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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Have a Ticking Time Bomb Inside Me Waiting to Explode

I know you hear a lot of writers talk about “deadlines.” It’s something I’m quite familiar with given that I once worked for a daily online magazine. Deadlines don’t get any firmer than having to produce at least one fresh news item by 5pm Monday-Friday. But as an author, deadlines are a bit more flexible.

Editors will often cut you slack if you ask for a few more weeks, a few days. They expect us to turn things in late, so they probably pad the due date in advance. We’re temperamental artists after all (yeah, right).

But personally, I find the deadlines that really drive you crazy are the ones that are SELF IMPOSED.



You know what I mean, those nasty resolutions: I’m going to lose ten pounds in two weeks; I’m going to quit smoking by Ground Hog’s Day; I’m going to find a new job before I have to attend that awful conference. Or….I’m going to finish these never-ending revisions by the time my birthday rolls around!

My b-day is February 10th. And I’ve been working on these revisions since before Christmas. You may think, “Hey, that’s not so long.” But trust me, it is when you're working 12 hour days, when you’re dreaming about removing paragraphs you never actually wrote, when you find you can’t go to the gym because you need every last hour to write.

This book is consuming my life. And the thing is, I already wrote it! These were supposed to be revisions, but truly I can’t even call them that anymore. It’s more like the “I’m going to rewrite this book from scratch and drive myself slowly insane until I’m eating paste and singing Downtown in my bathtub” project.

And I swear, I will get it done before I age another year. Or I’ll end up aging 40 in the process.

So in honor of my eternal revisions, I’ve decided to post an excerpt. Like I’ve said, I’ve never been big on Teaser Tuesdays, but I’ve been living inside my head with this book for far too long.

I hope you enjoy the sneak peek. It comes from the middle of Chapter One of the Newly Revised Manuscript (which is very different from the one I teased last time; that excerpt was from the old version). There’s a party going on in the apartment when this scene happens, but other than that, I don’t think it needs much of a set up (btw—this is still in draft form, so please excuse any typos). Here goes:

The sound of the apartment door opening pulled my attention. I turned to see three guys who seemed to have stepped off the pages of GQ—crisp button-shirts with starched collars (inappropriate for most college campuses) draped over black pants or dark jeans that might as well have had dollar bills sewn into the pricey fabrics. Two sported blond haircuts that were meticulously styled to appear effortless. The other had a dark buzz cut just an eighth of an inch shy of bald. And, of course, they were incredibly good looking—too good looking. I didn’t need to glance at my sister to know that she was swooning.

“Hey.” The guy with the buzzed head raised his freshly shaven chin. “It’s Keira, right?”

His deep baritone made my shoulders tense. I should have known Keira would invite strays who barely knew her name. She probably met him while medicating the migraines that formed after gazing in the mirror for too many hours.

“Nice place,” he said, his eyes narrowed as they scanned the room. Only it didn’t appear though as if he was admiring the décor, more like he was sizing up the guests, his eyes lingering on the faces of the men in the apartment. When his gaze subtly shifted to his friends, I could sense some sort of nonverbal cue. My gut twitched. I might not have been a social butterfly, but I had a pretty good loser-detector. These guys were rating high on my scale.

“I’m Ken. These are my buddies.” He gestured to his friends with his hand as his dark eyes dropped to my chest. I crossed my arms. He had to be at least a decade older than me, though that probably didn’t matter much. Perve.

“Hey.” He nodded to me as he licked his lips.

I had to swallow hard to hold back the vomit.

“Hi,” Keira cooed, mistakenly thinking the gesture was for her.

Score one for alcohol.

Her beer goggles were so thick she was actually batting her eyes at this freak show. I sometimes wondered how we were related.

“I’m glad you came,” my sister added as two of her nursing friends rushed to her side. They looked just as smitten.

“These are my friends, Caroline and Rebecca,” Keira nodded to her drunken pals, who were both swaying slightly. The guys in the doorway scanned them head-to-toe, and I could almost read their horny minds as they mentally called “dibs.”

“You guys want a drink?” Keira held up the pitcher and smilingly flirtatiously.

“Are you serious?” I snapped, sneering at her.

“What?” she defended, shrugging with innocent eyes.

“You know what.”

But Keira ignored me, her eyes quickly focusing back on the newcomers. When she bit her lip seductively, I turned away. I had no desire to watch her throw herself at these losers. She was better than that, better than them. It would be nice if she realized it.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” I choked under my breath.

Then I stormed away.



POP CULTURE RANT: General Hospital

Did you guys know GH is getting a new nurse’s desk? They’re blowing up the set for February Sweeps. And you know what’s sad? I heard this latest tidbit on the national news. You know it’s a slow news day when a soap opera set remodel makes entertainment headlines. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with. Maybe they’ll actually bring some doctors and nurses to the cast so the show’s title makes sense again. Because after the past decade, I was certain they would’ve changed it to “The Mafia Hour” long ago.


Copyright © 2008 by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

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