Monday, November 18, 2013

Special Excerpt: Becoming NADIA

Greetings, fellow castaways.

This is going to be a short week for a variety of reasons. Oh, most of them are good, believe me.

First off, I was going to post this weekend, but after Linda peeled my face off my keyboard and typed "Go to bed, Dearest" on the imprints on my forehead (Shift key included), I figgered it weren't gonna hap'n, darlin'. So forgive my late post this week.

Secondly, and this is cool beyond cool: My special guest THIS FRIDAY is none other than Alice Germond, Secretary Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee and wife of the late Jack Germond, the legendary Washington "not-inside" Power Journalist and author of A Small Story For Page 3. No, we're not going to debate anything. Alice is going to share some of her favorite "Jack" moments, and talk about her husband's book. We had us an awesome conversation. So stop back by and comment.

So, that's out of the way. This week, I want to share another sneak peek from my EPIC-Award-winning debut novel Becoming NADIA. If you haven't read it yet, I can safely promise you'll enjoy it.

Nadia fished around in her duffel bag until she found a gray fleece hoodie and slipped it on against the rising wind. She took one other item from the bag, the little bible from the hotel nightstand in Denver, and tucked it in her pocket. Then she picked up the duffel and stuffed it into the bin, one less load to slow her down.
She walked north out of town on Hank's Lumber Road, skirting the upper lake on a narrow, winding road that led up into the mountains around Klamath Falls. She breathed deeply of the mountain air, refreshing her lungs as she stepped out, hands jammed in her pockets. The aroma was clean, the air rich with life. She heard birds in the trees all around. A bear snorted and shuffled across the road ahead, hardly giving her a second glance. A gentle rain began to fall, and it wasn't long before Nadia began to feel the chill in her bones.

As she walked along, she wondered if the people who lived here appreciated the beauty that surrounded them. She wondered if they woke up and simply went on with their lives, not living each day to its fullest. How many people never heard the birdsongs in the trees, never saw the sky painted with so many beautifully sad shades of watercolor gray? They would call this dismal. They would write today off as dreary and depressing, and never bother to look out their windows to see the beautiful, clear raindrops gathering like a million tiny, silver-gilt diamonds on the leaves of the trees all around them. They wouldn't bother to smell the clean scent of the air, feel the coolness in their lungs. How many never really tasted the food they ate, or smelled the scent of the morning air in the mountains? How many people never really felt the other people in their lives, never appreciated the love that could be theirs? Deaf, numb, and blind, they existed only to exist. She took an extra deep
breath of cool, moist air and felt it cleanse her being. Breathing. They could start by being thankful
they could breathe, and enjoy every breath because it meant one more that they could take. How many more breaths would she be able to call hers?

Here, even so close to the end, she was thankful. Thankful for the few real friends with whom she'd shared time and laughs, thankful for this short time that she'd been given. At least she'd known friendship; she'd known love.

A car came by the other way, headed for town, throwing a fine mist from its tires as it passed. Nadia was so lost in her own thoughts she never heard it turn around and pull up behind her. She jumped when a familiar voice rang in her ears, and she started to run, but held up short when she heard a desperate shout. “No, Nadia! Please don't run away!”

Nadia turned around. Becca Mitchell was out of her car running toward her. Nadia held her ground. She stood on the shoulder and waited as Becca approached.

Becca stopped a few paces away and held her arms out, breathless. “Please, let me talk with you. Just you and me, and no one else, okay?”
Now you want to talk?”

Becca's face was tight, her voice confused: “I've always wanted to talk. Nothing's changed.”

“Everything's changed, Dr. Mitchell! I'm not who I thought I was, and you're a part of this whole mess. Why should I trust you?”

“I'm sorry, Nadia. Look, I'm just as confused about all this as you are. I want to understand. Will you help me?”

Nadia looked into Becca's eyes. Either Becca Mitchell was a better liar than Nadia ever dreamed, or she was dumber than a box of rocks.

She remembered when this whole mess began to blow up. Becca was anything but stupid. She was also the worst liar in history. That left only one other option, and that was the most frightening of the three. She followed the doctor back to her car and slid into the passenger's seat.

The car was warm and dry. The windshield wipers beat a gentle cadence as Becca put the car in gear and pulled out onto the road. The women spoke little as Becca headed down the highway toward town. “So you decided to come home after all?”

“After a fashion,” Nadia mumbled, shivering in spite of the warmth from the car's heater. The rain had soaked her clean through to the skin, and she was losing body heat.

Becca seemed to notice, for she reached over and turned the heater up to full so Nadia could warm her hands. “I know what I am now.” She looked at Becca, waiting for some kind of response. She got none. “I'd like to know why.”

I included this part because it follows up on what I've been trying to tell everyone from the git-go. We all need to see the beauty of rain, of snow, of parenthood, and of childhood. Life is life, and we only get one shot. We need to make it count. We need to tell the people we love how much they mean to us, to show the world the best that we have. We have no guarantee of a tomorrow. How many more breaths do we have to call our own, after all? 
Just a little food for thought, people.
I'll see you Friday. Set your calendars.

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