Sunday, January 27, 2008

Paperback Writer

I've never held a book I've written in my hands before. As much as I felt accomplishment and pride with my ebooks when they were published, there was something special about seeing The Violin with its beautiful cover resting in my hands. It felt--- soul-satisfying. Not to get all sappy over it but it was a momentous occasion for me and I just wanted to share that with you.
I'm having a contest celebrating the release of The Violin over at my website. I'm giving away a wonderful basket of delicious goodies and a violin pin in its own case. Check out the picture on my website. It is so cute. In the meantime, here's a little excerpt from the book.
by Sarah J. McNeal from Amira Press
Unedited Excerpt

When he arrived at the small porch at the front door of the Douglas home, he called out. “Jimbo, come and open the door.”

Jimmy came running from around the side of the house with Guess padding along behind him. What happened to Evie?” he asked breathlessly. “Did she pass out again?”

Jimmy ran to the door and opened it. His dog followed him, both of them darting around John almost knocking him and Genevieve off the porch before John could enter the house with his arms full of Genevieve along with her packages, shoes, shawl and hat.

Matilda came running into the parlor from the kitchen. Her hand flew up to her mouth as she exclaimed, “My goodness is she alright?” Then she smoothed her apron and seemed to get hold of her emotions when she took a closer look at Genevieve's face. Genevieve was certain her appearance was a sight, her face stained with tears, her disheveled and her belongings in her lap.

“Sit her down on the couch, John,” Matilda directed. She hastened to Genevieve’s side as John carefully sat her on the couch. “What happened?” Her hands busily moved setting Genevieve's belongings aside and brushing Genevieve's hair out of her face.

John choked down a chuckle and said, “She tried to stuff her grown up feet into some little girl shoes.”

Jimmy laughed and said, “Why that’s just stupid.”
Genevieve was so mortified she couldn’t speak.

“Mind your manners, Jimmy,” Matilda scolded. “And you, too, John. The two of you aren’t so big I can’t take a switch to you.”

“Yes Ma’am,” they replied simultaneously.

Genevieve had to let out a giggle at that. A half grown boy and a fully-grown man were no match for a mother like Matilda. She was a self-possessed, determined and loving woman who would face an angry mountain cat to save her child and give her child a sound thrashing if he misbehaved. Genevieve respected and loved her already.

“Fetch the foot tub from the back porch, Jimmy,” Matilda commanded taking control of the situation. “John, get two buckets of water from the pump.”

As soon as the two males left the room, Matilda kneeled on the floor beside Genevieve and gently took her feet one at a time in her caring hands. She shook her head and clucked with her tongue. “My, my, this must truly hurt.”

Genevieve nodded her head. Her bottom lip trembled as she tried to hold back a flood of tears. Unable to find mastery over her feelings and her pride weakened by such caring attention, Genevieve found her tears flowing freely down her cheeks.

It wasn’t just about the pain of her blistered feet that made her weep. Genevieve was touched by the way this family so kindly received her and the gentle attention they bestowed upon her. She could handle pain, abandonment and neglect, but not this.

John was real.

Genevieve’s heart filled with a peculiar kind of joy. It was the joy that comes from feeling safe and secure. She had never felt that way her whole life. She looked down at the graying auburn hair of John’s mother and love flowed through her like warm liquid. She never wanted to leave any of them again. She wanted to stay in this world, in this time forever.

Then, like a dark cloud deflecting the sun, she remembered. John was going to die and the family she felt so safe with now was going to fall into chaos.

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