with fun reading. With a few exceptions, I’ve stuck to novellas for my fun reading, if only because I can finish those in one or two sittings, and they don’t linger on for days as I try to fit them in between everything else. I think that’s partly why I love ereaders and ebooks so much: those shorter works of fiction wouldn’t ever have been published before, or only within a collection of stories. I love short fiction as much as nice big novels, and ebooks let me indulge.
Upcoming: more on Scarlett Parrish’s release; a review of ‘The Angel'; and little snippets from my work-in-progress.
A few lines from my work in progress, THE ORPHEUS:
“Do you always rough people up when you can’t get your way?”
“Ask the lovely Miss Prescott to explain it to you.”
“I will ask her,” she replied. “But I don’t see why you couldn’t just tell me.”
He strode the few steps till he was next to her again. His finger raised her chin and she stared up at him, into his dark blue eyes.
“It’s power,” he said bluntly. “It’s how men like me survive. Now get your coat and I’ll take you to see your mother.”
“Just a prostitute,” the young beat cop said, taking in the drowned woman’s attire. The remnants of a thin, dark dress clung to her waterlogged form, making her skin paler still in the light from the patrol car’s headlights.
Detective Lang lit a cigarette and stepped closer, staring down at the body. The girl’s throat was mottled with bruises and her head sat at an awkward angle. The beat cop began to shift the body onto the sheet laying nearby on the bank, so that they could shift the body up the slope to where the morgue van waited. The girl’s head turned toward him, and though her face was puffy and her eyes closed, he recognized her.
She should have been dancing the night away at The Orpheus. Just last week, she had been, but now she was dead.
“Hurry it up, Jones,” he snapped to the beat cop. He paced back to his sedan and left them to deal with the corpse. How had she ended up in the river, so obviously murdered? She’d been on top of the world, popular and successful, and beautiful.
He stubbed out his cigarette and lit another. Important people would have to be told, and he didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.