My journey to becoming a “big girl author” officially started yesterday, when I put my signed contract in the mail and sent it off to Harlequin. Though this was a big moment for me, the fact that I had to wait nearly 45 minutes to send the thing dampened the thrill.
Slowly, but surely, it is setting in, though. I will have a story out. People are going to be reading my work. People who are not in a workshop. People who aren’t my friends or family. Readers. An audience. When I teach about writing for an audience, I always have a picture in my head of a group of people, waiting expectantly for their author to produce something for them. I will now be that author.
Now, the waiting begins all over again. This time, it’s a good waiting. It’s the sort of waiting where you KNOW that in the end, you’ll be productive, and all those years of dreaming of finally being a real author have finally amounted to something.
With that said, I give to you another excerpt from my current project, which I think I am renaming to The Revolutionary’s Mistress.
Shadows enveloped the room along with the strong smell of old cigar smoke and alcohol. Mariette slipped her tiny form into the room, shutting the door quietly behind her. She felt alone in here. Alone and small. Her lips pressed together in a concerned line, and after clearing her throat, she quietly inquired, “Monsieur Lefey?”
“Yes?” A dot of orange glowed bright then faded. With an audible inhale, the glow intensified again before dying down into a light amber hue. He stepped out of the shadows, lowering the cigar from his mouth as he approached her. “You are?”
“Madmoiselle le Fleur.” Mariette curtsied before him, pairing it with a respectful bow of her head. “Mariette.”
Lefey’s eyes were black, so much so that it looked like the center of his eyes were hollow and melded with the darkness of the rest of the room. He stood tall, arms thick, chin well-defined and square. He personified nobility. He was nobility. “What can I do for you, Lady Mariette? This is a private room.”
“Yes. Forgive me. I…” She lost all rational thought. What was she doing anyway? How did Sebastian ever expect her to seduce a stranger? Her side work didn’t involve seduction. All it took was an eager man and a proposition. She didn’t search for it. It came to her.
She’d have to figure it out quickly, since her mouth gaped open like she was a simple woman, and she surely began to look ridiculous. “I am sorry. I might have had a touch too much to drink.” With a forced, though smooth childish giggle, Mariette put a hand on his forearm as she passed where he stood and walked farther into the room to examine it. It was a brave move for such a nervous woman.
Lefey turned, as Mariette could hear the rustle of his costume. She looked back at him and gestured toward…a painting. Yes, a painting. Her Haphazard gesture just so happened to be directed towards a nice painting of blue roses in a golden tureen. “Um. Who painted this?”
“A local artist. Mademoiselle, I’ll ask again why you have come back here.”
Lifting her mask back up to her face, Mariette turned in a circle, brushing a palm over her dress. “To be honest, Monsieur.” She remembered what Helene taught her about being blunt and forward with men. They like being told what they want, Mariette. They like women who know what they want too. Mariette hoped that what Helene said was true. “My husband has been away in the New World for a few years now, having left to help with that silly war.”
“Oh?” Lefey sounded interested now.
“Yes. And, well. Now I am in here, with you and a little too much champagne in my belly. So, perhaps…” Mariette went back to where her victim stood and cupped her palm over the relaxed bulge of his pants. “You could set a lonely girl straight?”