Entry Nickname: Attempting Average
Title: Love and Fat-Free Cheese
Word Count: 68,000
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
With her love of ice cream and hatred of yoga, Juliet Easton seems like an average twenty-three-year-old woman. Average, because she’s worked hard to hide her involvement in the disappearance of her sister’s fiancé two years ago.
Now, with a job at the largest corporation in town, the attention of two good-looking men, and a jealous, diamond-covered rival, it seems as if life will finally begin to feel a bit more normal. However, she quickly discovers that nothing is as it seems.
The man she’s falling for has a more ambiguous past than her own and the company where she works has plenty of skeletons in the closet. While her seemingly normal world begins to unravel around her, she must rely on a man whom she isn’t sure she should trust. As she focuses on the bonds of family and protecting those she loves, she learns that happiness is found when caution is lost.
First 250 words
My sweaty palms start to slide out from under me while my arms shake uncontrollably. I’m not sure if I’m quivering with anxiety about this afternoon or if it’s the flailing I’m doing trying to balance in the name of yoga. I thought yoga was supposed to make me feel tranquil, peaceful, and sculpt my legs into those of a Greek goddess. However, as I strain every muscle in my body in an effort to do this Downward-Facing Dog pose, I feel anything but calm or goddess-like. I guess it is clearing my mind. For the last three minutes, I’ve been too focused on the intense physical pain that this relaxing exercise is causing me to think about how nervous I am to step foot inside The Bradley Corporation.
“Breathe. Remember to Breathe,” the instructor sporting head-to-toe spandex sings out as she demonstrates a One-Legged King Pigeon. Where do the names of these poses come from? I already feel ridiculous as I try these positions. I am turning purple, gasping for breath, shaking profusely, and have sweat pouring down my face, but to top it off, I’m being referred to as a boat, camel, cow-face, plow, and now a one-legged king pigeon.
Entry Nickname: Cold War Grunge
Word Count: 80,000
Genre: Upmarket Women’s Fiction
As an arts reporter living in Deep Ellum, Tanya Falgoust is accepted as part of the underground arts district, but living among free thinkers and musicians doesn’t make her one of them. Then she meets the sensual, rebellious Cassia, a performance artist who struts onto the stage and into Tanya’s bed.
No one knows who Cassia is, but her beauty and talents as an actress and dancer captivate the local scene. Tanya is mesmerized, and they quickly form a relationship. A close friend warns Tanya about Cassia, but she brushes him off. But when Cassia refuses to divulge anything about herself, where she lives, or even her real name, Tanya starts to realize her friend was right. And the secrets her lover is hiding are deeper and more damaging than Tanya could imagine.
As their relationship becomes more volatile, Tanya must decide whether or not to break from her desire before she loses the one thing she wants most—connection to the musicians who have accepted her into their community.
My life had become a series of baseball games, conferences, and fancy dinners with lobbyists and lawmakers. It wasn’t the exciting life I’d wanted for myself, but it rescued me from the less than satisfactory situation I’d chosen as a young idealist. Still, there were times when living in Jeffrey’s world made me feel like a dessert spoon at a dieter’s convention.
“Go! Get out of here.” Jeffrey leaned forward in his seat as the batter hit a long fly ball just to the right of the left foul line. The ball landed midway up the stands. The ballpark erupted into cheers and fireworks as everyone jumped to their feet. Jeffrey kissed me before turning to the congressman on the other side of him for a high-five.
Forgetting the game and the congressman Jeffrey entertained, I checked my phone to see what art shows and related social events would be happening over the weekend. There was an awards ceremony for local sculptors. At one time, as an art and theater reporter, I would have covered that. I flipped through the events section. Two plays opened this weekend. Was she in one?
So much time had gone since I last heard anything about her. I tried not to think about her, not to remember her at all. Most of the time she wasn’t even a memory, but there were times, like now, when the thought of her knocked the air out of me.