Sunday, November 8, 2015

A New Excerpt For My Patient Audience

I'm almost reluctant to post this excerpt as it deals with a pivotal moment in the book, but I think it's both vague and enticing enough to whet your appetites more. This entire scene has been exhausting to write but I think it is coming together exactly the way I wanted it.

We are once again reminded that our heroine, Miss Annalise McLean, is no saint. What she is upset about remains for you to find out on launch day.

Have fun!


Anna dissolved into a fresh wave of tears and buried her face in the couch pillow. After several body-racking sobs she let out a horrendous scream at the top of her lungs, only for the sound to die into the upholstered surface muffling her mouth. She screamed again and again into the pillow, feeling her throat vibrate and strain, emptying her lungs in one shriek of grief after another until nearly hoarse. She felt like wrecking something, like throwing Central Admin onto the floor in a rage and smashing it into tiny pieces as if it were fine china. She wanted Adam dead.

As she lay weeping on the couch a sudden craving rose up inside her, a bitter tide of lust for numbness and indifference in the face of all this despair. She knew that feeling all too well but it filled her now like it never had before, consuming her body with the urge she knew she should resist at all costs. Her stomach growled at her, her head swam a bit as a pulsating ache occupied itself with tormenting her left eye.

She wanted alcohol. Now.

Her willpower to resist evaporated. Once the decision had clicked over in her brain she acted almost without thinking. A kind of tunnel vision set in and she knew she was standing and moving towards the cabinet on the far wall. It was a kind of buffet service with a wide glassed-in cabinet on top, and behind the glass lay several bottles of choice red wine. A warning bell in her mind blared in vain that it was the wine Mr. Vickers used for mass, that she ought not even touch it much less drink it like the alcoholic she knew she was. She grabbed the door handles and pulled.

The cabinet rattled but didn't open. She pulled again, and only on the third tug realized that a lock held the doors fast shut. Some neuron in her brain spasmed and she pulled her sweater sleeve over her fist and struck the glass hard. The glass splintered with a muffled crack and she cleared it away hurriedly with her wrapped hand, then reached in for the closest bottle. In her rush to extract it from its nesting place she banged her fingers on the inside edge of the door, sending excruciating pain radiating up from her knuckles. Swearing hard, she snatched up the wine key from the lower shelf and knifed open the foil around the neck of the bottle, then drove the corkscrew into the cork and extracted it with the precision and speed of a former master of the art. Without even attempting to look for a glass of any kind she put the bottle to her lips and took a long swig.


  1. Well something terrible just happened. Central Admin blew something up, killed somebody Anna cared about or something. I'm a little nervous as to who got offed. I kind of wish Fr. Vickers or someone would walk in and do or say something to help her. I love what you have done here. One of the most "unforgiveable" sinners a person can be in the eyes of the world is to be a pregnant woman who drinks. To Catholic readers, this act amounts to sacrilege too. The readers who have been paying attention to Anna's growth know that she was always a catastrophe away from this in her fragile state. She is getting pushed to her limit in unprecedented ways, and she does not have a strong faith or mentally healthy coping skills in her arsenal. My heart really weeps for her. She is going to hate herself for this moment, but right now she is too busy hating Adam and grieving. Someone needs to help her before she unravels further.

  2. My thought, since this is a dark book, is somehow central admin is forcing an abortion on her. Or perhaps have killed someone she knew in front of her to keep her in line. It does raise questions as to what brought on the inevitable.

  3. You're both in the ballpark. You'll have to wait and see what really happened, though. :-)