But first, I want to thank everyone *immensely* for the birthday wishes! It was a lovely weekend made even lovelier by all the fabulous, happy thoughts coming my way. Grazie mille!
And now, the winner of a free, signed copy of Justin Catanoso‘s My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles from the commenters on my blog is:
Leanne of From Australia to Italy
Congratulations Leanne! I’ll be in touch!
I’ve gotten several emails asking whether I’m going to be doing NaNoWriMo again this year. So I’m making it official here and now:
Yes, yes I am NaNo-ing, and you can find me here:
For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s more international than national, but it *is* all about writing a novel–or at least 50,000 words throughout the month of November.
Last year, I got up close to half that mark, but sadly, haven’t worked much on those 21,000 words since. So here’s my question to you: should I bend the rules of NaNo and continue that story, or should I start anew with a whole new idea (yet to be thought of)?
In some respects, I’m excited to get going on something new and interested to see where it takes me, but then, well, last year’s characters have been running around in my head lately too, and I’m wondering whether they don’t have more to say.
But on the other hand, they could also say things in, say, January and make room for new faces, no?
Can you tell I’m a Libra? Balancing, weighing, difficulty deciding….
So what do you think? How about an excerpt of last year’s unfinished novel, so you know what, and who, we’re talking about? Here are the first 450 words or so:
“All I want is a coffee…strong, bitter, small!” yelled Saliha Abu Al-Fadl, her deep brown eyes glaring at the only man who could give her what she wanted.
It felt good to shout. She couldn’t remember the last time she had done it.
Nearby Salvatore Amato’s head was pulled from an article on military spending. He sought out the raised voice. Behind him to his left, was, as he expected, a damsel in distress. Always a sucker for such a thing, he folded the Philadelphia Inquirer under his arm and rushed, as much as an 83-year-old man can rush, over to the coffee counter.
“Excuse me, can I help?” he said as much to the woman as to the barista.
The woman wearing a burkha turned around and looked straight into a pair of coal black eyes framed by bushy white eyebrows and a rather pronounced nose. She glanced down and took quick note of his dark grey suit, white shirt, and black tie with small white crosses on it.
He topped off the look with a black derby, white band of course, that made her think of the old American gangster films. Her son, an increasingly famous movie producer, had sent her hundreds of his own favorite movies so that she could share his passion while learning English.
And now this animated gangster was waving a wooden cane back and forth at the young man behind the counter.
“She’ll have an espresso doppio,” said Salvatore. A smirk sneaked out from underneath a wild white mustache as he turned to Saliha. “My kind of woman,” he said as he looked into the woman’s pools of espresso for eyes and added a wink for good measure.
Saliha looked to the man behind the counter, hoping that the stranger had spoken the correct words. The coffee on the plane from Iraq had been watered down and weak, and she needed something much stronger to get through the day ahead.
“Well that’s all she had to say,” said the barista and turned away. He slammed the metal container holding the last brew hard against the end of the drawer that holds the old grounds.
“They have a strange language at these shops,” Salvatore said. “You may speak perfect English, and complimenti, it seems like you do, but it certainly doesn’t help you get a coffee here.” He took a black handkerchief out of his jacket pocket and wiped his forehead clean of the sweat that had formed on his walk over.
“Thank you sir,” Saliha said and turned back toward the counter to await her first coffee on American soil. As the machine hissed and gurgled, she could no longer contain her anticipation. Her lips curled into a broad smile that only she knew was there.
So what do I do? Start anew? Continue? Help!