Grief Is Like a Tea Bag: Book Excerpt from They All Died Smiling: Kassidy and Russell First Kiss
UPDATE 11/27/17: this book comes out soon from The Wild Rose Press. Get your free sneak peek here.
I just did an interview for a funeral home. Not a job interview. The kind a writer gives to an interested party.
Yeah, I don’t know “why Ronda” either, but there it is.
Anyway, the topic of grief naturally arose, and I mentioned how grief infiltrates life the way a teabag infuses its essence into water. Grief can be a powerful motivator for a wide variety of actions a character takes (or does not take). For the reader, seeing how the protagonist or other character responds to grief can make for fascinating reading. The more a book or short story brings out emotion in the reader, the better.
That means a writer needs to infuse each tale with any and all emotions that comprise life. An author who is a student of human nature and a keen observer has a clear advantage in potraying these emotions on the page.
Here is a book excerpt from my upcoming novel They All Died Smiling, .showing how Kassidy’s grief over the death of her husband makes it hard for her to consider being with another man, even though she knows full well Randy would want her to move on.
I thanked him for lunch and we left the warm contentment of the restaurant for the frigid street.
Russ grabbed my arm, “Hey, I want a selfie with you.”
“I’ve never taken one before.”
“Seriously? Are you still using a flip phone too?”
Giving him a playful shove, I pulled out my Phone 6.
“Then it’s time you did. We’ll both take one.” He pulled us close together. There we were, rosy cheeked and laughing, captured in his phone and mine.
The cold damp air bit at my lungs.
“Dang, it’s freezing,” Russ said. “I give you a lot of credit for coming up here. I never figured you’d stay in a city for more than a day.”
He put an arm around me, tentatively at first, probably wondering if I’d bite it clear off his body. I leaned into his warmth. It felt so good. He wrapped both arms around me, his lips parted, a question in his eyes.
Forget reason. Let the hormones fly. We’re not kids and we’re not strangers. I am a single woman. I rose to my toes so my lips could meet his.
More than body heat ignited between us. All that existed was the two of us for a moment. I lost myself in how good it felt to be held and kissed by someone who cared about me. Then I thought of Randy. Russ was his friend too. We had all grown up together. My husband couldn’t come back to me, yet moving on made me feel awful. Why? Tears sprang into my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. I choked back the sob threatening to burst out of me.
Russ broke off the kiss, wiped away my tears with gentle thumbs. “You ok?” The look in his face reminded me of when beck’s dog Terror knew he was in trouble.
I leaned my head on his chest, felt the steady thump of his heart, sought my center. “Sorry, Russ. First kiss since Randy. I know he would want me to find someone else, but it’s hard.” Way to ruin a moment, Kass.
Much to his credit, he kissed the top of my head and kept holding me. I drank in his support like a desert traveler guzzling water.
After a time, I found my emotional footing, pulled myself back together, as much as that’s possible. “I’m so sorry. I guess I’m a hot mess.”
“You don’t need to apologize.”
“I have another interview today. It’s good seeing you again, and thanks for lunch.” I brushed my crystalized tears off him. Good thing I didn’t wear mascara today after all. I sure hope I didn’t drip snot all over his coat.
“Great seeing you. I’ll call you.”
We’ll see, but I hope so. I needed to put all that out of my mind for now and focus on giving Amber a safe space to tell her story.
Grief may be over someone who died, and it may be over another type of loss. Perhaps a lost opportunity, a divorce, or moving away from a beloved home. The more a reader feels the conflict, the better.
If you’re an avid reader looking for book excerpts and reviews, lease join Ronda’s Readers at WriteOnPurpose.com/read. You’ll get a lovely verbal snack a couple times a week.
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Ronda Del Boccio
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About Ronda Del Boccio
Ronda Del Boccio is an award-winning and best selling author of both fiction and nonfiction. She tells transformational tales and helps visionary authors turn their dreams and imaginings into published books. See and order Ronda’s books on Amazon.
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