I have decided that I’m only going to share chapter 1, not because of any fear of plagiarism (which would be highly flattering), but because the book is 67,000 words long and Seriously? On with the show!
With a little shake of her head, Ms. Pigeon leaves.
“Dani Rosen,” I inform the clerk before he can ask. “Or it might be under ‘Matthew Geary.’”
He opens the reservation book. “Oh…”
Badminton. I knew it.
The clerk doesn’t ask me to trade, and I wouldn’t say yes if he did. No way am I going to stay in a dead animal-themed room. He hands me a huge brass key. Never saw one of those outside of a few foreign movies. Nice touch. None of those magic plastic key cards here. No computer at reception, either.
The clerk runs his hand through his thinning gray hair. “I so wish I could help you, Mrs. Turrini.” He’s beginning to sound almost as desperate as she does.
“My sons are in the north wing. I need to be near my sons.”
“I’m truly sorry, but the young man booked the Badminton several weeks ago, and he was very specific. I know you’ll enjoy the Safari Suite. It’s far larger. You and your assistant will be much more comfortable there. In the meantime I’ll have the bellman store your luggage. Afternoon tea is being served in the West Parlor. If you wish, you may wait there, and if we get a cancellation, I’ll let you know.”
That’s total fiction—well not total. It is Paragraph 4. Well, not exactly. It’s a few sentences. You’re right. The heading is total fiction.
Ok, I’m being mean. But I spent an hour stuck in traffic on 66. I’m not a happy person. And the woman just doesn’t give up.
“It’s essential that I stay in the Badminton room this weekend. I always do. Everyone on the staff knows that.”
The woman ahead of me at the reception desk is wearing a massive, full-length, fur coat, a big mistake, since she’s about five feet tall. She looks like a baby bear, if baby bears wore white leather boots. She’s been arguing with the poor little Ledgerwood desk clerk for at least ten minutes. He’s told her a million times the Badminton Room isn’t available, but she must have the IQ of a pigeon, because she keeps asking.
I realize the only problem with this concept is you will more or less be reading this backwards unless you scroll down. I highly recommend that technique, especially because it’s a mystery, and, seriously?
I thought I’d be staying at some quaint little inn with homemade muffins and a resident cat. Ledgerwood makes me feel like I’ve been invited to the ancestral home of an English baron. There’s a giant fountain in front, and the lobby has a marble floor. My 2002 Sentra looks seriously out of place in the parking lot, which could easily be mistaken for a BMW dealership. I’ve been humming “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others,” my mom’s favorite Sesame Street song, since I grabbed my bag from the trunk.
So a friend who shall remain nameless (because I would never reveal that Jean Brodsky suggested this), thought I should try my ridiculous idea of serializing my novel in sections so small that you won’t feel put upon if you read it. I am going to cheat and do a paragraph at a time. Hey, they’re very short paragraphs. I’m not going to tell you the title because it’s a very good title, in fact perhaps the best thing about the whole damn book, and everything else will pale in comparison.
When Matt asked me down to Charlottesville for the weekend, he made me promise not to Google Ledgerwood. He wanted to surprise me. Mission accomplished, Matt.
This morning, slightly before the coffee kicked in, I had this brilliant idea* I’m going to serialize one of my novels on my blog, three sentences at a time.** If it was good enough for Dickens, it’s good enough for me. We have so much in common. For example, same species and write in English.***
Damn. The coffee just kicked in. Never mind.
*The kind that only seems brilliant before the coffee kicks in.
**Don’t worry eventually, meaning by Tuesday, I will get bored or lose my place and give up.
***Though he had a larger vocabulary.