Latest pitch for House of Cuts to take to Gold Rush Conference this weekend:
A flaming red-headed reporter writes stories about grisly dismemberments at a superstore in California’s Central Valley while racing the investigation team--headed up by a detective who's fallen for her--to find the killer and to keep secret her own "crime," then becomes forced to witness another murder in progress, which may lead to her own demise.
Latest first 300 words to take to conf:
October dusk streamed through the high windows and spotlighted the terrific pattern. When I laid out the pieces of Brookfield’s arms, they would form the I Ching K'un Trigram, the season of late summer/early autumn. My message would be clear even to the sheep. And for those who had studied wisdom traditions, the design would pay homage to Mother, as well. I rubbed my hands over the penciled drawing in a sort of blessing, scraped my stool away from the workbench, and skipped to the bulletin board. Humming Rub-a-dub-dub, I thumbtacked the drawing onto the crumbly cork, stained over the years but bearing so much I loved. Keeping my gaze on the pattern, I toe-heeled back to the middle of the room, turned and stretched up to snap on the light bulb. Leaning against the load-bearing post in the center, the length of my body relaxed, and I grinned. Let the lesson begin.
I shut my eyes and summoned her voice again. Thou shalt not kill. It was always the wrong message. I scanned the dim space, listening. Nothing. She of all people should see the difference. Other kills are evil, yes, dripping with blood and gore. But this, it was sacred. Sacred and clean.
Swiveling around, I gazed at the home-canned goods lining the wall, glass quarts glistening, packed with peaches and cherries. The gallon-sized jars of pickles will come in handy but even better are the bungee cords stretched across the front of the shelves, keeping the jars from falling onto the concrete floor. With bungees, there are no knots to untie. I was satisfied with the extra bungees, their thicknesses, color-coded and coiled up neatly on the bottom shelf.
My thumbnail hurt from practicing ripping off duct tape. I brushed my fingers across the bristles of my close-cropped hair, then finger-massaged the scalp, counting out twenty-five strokes.