Thursday Text-cerpt

It occurred to me that I’ve never posted any snippets from SONG FROM THE HEART here, and it might be that some of you would be curious about the thing, seeing as how I’ve blathered on about its entry into that contest deal. And seeing as how the pace is deliberately quicker than my usual style. So I’m putting the first few paragraphs here, under the cut.

Just for fun.

As always, comments are a good thing!


Paige Campbell was closing up shop when the phone rang.

“Hans’ Music Haus, this is Paige, how may I help you?”

She figured her Uncle Hans was calling to check up on her–he still didn’t trust her to close the store alone, even after her three-month probationary period had gone off without a hitch–but it was a synthesized voice. “Stop asking questions or you’re dead.”

“What?” Paige blinked. “Excuse me? You’ve got the wrong number. Hello?”

The line was dead.

Some kind of prank call. Still, it had shaken her. She tossed her head as if to tell herself she was being silly and settled the handset back in place. She shouldn’t have been so startled when the bells jingled to signal a customer at the door, but she jumped.

“Boo!” said her best friend Anndrèa, who’d apparently headed over the moment her shift at Joanie’s Scraps next door was finished. “Scaredy-cat. What’s wrong with you? Customers don’t bite outside of Twilight.” Then she looked closer and cocked her head, sending her short black-cherry hair swinging. “Wait, there IS something wrong. You’re as white as ice cubes frozen to a TruWhite light bulb.”

Paige managed a weak smile. “Crank caller. Stupid of me. I guess that’s a landmark–my first.”

Andi clasped her hands. “How romantic. Better make a scrapbook page. We’ve got embellishments on sale.” She checked her watch. “Ready to go?”

“Just about.” It was three minutes past official closing time. She circled around behind Andi, threw the double front deadbolts, and flipped the sign in the front window to CLOSED. “I can’t stay long at happy hour, though. And I’m drinking strictly Diet Jolt. I’ve got a gig.”

“A gig! You’re getting paid for singing?” Andi squeaked.

“Just a jingle.” Back behind the counter, Paige zipped the blue vinyl cash pouch closed and secured the register. “You know, ‘Dialing 555-2214 is like walking in every Dallas door.’ For a radio advertising spot.”

“Jingles are cool. That’s how little Janie Fricke from right here in Dallas, Texas, got started.”

“Good for her. But I’m not getting started on anything.” Paige checked the security system keypad and verified all systems were green-lighted. “I’m just earning tuition money. This was a referral from the dean’s office, because the studio called the music school to ask for a mezzo-soprano.”

“But still. Wow! You should play some of your own songs for him. I’ll bet they’ll offer you a recording contract.”

“They’re not that kind of studio. Don’t get any crazy ideas.” She tied her hair back in a ponytail and checked her makeup in the magnetic locker mirror she’d stuck on the side of one of her uncle’s file cabinets. “Let’s see how this goes. Who knows if the guy’ll ever call me again. He probably has a stable of regulars.”

“And you’re going to be one of them.” Andi’s voice was confident. “Your voice is so amazing, better than Jessica or Britney or any of the pop-tarts. It’s as good as Susan Boyle or . . . or La Streisand.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Paige said in a Groucho voice as she doused the main lights. “But you know I don’t want to get sucked into advertising and commercials. I’m my own kind of artist.” Keying in the code to arm the security system, she headed for the back door, clutching the cash pouch close to her chest under her purse. “Hurry, we only have ninety seconds.”

Andi rushed to catch up. “Everything that isn’t opera is not a sellout.”

“I’m not EXCLUSIVELY opera. I sing folk and jazz.”

As they scooted out the door, the phone started ringing.

Before Anndrèa could say anything, Paige shook her head. “If that’s Uncle Hans, he can wait a minute until I get into the car to call him back on my cell. I’m off the time clock at five.”

Although that wasn’t really the reason she didn’t want to go back in.

Giving us a choice. . . .


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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