I must be asking for punishment.
I entered another writing contest. I think I'm addicted. I just can't help it, I love writing contests. I've never actually won, but I have had an entry make the top 10. It was critiqued by a professional agent; she didn't choose mine to be a finalist because she thought she had read the best part of the story already, but she said she would have read more to see where the story went. She said it would have been interesting if I'd had in mind to steer the story like a Jodi Picoult novel, interweaving narative about the past characters.
Funny thing is, I love Jodi Picoult and had just finished reading "Perfect Match" when I wrote the entry. I loved that the professional agent likened my work to Picoult. Yea! Can't go wrong there.
I have more on the line with this latest contest, though. The entry will be critiqued not only by a secret agent but also by online peers in writing. Not only that, but I submitted the first 250 words of "Long Road's" first chapter. That story is so important to me; I pray to God it strikes a chord with the Secret Agent and all of the other writers critiquing the entries.
In case you're interested, here's my submission:
From "THE LONG ROAD TO HEAVEN"
I fought my soul’s toughest battles within earshot of the strangers who knew me best. Smiling for the cameras, pretending to be some rock ‘n’ roll beauty queen – it’s an empty endeavor when you’re frozen on the inside. Sometimes I wondered how I pulled off being Heather Montgomery when I felt so removed from myself. I mean, it's easy finding ecstasy in the mind-blowing release that occurs delivering aural sex to a sold-out arena of screaming fans, but long nights on a tour bus become even longer when you’re afraid of what your nightmares and drunken ramblings might reveal.
I envied my son the innocence and serenity that cradled him when he drifted into that realm of twilight I had grown to fear so much. That fear goaded the nagging impatience inside me when the lights of St. Louis proper fell within my sights. After spending the past 13 months on the road, we were finally coming home long enough to unpack our bags.
And not a moment too soon.
I’d started punishing myself with the guilt of missing so many opportunities to hold Elias as he drifted into the serene lucidity of sleep. Even in ill temper, the four-year-old angel napping in my arms calmed my inner turmoil. His sweetness kept me from dwelling on why I couldn’t find peace from the hell of that little farm I left outside Brayton five years earlier, a hell my fatherless son prevented me from pretending never happened.