Thursday, June 21, 2012

Selection from my Novel, Approaching Felonias Park


I hardly ever put teasers of my novel out there, but I decided today, why not?  Here's my micro-ad: 

Approaching Felonias Park is a significant, accessible and fast-moving novel reflecting our country's contemporary, unstable socioeconomics.  Take a look at the first few hundred words below where you will meet the protagonist Jezabel and get a feel for her lifestyle.  

For more information and reviews, visit www.ApproachingFeloniasPark.com

Click here to purchase the full book, which is available in Kindle and traditional formats.

Proceeds benefit a local emergency food pantry.

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Chapter 1
“Hello. My name is Jezabel. I process high-interest loans for the desperate.”
That’s how Jezabel McPhearson would have described herself.
She would say it in an even, ironic voice and nod patiently, as if the listener understood. But she was feeling neither ironic nor patient this morning. She was feeling lecherous.
In an act of perversion, Jezabel’s mother had chosen her daughter’s name. Jezabel meant “The Lord (Baal) exists.” And for whatever reason, Jezabel’s Bible-smart mother thought it a good joke to name her daughter after a pagan sentiment.
But Jezabel’s mother also liked the image of the Old Testament figure: though “Jezabel” had become loosely associated with prostitution and evil, Mom thought more of Jezabel’s royal rank and how the woman represented a powerful figure behind the throne.
While she maintained a perhaps unhealthy sense of guilt, Jezabel never felt completely evil, nor did she feel powerful, even though she was the giver of money, the loan maker. And she knew she had only a few more moments before the next beggar would be at her office door.
This was the third day Charles had called in sick. Ridiculous, she thought. She might have had more sympathy if he had claimed to have, say, strep throat or something serious. Or even something interesting like, “Hi. I ate a steak from a moo-moo with mad cow disease. I’m recovering nicely but need at least an extra day.” She could picture Charles saying that. She couldn’t imagine herself coming up with anything so amusing or creative.
But no, she ruminated irritably. He left the message on her voice mail saying he had a virus and probably would not be in for the next three days. Jezabel wondered, could he predict how long he would be throwing up or sitting on the toilet? Could he foretell how long a virus would live in his body? Or was this some kind of scientific guess on his part (which she found equally annoying because neither of them were scientists)?
In fact, the more she worked here, the more she realized how absolutely unscientific this process was, how pointless, how mindless. How long had she had this horrible job? Five years? Six? Seven? She had lost count, and actually, she didn’t want to count. Labeling the time with a number would make it worse. Besides, no one could count to infinity.
It’s not that she really hated what she did. Well, actually, yes. She really was hating what she was doing. She wanted a change, but she felt more stuck than a nail in a petrified tree. How could she change fields now, especially when she had been working in a strange niche for so long and didn’t have the education to break her out of the odd prison of pseudo-lending-and-accounting?
Jezabel hung up her jacket on the wall-mounted hook beside her desk. She stashed her tan vinyl purse in the file drawer and logged back onto her computer. She flicked her long, straight, blond hair over her thin shoulder and wondered why she hadn’t put it up in her usual ponytail. Maybe, though, she should consider wearing her hair in a bun. Would she feel more respectable then?
Her computer system came up. On her wallpaper, she and Michael held hands and walked in the little park not far from Jezabel’s apartment.
Jezabel loved that picture. The sky smiled in clouds. Michael’s brown eyes and grin looked mischievously puppy-like. He didn’t have his beard then, and she could read his expression. Her fair hair and complexion contrasted with his tan face and natural, dark waves just long enough for her to run her fingers through. Her own brown eyes smiled. He looked happy, and so did she.
It was bright autumn in the photo, and the trees held those glorious colors that said it would be at least a few more weeks before winter set in for real. Jezabel wished herself back to that day.
Michael. Jessop Michael Pastore. He insisted on being called Michael, which Jezabel could completely understand. It was one thing they had in common—dislike of their first names. If Jezabel had a middle name, she would use hers, too.
Maybe she should think about Michael’s idea seriously this time. What was she so afraid of? Was she worried that his bad habits would make for a bad life? Was she afraid he wouldn’t pay the bills or clean the apartment? She had seen his place. It was usually a mess, but then, she wasn’t some kind of clean freak. Of course, there was Tarika, and Jezabel didn’t want to give up her kitty. And Jezabel liked having her things orderly, like she did now. She just wasn’t sure.
Jezabel knew what it meant to her clients that she was there, but part of her just didn’t care. It wasn’t that she was cold. She just couldn’t really afford to be fussy anymore. She was burnt. She was tired. She was bored. And she didn’t like how angry she was feeling as a result. It was cancerous.
So here she sat, doodling on the bland calendar that owned most of her desk. She wrote her name. She wrote “Charles,” then drew a stick figure of a woman slapping the name silly.
Charles Oro. He liked his name, but at the moment, she wasn’t fond of it or him. She would have to take his clients as well as hers, and the lines would be out the door again. For the third day.
She groaned in her head. Thirty or more people a day at her door asking for money. For a loan. At least thirty times, she would have to explain the mission of the organization and their responsibility. She mimicked herself saying it now, murmuring:
“Remember, In-a-Pinch is not a bank. You are taking out a high-interest loan to be repaid over a six-month period. You will be responsible for the principal of the loan, monthly interest accrued at 27% and the initiation fee of $75.00. If you miss one or more payments, we reserve the right to aggressively collect from you and/or the cosigners designated on your application form. Do you have any questions?”

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Want to know more about Jezabel?  Why is her name spelled like that?  Why is "Felonias" spelled the way it is?  Who are the people of In-a-PinchClick here to purchase.
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