Welcome to how your book can start here. Since my book, Future Girls is launching in December, it’s all about the book. Check out sources for Newbie Writers, check out the PR for Future Girls and start reading right here on this page! I will also post the launch give aways here as well.
Ask for the advance reader’s copy, which you can have in exchange for a solemn promise to post a review on Amazon December 1st, the day the book is released.
Until then, so you don’t have to hunt around for Chapter One:
Girls grew up in a hurry in the new state of California. Charity Northquest shuddered just reading the rules for wives from the One True Word. Once she read the words she would be transformed from girl to woman, ready for marriage – like magic (of course no one said magic). It didn’t make sense that mere words could change a girl. But she learned long ago that women did many things that did not make sense.
She could feel the congregation waiting. All she could see were the men lining the front pews. The women were relegated to the far back of the Temple, their heads covered by enormous hats, faces protected by veils. They softly whispered, trading recipes or indulging in trivial feminine conversation.
The New Bible was heavy in her hands. She scanned the page, she knew full well what she should say, Faith had said the words just last week, her friend Mirabella claimed her woman-hood two days ago. Charity swallowed, she didn’t dare delay a minute longer. Preacher Steve loomed over her, willing her to get it over with and return to the back of the Temple where she belonged.
Charity opened her mouth, but a shattering sound interrupted her. A huge rock bounced across the front of the room, past the pulpit and landing almost at her feet.
Startled, Charity automatically looked up to the preacher for instructions, interpretation and solace.
The mothers stopped their soft chatter. The noise, only a small bubble of annoyance a minute ago, surged into the jagged opening and flooded the surprised congregation.
The villagers. Charity shuddered and automatically stepped away from the shards of glass as if to distance herself from the problem. On TV the villagers were violent and brutal. The contestants in TV shows like Survive Today and What Will You Do Now? always panicked and ran when they came across a village or servant on the outside. Of course the people were foreign and odd, why else would they stay outside the comfort and safety of the city?
Preacher Steve was a large man in a society of very large people. Yet, even as he stopped Charity with an imposing stare, he looked to the men of the congregation for guidance.
She ducked her head and hid her expression under her own large hat brim. Saved by the village riots: that wasn’t something she had expected at all.
“We will exit, this way.” The Preacher for the One True God gestured and on cue, the men rose as a single body and looked behind them to the rows of women. The women slowly rose. An adult woman, the Mother, didn’t move quickly for two reasons: dignity and she was usually too fat to move very fast. Despite the rising noise and shattering of other windows, the women unhurriedly followed their husbands from the Temple.
“Come on, come on.” For the first time the husbands seemed in a hurry. They gestured wildly at their wives and in frustration grabbed children and pulled them through the narrow exit doors.
Dazed, Charity carefully set down the One True Word on the pulpit and tucked her own copy more securely under her arm. She tried to scan the crowd, searching for her best friend, but it was difficult to tell the women apart, especially in the rush. Where was Mirabella? Fear coursed down to her toes. This was it then, not a carnival, not a celebration, but a riot, another dangerous riot.
Not even the well trained company guards were equal to the sheer mass of people who for the last four days had breeched the city walls and flooded into every town and city in California. It was a celebration. Villagers dressed in their best outfits and sang and danced into the night. She heard there were parades and even in some cities, huge floats. Everyone was ready to dance and sing, all to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Great Convergence of 2045 when all the religions joined and peace, organized through the Reality Cloud, reigned. But one man’s parade was another man’s unruly riot.
Her father caught up with her. With another futile glance for her friend, she obediently joined her family of five out through the first exit, through another door to finally emerge into the old abandoned parking structure.
Sounds of chanting rose and fell, punctuated by the shattering of another window, maybe the Temple, or maybe a near by house. She was not certain since the noise seemed to engulf them as they hurried through the low beamed parking structure. She searched the otherwise empty space for their preacher, their leader, but he was no where to be found.
Did he escape and leave them to fend for themselves? You don’t leave your flock just like in the Reality Cloud, you never leave anyone’s avatar on the battlefield. Even girls knew that.
“Heathens!” Preacher Steve’s voice rose above the babble of the villagers. “This is no way to honor the One True God. The anniversary of the Convergence, the Unification of all we hold holy!” He must have stomped through the front doors even as the last of the congregation members slipped out the back. His sudden words burst over the angry crowd. Charity felt, rather than heard, a lull in the chanting as the big metal doors of the Temple clanged open. There was a pause, but then the crowd roared again.
She didn’t know there were enough villagers to make up such a crowd.
“That was the last of the colored windows.” Charity’s mother commented. Father, with one hand pulling Faith and the other gripping Hope, said nothing, he pulled them all along as fast as they could run.
Charity was unaccustomed to moving this fast and her breath caught as she struggled to keep pace. Young ladies strolled sedately, took their time, did not call attention to themselves. But now everyone was running, albeit slowly. Charity was surprised at how many she out paced, but it was wrong to be proud or to stand out from the many. They were all equal under the One True God, at least the women were. She took advantage of the chaos to pull off her floppy hat and drag at her scarf. Father had not slowed his pace and Faith was struggling to keep up. Hope, heavier than Charity, as was the fashion, wheezed next to her mother. Charity raised her head and looked directly up into the sky. It loomed low and gray over city. Familiar houses seemed to shimmer under the diffused daylight.
The homes in their neighborhood were a purposeful jumble of architectural styles, created to reflect the whim of the owners rather than display a uniform cohesion. Half-timbered Tudors butted up adjacent to Craftsman Modern, and Mid Century Glory. All the homes in their neighborhood were of the Beautiful Mansions program, fronted by lush lawns and gardens. Charity glanced at them, familiar, solid. But as she ran, the facades seemed to shiver before her, as if they were merely painted transparencies.
They raced to their own home, an imposing Victorian Mansion, Her father did not loosen his grip on her younger sister, even after they arrived at their own front walk. There were no walls around their home so they were still vulnerable. Charity glanced around and watched her neighbors disappear into their pretty homes.
A stab of loneliness tore through her.
Just yesterday, Mirabella had walked with Charity from their school to the Temple. They had discussed the villagers, the danger of the riots, the violence. But Mirabella had been confident that her intended, Ray, would manage the crowds.
“The guards know what to do.”
“But what if there are too many? What if it gets out of hand?”
Charity guiltily patted the book she had carried in a deep pocket in her baggy dress. She had resented the baggy clothes, required just when her body was finally growing into something recognizable as female, but she soon discovered the garment was very handy for concealing things like small books.
Mirabella was the lively one and never, in all the years Charity had known her, bothered to hide the fact. Charity took the opposite strategy and nurtured a reputation as the perfect, pious girl. During school, as well as in Temple, Charity kept her head bent over the New Bible, the One True Word. Her parents had presented her with her own copy years ago and she treasured it, never allowing either sister to borrow it. If her mother or sisters ever noticed what Charity was really up to, they never said. Every afternoon they trained their eyes on Preacher John, or Preacher Steve and entertained themselves with their own thoughts, or whispered with the women sitting in the pew with them. It was an effective disguise, except it had completely backfired last week.
The Great Convergence celebrations and riots had pressured every man in surveillance and control. “We have problems at work,” was all Father would say. It was all he could say. But Charity and Mirabella saw how erratic the power sources were. They knew the replicators were down more often than working. They knew that the Reality Cloud took precedence, it had to, it was what kept the peace for a hundred years. But even the Cloud was over taxed by the riots and the villagers, even women knew that.
Many of the Reality Cloud executives lived in the center of the Capitol on the shores of the Great Inner Lake. Charity was sure they were all safely inside their own protected homes, weathering the riots better than those in the greater Bay Area. Some executives were more equal than others. She replaced her hat, not wanting to anger her parents who were obviously agitated and stressed. She clutched her bible more closely to her chest and glanced down at the earth, since there was no where else to look but down. The ground wavered; it was lush green, then brown, then green. She blinked and followed her family into the safety of their home.
The sheets were not even dry. Charity paused and took a few deep breaths eyeing the monstrous kitchen stove. She heard her mother calm Hope and Faith, helping Hope with her labored breathing. Father disappeared into his home office to enter the Reality Cloud through the home version, coded for his use alone. The house lights flickered, it was cold inside, the heating system must have been compromised. It wasn’t the first time the coal burning stove that mother insisted on, was an advantage.
The lights flickered again, but held.
Charity took the last two pieces of coal and fed them into the stove.
“Nancy reported the Fabers in the market were down.” Mother tested the sheets and wiped her damp hands on her pale blue skirt.
They used to just toss the dirty sheets and Nancy, their head servant, would bring in new from the market replicators every week, the old sheets recycled for their essential material. The family was probably using the same sheets over and over, on a molecular level, but it was still nice to have new.
Not any more.
Charity glanced at the hanging sheets, no longer the original white. Just this morning she had helped her mother wrestled those sheets out of the big tub with a hot fire burning underneath, using up the bulk of the coal. Not for the first time Charity wondered exactly why burning coal and using water was better than employing the same energy to make brand new sheets. But she learned long ago not to question her mother’s methods.
Mother continued to focus on the sheets, as if they held some kind of answer.
“Did you see Mirabella?” Charity interrupted. “I didn’t see her with her family.”
Her mother took a breath.
“She read in Temple last week.” Charity reminded her mother, just in case Mother didn’t know who Charity was talking about. Charity didn’t elaborate on her close friendship, women were, by tradition, were not encouraged to make close friends. But Charity had, and until today, had not been sorry.
“I know she did. It was just agreed that she would marry Ray Lewis. A good match, he is a Guard.”
Why would Mother be concerned that Mirabella made a good match?
Her mother held Charity’s gaze for a second. “She is gone honey.” Her mother’s faded blue eyes watered. “Her family can’t find her, they’re afraid she was caught in the riot.”
Charity’s whole body turned cold. Her first friend in school? Her first pal, her only pal, gone? But they all escaped! How could Mirabella be gone?
“Ray will be devastated of course.” Her mother concentrated on testing the laundry and did not meet her oldest daughter’s eyes again. “Of course he’ll find someone else. He needs a wife to go into the Guards. All Guards have wives.” Charity knew that. Any man who wanted to excel needed a wife and family. Someone had to stay in the home, feed the family, keep the electronics repaired, remember the One True God and his teachings, and instruct the children. If a man wanted to work in any part of the Reality Cloud world, he needed to marry, put his wife into a nice house and make sure she was blessed with children.
Warm water dripped from the sheets on her bare feet. They never wore shoes in the house, an old tradition. There used to be so much toxic material outside that the women finally stopped everyone from tracking it into the house by creating the rule – no shoes inside. Now it was a law.
Before Charity could say anything, Nancy came in through the kitchen door carrying a small marketing basket. She pulled her kerchief more firmly to cover her head and bowed. “I’m so sorry Mother, the lines were long for the fuel today. And the village riots stopped us from leaving the market.”
“Takes a lot of electricity to manufacture the coal.” Mother never raised her voice at the servants, she insisted on treating them as people, even individuals. Charity kept that eccentricity to herself; her friends, like Mirabella, reported that Mothers were suppose to berate servants and keep them in line, something Charity’s mother never did.
Mother simply took the offered basket with only two day’s worth of coal. “If only we could harvest wood ourselves.”
“There are no forests.” Faith importantly flounced into the kitchen. She was 21, an almost bride, and Charity thought secretly, impossible. Like Charity, Faith was golden blond, and blessed with elegant features. Her frame carried the extra weight of city dwellers, it was considered beautiful.
For the last two months, Faith had relished being the center of attention as they all readied for her marriage to Nicolas Vandermere. The Vandermeres were new to the town, from San Francisco, but already well respected in the Company bureaucracy. Mr. Vandermere seemed to come from nowhere, but father had to respect his authority. The wedding had been set for tomorrow, but the riots and brown outs had interrupted the plans. Faith was not happy. Charity did her best to avoid her. Mother sighed and considered the huge fuel burning stove. The family owned a small Faber of course, but the food pods were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, even for a well-placed family like themselves. The only reason they weren’t hungry, the only reason Hope was even well, was due to the dirt food mother grew in the back of the house. Charity never told anyone, not even Mirabella about the garden. But she had to grudgingly admit that there were many nights when her mother eccentric gardening had kept them from going hungry.
Only two days ago, everything was as it should be. If she had known, she would have been kinder, not pinched so hard.
“The RC has been fluctuating.” Mirabella had announced as they slowly made their way back from Temple. “ I can feel it. Most women our age can feel it. Sometimes I worry that we aren’t even real.” She held out her arm. “Pinch me,” she commanded.
Charity reluctantly took a pinch of Mirabella’s flesh and dug her nails into the skin.
“Yikes!” Mirabella glanced down. “That’s going to bruise.”
“Then you’ll know you’re real won’t you?” Charity shot back. They didn’t dare linger on the street. But now that Mirabella mentioned it, the houses really did shimmer as they walked: sometimes revealing a plain one story home and sometimes turning into the glass and wood castles Charity always envisioned, always remembered.
It wasn’t all that bizarre, they heard early on in their education that reality was one of two things: a shared community effort or an individual vision. The shared world community, represented by the one hundred year old Reality Cloud, was preferable. Women were proud to support such an instrument of world peace.
Yet, increasingly, Charity was experiencing the individual version of reality instead of the collective vision. It was not comforting. Oh, she knew about the individual, the adventures she read about in her borrowed books were fantastic. The heroines in those books made differences, helped their friends, made change in their worlds. But those girls all lived in the past, and so did the authors. She hadn’t read any book written after 2050, almost a hundred years ago. What books could be found, were precious, even priceless. And something that priceless, needed to be shared.
Charity couldn’t even imagine what would happen if she were caught. There were no stories about that.
She and Mirabella stopped at the corner. The narrow sidewalk was flanked by long strips of emerald grass. Charity counted five steps from the exact corner and stood very still for about a second until Mirabella joined her. Quickly, in the shade of Mirabella’s hat, Charity dropped to one knee and plunged her hand through the green grass image that dispersed with her touch. She dragged away a heavy cement lid, quickly pulled out a small book and dropped the copy of 1984 in its place. She rose and with a practiced move, Mirabella stepped away.
It probably took them five seconds and this drop off was one of the more difficult ones. The drop off in the women’s rest room in school was easier – there was no surveillance in the toilet stalls.
“I don’t see why you bother any more. We’re about to marry, and that will be the end of that.” Mirabella complained.
“It’s like seeing your own reality.” Charity mocked her friend lightly.
“Well, it’s just fiction, they don’t even talk about things that are real, not like the reality shows on TV.”
They engaged in this debate so often Charity didn’t bother to pursue her opinion. Mirabella was always right in the end, mostly because she was louder and more aggressive of the two friends.
But on this they both agreed: their reality was shifting.
“What do you think is going on?” Mirabella had asked, how long ago? Maybe a month or two.
At the time, Charity had assured her friend that it was just the surges that made the walls of their homes fluctuate, made the grass move as if a breeze had ruffled the surface, made both their father’s nervous and cranky.
At the time, she did not think there was anything to worry about.
She was wrong.
I’m excited about the book’s release and just sent off the sequel – Future Gold to Eternal Press. So there will be more in the Future Girls series!
Your Book Starts Here.
There is nothing more satisfying than writing a book, either fiction or non fiction. I help writers take what they have and create the book they need.
- I work with professionals – coaches, leaders, bloggers and speakers.
- Do you want to be a real author and demonstrate that you are the authority in your field?
- Do you want to express your creativity or (finally) tell your story?
- Authoring a book will enhance your career and yes, your life.
- How do I know? I create fiction and nonfiction books myself.
or drop me an email to schedule a free consultation. I will help you discover the best way to take to get your book written and published.
Here is an idea of what we explore during the course of writing your book:
Month One (five hours/month)
- Audience analysis
- The competition
- Key words
- Three goals for the book
- Draft of the Book out line
- Identify existing materials
Month Two (five hours/month)
- Completed book outline
- Identify the Best Social Media outlets
- Ideas for book cover and book identity.
- Collect and edit illustrative stories
Month Three (five hours/month)
- Drafts of four chapters
- Set up Social Media
- Identify appropriate speaking venues
Month Four (five hours/month)
- Rough draft completed
- Schedule for social media created
- Book identity and cover approved
- Identify Beta Readers
Month Five (five hours/month)
- Send draft to Beta Readers
- Request book endorsements (back of book blurbs)
- Blog about the book
- Schedule speaking venues and classes
Month six (five hours/month)
- Evaluate Beta Feedback
- Send book to final copy editor
- Set up blogs from the book
End of Month Six (five hours/month)
- Launch the book!
- Appear as a guest on Newbie Writers Podcast
Time: 10 hours direct coaching and manuscript feedback
20 hours your own work towards completion of the project.
Cost: 6 months – $1,600
This is a general idea – individual results may vary.
While you are organizing your slides, notes and research, my favorite program to keep it all together is Scrivener. I promote it all the time – I use it for my novels and as my every day journal. I have not found anything better. I thought you’d like to see it for yourself, just click on the link below and check it out. If you need a solution for keeping your work organized, this is it.
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