Yeah, not something I was planning. I was working on Thunder's Shadow and the first few chapters did not seem to fit with the rest of the book, being more back story than anything else. And, yet, they contain important information that sets up the story line for Thunder's Shadow. My first thought was to simply delete the chapters and condense them into a prologue.
I sent them to a few friends to get their reaction. They all agreed I should keep them and Pauline Creeden gave me an excellent piece of advice--make these chapters into a novella.
And I did.
If we're friends on Facebook, you've seen the cover I designed. If not, here's what it looks like:
I'm basically finished with the story although somehow I added in an extra week that I need to go back and delete. Hopefully I'll be through with it soon and get it uploaded. I included the first two chapters of Thunder's Shadow, bringing it to 16,000 words--a very short read.
Here's an excerpt I've shared on Facebook:
“Michael's joining the Marines.”
“Oh, how wonderful.” Sylvia brought her hands together. For a moment she looked as if she was going to burst out in applause. Her hands stilled but she still beamed. “That must mean you've moved the date up.”
I didn't answer. It was none of her business what we planned. What was she up to, anyway?
Maybe if I kept silent, she'd take the hint and leave. My focus on her was so intent that I didn't see Michael until he scraped a chair over the tiled floor.
He kissed my cheek and nodded at Sylvia, his eyes returning to mine, questioning. I shrugged.
He smiled at me, his look brightening. “You should have seen the line at the recruitment office. It wound around the block.”
“Oh, isn't that great,” Sylvia said.
Michael gave a curt nod.
I forced a smile and glanced at her. “Yes, that's good. I'm glad there are so many willing to defend our country.”
Michael glanced at Sylvia, then at me, his forehead scrunched, eyebrows drawn. He lowered his eyes to the checkered tablecloth and traced a pattern.
Sylvia touched his shoulder lightly, almost in a playful gesture. “You and Sarah Jane will soon be husband and wife.”
Michael flicked his gaze in my direction but didn't answer.
Sylvia continued as if he had. “I wanted to offer my congratulations. And y'all just let me know if I can help in any way. Michael, I'll be glad to sew on a button...”
Michael stopped his tracing and stared at her. “Jay is perfectly capable of sewing.”
“Oh, really? I didn't know... with all the studying and working so hard at her job. You do realize, Michael, I'm majoring in home economics. I can put together a trousseau like that.” She snapped her slim fingers.
My jaw hung open for a second before I clamped it shut. I studied her for a moment and then cleared my throat. “My aunt has been helping me for three years now. My cedar chest is full, and we're almost finished with my wedding dress.”
A wedding dress I wouldn't be wearing for a while–not if Michael followed through on what he had told me last night. My cheeks burned at the thought, and my gaze fell to my food. I spooned in a mouthful, not tasting it.
Sylvia leaned across the table toward me. “Please, let me know if you need help with anything. I can give you cooking lessons if you'd like.”
My head snapped up. Had someone told her I couldn't cook? I could cook just fine–eating what I'd cooked was the hard part.
Michael grinned at me for a split second before sobering and turning to Sylvia. “I love Jay's cooking.”
I grimaced, knowing he was stretching the truth.
“Oh? But we can all use a little help at times, can't we?” She flashed her flawless teeth again and wiggled in her chair, tilting her head at Michael.
He stared her down. “I'm sure Jay will be quite good at any and all of her wifely duties.” His eyes burned with such intensity, I was sure Sylvia would flinch under his scrutiny.
Instead, she raised an eyebrow. “Well, that's good to know. However, if you need me for anything, anything at all, you know where I am.” She winked at Michael, gathered her tray, and touched his shoulder briefly in passing.
After she left, I leaned closer to Michael. “What was that about?”
He shrugged his shoulders but red stained his cheeks. “You tell me.”