Cate in Flux bursts forth into the world in a mere two weeks! To tell the truth, I am petrified. What if people hate it? Think I am even more dumb than I first appear? Give me 1-star ratings on Amazon and demand refunds?
To prevent that from happening, I offer up what is surely a great excerpt sure to send everyone clicking away to download the moment it's available - and I'm hard at work on the second of three Cate books! Cate's in Vegas here, supporting her pals the best she can...
I grabbed a pink cocktail and settled myself in the sunniest seat I could find. Just for the trip, I bought an adorable 40s-style swimsuit with high-waisted red bottoms and a black halter top with white polka dots. I just knew I looked like Jayne Mansfield. I didn’t plan to leave this spot until I had to meet Amelia. I looked all around me and realized how lucky I was to be able to sit here and rest. How lucky that my friends forgave my latest round with a bad boyfriend. I drifted off to sleep, sun-drunk and content.
I bolted awake, aware of a shadow looming over me. My first thought was that Simon somehow found me, but it was just Guy.
“You are turning into an overcooked lobster,” he said. “Get up and let’s go get lunch. This heat is making me crazy.”
I slowly rose to my feet and put on a dress to cover my swimsuit. Putting on my kicky sandals, I followed him, and listened to his prattle.
“I feel like I’m on a big, tacky movie set!” he said. “Nothing here seems real at all. I love it. The men are gorgeous here. Too bad I have Rob.”
I didn’t point out to Guy that he had no chance with these men, who all looked like Channing Tatum in the Magic Mike movies or better, being just a regular guy whose profession gave him a bit of a paunch. “They are pretty,” I agreed.
We decided to be safe and just go to the buffet in the Venetian. So much food! I didn’t see how people who lived and worked here stayed under 300 pounds. “I am going to have to go on My 600 Pound Life after our trip,” I said.
Guy looked at me, and then dug into his plate. “You will not. Maybe my 150 pound life,” he said, bits of ham threatening to eject from his lips. “You silly, weird girl.”
He put down his sandwich and looked at me. “You know I love you, right?”
“Uh oh. This sounds serious.”
You'll have to buy the book to find out the rest! Details to follow!
Amelia is Cate's best friend - and will make her debut when Cate in Flux is released in JUST 21 DAYS!!! Here's another excerpt to rev up your excitement...
For the first time in almost twenty years, I’m staying out of Cate’s business. She’s on a downward spiral, and there she must go because I have to get ready for the American Model tryouts.
I’ve been modeling since I was fourteen years old, and peaked at nineteen when I was on the cover of Seventeen magazine twice in one year. Since then I’ve done make-up ads, catalogue, runway work and a few editorial spreads for various magazines. I make six figures a year, though not many people outside the business know me. At twenty-seven, I’m old. Winning American Model would be awesome. Then I could afford more trips to Sedona to really study yoga. There are Fuhn centers in Andover and Arlington, but Sedona is where the real spirituality is. I feel so connected there, but they keep wanting money that I don’t have.
For the next month, I need to work on toning up and getting rid of the five pounds I’ve gained this past year. Hair, clothes, passport… There’s so much to do.
Back at my apartment, I read every word of the fine print of the application for the show and start getting together a portfolio. Thank goodness I had new pictures done in September.
I took out my tablet and started a list – I’ll do just about anything if it’s on a list. Pilates, four days per week. Hot yoga, twice. Spinning, thrice. Get a FitBit. Sleep by ten. Nine hundred non-carb calories daily. Being beautiful is exhausting.
My phone chirped out Cate’s ringtone and I ignored it as I embroiled myself in an elaborate fantasy about what I’ll do when I’m the reigning America’s Top Model, gracing magazine covers and red carpets everywhere, reaching the upper echelons of the Fuhn center instead of practicing among the unwashed masses.
Cate called again. “LEAVE ME ALONE!” I screamed. I swear that girl is going to be the death of me. Breathe, count to ten, suck in and exhale. Feeling guilty, I picked up the phone and saw she’d called about twelve times. Geesh. She must be unglued.I decided to take a break from thinking about my famous future and sauntered into the kitchen for a snack. I counted out eight almonds, six raspberries, six blueberries, and mixed them with a cup of raw kale in a small, cut crystal bowl that belonged to my Nana. She would be so proud of me. As I chewed my food, I thought about the bowl and how I always loved it as a little girl. Nana served me sorbet and other delights in that bowl, which caught the light and glinted rainbows everywhere, and she called me a princess. A tear slid down my face as I thought of her. I missed her house that always smelled like Oreos and Downy fabric softener. How she always had time for me and listened to me. Her encouragement. Her sweet, soft face.
My phone startled me out of my Nana reverie.
“What?” I demanded into the thing.
“Help,” Cate whispered. “He has me locked in his car and we’re going to fly somewhere. I’m scared.”
“Who has you? What are you talking about?”
“Simon. Hurry.” There was a scuffle then I heard her phone clatter to what sounded like concrete.
This is a guest blog I wrote for Script Chics - make sure to give them a look at www.scriptchics.blogspot.com for witty women writers!
For days, until just a few seconds ago, I stared at a cursor blinking on a blank page, trying to decide what to write about writing. There is nothing more menacing than the steady flash of a cursor going nowhere, and nothing more beautiful than the steady horizontal movement once the words pour forth and something is created that people may actually want to read and enjoy.
When I was asked to write about writing, I didn’t think I’d have such an issue getting started. After all, I’ve written as long as I can remember. When I was a kid in the 1970s, it was with crayons or sometimes dandelions or clovers as I sat out in the outfield during softball games, where I was relegated as a kid with little to no softball skill. Words helped me escape, work out problems, make friends, and influence people. They also got me into a decent amount of trouble, but those are stories for another day.
In order to get writing, I need the trifecta of time, a great idea, and the gumption to get started. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to my first novel, which is due sooner than I like to think about. I have the great idea and the gumption, but time is always elusive. It’s a good thing November has come, or I’d never get it done. Which reminds me – I also need deadline pressure. Is there such a thing as a quart-fecta? Quarfecta? Fourfecta? I don’t know what it looks like, but I need it.
All I can say is thank the universe for NaNoWriMo! I commit to write 1500 words or more daily, and carve out the time to do it. I don’t know what it is about this great annual exercise that helps me stop using my teaching job, kids, husband, and house as excuses to avoid the accursed cursor, but as my teen daughter would say, “Sign. Me. Up.”
I am not a writer who creates outlines or meticulously chooses between an appositive or a participial phrase in order to add detail to my sentences. I don’t deliberately debate decisions regarding alliteration. I don’t hand-write everything first and go back and type later. I pick where I’m starting and decide where everyone should end up, and my characters just sort of wind (and sometimes suffer) through their own stories until they arrive. NaNo is perfect for my free-form writing style. Without the word minimum and mind-wandering, I wouldn’t work out different ways to write dialogue or the perfect way to describe a place. I wouldn’t get the satisfaction of racking up ridiculously high word counts. I wouldn’t have the experience of having to overcome the mocking cursor every day for a month. And I wouldn’t have finished a book. Or met the wonderful ladies I worked with over the summer at NaNoWriMo summer camp.
There is something special about being part of a bigger writing thing. Knowing that thousands of my author brothers and sisters sit every day writing what could become genius is empowering. Knowing that I am accountable for 1500 words, and that some of them will be perfect. Knowing that I can accomplish something through words that I can’t in any other way, being good at not much else.
In my experience, once I get going the daily totals actually end up closer to 2500 or 3000 words because I simply can’t stop in the middle of an idea, because I’m so old I forget everything by the next time I log in. I’d encourage anyone who is a writer – or who wants to be one – to sign up. It’s free. It’s a conversation piece, It’s a great way to form a writing habit.
Best of all? I conquer the cursor.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.