Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Julie deleted many a scene between books 2 and 3 of the Art Lover's Mystery series...

(To the right: me, fellow Pensfatales Sophie Littlefield, and Ann Parker on tour in Arizona. Thanks to Lesa Holstine for the photo!)

Readers of the Art Lover's mystery series (written under my pseudonym, Hailey Lind) may have noticed that Josh-the-boyfriend was pushed back to a rather ignominious position as a "guy on the phone" before being shoved out of the books for good, all off-stage. I've heard from plenty of readers who wondered what happened to him...and while rummaging through the file of my many, many "deleted scenes", I came across this one.

Originally, the third book was going to entail a trip to Annie's home town in the Central Valley. The following scene opened the book:

“I wish I could go with you, Annie,” Josh murmured in my ear.

“I wish you could, too,” I lied. In marked contrast to most of the men in my life, the one who held me in his brawny arms was reliable, sweet, and refreshingly uncomplicated. I really didn’t deserve him. Josh Reynolds, contractor extraordinaire to the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich and upwardly mobile, had no flaws at all.

The one and only problem with Josh was that he was so...reliable. Sweet. And uncomplicated.

Josh and I had been dating ever since he had swooped in and saved me from celibacy last fall. He was like my very own white knight in denim, little gold earring, and tie-dye T-shirt. For a simple, straightforward kind of guy, Josh was remarkably tolerant of my somewhat checkered past. Which was a good thing because my normally quiet life as a legitimate faux-finisher was occasionally punctuated by high-drama incidents, like when I was busted for drug smuggling last fall.

But lately I was beginning to feel like I represented Josh’s Walk on the Wild Side. Even more sobering, I was wondering whether Josh might not be my very own Walk on the Mild Side.

“I have to stay and keep on top of the construction, otherwise we’ll fall behind schedule, and I’m not getting paid for falling behind,” Josh explained while he cleared the table of the remnants of the 3-course vegetarian feast he had lovingly cooked for me earlier in the evening.

That was another thing about dating Josh: normally I wasn’t a huge carnivore, but now that I was dating a vegetarian I had begun craving meat. The other night after Josh had wooed me over a sumptuous dinner of chickpea-tofu stew I found myself making a beeline toward Oakland’s famous Everett and Jones’ barbecue for an extra-large order of spicy baby-back ribs. Halfway through my surreptitious feast I looked down at the caveman-sized platter, my own sauce-covered hands, and my growing belly and wondered how I had gotten so out of control. Seemed like it was time –past time-- for me and Josh to have a little Talk.

But until I worked up the nerve it was easier just to leave town.

The series took off in an entirely different direction, but I always felt like we gave good old Josh the short end of the stick. Ah, well. The funny part is that I kept this scene, as though it could ever be used elsewhere.

Writers are nothing if not stubborn optimists.


Sophie Littlefield said...

Hey! I have some left-behind gals in my Save For Later. How about we plan a little mixer out in Imaginary Land? I have a deleted waitress who might be just right for old Josh.

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

Or maybe that deleted waitress could give Josh a flaw that Annie might respond to :)

Back in the 90s there was a place in Oakland that served incredible BBQ with white bread and green peas. I can't remember the name, but it was something!!!!

Juliet Blackwell said...

I like it. We should get all our reject characters together and see what kind of dust they can kick up.
Maybe they should eat BBQ while doing it?

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