Update on the revising process: I’ve got the manuscript to Mercy, my editor, and she’s working on reading through it to get the ‘big picture’ view before we start working. I’m supposed to be reading it myself–laugh if you will, but I’ve never read the entire thing through. This Wednesday marked one year since I started Paris of London, and at about 4:00 p.m. I decided I should read the ‘finished’ book. Reading my book is hard, because I always want to stop and edit or rewrite whole chapters. So how far did I get? Only 1% according to my Kindle. About the amount that I had written that first day a year ago. 🙂
I have been meaning to post some excerpts for you…with over 500 pages, I certainly have a lot to choose from. I can’t decide whether I like the child Paris or the man Paris better, and then the teenager Paris is pretty awesome too. So I guess I’ll give you a little of each.
Here’s the excerpt I had on my old website–the scene in Chapter 2 when ten-year-old Paris meets his 3-year-old sister:
When the little girl wakes up, Paris is sitting there looking at her intently. She sits up and stares back with her big, brown eyes.
“I’m gonna keep you,” he says after a while. “What’s your name?”
She stares at him.
“Don’t Mum call you nothing?”
After a hesitation, she shakes her head.
“Well, they call me Paris,” he says finally. “Guess I’ll give you a name,” he says thoughtfully. “It’s got a’ be like mine, ‘cause you my sister.”
Her eyes open wide, but she still doesn’t say anything.
“One thing, since you gonna live with me,” he continues, looking at her with his serious eyes, “It’s that you got a’ talk to me, ‘cause I an’t got no one else what’ll do it, and I’m dying for someone to talk to me.” He watches her closely. “Better start now,” he says when she doesn’t say anything. “Can’t you say, ‘Paris’?”
She nods slowly. “Parwis,” she says softly.
He smiles, very pleased. “Yeah, sterling. You the prettiest kid, you know that?”
She shakes her head slowly.
“Keep talking,” he says. “Say, ‘I’m your little sister.’”
“Wha’s dat mean?” she says.
He opens his mouth in surprise. Then he breaks into a smile and grabs her little hand. “Means you and me are like this. You my baby and I treat you decent. Not just that. We’re mates– and we stick together no matter what.”
She listens wide-eyed during this earnest speech. When he has finished he looks at her carefully.
She nods. “Yeah,” she says.
He grins for the first time in a long time.
And when Paris is sixteen years old, still living on the street, and taking care of his sister Carissa…
As Paris is sitting there with Carissa, the landlady walks up. “What can I get you, kids?” she says. She is a fat, motherly-looking woman, her dark, sweaty hair falling out of the patterned kerchief on her head. She threatens to burst out of an apron tied tightly around her enormous waist.
“We ate already,” Paris tells her.
“Gotta buy something if your gonna sit in here,” she says, with a charming little smile on her face.
“Get me a hot coffee, then,” Paris says. He glances down at Carissa.
“And something for the child?” the woman wonders, bending down to pat Carissa’s curls.
“We’ll share,” Paris says promptly.
The lady furrows her brow. “My!” she says, “Do you know anything about taking care of a child, young man?”
Paris smiles a little. “I ‘spect I know somethin’.”
“Well the first rule,” the woman responds, nodding emphatically, “Is that you don’t feed a little girl coffee after supper.”
“Good,” Carissa murmurs, “’Cause I don’t like coffee.”
“There you go,” the woman says, smiling triumphantly. “Ask the child what she wants.”
Paris blinks, and looks down at Carissa. “You want something, Rissa?”
She sits up and looks up at him, a smile flickering over her face. “Can I?”
Paris hesitates for only a moment. “Sure, Ris. Whatever you want.”
Carissa smiles and turns toward the landlady. “You got one a’ them sugar buns, all hot and drippy?” she says. “Or…” her eyes light up with excitement, “You got the chocolate stuff that come hot in a cup?”
“I’ll get you both,” the woman replies, smiling.
Paris opens his mouth.
“For tuppence,” the woman adds in a whisper, winking at Paris.
“Thanks,” he smiles, relieved.
The woman brings Carissa a cup of chocolate and a sugar bun.
“What’s the second rule?” she quizzes Paris as Carissa begins to eat. “It’s, don’t ask your sis to share when she got a treat. Don’t ever take sweets from a child.”
Paris smiles. “I an’t askin’.”
“Third rule?” the woman says next, cocking her head at him.
He shrugs slowly.
“My stars!” she says, shaking her head. “You don’t know anything about children!”
Maybe he doesn’t, but I like him anyway! Paris is only nineteen in this next one, but he’s definitely a man–he’s getting engaged in the next chapter! Jack is an eleven-year-old street kid Paris recently met.
The boy doesn’t seem to be listening to what Paris is saying. He jerks a knife from somewhere in his ragged clothes and lunges toward Paris’ stomach. Paris’ survival instincts kicks in the second he sees the blade. He grabs Jack’s wrist in mid-air and twists his arm backwards, grabbing him around the chest with his other arm at the same time. Jack is rendered powerless, pinned against a man almost twice his size. He breathes hard and tries to stab Paris backwards, but Paris has his wrist gripped firmly in his strong, work-hardened hand.
Paris holds him tightly for a moment, then begins to peel Jack’s fingers off the handle of the knife. “Let’s jus’ put this down, okay, mate?”
The young man’s calm, kind voice suddenly brings Jack close to tears. He releases his grasp on the knife and blinks to keep them back. “Jus’ no one want me, is all,” he says, trying to keep his voice steady. “My mother’s friends don’t want me ‘cause I’m too much trouble, and the charities kick me out too ‘cause I’m a drunk. Maybe if I’s a good kid someone’d want me, but I ain’t.” He clenches his teeth. “Can’t be good when no one want me, Paris. Jus’ can’t be good.”
Paris drops the knife on the ground and puts his arms around the boy, no longer in restraint, but in love. “I want you, Jack. Promise I want you, no matter how bad you are. Love you no matter what you do, no matter who you are.”
Jack sniffles. Paris gently turns him around and holds him to his chest. “You know I love you, kid?”
“Why?” Jack blurts out. “Yeah, maybe that cute little baby-kid you got, and your sis you grown up with, but what’s a’ use a’ loving a stupid…?”
“It’s all ‘cause a’ God, Jack,” Paris says quietly. “God’s love an’t ‘bout whether you’re cute or pretty or good—God love everyone no matter what they do, no matter if they’re a drunk, or a street kid, or they born in the gutter. He want ‘em all to trust in him, so he can make ‘em part of his family and love ‘em even more. God love everyone the same.”
“But you ain’t God.”
“No, I ain’t. But since he let me be in his family, I think maybe he give some a’ his love to me, so I can give it to others. I know I ought a’ love everyone, ‘cause God first loved me when I don’t deserve a’ be loved. I’s jus’ a street kid, and no one ever want me, like you say, and I’s sore at God for makin’ me have it so hard—but still he love me after all that.”
Jack’s breathing slows as he leans against Paris. Paris rubs his back gently. “You want a’ come live with me for good?”
Thanks for reading!