My Novels

My Novels
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Apr 30, 2011


Zambia’s zany zoologist Zane zags and zigs as he zeros in on zephyr zippers.

Apr 29, 2011


How John felt he’d done nothing wrong, I couldn’t fathom. I sat with my knees pulled tightly to my chest, the clock ticked over to 3:30am. It felt like years since I’d hung up the phone with Eli. A lifetime since I’d boarded the plane to California. Eons since I’d stuffed my clothes in a bag and left John to deal with his mess on his own. Had it only been fifteen minutes since I dropped the cell phone into the rumpled sheets covering the hotel mattress?

I remembered John’s words as though they’d been tattooed on my brain.

“It’s a boy.”

The pain seared through my veins again as I remembered the pride in his eyes. He was going to be a father. That was really all he cared about.

“Where you planning on hiding it from me forever? Or were you going to pack up and leave in the middle of the night, divorce papers being my only clue of why you’d left?” I remembered choking on all the words I wanted to spit at him.

“I would have told you, Zoey.” The pained look he gave me then was more than I could take.

I wrenched the collector’s edition 2007 world series pilsner from its sacred spot on his shelf of sports memorabilia and flung it against the wall. The shattered glass wasn’t half as satisfying as the look of gut wrenching anger that swept across John’s face.

“What the fuck are you doing?” He screamed at me as I pulled the plaque commemorating Denver’s back to back super bowl titles in 98 and 99.

I wielded the ungainly plank like piece of wood like a bat. “Stay away from me or I’ll smash it all.”

He stopped dead, his eyes sliding from the wall of chotchkies he’d spent thousands of dollars on to me and back again.

The vein in his forehead swelled as his face purpled, “I should have left you long ago you psycho bitch. If I’d known I’d get an upgrade, I would have traded you in for Barbie the day after I found out you were worthless.”

The plaque felt like it weighted a hundred pounds as his words sliced through me like a honed axe.

“Get. Out.”

“This is my house; you don’t get to order me around.”

I swung the plaque with all the force I could muster and the shelves of trinkets crashed to the floor, cases broke open, packaging tore, more glass shattered around my feet. In the symphony of his collection’s swift devaluation, I heard the angry cry and looked up at him just as the back of his hand met my cheek. The glass cut my finger tips open as I fell to the ground.

The memory stung at the swollen bruise below my eye, the tears in the flesh of my fingertips covered over with second skin.

He’d left then, offering no apology, only harsh words and the reminder of what I’d never have. I sat in the wreckage for what felt like ages before finally making my way to the bedroom. Standing at the foot of the bed, I dropped the crumpled newspaper to the thick shag carpet and struck the match head. The flame burnt my already battered fingertips before I blew it out and dropped it in the toilet. I pulled the industrial size bottle of bleach from beneath the bathroom sink instead and emptied it on the mattress.

I’d packed the few things I really cared about into a bag and driven to the airport on autopilot. And now I sat, alone and completely without a plan two miles from Eli, but without the courage to actually go to him. I’d let the bruise fade first.

Drizzle <<
This is part of an ongoing story for The Red Dress Club's Red Writing hood.
This week's prompt was: Write a piece about a fight.


Yaks yoyo, yielding yellow yams from Yosemite. Yonder yachts yearn for yarn yeasters. Yesterday Yvonne yelled at Yves for yodeling.

Apr 28, 2011


Xiphoid xi Xerox xenopus xysts. Xu, Xanthan xeararches xerotic xerosis in Xenon and Xylitol. Xylotomy in xylocarp and xanthous xanthones shows xenogeny in xyloids. Xanthate xerosere xenolith Xanax. Xanthein xylophones in Xanadu research xylem xerography and xenophobia.

Apr 27, 2011

Wretched Watermelon

Worrying warblers wrestle wretchedly with whooping whiners while working with writing wrens wish for watermelon. Willful wimps whip weakling wolves wandering in western warrens. Wanton whistlers from Warsaw wash windblown wolverines wasting with wildflowers. Walter Williams washes water over walrus and whale with wary, wrenching writhes.

Apr 26, 2011

V is for Vendetta

Evey: Who are you?
V. : Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey: Well I can see that.
V. : Of course you can, I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
Evey: Oh, right.
V. : But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.
Evey: Are you like a crazy person?
V. : I’m quite sure they will say so.

(as a side note  - if you didn't know - I did NOT write this. It was posted at the request of Jenna.)

Apr 25, 2011

Ultraviolet Unicorns

Ukranian users unband ugly ukuleles, undulating udders. Ursula’s utterly unnecessary usurping of Uruguay under unusual uvulas unmasked unwelcome uprisings.

(And that’s all I got for the “U”s)


Apr 23, 2011


Turtles trundle on treadmills taking tumultuous tumbles toward toffees. Tuscan trapezists tussle, taking tufted toucans to town, touring Tudor towers. Tarantulas timidly taper tarpaulined teepees, tracing treacherous tourmaline treaties. Tunisian’s tip torched tubs to terrify tourists. Tortured tapirs taste tough tamales tentatively.

(ignore the fact that this is showing up a day early)

Apr 22, 2011


Slimy serpents slither sneakily in Safeway’s snack section. Somalia scuba salesmen seek silly Saudi soothsayers softly sending sausages in snail-mail. Salmon shirts slung safely, surround scrawny, satin skinned scouts. Sonographers search shady shale shelves south of Sonoma.

Apr 21, 2011

Red Roaches

Robby’s robust and raucous rampages, run rife as regal rhinos riddling Russia. Red roaches rest in Rome’s recesses, researching royal race regulations, reading Rackham. Round radishes ripple, restrained in rough rope, realistically rhomboid radicchio refreshes Rachael’s rear. Ray rebuffs Rigel over refreshing reams of rucksacked rice.


Apr 20, 2011

Q-words will no longer look like Q-words

Quentin quipped quietly quartering the queen’s quilt, quizzing Quince on Quahogs and Quinoa. Quickly querying quadric quips, questing quarrelsome quicksilver, Quentine quells quarts quite quakingly to quench quintuplet quays. Quill quits quarry quantum QWERTY quasar quotas quizzically.


Apr 19, 2011


Perambulating penguins probably prefer pneumonia past posh Peruvian psoriasis. Proboscises permeate portions of primary prose, pulling prehistoric prejudices, pushing proud prams piled with prepubescent preparatory punks. Perfunctory primates, prim and prissy, prohibit postulating people.


Apr 18, 2011


Oppidan obelisk overshadow Ontario’s outskirts. Outdoor ombrologists ogle ornery orchids omitting others on overcast Oktoberfest. Ornithic observers “ooo” over ostrich ovum. Omnistic oligarchies overthrowing Ottoman orangutan in obsequious occlusion, opine to obstinate ovines. Olly’s ozostomia obscures optics. Overly obsidian oxen obliterate Oregon owleries. Orange and olive ore originates occipitally.


Apr 16, 2011


Naked nails noodled nymphly navels, not nearing nose nectar of a narcotic nature. Ned needled, nagging Nancy to negate, “Nope, not Neo-Nazi!” her neck narrowly navigating naught but a Noose. Nun’s niece neglected her nightgown, needing a nightingale’s nonet, never notching a new name in her neat Norse, nickel necklace. Nuggets of Neptune’s Neon Neighbors Nirvana and Narcissus never needed nuances. Nosing her nacho napkin Natalie noted the nauseating Nativity’s numerous Nutcrackers, while Norman nodded to notaries in his nerd nest noticing nothing of Natalie’s nightly nomad ninja novel.


Apr 15, 2011


Medusa’s mythos and Machiavellian minotaurs master morbidity, masticating Madagascar’s mutated, majestic Mares. My monkey’s marvelous malevolence mixed mystery and moody mastodon migration. Manitoba mires, multiplying macaroons mere months more. A mitigating militia moors mast-bound, moping mules. Maple masher mush maroon monitors and microphones.


Apr 14, 2011


The phone buzzed incessantly on the nightstand. I looked at the red numbers on the hotel’s digital clock and groaned. 2:47AM stared back at me and I glared at it. I’d just gotten to sleep. The number wasn’t one I recognized. I ignored it, rolling back over and hugging the pillow tighter.

After the row John and I had gotten into I just wanted to sleep. I still had to go back to get my things and figure out what the heck I was going to do from here.

The phone buzzed again. Drunk dialing wasn’t something I was up for tonight.

I needed to find a place to live, I needed to figure out if I could afford to live off my photography alone – of that I was doubtful. I knew I couldn’t afford the house. I didn’t want it anymore. My stomach threatened to convulse into dry heaves again.

I’d wanted to throw something heavy at him when he told me he’d brought that woman into our home. The compulsion to burn the mattress that second was something I barely kept myself from – I’d had the matches.

That was a line of decency I’d never crossed with Eli. The fact John didn’t have the same courtesy made me sicker than almost any thing. The fact that he was stupid enough to bring it up had been the most shocking part of the fight his girlfriend’s pregnancy had sparked.

The phone buzzed again. Wrenching it from the nightstand, I answered with a terse, “What?”

The other end was silent for a second, “Zoe?” The woman’s voice was timid.

“Who is this?” I was too surprised it was actually a call for me to be anything but curious now.

“It’s Tilly. Tilly Andrews. I’m sorry to call you, I know it’s late, but I’m in a bit of a pickle and yours is the only number I’ve got that still gets me to someone.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Actually, I need Eli’s number. I’m really hoping you have it. I know you guys were close back in College.” The questioning tone in her voice told her she wasn’t sure I was the right person to be asking.

I was probably the last number she tried.

“I might,” I lied, “I’d have to look for it. Can I maybe help you instead?”

“Um,” the uncertainty came across the line loud and clear. “I’m moving back to the states and Eli had mentioned that maybe I could stay with him for a while… jut till I get things sorted out.”

“You and all your kids?” I couldn’t imagine Eli’s two bedroom house hosting her brood.

She paused again and I could tell she really wasn’t comfortable talking about this. “No, it’ll just be me. Victor got the kids in the divorce.” Pain drenched her words.

It was my turn to pause. “Let me look for his number. Can I call you back on this line?”

“Yeah. I’m boarding a plane in three hours, so I need it as soon as you can get it. I won’t have internet access until I land in L.A.”

Promising to call her right back, I hung up the phone. Pressing the 3 on speed dial, I ignored the tugging of my conscious reminding me I was a bad person. I didn’t need an internal sermon.

Eli picked up on the second ring, sounding groggy but concerned. “Hey, what’s wrong? Its 3 in the morning.”

I balked. The accusing fingers of jealousy that had been slowly creeping up my spine. Loosened their death grip. I hadn’t talked to him in a while. He still needed to know what was going on with John.

“John and I are through.” I explained the situation briefly and he listened like he always did, like he always had.

“Come stay with me, just to get your mind off of it.”

“I can’t,” the words came out before I could stop them. “You have a house guest arriving shortly. Tilly’s on her way back from Peru.”

It was Eli’s turn to be silent. I wondered if the fight we’d had before that trip decades ago was as fresh in his mind as it was in mine.

Pouring << >>Thunder
This week's TRDC Prompt was:

"In the middle of the night, you get an urgent call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Something terrible has happened. What is it and why is he/she calling you?" Word limit: 700

Lachrymos Lake?

Little Latin lovers languish longingly last in line. Lavish lions lust o’er luxurious, lint-free linen, lounging ‘long languid Latvian lakes. Lachrymose lemurs lift Lira like laksidasical leaches, lingering lankily in London. Lamar lurches liquid lapis, lasing lavender in a loathsome larynx. Leprechaun lords lunch for lard, leaping leviathans.

Apr 13, 2011

Kiwi(fruit), Kiwi(Bird) or Kiwi(New Zealander)?

Killer Kangaroos in kimonos kick keen kindergarteners in Kalamazoo. King kipper kin keep kale and kidney knowledge in a knitted khaki knapsack. Knaves knife knickers at the knees. Kittens kiss kitchen klutzs knocking ketchup and kerosene kettles in to kindling with key karate kicks. Katie knows Koala kind ken Kauai.

Apr 12, 2011


Original Picture Source

Jousting jaunters jingle in jelly jamborees, jumping Jell-o jungles jubilantly. Jesse’s Jangling jeans jeer jealous juggernaut jerks. Jamaican jury justice just jiggles judgment on Jambalaya juggling jackalopes.

Apr 11, 2011


Icicles incidentally incline Inuits in iridescent inklings. Interesting incidents include interventions in irrigation. Idle iguanas irritate inebriated Incan inscribers in irresponsible instances. Italy in this instance insists in impartiality, irrevocably insisting instability.


Apr 9, 2011

Haralding Hares

High Hopes heeded headily hover with histrionics. Harold heals heartbreak hefting harmonious harpsichord heraldry. Hence heraldic horses heave harrowingly heavy hatchers heavenward. Highly hoisted hearings held haughtily hovering o’er hovels, heed helpful hostess hipsters.


Apr 8, 2011

Friday Counts 4/8

This week’s count on the WiP:

Last week:

Query Critique # 11 - The Final Clue

The Final Clue by Cheryl


Dear Ms. Keuser,

Some things in life never turn out the way we want them to.

Agent Gina Russo can't get past the heartbreak of her life. She flips when a yellow rose is delivered to her home three years later reminding her of what happened.

William Nicolas Mancuso, whom is presumed dead, vows to tangle with Russo whom he holds responsible for his younger brother's life sentence and to free the unbearable guilt he lives with.

Agent Joey Zicara is assigned to assist Russo and extremely attracted to her, but she drives him crazy with her stubbornness and lack of trust as they race to stop Mancuso.

Agent Russo is furious with Mancuso's ridiculous game and how personal he's made it.

Mancuso is ecstatic he's ten steps ahead of her and causing chaos in her life.

Agent Zicara is determined to discover who Mancuso is and figure out what the hell Russo's problem is as he tries to win her over.

THE FINAL CLUE is a 130,000 word debut crime novel, the first of a possible series. Filled with action, twists and turns, combined with a touch of humor and leaves one wondering what the hell went wrong.

Thank you for you time and consideration. I hope to share the full manuscript with you soon.

[Contact information redacted]


Dear Ms. Keuser,

Some things in life never turn out the way we want them to. [I’d cut this. For one, it reads awkwardly, for another, it doesn’t tell us anything.]

Agent Gina Russo can't get past the heartbreak of her life. She flips when a yellow rose is delivered to her home three years later reminding her of what happened. [This is super vague. What kind of agent is she? What’s this heartbreak she can’t get over? Why is the yellow rose significant? These are all questions that aren’t answered and leave me wondering what the heck you’re talking about. I’d suggest rewording it to something along the lines of: “Federal agent Gina Russo can’t get past the heart break of getting the man she loved sentenced for life. She flips when a yellow rose is left on her doorstep three years to the date after the trial, her ex in the state pen was the only one who knew her favorite flower.” I took some liberties there… and I’m probably all wrong about the details, but something needs to be interjected there.]

William Nicolas Mancuso [do we need all three names?], whom is presumed dead [this comes across awkwardly – I’d say: “ William Mancuso, a man Gina thought was dead…”], vows to tangle [this almost seems too… unreactive? Maybe something like... “vows to exact revenge,” or “vows to ruin her life as well” Tangle doesn’t seem harsh enough.”] with Russo whom he holds responsible for his younger brother's life sentence [I’d end the sentence there, because this next part feels disjointed] and to free the unbearable guilt he lives with. [Why is he guilty? Was his brother put away for something he did? Either explain it, or leave it off.]

Agent Joey Zicara is assigned to assist Russo and extremely attracted to her, but she drives him crazy with her stubbornness and lack of trust as they race to stop Mancuso. [After stubbornness… the sentence no longer makes sense. I think this could better serve your query broken up. “When Agent Joey Zicara is assigned to assist in Russo’s case, he never imagined he’d find himself attracted to her. Her stubbornness drives him crazy and the fact that she refuses to trust him is affecting the case. Zicara will have to get past the wall of cold looks if he has any hope of nabbing Mancuso and mending Russo’s heart.” – you get the gist.]

Agent Russo is furious with Mancuso's ridiculous game and how personal he's made it. [How has he made it personal? This sentence does nothing for you except fill space.]
Mancuso is ecstatic he's ten steps ahead of her and causing chaos in her life. [I’d cut this entirely]
Agent Zicara is determined to discover who Mancuso is and figure out what the hell Russo's problem is as he tries to win her over. [I’d cut this too.]
[This final set of sentences only makes the query choppier. I’d ditch all of them and end with the paragraph above.]

THE FINAL CLUE is a 130,000 word debut crime novel, the first of a possible series. Filled with action, twists and turns, combined with a touch of humor and leaves one wondering what the hell went wrong. [This last part isn’t technically a sentence. That could be fixed by throwing an ‘it’ in there. I think that you should also end it by saying “…. one wondering: what the hell when wrong?”]

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to share the full manuscript with you soon.

[Contact information redacted]


This is a very choppy query. There needs to be a sense of flow and with these quick paragraphs of one or two sentences, It gets very segmented.

Inciting incident – From this query, I’d guess your inciting incident is the rose being found on her door step… but I have no idea how that pushes things along. You need to tell us how this whole thing is started and I don’t get that from the query.

Word count – I don’t know the particulars on crime novels, as I don’t write them, but I’m pretty sure 130k is too high, even for that genre. I’d suggest reading through it, looking for ways to tighten the story.

First noves & Series - You shouldn't advertise that it's your first novel, if you're not published, they'll know because you haven't listed publication. If you don't mention its your first novel an agent is less likely to assume this is the first thing you've written and are just throwing it at them. A series is something you should talk to an agent about after you've got one. Just leave that part out.
Gulping gallons of Gatorade gets gluttons gasping. Guppies greedily grasp garish green grass, getting grafter’s gear grubby. Gruffly giggling grouse gouge gross garcons going grudgingly gee to Georgia. Gaggles of geese gawk at glib ganders, gushing glassy gazes. Goofy Genevieve glowers grandly.


Apr 7, 2011


Nancy took my confused silence to mean I was upset over the revelation of John’s infidelity. I suppose that was close enough. I was relieved, and that upset me. Shouldn’t I be mad? Shouldn’t I be livid? I’d imagined what would happen if John had ever found out about Eli. Every scenario that played through my head involved a fight. Why didn’t it hurt more?

As I contemplated why I couldn’t be a hypocrite about John and his girlfriend, Nancy led me silently to the coffee shop on the other end of the park. I ordered my regular without sparing it or the barista a second thought and Nancy led me to a table and I sat with my back to the door.

When I finally broke from my confused state, I looked at Nancy as honestly as I could, “I don’t understand? I feel like I should be mad at him or something.”

Her eyebrow arched as she looked at me over the foam of her cappuccino. “Ironically, his girlfriend is about to walk in the door. That might help you with those feelings you think you should be experiencing.”

My heart froze. I looked at her hoping to see the slightest hint she was joking. Nothing in her countenance told me she was trying to play a trick on me. The bell on the door jangled as it opened and I begged myself not to turn around.

Watching Nancy’s eyes follow her from the door to the counter, I felt my stomach leap into my throat as she ordered a green tea. Before I could stop myself, I’d turned. She stood facing the counter with her back to me. From this vantage, all I knew for certain was that her sandy blonde hair fell in waves halfway down her back and she had an ass that was no doubt molded by hours of yoga.

I couldn’t turn away. I had to see her face.

When she finally turned, I looked her straight in the eye. She was in her mid twenties, and as her eyes locked with mine, her eyes grew wide and the cup slipped from her hand, the half steeped tea flowing over the tiles at her feet. Then, her face was the last thing that I cared about –the bulge under her shirt drew all my attention.

As though a hand had punched through my stomach, clenching around my internal organs I could barely breathe. She had to be six months along, at the very least.

She bolted for the door as I turned back to Nancy. The bewildered look on my best friend’s face told me she hadn’t known and as much as I felt like she’d set me up for it. I knew she’d understand the fissure that cracked across my heart at that.

Staring at my hands around my latte, I couldn’t bear to talk. The anger I thought I should have had welled up inside me like an shaken bottle of champagne. Anxious bubbles fizzing under my skull.

The one thing I could never have, this woman had stolen.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.” Nancy placed her hand on top of mine, trying to console me.

I knew now, no matter what, it was truly over. That woman had given him the one thing he’d always wanted.

“His father would have been proud.”

Overcast<< >>drizzle


As always, this is a prompt from The Red Dress Club's Red Writing Hood. It is entirely fiction.

Prompt: Someone has stolen something from you (or your character). Something of tremendous value. What will you do to get it back? Or will you give up? Write a post - fiction or non - and tell us about it. Word limit is 600.

Fredrick & Fruit Fattened Felines

Fastidious felines fall fervently for frozen fruit, foremost finding ferally fibrous fig fronds. Fredrick flounders for five frequent figures finding fortuitous freshman feel frisky from frat’s fondling. Fever follows forty fruit fattened felines flopping for French fries. Fruit finds faster forms for festering.


Apr 6, 2011

Evie’s Ermines

Every elegant ermine egotist equates envy and exaltation. Eagerly exchanging Easter eggs, Evelyn escapes early extension. Evelyn’s ermines eagerly enable every estranged effeminate egret. Effable errands exclude Evie everyday even entangled in effervescently enamored esteem.


Apr 5, 2011

Do Dirigibles Dilly Dally?

Dandy Derek detests digital devolution doting dubiously down Deanna’s drive. Dirigibles designed by Dior don’t dally. Deftly defeating doubters, doing dutifully delightful diversions draw dirigibles. Dissuading dogmatic demonizers doesn’t deter deist doctrines double defense. Deftly discouraging defective Dominicans, Derek drags Deanna to disembark. Dirigibles do document disruptions during departure.


Apr 4, 2011

Chloe’s Cute Cuddly Critters

Chloe’s cute cuddly, chartreuse critters cut crafty creations cautiously. Counting coniferously colored cakes, Chloe’s certain: Cajun cocktails contain cleverly clad comestibles. Cake clearly conned cravat consenting cavemen. Continuing concoctions, Chloe consoles cajoled critters conspicuously. Critters congregate in caves commencing a creative cavalcade.