Today I’m participating in PitMad on Twitter. I’m going to do pitches for two different manuscripts and see if I get any nibbles. In an effort to keep them easy to navigate, I’ll keep them in their own tidy sections. Ahem, feel free to comment (which will be WAY down the page today so don’t hurt yourself scrolling all the way down there) to let me know how much you love the stories and want to read more.

Here is a pitch for my New Adult fiction, called FROSH.

  • Hannah’s figured out life, but when she’s both betrayer & betray-ee, forgiveness is an issue. Turning the other cheek sucks. NA

This is an excerpt from FROSH.

*****

A stand of birch trees.

A stand of birch trees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I waited until after our next class, which only left me a few hours before the self-imposed deadline, when Dave and I were packing up our things.

“Um, so Dave,” I began awkwardly, hoping to keep things conversational, “Are you gonna be around not this weekend but next? I mean, do you have any big plans at all?”

I stuffed my textbook into my backpack and looked at the floor as if there was something else I needed. I couldn’t make eye contact with him.

“Nope, not yet. There’s a band I want to check out but they’re not playing that weekend. I think it’s the weekend after that. What about you?” Dave was done picking up his things, and he was ready to walk down the stairs of the lecture hall in which our class was held. I had to get this over quick.

“Well, umm, okay I, umm.” I couldn’t get the words out.

“Oh my gosh,” I said under my breath.

“What is it, Hannah? Are you okay?” Dave looked concerned. “Maybe you should sit back down,” he suggested.

“No, I’m okay. I just suck at this.”

He zipped up his backpack while he waited to know what I was trying to talk about.

“Okay, well, have you heard of Gabdew, Dave? You know, it’s this school sponsored thing where people –”

He cut me off.

“Yeah, I know about Gabdew. What about it? Do you need help asking someone?” he asked generously.

I didn’t know if that was a good sign; maybe he didn’t see the possibility that was looming before him.

“No, I don’t need help exactly.” I zipped and unzipped my backpack. “Well, that’s not true. I definitely need help. Professional. This is so stupid.” My eyes never left the bag as I finally blurted, “I know you went to the market and bought French bread. Want to buy mine?” My stomach was all in a knot and I knew I had flubbed the lines, but it was the best I could do.

Dave laughed out loud, not a quiet chuckle, but an actual audible laugh. Under other circumstances I would feel gratified that I was the cause, but now it could only mean my humiliation, and my eyes immediately filled up with tears. My stomach felt sick and I wiped drops of sweat from my upper lip as I bolted out of my seat and dashed down the stairs, never pausing to look at Dave. I sensed that he followed me out of the classroom, but I had to get away from him, so I ducked out of the first doors I saw, and almost broke into a jog there on the sidewalk, surrounded by people.

“Hannah!”

He called my name, but I couldn’t slow down or turn to face him. I did my best speedwalk and tried not to run, tried not to draw any more attention to my predicament.

“Hey, Hannah, stop! Wait up!” He called louder now, and I knew I could only avoid him by out-walking him. I figured he would get fed up with being ignored and he’d go away. So I kept walking and pretended that I didn’t hear him.

“Seriously, would you stop?” he shouted.

I veered off the sidewalk and jogged into the patch of birch trees up the hill to my right. I hoped he wouldn’t bother with off-roading and would let me escape. I reached the center of the trees and the next moment, almost out of nowhere, he caught my arm and whipped me around to face him.

“Wait a minute, would ya?” he demanded. I just couldn’t look him in the face, so I flopped down right there on the ground cross-legged and covered my face with my hands.

“Go away, Dave,” I said, my voice muffled.

“What is the big deal?” he asked from above me.

“Just leave me alone. I’ll be fine and we’ll pretend this never happened. But right now, I just can’t act normal so go away.”

I was determined that he wouldn’t see that some of those unwanted tears had actually spilled over, so I kept my face covered, even though I knew I was being juvenile, and stayed right there on in the long grass. Black-eyed Susans and Blue Asters were scattered in the grass with me, and it would have been a beautiful mini-meadow if it wasn’t the scene of my future most-embarrassing-moment story. Plus, I’d have to check for woodticks later. It seemed appropriate for the situation.

Dave dropped his bag and I realized he had brought my backpack along with his own. He would have passed me up easily had he not been carrying two bags full of books. He sat down in the grass, reclined back on his elbows, and said, “Now, you were trying to ask me something. Would you care to try again?”

I raised my head and scowled at him, trying with my eyes to burn that fabulous hair from his head.

He raised his eyebrows and asked innocently, “No?”

“No, you big jerk. Go away.”

I laid on my back and flung my arms across my head.

He inched closer to me and laid back, his head softly bonking mine as he settled himself. “C’mon, Hannah. Let’s hear it. You had it pretty close.”

I didn’t move and said from beneath my arms, “Get your own breadsticks or artichokes or whatever, mon frer. Leave my bag and have a great day. See you in class on Friday.”

But something about his nearness and his teasing gave me an irritating feeling of hope. I was glad that I had collected myself. I twisted and peeked carefully at him from a crack between my arms. Dave was alarmingly close to me, and now there was cottonwood fluff floating through the air around us, making a pastoral scene even Wordsworth would have envied. Did I dare hope that he might say yes, even after my tantrum?

“Come on, you gotta get it right or I can’t answer.” He was just going to stay there until I gave in, so I decided to complete my embarrassing story and let him reject me.

“I’m waiting,” he singsonged.

“This is so horrible,” I whined.

“Now you know what guys go through every time they ask someone out,” Dave said, his eyes watching the leaves and clouds above us.

I quit peeking at him, took a deep breath and said in a muffled voice, “I heard you went to the market for a loaf of stupid French bread. Did you need any more?”

I heard movement and when he answered, his quiet voice was next to my shoulder. “Okey dokey, silly artichokey.”

I couldn’t believe it. I dropped my arms and turned my head, only to discover that Dave had rolled onto his side and propped his head up with his arm, and our faces were now only inches apart.

“Now, was that so hard?” he asked, pushing my hair back from my eyes.

I shoved his shoulder hard and he exaggeratedly fell back. “You poor thing,” he teased. “That was awful for you, wasn’t it?”

He kept laughing as he reviewed our encounter for me, as if I hadn’t been there, play by play. “And then you, and then you,” he laughed, “Your eyes got all big and sad and you booked it out of class with me standing there wondering what the heck just happened.”

He laid there, chuckling to himself.

“Yeah, I found it real funny, Dave. Uproarious. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked you after all.” I complained.  “Enough already. I know I made a fool of myself, and you don’t need to keep reminding me.”

“You didn’t make a fool of yourself, Hannah.” He stopped laughing at my expense and propped himself up on his side again. “You put yourself out there. It was sweet, and very flattering. I’m really sorry I laughed at you.”

His face was soft and sincere, and way too close to my own. He put his hand on my hip as I laid there taking this in, and I realized with surprise that he was in prime kissing position. Holy crap!

I put my hand over his, gently removed it, and sat up. As much as the idea of kissing Dave appealed to me, I didn’t think it would be a good idea yet, although as I moved his hand it felt like it weighed ten pounds and I was conflicted.

“Yeah, that wasn’t very nice, you know,” I said. I noticed a piece of fluff in his hair and carefully smoothed it off his waves.

“I know, I’m sorry,” he said, and he reached up and caught my hand. “You were just so…you just looked like a little hamster, all twitchy and nervous.”

He didn’t let go of my hand and gently squeezed each of my fingertips. “I was kinda hoping you’d ask me, you know, but I didn’t really think you would.”

This was news to me.

“Really? You never asked me out or even mentioned anything like it. Why am I having to do all the work here?” I tried to smile but I really did want an answer.

“You always bound off after class with your friends and if I see you other places during the week, you’re always surrounded by some kind of posse. You think I’m just gonna bust in there and ask you out? I was just biding my time until I could get you alone,” he said. “Do you know that you shake me off for Caleb and Sam or that girl with too much eyeliner after every lecture Professor Gerloch gives? You never hang around and talk to him or me or anybody else in class. It’s like you see those guys and hurry off to this other life you have, your real life, and class is just a blip that gets in the way of your other agenda items.”

“Well, you could have been a little more obvious. I didn’t know what you’d say if I asked you to Gabdew. I hoped you’d say yes, and I thought that as a nice guy you might say yes, but I wasn’t positive.”

“I’m not a nice guy Hannah,” he said.

*******

Here is a pitch for my women’s fiction, called KNIFE RIVER MEAL SWAP.

  • Amber joins group of meal-swapping moms. Job problems, disorders, and toddlers push them to the next level. Can they take the heat?

And the excerpt, for your viewing pleasure.

baby while making his first steps

baby while making his first steps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*******

When the knock came, she should have been ready for it. She had been expecting it. But then she decided she could get bath time done while she waited. She got distracted and forgot to watch the time. Just when she started to notice something on the outside edge of her consciousness, (“What is that?” she said aloud) she heard the dry grind of hinges and a voice call, “Hello? Amber?”

“Oh! Hang on!” Amber called back. She took a panicked look around her and blew her hair out of her eyes. “I’ll be right there!”

‘Right there’ meant that she had to get baby Vivianne out of the tub, swaddled in a blanket and put in her crib. Then she had to get a diaper on Noah or there was bound to be a potty disaster. She stumbled over board books and jumbo-sized building blocks on the way to the diaper shelf but instead of getting just one, the entire stack dumped over and that made the stack behind it dump over too. She wrestled the toddler’s diaper on him, and hurried to the front door. Only as she passed a mirror in the hallway did she realize, too late, that her whole shoulder was wet and she still wore a superman cape from an earlier game.

“Hi, Sara,” she said to the visitor. “Sorry about that. Bath time.”

The woman at the door smiled. “I could have just left it for you, but I wanted to say hi.”

“Thanks, you’re the first grown-up I’ve seen all day long. Come on in. I’ll show you the kitchen.” After the words left her mouth she remembered what a mess it was in there.

She led the way. From behind her Sara said, “I know it. Sometimes I forget how to ‘use my grown up words’ by the end of the day. Everything is in kid-speak, which is not good since Joe drops all sorts of letters right now. So ‘sleep’ sounds like ‘leap’ and ‘spoon’ sounds like ‘foon’. It’s sweet when a toddler or kid does it, but when it comes from the mouth of a 30 year old woman like me, it’s more crazy than cute.”

“That’s true,” Amber agreed. To make room on the kitchen counter, she shoved aside papers, a box of cereal, and two small plates. “There, now there’s a spot. Your stuff will probably stick to the counter, but that’s okay.”

Sara set down a plastic bag and took out the items as she spoke. “Okay, everything is in here. I kept the noodles separate, in case the kids don’t like the sauce. Plus it makes things soggy when you combine them. There’s a loaf of bread here – I marked the pan so you can bring it by later, maybe when you bring me food tomorrow.”

Amber slid the container of sauce over to her side of the counter and opened it. A warm savory scent of homemade tomato sauce wafted up to her and instantly her mouth watered. “This smells so good,” she said.

“Thanks. I hope you like it. I can give you the recipe if you want. It’s a little putzy but if you make a ton of it all at once, then you can freeze it in small portions for later.”

“Ha,” Amber snorted. “That would mean that you’d have time to actually cook it in the first place. I hardly have time to make instant mac and cheese. These guys don’t give me a minute to myself,” she said. As if on cue, the toddler appeared at that moment, diaper in his hand instead of on his bottom.

“Noah, you can’t take off your diaper,” Amber said.

Noah smiled, then whizzed on the kitchen tile.

Amber scrambled for paper towels and cleaning spray. Sara covered her smile with her hand and said mildly, “I think I’ll get going now.”

She stepped around the puddle on the floor, patted Noah’s head and said, “You can just keep the plastic container. Those are community property. The only thing I’d actually like back is the bread pan, but there’s no hurry.”

Without letting Amber get up from the floor, where she was now re-diapering Noah, Sara waved and said, “I can find the door. I’ll see you next week, Supergirl.”

Amber shook her head and said, “Bye Sara.”

Then she turned back to Noah and blew on his tummy. He squealed in joy.

“Did mommy forget she was playing Supergirl?” she mumbled, smiling.

*******

Thanks for coming by today. And good luck to all the PitMad participants! Hope you get lots of favorites and requests!

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