From Choices to Kisses: Scrubbing My Prose in 30 Days, Report Five

These are the last of the June Challenges. The daily prose scrubs have made me assess my published works with renewed vision and inspired me to proof my current projects with increased vigor.  The challenge responses below reflect both. I hope you enjoyed this craft work as much as I have.

Challenge Twenty-seven: a character caught between choices
riddle in bones 3 copy-2

In the first two Abishag mysteries, Leslie chooses to wive vegetative men to pay for college. In the third Abishag mystery, Riddle in Bones, she has a healthy savings account and a summer job studying mule bones. Under pressure, she would rather remain an ordinary student and not take on another comatose husband.

I decided to trust my first instincts—I was finished being an Abishag. This poor man would be better matched with an Abishag wife who would respect and serve her nearly-dead husband as I had with Thomas and Jordan.

In the elevator to the conference room, Sebastian suddenly said, “Don’t let him, them, talk you into it.”

The elevator doors opened, and I saw Florence Harcourt pacing impatiently ten feet away.

Reinforcements had arrived.

“Mrs. Harcourt.” I straightened. The woman may intimidate—well, everyone—but nothing she could say would change my mind.

Challenge Twenty-eight: a teacher on his/her first day of work
lillian with shoes copy

A small announcement: My historical romance Lillian in the Doorway will be released on KDP this month. Since this is a new genre for me, I’ll be using the pen name Michelle Dutton.

In 1924, Lillian is hiding from Chicago gangsters in Southern California. She is working as an Americanization teacher among Mexican workers on the orange orchards. In this short rant to another teacher, she expresses the irony of her role.

“Do you know that I had to ask Maria Lopez how to make an apple pie? The poor woman interrupted planning her wedding to teach me. She’s in Ruth’s Americanization class. Not only has her family lived in the United States more generations than yours or mine, but she already knows how to bake an …”

Challenge Twenty-nine: a character in physical pain

I’m currently finishing the discovery draft of the sequel to Jack Fell Down. In the first book, Pam lost her job and part of her brain in an accident she can’t remember. Almost two years later, she still suffers from the effects of that traumatic injury.

jack fell down copyMy voice shook like my legs.

Devlin’s eyes widened when he looked at me. God knows what he saw, but for me the office was capsizing and unless something happened fast, I was going down.

“You used to teach at my school, Ms Graff. I took your Physics for Athletes class, till—you know—you left.”

With tremors rolling through me, I couldn’t speak. And then I blacked out.

Challenge Thirty: A first kiss

In June I finished the second set of revisions to the shapeshifter novel A Foreign Story Collector. Callie and Oren share a moment here.

Callie’s smile faded at the intensity in his eyes. Then her own eyes widened as his lips landed hungrily on hers. She felt swept away by a sea gale and pressed closer to him.

He ducked his head when he released her, calling hoarsely for Trey as he left. Callie hurried to the kitchen door and only had a brief view of Trey’s back as he followed Oren. Her lips still tingled with Oren’s kiss as her eyes met Miri’s.

A very fun thirty day challenge!  Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Happy reading!


About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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2 Responses to From Choices to Kisses: Scrubbing My Prose in 30 Days, Report Five

  1. Ken Lew says:

    Amazing stuff . . . . and makes me want to re-read the stories.

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