Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book Update & Sample

Just as location is everything in real estate, timing is everything in publishing. The planned launch date for Daddy’s Little Girl has been February 26th, but after careful consideration, which includes discussion with major book sellers, it has been decided to postpone the release date until May 6th. While I’m disappointed I now need to wait an additional 10 weeks to see the book on shelves, I completely understand that it is a daddy-daughter gift book and as such stands a better chance of breaking into the best-seller list if released at a time when dads and daughters are beginning to think of gifts for one another (graduation gifts, spring wedding gifts, Father’s Day, etc.). I’ve never had a book rise about 6th place on the New York Times list and my hometown newspaper, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, has never mentioned a word about my series in the Arts and Books section (apparently the books are too conservative for the bleeding-heart liberal rag), so if this plan betters my odds of accomplishing either of these milestones (especially finally entering the Top 5 on the NYT list) I am all for it.

In the meantime, I’ll continue working on my novel TREES (just finished a rewrite of the first chapter yesterday). Here is a brief description of the book:

“Nicole Fischer, unable to give herself fully to the man that loves her, turns to her grandmother for advice and support. Set in an old inn in the mountains of North Carolina, “Trees” is the tale of a love story once kept secret, but when finally told, changes the lives of those who hear it. Inspired by the classic ballet, "Giselle," and interwoven with the story of Joyce Kilmer, American poet and author of a poem by the same name, “Trees” is about a lasting love that even death cannot put asunder.”

And here is a portion of Chapter 1:

The last person Kyle expected to see in the courtroom was Allison, but there she sat, looking as beautiful as she did the night she threw her engagement ring to the ground at his feet and walked away, leaving him with a heartache that sometimes still awakened him in the middle of the night.

“You’re going to save my tree, ain’t you, Mr. Griffin?” the old woman seated beside him asked.

Distracted, the lawyer didn’t answer his client. He sat up straight against the cold wooden bench and pulled his shoulders back, but the posturing did little to stop the draining away of the confidence he had walked in with. He fingered the buttons on one cuff of his dark blue wool suit jacket, chewed on his lower lip and watched Allison, wondering if she had spotted him too.

“Mr. Griffin?” the old woman repeated.

“Yes,” he answered without looking at her for even a half-second.

“What about my tree?”

He shook his attention free from the long blonde hair he once loved to run his fingers through and turned toward his client, Emma Townsend. “I’m going to save your tree,” he said, forcing himself to pay attention to her.

“You promise?” A short and frail old woman, Emma’s voice was soft and clear and contradicted the obvious signs of her advanced age. Her hair was curly and white and her dark coffee face was lined with deep wrinkles. Her fingers were painfully twisted with arthritis and thick bifocals magnified the wearied look of her brown eyes.

“Yes, I promise.” He had to save her tree. If he didn’t he knew the partnership Sidney Whitaker, one of the senior partners of the law firm, had dangled under his nose would be snatched away, never to be seen again. Morehead, Sterling and Whitaker didn’t give second chances.

“Good, ‘cause we don’t want to spend all our money on a lawyer that ain’t any good.”

“You won’t spend all your money; we will settle this today. I’m sure we’ll get a permanent injunction; the law is clearly on our side.”

“I planted it myself, and watered it everyday until its roots took hold. It’s my tree.”

“I know, and I’m going to see that it stays that way.”

“They painted a big red X on it. I can see it from my front porch.”

“All rise,” commanded the courtroom bailiff as the door separating the Judge’s chambers from the courtroom began to open.

Kyle stood and absentmindedly gave Emma his left hand to help her come to her feet. As she pulled herself up, using his hand for support, a pain ripped through the left side of his chest beneath his shirt pocket. He winched but braced himself to make sure his arm didn’t give way under her weight. Emma rose and stood beside him, the top of her head barely reaching the height of his shoulder.

Judge Farnsworth, the Circuit Court Judge entered the courtroom and took his place behind the bench. “Be seated,” he said, looking down upon those before him. He wore wire-rimmed glasses, his salt and pepper hair was wispy and his head shined bright under the harsh lights overhead. His black robe seemed too large for his stature, and his small frame was even further accentuated by the high back of the leather chair he sat in. It rose nearly six inches above his head.

“Liberty Park Homeowners Association versus Capital City Developers,” the bailiff nearly shouted to the room.

“That’s us,” Kyle said, holding his client’s hand that was slick with hand lotion, and guided her toward a courtroom chair. He saw Allison leading her client to their table. She moved in a distinctive gait he remembered well - perfect posture, commanding attention as she went, exuding an air of authority and self-respect. It was the well-heeled walk of old money and high expectations.

Allison paused at her chair and waited. Her client seated himself, but then seeing her still standing, jumped up and pulled out the chair for his lawyer.

She sat down without thanking him or giving an appreciative nod.

Emma paused a moment to straighten her back and then stepped forward with a little hop to get herself moving. Arthritis gripped her back, hips and knees, too. Eighty years old, she was the grandmother of her neighborhood; the one everyone confided in or turned to when advice was needed. It was understood by all at the outset of their lawsuit that she would be the one to sit with their lawyer at the plaintiff’s table.

Kyle watched the Judge as he glanced over the papers on his bench. The lawyer was not deceived by the diminutive appearance of the man in the baggy black robe. Sidney Whitaker, who had thrust this case upon him, warned that old man Farnsworth was brilliant but quick tempered and impatient, and had a reputation for wanting to get things over with quickly. He hated for his calendar to get backlogged. Worse, he hated lawyers who slowed him down.

Kyle placed his briefcase on the table, nodded to the judge and pulled out a chair for Emma. While she shuffled toward it, he rubbed his hands together to rid himself of her hand lotion. A vaguely familiar floral scent reached his nostrils.

Before sitting down Emma looked back at the small gathering of her neighbors who had come to the hearing. The men were dressed in their best; in some cases that was an old suit but most were in shirtsleeves and a well-worn tie. The women all wore Sunday dresses and a few even sported hats. Some of her neighbors were nearly as old as she was; others were as much as thirty years younger.

“They want to keep their trees, too,” she said, pointing toward her friends. “We’re all counting on you.”

Kyle looked back at his other clients. He had met most of them but couldn’t recall all their names, although the unusual names came easily to him. There was Frog, the retired bus driver and chain smoker, Ruby, the woman who always wore a thick coat of red lipstick, and Mr. and Mrs. Roundtree, the married forever couple who lived in the little house next door to Emma.

I’ll post more if you are interested; let me know.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!


Anonymous said...

I like it! Keep posting.

Barb :)

musemother said...

an intriguing beginning, and an intriguing way to write a book, while posting publicly on the blog - most authors prefer to work in the dark and come out for the book launch to read something -
like the fact there's a poet in the story, and trees are an obsession of mine,
best of luck and hard work,
aka fellow writer