What I'm reading: The Summer Hideaway, by Susan Wiggs.
What makes you pick up a book? For many, it's the cover. For others, it's the teaser on the back cover. One of the required tasks of Five Star is to complete a multi-page "Ancillary Materials" form. This includes things like author bio, complete synopsis to be used by the art department for cover design, "catalog copy" which they will include in their promotion to libraries, front and back cover flap copy (these are hard cover books with dust jackets) and so on. Another section is the excerpt, which goes on the back cover.
There are a couple of rules for the excerpt. 1: No more than 175 words. 2: It has to be lifted directly from the book. No editing.
It's been a while since I looked at this manuscript, but I had to revisit it to work on the forms. I'm humbly requesting your help here. Heck, I'm groveling!
I've narrowed it down to 4 possibilities. If you'll indulge me and read them, then take the poll (link after the last excerpt) to let me know which you prefer (if any), I'd really, really appreciate it. And if you'd send your friends over, I'd really, really, REALLY appreciate it.
#1 She'd barely managed to shut off the computer and grab her jump drive when she heard voices in the hall. Something about a date. God, with the kazillion bedrooms in this mansion, why would someone sneak in here for a quickie?
"You sure?" another voice whispered.
Even in a whisper, there was no mistaking the gender of the second voice. Male, like the first. Miri closed her eyes and magnified her prayers tenfold. She did not want to think about what might go on while she pretended to be invisible.
Blood drummed in her ears. Footsteps approached. Too late, she realized that when she'd ducked for cover, she'd gone in headfirst, which meant that her butt would be the first thing anyone saw if they checked under the desk. She squished herself into as tiny a package as she could, silently cursing the short skirt the caterer demanded its female staff wear. She wasn't exactly displaying her greatest asset.
Oh God, a warm hand touched that asset. She jerked away.
#2 As soon as he opened his mouth, Miri knew it was Texas. Had he recognized her? Afraid to study his face, she ducked her head, painfully aware she was blushing. Where was his Aussie boyfriend? Right. As if she really believed the two men were a couple. They'd been up to something in the study, and it wasn't sex.
He leaned on the back of the chair next to hers. The essence of sandalwood removed any doubt of his identity.
"We're both a little out of place here, aren't we?" he said. "Age-wise, I mean."
She shrugged, trying to ignore the way his drawl heated her insides.
"You didn't answer my question. Would you like a drink? Or a dance?"
If she recognized his voice, he'd know hers. She shook her head and pointed to her throat. "Laryngitis," she whispered.
"Ah," he said. "I have just the thing."
#3 Dalton slid a pair of goggles over his eyes, raised himself on his elbows and looked around. He sighed, apparently convinced it wasn't secure to cross the open space to reach the entrance. He spoke into his mic. "I need a diversion away from my position. Two civilians to move to safety." He did his listening thing, then said, "Roger."
"Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on?" Miri demanded. "My sister needs help and you're out here playing soldier. It's clear enough you're no private investigator."
"It's complicated." His gaze moved constantly, from her to Paco, then out into the distance and back again.
"Yeah, well, try me." Her voice rose above a whisper. "I might be a little slow on the uptake, given I'm not usually in the middle of the OK Corral, but I'm not stupid."
"Will you be quiet? We need three minutes." He clamped his hand over her mouth. "They'll hear you."
She resisted the temptation to bite his hand.
#4 The car jolted and jarred over the uneven surface. Rocks clunked against the undercarriage. She slowed, then decided to brave another quick flash of the lights to make sure she wasn't going to hit something or end up in a ditch. Before she could twist the knob, a bright light almost blinded her. Closing her eyes, she slammed on the brakes.
The car stopped. She opened her eyes. All she could see was a flashlight beam and a shadowy form behind it. What now? She clicked on the high beams.
Try to blind me, will you? Take that, idiot!
"Get out of my car, dirtbag."
She started at the voice. Not again. She rolled down the window. "Dalton, damn it. Get out of the way. I've got to get Nancy to the hospital."
He stepped forward and ducked to window level. "Are you crazy? You're driving my car through a combat zone."
Thanks so much for getting this far. Please let me know what you think. It's all anonymous (which is why I'm not asking for you to respond in the comments, but you're free to do so). I'll let the survey run for a week, so pass the word. Please. (Have I groveled enough?)
Click here to take survey
Tomorrow, my guest, author Amber Polo has something special: A trip to Taos, NM where she'll tell us about her Yoga as Muse experience. You won't want to miss it!
And for anyone wondering about the pots on the beach from Friday's post: They're octopus traps. Anyone get it right?