Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample (Jan 21)

This is my first time at Sweet Saturday Sample, and I'm excited! I hope you enjoy the sample I've chosen to share today from my soon-to-be-completed WIP (SOON, as in, this weekend). This is the MS I'm planning to pitch at the San Francisco writers' conference over Presidents' Weekend this February. Wish me luck, but most of all, if you have any feedback--any at all--I'd sure appreciate it if you shared it. No holds barred--this is about the story, not about me or my ego. Whatever helps the story get better, become stronger, is good with me :)

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to visit the other blogs participating in the Sweet Saturday Sample hop--some great writing there, well worth checking out. Who knows, your next favorite author might be lurking there, waiting for you to find them.

Enjoy!

Title: RESTORING EXPERIENCE
Blurb: It's the summer of 1995 in Mexico, and 22-year-old Alexia is discovering possibility--at a steep price. She's at a crossroads, and she must decide whether the life her world--her family, her friends, her society--wants for her is what she wants for herself. Either way, she faces regret: every untrodden path, even as she takes that first step away from it, is already an embryo of regret. 


Sometimes, we're just not ready to learn the lessons life throws our way. And sometimes there are no second chances. 




~ ~ ~

I patted my jeans pockets for my cigarettes. What had I done with them?

“Looking for this?”  

Michael, holding my pack of Marlboros and a grin that lit up the night.  

“You dropped them on the dance floor," he said. "You were amazing out there, Alexia.”

“Sergio, not me.” I pulled out a cigarette, the conflict between my shortness of breath and tobacco flying right over my head. “I’ve never danced with anyone like that.” 

Michael sat and lit my cigarette from his cupped hand. "It looked really cool, all those steps," he said.

“From where I was, it was all a blur.”    

"You’ll have to teach me someday."

"Michael, I’m really not the right person. Sergio’s girlfriend, probably."

He chuckled. “You look happy.” He brushed a strand of hair back from my face.  

“Do I?” My French braid had loosened, and I probably looked demented, not happy. But—so what? “I guess I am.” I laughed, reached back to undo the barrette and shake out my hair to rebraid it. “It felt good, you know? Not just the dancing. I never liked cumbia. It always seemed kind of—" I lowered my voice, "—vulgar.”
  
I didn’t want to offend anyone here, but beyond that, I was ashamed to admit this now. Telling Michael felt okay, though. Why don’t I feel judged by him?   

"It didn’t look vulgar to me," he said, then grinned. "It looked hot."

"Michael."

"What?" He laughed. "It did.  Sexy, and—"

"Stop it," I said, trying to untangle my hair with my fingers, not doing a very good job, not caring very much either.

When I began to redo the braid, Michael reached out and stopped me. “Wait.”

Had he seen something—a leaf, maybe—in my hair? But he ran his fingers through it, gingerly at first, letting it spread down my back, then more deliberately, hefting its weight. It felt good.

"Why don’t you leave it loose," he murmured, "like this?”

“Too messy.”

“Just for a little while?”

Well, why not? I let my head lean the tiniest bit into the movement of his hand. He was doing the sexy humming thing again, and his fingers felt wonderful. My skin tingled.

“I didn’t expect it,” I mumbled.

“What?”

“To be welcomed like this. Here.”

“Why?” His fingers were burrowing deeper. I should stop him.
Instead I shifted, to let his hand reach the other side of my head. His fingers were pure magic, and found the exact spots that needed rubbing.  

“If Sergio—anyone here—came to a party with my friends, they’d be treated like outsiders.”

Michael let out a breath. “The more I hear about your friends the less I want to meet them.”

“They’re nice people. It’s just—they don’t mix.”

“You mean with other classes—a lower class?”

The pressure of his fingers softened, intensified, softened again.  My eyes wanted to close.  

"They’re just—so afraid, of anything different." I mumbled.  Where did that come from?

People still danced, groups of conversation around them. Laughter rang even above the music.  

“Many of these people only met tonight," I said. "And everyone’s having a great time together.  They’re so—open.”

“You’re like that too, Lex.”  Michael moved closer and his breath skimmed the exposed skin between my jaw and my shoulder.  

I shivered. "I’m not.  I’m scared of strangers."

“I was a stranger."

And you’re terrifying. "That’s different."

"Why?"

"You’re not from here. And just for the record, I am scared of you."

His fingers were doing wonderful things in my hair, and his voice was very close to my ear when he said, "I’m scared of you, too."

~ ~ ~

If you're curious and want to know more about the story, get a little more background, perhaps, you can find a bit here.

Thanks again for the visit, and look forward to your comments. Have a lovely Saturday in the meantime!

13 comments :

  1. I know I'm ot participating this week,but welcome to Sweet saturday Samples. I love your writing style and your sample has left me wanting more.

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    1. Hi Sherry! Good to see you on *this* SSS too! Thanks for stopping by, and for your encouragement :) I'll look forward to seeing some of your work next week!

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  2. Ah the age old conflict of where do we belong---always a good subject. Best of luck with this.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! It *is* an old conflict, isn't it? You'd think we'd have figured out a way to sort through it faster--and less painfully--by now :D Thanks for the visit!

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  3. Great excerpt. His fingers in her hair -- so sensual. A lovely, vivid scene.

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    1. Thank you, Sandy! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  4. Loved your sample--welcome to SSS by the way. It set up the characters well, yet left me wanting to know more about them. Always a good thing. My only technical comment was your inner dialogue in italics for Alexia. We're already in first person POV so we're in her head. Why shift shift the tense? It kind of threw me out of her head for a minute. Otherwise, pretty smooth. Good luck with your pitch!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words--I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good food for thought re the italics for internal thoughts--partly I did it that way because the story is told in memoir style--Alexia telling her story. It seemed natural to have internal thoughts marked, somehow, but you have a very valid point: if we're already in her POV, is it really necessary? Thanks for the observation--it's things like these that make us think outside the box, shift our paradigms, and in the end become better writers (I hope).

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  5. Loved the sensuality of Michael's fingers in her hair and the way she wanted to resist him but couldn't. Made me want to know more.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jean--glad you liked this excerpt. Yeah, Michael's a whole can of worms for Alexia--she's doing her best to resist him, but losing the battle :D

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  6. Good luck with pitching the book and welcome to Sweet Sat Samples.
    I enjoyed the scene

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    1. Thanks, Lindsay! I've had a blast so far with Sweet Sat Samples, and I look forward to getting to know you all better each week. Glad the scene worked for you.

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  7. There's something about a guy playing with your hair... ;-) Nice last line, too! BEST WISHES at the conference!!

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