Happy New Year! And Happy new #WIPpet Wednesday!

We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve. We had the granddaughters again, like we have the last couple of years, and at midnight, we went outside to enjoy the fireworks on our street corner and shoot a couple of our own:

Fireworks are such a wonderful way to bring in the New Year, a celebration of what is to come.

During the quiet days between Christmas and New Year, I’ve been concentrating on catching up on the Big Translation Project. So I fear I haven’t managed to get back to the latest installment in The Pendragon Chronicles, and you will have to make do with Amber again. This time, I’m giving you 14 sentences for the new year:

When she reached the outskirts of Atlanta, she pulled into the empty parking lot of a big strip mall, parked her car in the back lot, and crawled into the back seat of her Honda. The sun was just barely beginning to flirt with the horizon, and Darcy wasn’t an early riser. Besides, when and if anyone looking for her came across the name of her high school friend, she didn’t want Darcy’s phone records to show a call early in the morning, the day after Amber’s husband was murdered.
She laid down, still wearing the curly blond wig. To her surprise, she slept deep and dreamless, only waking up when the sun began beating hot through the windows of her car.
Amber sat up, groggy and disoriented, not really knowing at first where she was. Then it hit her. Rick had been murdered last night, and she was on the run.
She bent forward, her arms around her stomach, and sobbed out the grief she hadn’t been able to express until now.
Feeling sick and shaky, she laid back down on the rear seat and spent a few minutes breathing in and out, in and out. Somehow, she had to get functional again so she could call Darcy and speak normally. The NSA listened to everything these days, she couldn’t have them digging up their records for the North Carolina police and finding a tearful phone call from a murder suspect — which Amber assumed she would soon be, if she wasn’t already.
She glanced at her watch. Almost nine am. Darcy wasn’t an early riser, but even she would probably already be at work by now.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

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14 thoughts on “Happy New Year! And Happy new #WIPpet Wednesday!”

  1. In this era of cellphones and fewer landlines… Amber’s got quite a few challenges ahead of her just trying to find a friend whose shoulder she can cry on.

    Have to say, I don’t quite get the intensity of her grief though….

    1. I see it as a kind of delayed reaction to her husband’s murder, like coming out of shock. At first she was running on autopilot, getting away and saving her own skin. Once she was outta there, the grief could finally kick in.

      1. Oh, I saw what you were doing, Ruth. It was just that when the grief did break through, it felt as if she was still in plotting and planning mode.

        Could just be my skewed perspective, but I thought you might want to know.

  2. My kids spend New Year’s with their grandfather. They all celebrate together and this year, the kids kept him up! It allowed us to have a small game (board and cards) party at our house.

    I read this and the only thing that struck out at me is her moment of grief feels kind of short. With something so intense happening, I think it would be longer or a real hard fight to get back to “normal.” Of course, this is only my opinion.

  3. Ruth,

    I never feel I’m just “making do” with Amber. I’m fascinated to find out what’s going to happen, and why she’s a suspect.

    ** only waking up when the sun began beating hot through the windows of her car.**

    I love this bit. I can feel it!

    1. Reading the other comments, I want to add this:

      On the day that our baby died, Jim and I left the hospital and went to Sears to buy a new phone, because ours had died the night before, and we knew Jim’s family in Oregon would be wanting news.

      Less than three hours after Elijah’s death, we were greeted by a saleswoman who asked, “And how are you today?”

      We didn’t answer honestly, and we didn’t cry. I was numb, and the entire experience was too surreal to do anything but tend to the matter at hand.

      We bought a phone with none of the features, even the color, that I wanted. We paid for it, and were told, “Have a nice day.” We thanked the woman, then walked through the mall to the coffee shop, and sat at a little table watching the rest of the world be normal all around us – and we still didn’t cry. Maybe no one noticed our inner devastation.

      If I’d needed to run for my life, I could have done it. I would have thought I was thinking clearly, like I thought I was when I chose that utterly unsuitable phone.

      It’s been more than a decade. I cried for Elijah, a few days ago, when I saw a dramatic portrayal of another baby’s death. But, even at the start, the deeps of grief came and went, and sometimes it’s fast as lightning, or abstract.

      I felt that Amber’s sudden and brief tears were familiar and known. It would be believable for her thinking to be a bit mistaken or muddled, though, when faced with too many factors to consider.

      Just another perspective….

      1. Great, great comments, Shan, thank you so much! My mom died when I was 17, and while that is a very long time ago now, I also remember going through the motions and doing what had to be done, much as you describe it too. And then, at some little thing, just losing it. While I’ve been writing this, I’ve been trying to mine those memories some, even though they are so far away.

  4. Late to the party…I agree with both views in the comments as to the grief. I’m 100% behind Shan’s comments. Grief is very individual and many people internalize it to the point of appearing callous in the face of such events. But also, there is the brutal reality that life goes on, and we feel we can’t give in for too long because somehow we’re being [fill in the blank]. From a reader’s standpoint, I think I would have liked more than one line. Even if she only gives in for a minute or two, that minute needs to become intense. I’ve been there. It hurts. It twists your guts and squeezes the breath from you, and plunges you into a dark hole. Yes, we may quickly tamp it down, get hold of ourselves, in Amber’s case remember that her situation is dire and she can’t collapse, can’t give in…not yet…still, it burns bright and hot. This would be a good place to stab your reader in the heart a little.

  5. Ruth, I hereby bestow some of the hugs I couldn’t give Elijah (over ten years; worth, now!) upon you, remotely, as an odd virtual proxy for your mom. I grieve with you.

    And don’t worry that my other kids will be deprived of any hugs. I have a limitless supply, so long as there is no *shudder, cringe* VELVET involved.

    Because I do hugs, but I do not do velvet.

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