Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If I Could Turn Back Time

I’m having a little fun lately with a novella I’m writing for a contest. Never mind that I submitted an excerpt before I’ve even finished the story and now I have a whole different 750 words I should have sent. Regrets are regular but disregarded here at the Robinson Ranch.

My heroine in Spell Check is the unlucky victim of a magic spell gone awry. Her husband, in a quest for potency and progeny, blows himself up in 1789, leaving his widow to pick up the pieces, ha ha. She begins to get a little worried when she never gets any wrinkles, and spends the ensuing centuries trying to find a way to grow old gracefully. When she meets a hot guy who spends his days writing instruction manuals and his nights writing thrillers when he’s not thrilling her, she hopes to cast a spell on him.

When Juliet confesses all to Cade, he thinks she’s nuts. Slightly edited passage:

As she said one crazy thing after another, Cade had watched Juliet get paler until she was the color of the paper in front of him. He could tell she believed everything she said. If she was acting, she was way better than Meryl Streep and that Queen Elizabeth chick combined.

It was bad enough before when she threw a shoe at him. This timeline she’d just recited had wrapped around his throat and was choking him to death. He’d thought Juliet was a little quirky and original; now he guessed she was just plain insane.

“You don’t believe me,” she said in a flat voice.

He tried to smile. “It’s a little hard for me to understand, Julie. Are you saying you’re a witch or something? You don’t think you’re a vampire, do you?”

She gave a brittle laugh. “Don’t be ridiculous! Have I ever bitten you?”

Cade just looked at her.

“Well, apart from ordinary loveplay. A harmless nip here and there. I am not a vampire! In case you’ve forgotten, it’s daylight outside and I haven’t yet turned to ash. And I’m most certainly not a witch. Oh, no. I have absolutely no power. Do you think I’ve liked living through four centuries? I assure you, it’s very taxing keeping au courant. Just when I think I know the game, the rules change. And you must see how inconvenient it is for me to keep moving.” She framed her face with her hands. “No amount of plastic surgery could produce this result. While my friends become grandparents, I still look like the au pair.”

“So you’re not twenty-eight.” Cade looked at his watch. He needed to go. He was getting a headache and its name was Juliet. “Look, I can tell you’re sincere about this---”

“Read those papers, please. Read them and you’ll understand.”

He’d humor her, and then he’d get the hell out. He’d wasted a year of his life pining for a nutjob, a beautiful girl who thought she was going to live forever. Who said she was like some kind of Black Widow who killed her lovers. Maybe she really had whacked somebody. He probably should call the police. Or Social Services or something. He looked up to see her huge brown eyes, pleading with him to read the bullshit she’d written down on copier paper. She was the one who should be writing a novel. She had ten times the imagination he did.

Juliet has lived too long and seen too much. If you could trade places with her, what historical event in the past 250 years would you like to live through? Maybe I’ll stick it in the scene in Spell Check where Juliet proves to Cade she's every bit as ancient as she claims!

Come out of the circle of time

And into the circle of love. ~Rumi


Anonymous said...

Maggie, I love time travel - and your excerpt was a tease that makes me hunger for more!! I'd like to travel back to the late 1960's early 70's. I know it's not that far back. However the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the women's movement were an exciting time in American history and culture - the music, the movies, the fashion, the art, the language, the very fabric of our family and political structure started to change and morph into something that had never been seen or experienced before. It was a dynamic and exciting time.

Hellie Sinclair said...

I gotta pick just one?

1.) Lord Byron. Boy, would I have liked to have been a notch on his headboard.

2.) WWII. I would have liked to have been the nurse who got kissed by the sailor. *LOL* It just seems like a romantic, glamourous period where men were men and women were women. Plus I would have loved to have learned how to swing dance...Frank Sinatra was king... A neat blend of modern but old-fashioned courtship and gentility.

Anonymous said...

If I could travel back in time, I'd live for the 1885's through the 1970's, Just for the Fashion! OMG, Fashion changed so much and so drastically through that time, it's just gorgeous! Oh, and living in the time of Anne Boleyn wouldn't be so bad either. If only there were toilets.


Terri Osburn said...

I think it might be interesting to throw her in during the civil war. Or have her meet Napoleon before all hell breaks loose. It would be cool if he hit on her even.

I'd love to hear how she spent New Year's in 1799 and then again in 1899. And I have to agree with Hellion, I love, love, love the 40s. That's where I would jump back to if I had the chance.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Hellion and Terrio, you'll be pleased to know that Juliet lived in Lisbon during WW2--that hotbed of spy activity.

Diana, I'm so glad you visited! Anne B. is a little too early for the time frame of the novella, but I'm with you on the toilets! I love vintage clothes---we've got some great illustrated books in the library I work in.Maybe Juliet should put on a fashion show for Cade.

Marisa, one of my daughters suggested Juliet go to Woodstock. Peace and love, baby!

Atherley said...

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh...This may be IT for you, Maggie! IT as in THE PUBLISHED. I'm not into time travel, but if I knew a para editor, I'd beg to have you on her (or his) list!

By the way, if I had to place a character in Lisbon, it would be the Lisbon of the 1750 earthquake, and the reconstruction. -- Which I did, come to think of it! LOL, I've got a screenplay called The Architect floating around in Option Hell. I'd completely forgotten the thing!

Anonymous said...

Maggie - I can't think of when I'd like to go back to. Why? Because I love what you've written and I want MORE, More I tell you. This is great!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Wow! 2 M & Ms in 1 day! Thanks, Maria. I'm in the home stretch to finish...have about 20,500 words and know where the holes are. This has probably been the most fun thing I've ever written, mostly because I'm not trying to go 100,000 words, LOL!

Anne, wouldn't it be nice if you were right? ;) Good luck with your project, too.

Shelli Stevens said...

What a great excerpt!!! I love it :) I entered that contest too ;)

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Hi, Shelli! Hope you were smart enough to finish the novella first. I sent the first 750 words...can't quite remember why...maybe because that's all I had written, LOL? Oh well. But I AM going to finish it soon.

Hot cover on your new book!

RevMelinda said...

Can I just go back to SOME time when men don't wear cargo shorts and flip-flops AT THE SAME TIME?????

Like. . .ok, how about Monticello? Breeches, stockings, buckle shoes, and queues. And while I'm there I'll try to figure out what's really going on between Jefferson and Sally Hemings. . .

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

LOL, RevM, you can be a detective in your next life. I often think the Founding Fathers were far more fascinating (you know I love alliteration) than we've allowed them to be.

Are cargo shorts like manpris? I hate them. Saw them first in England and hoped they wouldn't cross the pond. But I love capris for me!

BernardL said...

Very engaging concept and excerpt, Maggie.

Bringing a barbarian forward in time has always been an interesting plot niche to me. Michael Crichton explored sending modern man and woman backwards in his novel Timeline. They fared rather poorly, and his take on it was quite believable. I like it better the other way around. :)

Beverley Kendall said...

LOL!!! You have this bent kind of sense of humor. I love it!!! I would never go 250 years in the past. And I don't know I'd want to do it in the future. 100 years tops.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Thanks Bernard and Beverley! I know I am very happy living right now. If I went back in time, I'd probably mess something up and none of us would be reading this!