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Date Posted: 09:12:05 08/07/10 Sat
Author: debikm
Subject: Eat At Joe's

Just don't forget your laptop, because it's homework time again!
We've had a lot of fun with Page's sex challenge (and upon looking at my post title with my Dirty Glasses on, we could continue the theme with this one too!)and I want to create more momentum. C'mon, people! We're not dead yet; the sexy scenes prove it! So, on with the show.

1. Blessings and Curses: This can be as simple as someone sneezing and receiving a quick 'bless you' from a stranger on a bus to a wedding ceremony to the villain's last dying breath swearing to haunt the hero and all his kin till the end of time. Use your imagination and run with it.

2. Line, please!: Use the following line in a scene- "Look, I'm making eggs. There's no deeper meaning to anything I'm doing here. It's breakfast, plain and simple."

I look forward to seeing what we all come up with. Have fun!

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[> Curses! Ah debi, how appropriate to Page's recent post and my answer>>> -- susiej, 11:39:01 08/07/10 Sat

Frodo pooped under the desk again.

“Bloody dog,” Susan muttered as she crawled under the desk with a wad of paper towels in one had. While crawling backward, she managed to bang her head on the keyboard drawer knocking off the coffee cup. It shattered against the wood floor. She tiptoed carefully out of the room, flushed the poop and grabbed the broom.

In the process of sweeping, she cut her finger. She dumped the glass in the trashcan, stuck her finger in her mouth and continued logging into her emails one-handed only to find another form rejection in her inbox. This one really stung. She’d spent hours reading interviews, pouring over the blog, researching this agent’s tastes. She’d truly felt this agency and her manuscript were a match made in publishing heaven. She personalized her query, read and reread it hundreds of times checking for mistakes and good flow.

With a flash of anger, she grabbed the mouse to click delete and dripped blood across the computer. “To bloody, freaking hell with it!” she hissed pushing away from the computer. She rounded up all her family’s filthy clothes and started the first load of the day. Frodo went to the door and barked.

“Now you go to the door? Isn’t it a little late for that?”

But he wouldn’t stop barking. Susan opened the door, but he didn’t go out. He just barked as furiously as a Pomeranian can. Then, he turned and ran. That’s when she noticed the drop-dead gorgeous man in the fine wool suit sitting on her pollen-covered porch chair.

“Who…what…are you doing?”

“Answering your call.”

“Call? You can’t be the plumber. He’s not coming until tomorrow…and…you’re…”

“About to make all your desires come true.”

Susan blinked. Scenes went through her head all the time. She saw the characters clearly. She heard their voices, but never quite this life-like. And her dialogue was usually more original.

The man smiled revealing perfect teeth. “I’m real, have no doubt. And your right, Your dialogue isn’t that clichéd.”

OK, she’d put way too much garlic in last night’s lasagna and washed it down with too much red wine.

“Seriously,” he said though his dark eyes shimmered with amusement. “You are not hallucinating. When have you ever hallucinated? Well, we'll pretend to forget that time in college. And the characters talking in your head doesn't count. That’s not hallucinating, Susan. That’s art.”

He waved a pale and elegant hand and a piece of paper appeared on the porch table. It glowed faintly, pristine white amid the muddy soccer shoes and rusty yard tools. She blinked several times, but he was still there and so was the paper. She looked closer. It read like a contract for representation from an agency she’d never heard of.

He waved his hand again, and the paper, the table, the muddy, smelly shoes morphed into clean carpet under a bright flourescent light. It was there within her grasp, the cover she’d always imagined, face out on a display case bigger than Dan Brown’s but located in the same front and center spot of her local Borders. All sorts of people were snatching the books off the shelves. The guy down the street, who she wasn’t even sure knew how to read, was gushing about her main character!

She reached out to pick up one, felt it in her hand, but the vision disappeared leaving only the sting where her cut finger had brushed the hard cover. Blood welled up again. She glanced back at the table. The contract was still there. “Shouldn’t there be a pen,” she asked. “Made from a human finger bone?”

He chuckled. “Such imagination. But really, that would be…tasteless.” The chuckle was gone. “And dry.” His eyes fixed on her finger. “You’ve got the ink we need.”

“You…you aren’t going to want my first born, or anything? Believe me. You don't want her. She’s very mouthy.”

“Do I look like Rumplestilkskin?”

“Not at all.”

“Right. And please give yourself some credit. I won’t have to spin straw into gold. The manuscript’s good. You just need a little help getting it attention. Believe me. I’ve got a lot of publishers in my pocket.”

“Who are you?”

His smile was dazzling making it hard to concentrate on his words. But words were important. She knew their power. She forced herself to listen to each and every one. “I’ve got many names. You can just refer to me as Your Agent, Open Doorway to: the Publishing World, the Bestsellers List, Books Two, Three and a Movie Contract.”

“That’s a mouthful. Word count’s important. Let’s justgo with My Agent.”

“Now you’re talking, Susan.”

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[> [> OMG!! This is brilliant!! -- debikm, 11:50:26 08/07/10 Sat

I giggled through the whole thing! And I can so see myself ready to sign that contract myself, except I haven't gotten so far as actually querying anything yet... Love it!

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[> [> [> So glad you like it. It was cathartic (grin). -- susiej, 22:20:38 08/07/10 Sat

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[> [> I love this!! >>>> -- Page, 15:17:21 08/08/10 Sun

Can you send him my way next? *G* He seems accomodating enough that I wouldn't even have to compose a query letter. Where do I sign?

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[> [> Ooh, sign me, sign me, Mr. genie-man -- Fi, 15:38:34 08/08/10 Sun

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[> [> This isn't a curse. This is definitely a blessing! >>> -- Myxtress, 10:39:30 08/12/10 Thu

That she must sign in blood proves it. *G*

And I love, love, love, the concept that this man has the publishing industry in his pocket. He is the _ultimate_ agent! And doesn't that just make his sexy as hell! *G*

Okay, seriously, a very fun read that was unique in concept. Loved it!



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[> There's a blessing at the end >>> -- Fi, 17:01:18 08/09/10 Mon

The homework exercises have been most inspiring lately!

This one takes place a little bit after the scene I pasted in the S.E.X. exercise (see "Love in a rainy climate"). There are awkward questions being asked about the disappearance of a certain Mr. Arthur Kirwan. Richard's father suggests that he leave the country for a while, and talks him into undertaking a business trip to Montserrat in the West Indies. As an added bonus, if he makes some money he'll be in a better position to marry Rose. But first, he needs to say goodbye to his mother.

From Claddagh [working title]
by F.H. Hurley
Copyright August 2010
For critique only

Galway, Ireland. 1675.

When Richard opened the cabin door, the smoke stung his eyes and he didn't see his mother until she moved into the light.

“Son, come in, come in.” She had grown a little heavier, walking with a sideways movement as she pulled out a stool. “You'll stay for dinner? Eily, can you throw another few potatoes in the pot?”

He shook his head as he sat down. The furniture was new – the stools had backs to them, and the table no longer wobbled – but it had already grown a layer of soot.

“I can't stay long,” he said.

“Get him a glass of poteen, there, Eily.” Kate sat beside him.

Eily stuck her tongue out as she went to the back of the cabin.

“You haven't changed, sister!” He leaned back, laughing.

“You're still the same bucklepper as ever, brother.” She waved at him as if swatting a fly.

Kate's smile emphasised the new lines on her face and the jowls under her chin. But the extra weight suited her; she seemed more content.

“You're sure you won't stay for dinner? It's been too long, son. You should come more often.”

“I should,” he said. He should have come more often indeed; when would he ever see them again? If only he were a young boy again, when the guilt could be knocked out of him by a clatter of his mother's hand.

“So, how is life in the big town?”

Complicated. “It's well, Ma.”

“How is your father?”

Disappointed in me and worried about his business. Almost completely grey. “He's keeping well.”

Eily returned with the glass of poteen and leaned against the wall. He knocked it back. It tasted exactly as distilled potatoes should taste.

“I have something for you,” he said, pulling out his purse and taking out a few coins.

“Ah, son!” Kate leaned forward and touched his cheek. If only he were a young boy again, when a loving squeeze from his mother could cure all ills.

“You could put it towards Eily's dowry. She could do with a man to put some sense in her head and keep her warm in the winter.”

“Ah, I think Ma will be taken before I am,” his sister scoffed. “You should've seen Petey Kennedy making eyes at her after Mass last Sunday.”

“You're still going to the Mass, aren't you, son?”

“I am, Ma.”

“Do you have a sweetheart yourself, Richard?” asked Eily. He hesitiated too long. “Oh, you do, I can see it!”

“Oh Richard, is that true?” said Kate. “Tell me about her!”

She's a black-souled Protestant, daughter of an English planter and a woman who married her enemy to save her land. Her smile is like sunlight on a grey day, and she asks me where the birds go in winter even though she knows I don't know, and she has the finest arse in the known world. And she's never far away from my mind.

“She's a great girl. But I'm in no position to marry her right now.”

Kate shook her head. “That's a crying shame.”

He swallowed hard. He had to tell them, to get it out. “I have to go away.”

Kate's face dropped. “Oh son, for how long? And to where?”

“For two or three years. To the Indies.”

“The Indies! Sure, that's full of cannibals and darkies. And snakes! Why do you have to go there?”

Because if the sherrif looks any closer into the disappearance of Arthur Kirwan, I'll be dancing the air-jig with the rope around my neck. “It's a business venture. If all goes well, the Joyces will have a hand in the sugar trade, and I'll have proven to my father that I'm fit to inherit the business.”

“You'll be careful, won't you?”

“You know I'm always careful, Ma.” He winked.

“Wait there, I have something for you.” She stood up and went to the back of the cabin, where the sleeping straw was. He decided that when he came back, he would buy her a bed.

“This belonged to Joe.” She returned with something looped over her hand. “If only he'd had it with him that night he went down!”

He took it from her and held it close to his face. A tin medal, engraved with a bearded man carrying a Child over the waves.

“Saint Christopher,” he said. The patron saint of travellers.

“May he bless and protect you against all peril at sea.”

He closed his eyes. “Thank you, Ma.”

“Just come home safe again, son. With the help of God.”

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[> [> Great work Fi! -- debikm, 18:29:52 08/09/10 Mon

>The homework exercises have been most inspiring

I have nothing as far as a crit to offer. You make the little dark cottage and soot-covered table come to life. And Richard's silent answers to his mother's questions, before his spoken ones are perfect! I especially liked the 'black-souled Protestant'... it made me laugh and a little bit sad, all at once, that such things were even worth worrying about (and still are, inmany parts of the world). Your characters are flesh and blood.

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[> [> [> Thanks >>> -- Fi, 12:36:47 08/12/10 Thu

>I especially liked the 'black-souled Protestant'... it
>made me laugh and a little bit sad, all at once, that
>such things were even worth worrying about (and still
>are, inmany parts of the world).

The religious dimension was originally an afterthought, to add conflict. Of course when I researched the era and got into the story, I realised just how much conflict would be involved, but it was too late to back out! Poor Richard and Rose have so much going against them.

>Your characters are flesh and blood.

It means a lot to hear you say that. They're flesh and blood to me of course, but I hope I can make them like that for other people as well.

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[> [> Well okay >>> -- Myxtress, 11:03:44 08/12/10 Thu

Technically there is a blessing at the end, but to me, he's not really feeling it as such.

His actions have resulted with him having to leave for a few years and obviously he's going to miss Rose as well as his mother and sister. And I think, just because I don't know him at all yet, that this scene is showing how he's grown up. He has regrets, wishes he had done things differently. And while I think his intentions are to earn his fathers approval and show he's capable of running the business, as well as make money so he can be in a better position to marry, are admiral, a lot can happen in two or three years. People can change, time can dull memories and feelings, and circumstances just have a habit of making things go off course. Somehow I don't think the patron saint of travellers will be enough to save him.



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[> [> [> Thanks for your thoughts >>> -- Fi, 12:31:36 08/12/10 Thu

>circumstances just have a habit of
>making things go off course.

Hooo boy can they! Poor guy has no idea what he's in for...

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[> A wedding -- debikm, 17:37:33 08/15/10 Sun

It's taken all day to get this down, but Valerie and Daniel now have a wedding scene! Of course, when I started writing, I couldn't just start with the wedding itself. I had to start with she and her sister arguing about the dress, then I had to write a bit with her getting ready and Sheila fussing with her hair, and that led to Daniel's mother loaning her a necklace to wear that had been a gift from Daniel's father...whew! I finally got to the wedding scene and it still needs some tweaking and fleshing out, it's there and out of my brain. I can't take credit for their personal vows to each other; I swiped those from a website of wedding vows for second marriages. So there!
excerpt from New Tricks, copyright 2010 by Debi Matlack, all rights reserved. Posted for sharing and critique purposes only; does not constitute publication.
White chairs, filled with people wearing warm summer colors were arranged in a semicircle under the great oaks, early afternoon sun slanting in shafts through the boughs. The arbor Tom and Daniel built stood between two of the massive trunks, its arch draped with simple green fabric and woven with white lights. Vic sat to one side, playing something soft on the guitar. Nessa stood with Kelly, who almost vibrated with excitement. When Tom and Valerie exited the house, she nodded at Vic. He concluded the piece he played then paused, causing a hush to come over the gathering. His fingers moved over the strings and Bach rippled from the guitar. Nessa sent Kelly down the aisle with a warning not to run. Valerie followed her progress, then saw Nessa take Alan’s arm and they walked between the rows of chairs. Tom patted Valerie's hand.

“Ready Possum?”

“Oh yeah.”

The faces of her family and friends beamed at her as she and Tom approached. As they came around the oak that marked the edge of the wedding zone, she looked up and saw Daniel, waiting for her.


His dark grey morning suit and black jacket set off his looks to perfection, the wing collar and silver tie making him look like he fell off the cover of one of those trashy romance novels. Unbutton the shirt to his waist, tousle his hair and the image would be complete. That would come later, but not nearly soon enough for Valerie. His eyes met hers and his lips pursed in a silent wolf-whistle.

She shook with silent laughter, making Tom glance over at her in concern. He paused with her under the arbor, reaching out to shake Daniel’s hand and then turned back to Valerie. His eyes were brimming and she shook her head. “Don’t start.”

“I’m trying.” She hugged him hard and when she released her father, he took her hand and placed it in Daniel’s before fleeing to his seat next to Catherine. Nessa took her bouquet from her and handed it to Kelly. Daniel took her other hand in his as they faced one another, his eyes widening when he saw the aquamarine sparkling at her throat. The guitar faded to quiet.

Cyrus grinned at the two of them, bright teeth contrasting with his dark skin. Valerie had been surprised to discover he was a notary and he’d been delighted when she asked him to officiate. His reassuring presence filled the space beneath the arbor with a quiet peace.

“Valerie and Daniel have invited us to share the joy of their marriage today. Life has given them a second chance at love.” He looked at them both, his face so serious Valerie felt a giggle bubbling at the back of her throat. Her nervous tittering was forgotten in the gravity of his words.

“Do you together promise in the presence of your friends and family that you will at all times and in all circumstances, conduct yourselves toward one another as becomes Husband and Wife?”

In chorus, she and Daniel replied, “We do.”

He gave Valerie a nod and she opened her mouth, only to find no voice for a moment. Clearing her throat, she tried again. “Daniel, today I join my life to yours as your friend, your lover, and your confidant. Let me be the shoulder you lean on, the rock on which you rest, the companion of your life. With you I will walk my path from this day forward.” Her voice quavered and she felt him squeeze her fingers. With that same strong grip, he tugged her a touch closer and spoke.

“Valerie, I marry you with my eyes wide open. You have helped me let go of the past, and I embrace the future. Thank you for making me laugh again. Bless you for taking my hand as we begin anew.”

She was taken by the look in his eyes. They glowed with unabashed joy. Any niggling fears were banished by the force of that magnetic gaze. There was a touch of sadness beneath it and she knew that he would always love Cassandra, but he loved her as well. They had overcome serious hurdles, the both of them, to be able to stand up this day and take vows before their friends and family.

Cyrus extracted the customary promises to love, honor and protect from them. They exchanged rings and Cyrus paused.

“ ‘One word frees us from all the weight and pain of life. That word is Love.’” Putting a hand on their shoulders, he turned them to face the gathering. “Please join me in blessing this couple with your love and joy. Mr. Hollingsworth, you may kiss your missus.”

Daniel gave her a ferocious grin, swept her into his arms and kissed her thoroughly, cheers and hoots erupting from their collected families. She was out of breath when he stood her back up. She took a moment to collect herself, the catcalls fading.

“What are we waiting for?” she called. “Let’s party!”

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[> [> Touching and real >>> -- Fi, 09:15:08 08/16/10 Mon

Wedding scenes run the risk of being stereotypical or saccharine, but Valerie's and Daniel's big day out is anything but. You've brought out the individuality of their characters and the genuine feeling behind their vows.

>Nessa sent Kelly down the
>aisle with a warning not to run.
There's so much in this one sentence. Kelly's excitement, Nessa's protectiveness.

>Valerie had been
>surprised to discover he was a notary and he’d been
>delighted when she asked him to officiate.
Cyrus is an old friend, I presume? He sounds like someone who has been introduced earlier. I love his "you may kiss your missus" line.

>“Thank you for making me laugh again.”
Doesn't that line say it all?

>“What are we waiting for?” she called. “Let’s party!”
I bet they're going to boogie the night away!

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[> [> [> Thanks, Fi! -- Debi, 13:07:59 08/16/10 Mon

>Wedding scenes run the risk of being stereotypical or
>saccharine, but Valerie's and Daniel's big day out is
>anything but. You've brought out the individuality of
>their characters and the genuine feeling behind their

Thank you. I decided to time-lapse it when I was on the verge of writing everything word for word. It didn't need to be.
>>Nessa sent Kelly down the
>>aisle with a warning not to run.
>There's so much in this one sentence. Kelly's
>excitement, Nessa's protectiveness.

Kelly is WAY excited, and I'll incorporate more of that as I fill in the previous events.
>>Valerie had been
>>surprised to discover he was a notary and he’d been
>>delighted when she asked him to officiate.
>Cyrus is an old friend, I presume? He sounds like
>someone who has been introduced earlier. I love his
>"you may kiss your missus" line.

In the previous story Old Dogs, Cyrus is a friend of the family and a drummer. Every Thanksgiving they have a big get-together and play music. Cyrus brings his 5 gallon bucket to play;-)
>>“Thank you for making me laugh again.”
>Doesn't that line say it all?

It does. Having lost his first wife to cancer, he took a long time to grieve.
>>“What are we waiting for?” she called. “Let’s party!”
>I bet they're going to boogie the night away!

Stay up and play music all night!

Thanks again for your kind comments. As long as these people stay real, I know I'm doing my job adequately.

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[> [> Very nice Debi! Very sweet and in character and >>> -- Myxtress, 11:19:59 08/18/10 Wed

I loved the touch of having Vic playing the guitar as it made the choas of wedding well-wishers seem more intimate somehow. *G*

Anyway, when I'm MIA, I usually try to keep up with the posts, even if I don't respond, but even so, I don't recollect Cyrus. But my first impression of him was that he's a fun-lovin' kind of guy and that is reinforced when he's so serious that it makes Valerie lose her nervous tendency to giggle.

A blessing well done. Thanks for sharing!



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[> [> [> Thank you Esther! and an intro to Cyrus inside. -- Debi, 12:47:59 08/18/10 Wed

I don't recollect Cyrus. But my first impression of him
>was that he's a fun-lovin' kind of guy and that is
>reinforced when he's so serious that it makes Valerie
>lose her nervous tendency to giggle.

He's an old friend and always hangs out with them on their Thanksgiving gathering and music jam. Here's my intro from near the end of Old Dogs.

excerpt from Old Dogs., copyright Debi Matlack 2009-2010, all rights reserved. Posted for sharing purposes only; does not constitute publication.
An impromptu amphitheatre had sprouted on the sandy clearing at the shoreline, and people began to drift that way. Most of them carried instruments and lawn chairs which began to ring the bed of wood, people settling in to listen and participate. A few stragglers were coming down the driveway, Valerie greeting most of them with a hug. A big black man stopped when he saw her and grinned, putting down the plastic five-gallon bucket he carried.

“Val, I’m glad to see you home.”

“Cyrus!” She had to stand on tiptoe to reach him but he scooped her into a bear hug, lifting her feet off the ground. “I’d have thought you’d have enough sense to stay away from my brother after all these years.”

Cyrus chuckled, a deep soft sound. “Nah, he’s the only white boy I know can play the blues like it’s supposed to sound, outside of Eric Clapton, and him I don’t know personally.”

“How’s Cheryl and the boys?”

Cyrus nodded back toward the driveway. “You can ask them yourself, they’ll be here in a couple of minutes.”

“Still playing the bucket?”

“You know it. It sounds like a whole drum kit now, except for the cymbals, and it’s a helluva lot more portable.”

She gestured toward the crowd gathering. “Go make yourself at home. Let me finish up a couple of chores and we’ll get started.”

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