Welcome to Fiction Friday, your opportunity to watch my mind leapfrog about. Each Friday here is a bit different, just to keep the boredom factor at a minimum. Sometimes you’ll read an excerpt from one of my novels, sometimes a friend or colleague’s. Eventuallythere may be some original offerings. I want to make this fun for myself and you. So who knows what Fridays at Southern Exposure will bring?
Today Fiction Friday brings a quizz and a giveaway. For fun I’ve chosen excerpts from three of my novels. Your mission is to figure out which book each one is from.
Must you have read the books? Not if you’re willing to look through my website book pages and get hints from the excerpts there or descriptions–like character names. If you need a list of my books, you’ll find one here, although I’ll warn you, when I created the printable booklist, I did leave off one by mistake. The first excerpt is, in fact, from that book.
Whether you choose to guess or carefully research, have fun.
The Reverend Godwin Dorchester claimed he wanted to die in the pulpit, hands lifted toward the heavens, gaze riveted on whatever parishioner needed his message the most. Godwin, better known as “Win” to his congregations, thought his last breath ought to be put to good use, seeing as none would follow, and his chance to change the world would be over with one dramatic flourish.
Personally I’m hoping to use my final exhalations to say goodbye to the people who love me, but then I’m not a minister. I’m only married to one. And my husband Ed, Win’s successor to the ministry of the Consolidated Community Church of Emerald Springs, Ohio, is young enough that dying breaths aren’t high on his list of things to worry about quite yet.
In fact right now my husband is worrying about Godwin Dorchester’s memorial service. In half an hour Ed will raise his own hands and fasten his gaze on somebody in Win’s honor. Because Win did not die in the pulpit. He died taking out the garbage. And according to Hildy, his wife of almost fifty years, the last thing Win said was “911,” which was neither inspirational nor effective. Win was dead before he did a nose dive into the garbage can and found eternal rest on a biodegradable trash bag.
Now, was that hard? I hope not. It’s the opening of that particular book, which makes it easier.
This excerpt is not the opening. Hopefully you’ll find clues in the paragraphs. I will say it’s one of my best-loved novels.
Megan had a second floor apartment in a tasteful brick building off Edgewater Drive. The neighborhood was convenient. She could stroll north to the lakefront for recreation or south for shopping. Although venerable maple trees blocked most natural light, the apartment did have wide windowsills that she filled with plants, a breakfast nook with built-in benches and a bedroom large enough for an antique cherry sleigh bed. She had bargained ruthlessly for the bed with a Lorain Avenue antique dealer, and she had repaired and refinished it herself, adding a cherry dresser and mirrored vanity as she came across them in similar shops.
The apartment was decorated in flea market and garage sale treasures. A collection of novelty teapots lined a shelf in the kitchen. In the bedroom a Fiestaware pitcher on the vanity sported fresh flowers, even in the winter. The sleigh bed sported a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt made of nine hundred and sixty-two hexagons cut from colorful feed sacks produced during the era when her apartment had been built.
Late one night she had counted the hexagons, and halfway through it occurred to her that other women her age had better things to do.
Megan loved the apartment, but she loved the solitude more. As a child and teenager she had never had a room of her own. Privacy had meant five full minutes alone in the bathroom. She had shared a bed with Casey or Peggy–occasionally both during thunderstorms. Even now, although she relished being alone, on most nights the bed felt empty, particularly when it rained.
And finally, not an oldie, but a goodie. Even if you’re new to my books, this one should be easyish.
What would Janya do when Wanda was nowhere in sight?
She heard a rattle and a sharp scraping noise, and she figured the men were coming in through the side gate Mrs. Statler had mentioned. Her brain was spinning, but dizziness was the lone result. She realized the moment she heard voices she should have leapt for the door. She might have had time to get out, although that was iffy. She started forward and saw Janya come around the edge of the pool. Janya glanced toward the pool house, frowning, then she must have seen Wanda or Wanda’s shadow inside, because suddenly her expression turned from irritation to horror.
Janya looked right at Wanda, then at the men coming around the side of the pool house. As if she hadn’t even considered what to do, she took one step to the side and gracefully toppled into the pool.
Got them all, did you? Or just think you did? Send me your answers as a comment here (and only here), and I’ll post them together next week so that everyone has a chance to play without reading other answers.
Remember, I said GIVEAWAY? That’s right. The first commenter who correctly identifies all three novels will receive an autographed copy of Book #3–unless the commenter does NOT live in North America. (I’m sorry. I wish international postage were cheap enough to include my international readers in every giveaway.) If you comment more than once, only your first comment will count for the giveaway.