Yesterday’s total ended at 4185. Whew. I don’t normally see numbers like that!
Today I’ve been busy with errands and anxiety. I had a dentist appointment. Need I say more? So once I survived that, I sort of vegged this afternoon instead of writing in order to recover. All good news at the dentist thankfully. I need some fillings, but nothing like I feared with a broken tooth! I had visions of root canals, dry sockets, surgery, etc. (A writer’s imagination can be a dreadful thing in such cases.)
Anyway, I’m at 5129 words right now but hope to at least get the min daily count later tonight. I was lying awake last night worrying about the middle of this story — which seemed rather light to me — and I realized I had a perfectly good real life event I could use to improvise into the plot.
I haven’t shared a snippet in a while (here’s the opening scene, the only snippet I’ve posted), so here’s the scene introducing the heroine, Clare Remy. Remember this is a category romance spoof — with zombies! — so I had two major things to figure out.
1). How did the hero become a zombie? and 2). What’s a logical reason for the heroine to remain a virgin?
The two are intricately connected. I said to myself… “Self, if the hero is a zombie….why not make the heroine a witch?” So of course my working title is The Billionaire Zombie’s Virgin Witch. *laughs*
First draft only, subject to heavy revision later.
Stirring the simmering lentil soup, Clare Remy tried to ignore her mother’s constant harping. The familiar warm tingle in her fingertips promised her magic was working, despite whatever Selma had to say about her cooking.
“There’s still something missing.” Although that didn’t keep her from eating the whole bowl Clare had ladled out for her. “It’s not as good as what your father used to make.”
No. She smiled sadly down at the rich soup that had always been his favorite. It’s better.
He’d be busting at the seams with pride if he were still alive. Instead of cooking at home, she’d be sweating in Remy’s bustling kitchen, exhausted but elated by their customers’ glowing praise. Instead, her only customer was her mother who couldn’t ever be pleased.
“At this rate you’re never going to pass your trials next month,” Selma continued, her voice sharpening with every word. “If you don’t pass, you won’t be accepted into the Wizard Council’s teaching program. Whatever will we do then?”
Clare could only sigh. She understood the worry, because the daily stress of carrying the entire family’s success on her shoulders was getting to her, too. “We’ll get by like we’ve been doing the past two years.” She fought for an even tone of voice. “We’ll have jobs like normal people. The house is paid for. If I can’t cook for some reason, then I’ll…”
“We’re not normal people!” Selma tossed the bowl into the sink with a clatter. “We’re wizards, descended from generations of extremely powerful wizards. We can’t be reduced to menial labor!”
Clare preferred to think of herself as a witch, a kitchen witch to be exact. Wizardry sounded so…Arthurian. As though she ought to be slaying dragons and stirring up storm clouds instead of cooking supper in her modest kitchen.
She ladled out a bowl for herself and began slicing off a nice thick piece of homemade bread.
“Don’t cut yourself,” Selma said automatically, for the millionth time if Clare was counting.
She didn’t even try to explain yet again that it’d be impossible for a kitchen witch to cut herself with her own knife. It would be like burning a cake or bread dough that failed to rise. Her magic wouldn’t allow such cooking disasters. Too bad her magic didn’t cover general clumsiness and awkwardness too. Or how about fantastic hair and a killer sense of style? Maybe all those gorgeous runway models were witches too, wielding a type of magic she hadn’t heard of yet.
One sip of her soup smoothed away all those silly thoughts. She’d take plumpness, clumsiness, and a supreme lack of fashion in order to cook like this.
“If only we had your father’s ring. Then we wouldn’t have to trust you to stay a virgin.”
Clare winced. Oh, boy, had she heard this lecture a thousand times. Never mind that she was far from a teenager anymore in need of sex education. Since her cousin had lost her virginity—and her magic—just last month, her mother’s lectures had redoubled.
Her mother’s healing talent had disappeared as soon as she married. Since Selma wasn’t the head of her family, she had no magic left at all, and now her husband was gone too. The loss of her special ability had always stung.
Wizards didn’t often marry each other for that very reason. Someone always had to give up their power, unless they were both heads of their own families. With families dwindling day by day… Naturally, she worried that her daughter would suffer the same magic-less fate.
Although as a twenty-seven-year-old virgin, Clare already felt like a dried up—extremely lonely—crone.
A tinkling sound announced a magical visitor requesting entry to the Remy home.
“Come in.” At Clare’s invitation, her mentor, Helga Kettlewich, popped into the kitchen.
Where Clare thought of herself as curvaceous, the other witch’s full-figured shape loudly and proudly proclaimed her love of fine dining. Although Clare often bemoaned her apparently frumpy taste in clothing, she could only be thankful that at least she wasn’t completely colorblind like her teacher.
A blazing orange shirt, green polka dot—extremely short for her matronly figure—skirt and blood-red tights completed Helga’s ensemble. With springy gray curls popping up all over her head, she looked like a kooky Halloween-costumed witch, not the supreme head of the North American Wizard Council and quite possibly the most powerful witch in the world both in and out of the kitchen.
Clare immediately leapt to her feet, but Helga waved her back to her chair.
“I’m sorry, dear. I didn’t mean to interrupt your lunch. May I have a taste?”
“But of course,” Selma gushed, running about the kitchen to fetch a bowl for their guest as though she had prepared the food herself.
Biting her lip, Clare didn’t say anything and instead, sat down to continue eating. Her mother had little interaction with the Wizard Council and would relish having a part, no matter how small, in the magical world. Even serving another witch’s brew.
Helga sat beside her and said in a low voice, “I have an important message for you.”
Slamming open cupboards looking for their best bowls, Selma didn’t hear or notice the paper Helga slipped to her.
Clare unfolded the thick parchment and a pit of hell yawned wide and terrifying beneath her feet.
The devil himself. The man who’d stolen her father’s restaurant and their family power in one fell swoop, leaving him to die of a broken, mundane heart.