Panic swirls and twists in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps the short winter days and post-Christmas blues are responsible. Did you know last week held the most depressing day of the year? Or maybe releasing my baby, All That Glitters, into the wide world triggered the tension, the shortness of breath, and the questions:
What was I thinking?????
Why did I expose my innermost thoughts and character friends to the harsh light of criticism????? And why do I insist on airing the ridiculous laundry of my marriage in a public forum?????
Ok, my panic attack is over. Why did I do it? Because it’s a dream come true! The current stress is just one of the struggles along the way.
This week I need your help. Toward the end of February I’m hosting a book release at the local coffee shop. I can’t nail down a date as the books have not arrived yet. I plan to do a reading and would like your vote on the following two selections. The actual readings will be longer but the following portions would be the highlights. Please vote on selection A or B through the comments. Or if you wish to remain anonymous, use the contact page to let me know. Thanks so much for your help!
Vivian’s feet were lead blocks as they entered the last saloon on the street facing the river. The crush of rowdy men in each establishment made it difficult to reach the bar. Once again, the appearance of a woman made quite a stir. Both Vivian and Alistair ignored the customers’ crude comments as they pressed on to speak to the bartender.
The rotund man behind the bar with a wide smile and three gold teeth spoke to Vivian first. “If you’re looking for work, I have all the waitresses I need.” He continued to wipe the wooden bar with a damp cloth.
She didn’t care if the man wanted to hire a waitress or not. The last four saloons had made the same comment. It was about time for someone to give more than a flippant remark. She needed to find her sister, and she needed to find her now. She had had enough of the crowds, the comments, and the mud that stuck to her skirt and boots weighing her down like cement. “I’m not looking for work. I’m not looking for a handout. I’m looking for my sister. This is her photograph,” Vivian’s arm snapped out with the dog-eared photo coming within inches of the man’s face.
Not a soul was lined up at the plank table used as a counter where Florence Mayberry sat alone winding a hankie around her hand.
Ben swallowed, the uneasiness building in his chest. “Mrs. Mayberry, it’s time for me to know the truth. Where is Audrey?”
Mrs. Mayberry didn’t look up as she replied, “In the tent, Mr. McCormack. Take a look yourself.”
Why did she sound so weary? Had something happened to Audrey?
His heart thumped like a drum. Here it was: the moment he’d been waiting for. He was about to meet the woman he’d been dreaming about for months. He hustled over to the tent flap and lifted it aside. Audrey’s younger sister Caroline and her brother Jonathan were mixing batches of biscuits in large metal bowls atop a steamer trunk. Caroline looked over and then shifted, turning her back toward him.
“Mrs. Mayberry, she’s not here. It’s only Caroline and Jonathan.” He turned around. Mrs. Mayberry’s head was in her hands. “She’s there, Ben.”
Nope, he saw only Caroline and Jonathan. His Audrey sure had a knack for disappearing.
“Audrey come on out,” Mrs. Mayberry called wearily.
Caroline removed her floury hands from the bowl and brushed them on her apron. Straightening her shoulders, she brushed past Ben to exit the tent and stand beside her mother.