Weekend Writing Warriors: Pigeons (The Parnassus)

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Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

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In three days, I’m headed for the Midwest Writing Conference!

I’ll be rooming with the fabulous Sherry Stanfa-Stanley (if I can remember the name of the hotel) and workshopping, learning, and pitching.

Should be a good time.

While I obsess about what to pack (legal pads, check . . . deodorant, double-check), have a look at a few more sentences from Pigeons—which, for any agent or editor tuning in, is not a caper novel (right, Linda?).  It’s a heartwarming mystery about a group of semi-reformed thieves using their dubious talents to get their boss a bone marrow donor.

In Vegas, baby.

Las Vegas Strip (Panorama)

McRae was fully aware that there were only a handful of people who could tell him he was wrong and make him listen: the judge who had finally convicted him of fraud, Blaine, occasionally Vince . . . and Judith.

Damn, it was good to have her back.

Nymphs in sheer chitons framed the entrance to the casino proper, but he didn’t give them a second glance before stepping into the grand maze of the casino floor.

He let it wash over him for a moment—not just the bells and whistles, the pulsing music, the colors and lights, but the feel of hopes and dreams and despair all coming down to a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, a bluff, a final call.

Vince spoke in his ear, breaking the spell. “Boss?”

“Entering the casino now,” he said, bringing his focus back to the job at hand.


Photo credit: www78 via Flickr

Weekend Writing Warriors: Pigeons (Hide the Jack)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!


We interrupt our regularly scheduled glimpses of Full Metal Librarian to bring you eight sentences from Pigeons, the novel I’m currently shopping around.  I’ll be bringing it with me to the Midwest Writers’ Workshop at the end of this month, and I need all the practice I can get before the pitch sessions . . . 

In one sentence, Pigeons is a caper novel about a group of ex-cons who are using every trick they know to track down the estranged family of their boss and mentor, a legendary reformed huckster who needs a bone marrow transplant.

Needs work, I know . . .

Saul and Cassie are secondary characters, but I love them both—though I’d never play poker with either of them:

Full houses in poker

Saul put an elbow on the fresh pack while he flipped over the used one and counted through the cards. He snapped his fingers and held out a hand.

Cassie rolled her eyes and fished two queens out of her low neckline. “Just for luck,” she said.

“It isn’t working,” Saul said. “And neither is the ace in your back waistband.”


“And I don’t even want to know where you’re keeping the jack.”


Back up for a Second . . .

I’ve kept to my self-inflicted curfew for a week now, and barring that first night, when I missed it by fifteen minutes, I’ve either gone to bed at 10:30 or even before.

The effects of an extra measly half-hour or hour of sleep are interesting.  Showering with my eyes open is a novel experience—I haven’t mistaken anything for the shampoo since last Wednesday.  It’s also easier to put in my contacts for some reason.

Despite my worries that I would be decreasing my already questionable productive writing time, I’ve managed to do some solid work on what appears to have been chosen by my subconscious as my Next Non-Pigeon Drop Project, though it’s early days, yet, so who knows.  I have a sheaf of possibilities—not to mention the Nano novelettes—and it’s proving slightly difficult to step off  the paths that have been worn into my imagination.

And to be honest, I’m a little leery of dropping (pun not intended) the Pigeon mindset—I’m not sure I should let it entirely go until it find a home and edits are finally final.  But I am starting to pry my mental fingers from it, very gently, one by one.

And I’ve stopped carrying around the Big Pink flash drive which has been my constant companion for over a year and contains all my Pigeon drafts, notes, character charts, outlines, synopses, queries, etc., plus a few other things as well.

It’s an odd feeling—weirder than waking up before breakfast.

It feels a bit like forgetting to put my wedding ring on after I make biscuits–though instead of looking at my bare finger and gasping in shock, I slap my front right pocket and my heart hits my large colon with a panicked bang.

I made regular file back-ups—I learned that lesson the hard way, with a couple of heartbreaking refreshers—but there was an emotional investment in having my book with me wherever I went, even if I knew I wouldn’t be anywhere near a computer.  A constant reminder and focus.

But it’s time to step back a bit.  It’s not just that I need time and separation from Pigeon right now so I can send it out into the world without hyperventilating,* it’s that my laptop is having trouble reading Big Pink and I’ve decided it needs a rest from riding around all day in a warm pocket and being dragged out and jammed into strange USB ports and I just realized that I sound like a cyberpimp for a CGIgolo or something, which is certainly not my intention.

Pink ThingIt is also not my intention to lose anything on that flash drive, so after a particularly frustrating five minutes the other night,** I gave Big Pink its own folder on my desktop and whisked it away to the Small Drawer of Retired Flash Drives, where it will share war stories with the former agent known only as “F:”,*** which also has a memorial desktop folder.

My organizational system defies logic, which I like to see as just another layer of security.

Regardless, I appear to be moving on—and on a bit more sleep than usual.  We’ll see how it goes.

Think it’s too soon to adopt another flash drive?

How do you move on from major projects?


Don’t Forget!!!

 You have until midnight CST tonight to send me your Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poems for a chance to win the CafePress mug of your dreams.

The rules, regs, and my poor effort are here.

Happy Writing!!


*Which doesn’t bode well for the first couple weeks of Jane and Sunny’s college careers.

**During which I may or may not have screamed at my laptop, “What do you mean you can’t detect it?  It’s right here and bright stinkin’ pink!!” and Sunny may or may not have pointed helpfully to my laptop lid and said, “Hold it up to the camera eye, Mommy, right there.”

***So named after its original designation on my first laptop.  I am a simple people.

That’s the Ticket

The good news:  I didn’t actually hit the Sheriff’s Department car.  The very nice deputy didn’t cite me for not using my turn signal and didn’t take my license.  The kids weren’t in the car. I now know what it’s like to be issued a traffic ticket, should I ever need to describe the experience.

The bad news: After twenty-six years, my perfect driving record* is shot.  I owe the county $120 for improper overtaking complacent stupidity.  I’ve got the shakes from the near accident.

On the other hand, it’s a terrific excuse to stay home, send out some queries, and get my Nanowrimo word count up.  I need a day or so moment or two before I get behind the wheel again.

Frank, July 9, 2011 - pigeon

To be perfectly honest, and despite the good game I’ve been talking, I’ve been delaying querying Pigeon out of what I like to describe as last-minute tweaking, but which is slightly closer to indecisive paralysis.  I described myself to a friend yesterday as Schrödinger‘s Pigeon—both Ready and Not Ready—and whined to Watson  last night that I could send any number of articles and historical monologues out into the world without blinking, but I couldn’t seem to kick this one bird out of the nest.

She shrugged and said, “That’s because this isn’t non-fiction.  This one is all you.”

And that’s it, isn’t it?

But I’m stronger than I was yesterday, and my latest Learning Experience™ has clarified things for me.

I now know,  in my heart, that if every agent in both hemispheres decide to pass on Pigeon Drop, at least not a single one of them will fine me $120.

It will not go on my record.  My license will not be revoked.

And after a shaky moment, or two, I will be driving writing again.

Pigeon Drop

(Upper Photo Credit:  “Frank”, via pat00139)
(Lover Photo Credit: “Pigeon Drop”, via Dunnock_


*We shall not speak of parking.  Ever.