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Sample Sunday – WHAT GOES AROUND Excerpt January 22, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in Books, ebooks, epub, fiction, Goodreads, indie, indie publishing, Kindle, NOOK, publishing, Sample, self-publishing, short story, Smashwords, Writing.
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While it never explicity says so, “Birth Pains” – the first seralized story I did on the web on Goodreads that I later expanded slightly and brought into the novella collection SEARCH FOR A WOMAN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF STORIES AND POEMS LOOKING AT WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE – is set in the town of Willowbrook, part of the Willowbrook Saga I am working on for 2012 and for which you can find out more details at willowbrooknovels.com. I stopped the story where I did because the son grew up and the throughline of the theme ended at what happened with him. However, the lead character has a daughter and other than for contrast during the course of the story, her introduction seems a throwaway; that said, I knew exactly how the daughter ended up but having a second story with this same family didn’t make sense for the anthology. This particular story deals with a young woman who feels that weight will bring her pleasure and attention and make up for a lot of losses in her life, but is told from the point of view of her mother Jo and how the daughter’s choices impact her, with focus on how the mother’s choices are influencing those of her 18 year old daughter.

When I decided to collect my second novella sized anthology, AT THE END OF INNOCENCE’S ROAD: AN ANTHOLOGY OF STORIES AND POEMS COVERING THE JOURNEY FROM CHILDHOOD TO OLD AGE – available in ebook form from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon Italy, Amazon France, Amazon Spain, NOOK, Smashwords, iBookstore, KOBO, Diesel Ebook, and Sony – I realized the daughter’s story fit perfectly into my grander theme and introduced it there. I’m also pleased to say that a sale of this anthology represented my first sale ever at the Kindle store internationally, in the UK. Here is the opening of “What Goes Around” as featured in that collection.

Jo Ithaca – born JoBeth but no one called her that – held a profession as a social worker but her own share of personal dramas nearly got her kicked out of the profession. Her son, Seth, had twins at the age of 18 with a much older woman. Now her daughter Amy, about eight years younger, was about to reach adulthood a decade later.

Right now they had regular visits from a young man in college who delivered pizza. The driver’s name was Alain, and he’d started delivering pizzas here about a year ago after Jo had a really bad breakup with a boyfriend and Jo couldn’t focus on making meals for her family. Amy developed quite a crush on Alain but was only seventeen then. Amy encouraged her mother not to cook so she had multiple opportunities to see Alain. Besides, with her limp and cane no boys wanted her in high school and because of it she couldn’t be terribly athletic.  Jo saw Amy blossom as she did in high school in terms of the pounds, and both she and her grandmother counseled Amy of dangers but Amy reassured them she was fine.

After Amy’s 18th birthday, Jo let her daughter start to order pizza whenever she felt like it, all for herself if she wanted, which meant visits from the beau multiple nights a week.  Jo just ate the leftovers. While Jo did approve of Alain in Amy’s life she did encourage caution.

“You’re getting bigger, lover,” Alain said to Amy as Jo saw the two of them come back into the living room.

“Just weighed in at 240,” Amy said, leaning on her cane.  Her too tight buttoned shirt showed the results of her recent efforts.

“But maybe I should up your two large supreme pizzas each time to three so you don’t have to wait as long to hit 300.”

“But two’s such a good deal!” she squealed.

“Maybe I’ll deliver four pizzas twice a week. A little more expensive but you definitely won’t starve.”

“And see you less?” Amy whined. 

“I still have a couple year of school.  You can still stuff on campus at lunch every day and have the boys watch you.”

“You get large meals at school now too?” Jo couldn’t help but butt in.

“It’s fine, Jo,” Alain reassured her.  “She doesn’t skip class or anything.  Besides her other boyfriends enjoy watching her pig out in their dorm rooms.”

“Alain, how do you dare even tease me so?” Amy cried out.  “I need you!  They just love my body.”

“How can you not see what you’re doing as exploiting my daughter?” Jo said, horrified as these new revelations about her daughter’s life were shared.

“Who are you to judge? You did similar things before you had me!”

Sadly Amy was right. A neighbor seduced her into doing some reckless things.

“You’re right I can’t judge, Amy. But I can advise you not to repeat my mistakes.”

Jo turned to Amy’s beau.

“Help her realize her potential in all ways and just take care of her.  Don’t let her turn wheelchair bound but make sure she’s happy.  I’m so glad you fell in love with my daughter for her mind first and then her body, but help her stay healthy.”

Amy joined them, clutching her stuffed belly with one hand and using her cane with the other.  That plus her large breasts – Jo wondered if they ran in her father Ryman’s family – made her look pregnant.

“Would Daddy be ashamed of me?” Jo’s daughter asked. Her father, Ryman Weir, worked as a personal trainer that Jo got to know at a gym. Not long into their relationship, Ryman’s body was found by police, dead under mysterious circumstances. Eight years later, the whole situation remained a cold case. As a product of the foster system, Ryman had no known family who cared about him – save his daughter Amy who never knew him.

“I don’t know the answer to that.  He was an athlete and personal trainer.  I wish I’d known him better before he died.”

Copyright 2012 Shannon Muir. All rights reserved. Please do not copy this post without permission but please feel free to link to it.

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