Sunday, April 12, 2009

Excerpt for Monday-- A Halloween Novella

Well, since tomorrow is Excerpt Monday and many of the Divas will be posting and exchanging links for story excerpts, here is mine. (For links to other participating Divas, scroll to the bottom of this page). I decided not to post any of my current WIPs, but to go back to an older urban fantasy novella...

This is one version of an opening to a Halloween story I started a couple of years ago. I couldn't decide exactly what I wanted to do with it so I never wrote the whole story, but I do like the heroine, Lisa. She's a bit of a clothes snob, but very funny.

****Excerpt****

This was getting ridiculous. It was past the point of fun ages ago. Whoever thought battling demons and vampires was cool ought to have their head shrunk.

Being covered in slimy, green goo that once was the blood of a Dendra demon was the last straw. Four hundred nineteen kills. That was how many demons Lisa had slain or banished since discovering her special calling as a White Witch of Gendron.

Lisa could care less about adding any more to her list of banished and decimated creatures. She wanted out. Or at least a long vacation. Starting tonight.

She walked away from the bloody body with the silver knife hanging from it’s chest. Lisa didn’t even pause to pick up the weapon. Why bother? This was it. The last time.

Halloween was only tomorrow night. Lisa thought it was appropriate to get away and start fresh at the Celtic New Year.

She’d devoted three years to this and it was time to do something else. Bethany and Max could have it: the long nights patrolling, the bruises and scratches, the heavy bag full of stakes and potions and silver daggers. Lisa had other things to do. Like homework.

After taking up demon hunting as a career, her grades sunk. While she’d managed to get into the MFA Creative Writing program at the university, she was behind in three classes.

What had happened to her life? At one time, she was a good writer with a witty sense of humor. She’d won awards in undergrad and had her pick of schools after college. It seemed like ages since she’d gotten an “A” on one of her stories.

Since Gram died, Bethany and Max expected Lisa to continue in Gram’s work. No one expected prim and proper Beth, Lisa’s sister, to carry daggers and mirrors out in the middle of the night looking for monsters with fangs. But crazy Lisa was perfect for it.

No one cared that Lisa had once had a life. Whatever she’d been up to was simply inconsequential compared to the work of the Gendron witches. Lisa wished she could slap the ancestor who decided to take up demon thrashing and pass the calling to her future relatives.

Lisa frowned as she made it to her doorstep. She closed the door without even turning the lights on. In the dark, she sprinted across the living room to the stairs. All she could think about was getting into the shower. Tomorrow, she’d burn the clothes or take them out to a dumpster far, far away.

As Lisa stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around her body and one around her wet, blond hair. She noticed the bags underneath her blue eyes as she spread on the moisturizer. Maybe now she could finally make it to bed before three a.m.

She was distracted by the sound at the door. Knock. Knock. Knock.

“I’m in the shower,” Lisa called.

Her sister’s voice carried through the door. “No, you’re not. There’s no water running.”

Lisa turned the faucet on and turned back toward the mirror. She didn’t care if there was a dire emergency and the whole of Los Angeles was burning down. Lisa was off duty.

“Leese,” Bethany called through the door.

Frowning, Lisa yanked open the door.

Her sister was wearing one of her icky navy polyester suits that screamed cheap department store. And, those shoes, those “I’ll-never-meet-a-man-as-long-as-I-live” navy old lady pumps which should have been burned in 1989. Bethany lived in those clothes. Her closet was full of black, brown, and navy suits and matching shoes.

“We are being called to the witches’ council tomorrow. There will be a swearing in of the new head of the High Council.”

“Well, you can RSVP without me. I’m not going.” Lisa brusquely dried her hair with the towel.

“What do you mean you are not going? Are you patrolling?”

“No.”

“Then what else could be so important?”

“My life.” Lisa gently pushed her sister out of the bathroom and took hold of the door. “I am not patrolling or going to the witches council ceremony. I am taking a vacation.” She closed the door. “An extended vacation, with any luck.”

****End of Excerpt****

Just for fun, here's the very first draft opening paragraph. Similar to the above, but it amuses me. I love the way Lisa sizes everyone up by their clothes or lack thereof:

“Oh, Pu-leeze,” Lisa groaned. “Beth, you’re not serious. Can’t this wait until tom—um, until next year?”

Bethany crossed her arms as Lisa rolled her eyes. Her sister, Bethany, had screwed her bulb on too tightly. Again. And, she seriously needed highlights and a good romp in the hay. Bethany’s light brown hair was mousy rather than sandy and she insisted on wearing those ugly I’ll-never-meet-a-man-so-long-as-I-live navy old lady shoes. When was the last time she went on a date? 1995? Just because Beth was a work-a-holic spinster did not mean that Lisa had to be the same.


***********

A few of my friends also have excerpts up on their sites starting tomorrow, Monday, April 13, so check these out for some free reads. Many of these are erotic romance, so be advised before clicking!:

http://edenbradley.blogspot.com/ (My good friend Eden Bradley has a new book out. Read the excerpt for A 21st Century Courtesan. Hot stuff!)

http://clwhite.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/excerpt-monday/

http://maureenmccarrie.blogspot.com

http://jeannielin.com/blog/2009/04/13/exce...ay-his-or-hers/ (My friend Jeannie is a Golden Heart finalist this year! Yay!!!)

Kinsey W. Holley Excerpt Monday

Becca Sheridan-Furrow

Kirsten Saell, The Chancellor's Bride

http://melsmag.wordpress.com/

Scenting Cinnamon by Ella Drake

Evie Byrne: Bound by Blood, Book 2 of the Faustin Bros. Trilogy

Emily Ryan-Davis: Changing Thumbelina, the Erotickรก Revue excerpt

http://kate-willoughby.blogspot.com/2009/04/kiss-guy.html

http://ginaardito.blogspot.com/2009/04/its...rpt-monday.html

http://www.rflong.com/?p=354

http://briaspage.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/em-2/

http://stephanieadkins.wordpress.com/blog/

Inheritance

http://roselondon.wordpress.com/

http://writingspectacle.blogspot.com/2009/...rpt-monday.html

here is the excerpt for Babette James

20 comments:

Ella Drake said...

That was a fun excerpt. I really like the "White Witch of Gendron". Really great character that I "got" right off & she is fun. Maybe you'll finish the story, or co-op her into something new. Hope so!

Vivienne Westlake said...

Thank you, Ella. I like this character a lot. I still haven't completely defined her world (I thought of a couple of different plots to put her in). But, in all of them, she is a White Witch of Gendron and she has the hots for a guy named Seph who looks a lot like Wentworth Miller. ;)

Jeannie Lin said...

Homework AND demons! How do you choose? Great excerpt Vivienne! And so different from what I've read from you before!

Becca Sheridan-Furrow said...

I enjoyed this and I liked the personality quirk about the clothes. I like the dark humor, reminds me of the goodness that was Buffy.And eewww, green goo.

Vivienne Westlake said...

Thanks, Jeannie. I write paranormal and historical, so they're definitely a different species, so to speak. I'm a lot snarkier in the paranormals.

Becca, I think of Lisa as a cross between Buffy, Cordelia, and Maxie Jones from General Hospital.

Kate Willoughby said...

My favorite line: And, those shoes, those “I’ll-never-meet-a-man-as-long-as-I-live” navy old lady pumps which should have been burned in 1989.

OMG. Hilarious. (Even considering *I* might have a pair like that in my closet from my teaching days!)

pixydust said...

I'd like to see more of this character too. Fun!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I liked that excerpt a lot, and I think it's a story my daughter would get into to. Definitely something we'd buy.

More more more. Please. =o)

Vivienne Westlake said...

LOL, Kate. I don't even know where it came from, but Lisa has a distinct eye for "ugly" servicable shoes. Sadly, I do wear the kinds of shoes my character would cringe at. She would definitely force me to get a makeover!

Thanks Pixie and BE for the encouragement. Perhaps I will finally figure out a good story for Lisa and Seph.

tsueversteeg said...

Great excerpt. I totally got into how much she disliked her calling :) Not that I can blame her. The goo thing would get old FAST :D

Crista said...

Awesome opening. I definitely see why she needs a vacation. Love the snarky comments. Let us know what you decide to do with it.

Mel said...

Great opening. You have an voice I really like. It's smooth and clear with just enough humour in it to draw my interest. Great!

ambergilchrist said...

I have demon hunter characters too and I love the way you've handled it and the demands of the job with humor and a likable first person voice. Nicely done.

Vivienne Westlake said...

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Lisa is one of the few characters whose personality came through really strong right from the first word on paper. I can pretty much throw her anywhere and know what she'll do. I only wish all of my characters and books were that distinct!!

Evie Byrne said...

It's like: "Imagine if your sisters really were witches, instead of just acting like..." Well, never mind.

Lisa has a great voice. She needs a home!

Gina Ardito said...

I definitely love her wicked sense of humor. That was so much fun, Vivienne!

jazzybelle78 said...

This was a really fun read. I was drawn into the characters personality immediately. :)

Stephanie Adkins said...

Great excerpt, Vivienne. I love, love, love anything to do with Halloween. :)

Vivienne Westlake said...

Yes, Evie, Lisa is witchy and "b**chy" but somehow manages to stay likable. I think it's the fact that she'll do what others won't and will sacrifice in order to protect others. Just don't ask her to give up her fashion sense!

And, thanks for the comments Gina, Kel, and Stephanie!

jamiebabette said...

This was fun. I enjoyed your character's voice and humor.