I’ve been neglecting my current work in progress as of late. I’ve been writing the third book in my Goddess of Tornado Alley series. It’s not that I’m not excited about working on it. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. This one is called Honeymoons, Harpies & House Arrest. This is the perfect title. How do I know? Well, because, even though I came up with it almost a year ago, it still makes me laugh when I say it out loud. That's proof enough for me that I got it right.
I’ve been editing like crazy. I’m one of the lucky ones; I have a job that I absolutely love. It fits me in a way no other job could. I’m the only one who clocks in around here, though―the home office of Wing Family Editing. That means I’m the janitor, the accountant, the CEO and the sole employee. The work environment is great … I edit in my bare feet and pajamas, my curly hair tousled and balanced on top of my head and held by a rubber band that is stretched to its very limits. My co-workers are awesome, too. There's only one; my furry little assistant who makes sure I get up and stretch every couple of hours. At three months old, Tara, my Golden Retriever puppy, has a small bladder that can only wait so long between bathroom breaks. Honestly, work conditions couldn’t be better. Oftentimes, I have almost more work than I can handle―which is the best complaint ever for a businesswoman to have, right? Still, I find myself contemplating the process of cloning sometimes. Just kidding. Maybe.
A couple of days ago, I decided to take a thirty-minute break and share a snippet of Harpies with the members of my writing group on Facebook. I wanted to reassure them that I wasn't being neglectful and that I do intend to honor my late fall release date. (Fingers and toes crossed.) I chose this particular scene because I thought it might elicit some anticipation for those readers who are patiently awaiting this next installment of Frank, Archer and the rest of the gang. This is what I posted:
As she watched, the little butterfly moved effortlessly through the glass as if the window was water and the creature decided to swim right through. The event elicited a gasp from Frank’s throat. She blinked several times, then moved closer to the window. The butterfly was unquestionably inside the room now, but the glass was firmly in place without a mark upon its surface. She pressed her hand against it. It was warm and solid against her fingers and palm.
Frank turned and watched the insect as it continued to flutter in the air. She could hear the movement of wings it was so close to her face, and then, in the blink of an eye, the butterfly vanished. In its place stood a young woman, the orange and brown wings now affixed to her shoulder blades and still moving as though they were being touched by a soft breeze.
“Or a goddess …” Frank breathed, not sure if she should be frightened by the new arrival, or if the lovely woman was there to offer more help.
“Oh,” Frank responded, happy that the words were at least slightly familiar to her. “I know that one. Kalí méra to you, too,” she greeted.
“Eísai akrivós ópos eípate kai o Éros,” butterfly girl said in a soft, pleasing voice.
“Wait,” Frank responded, suddenly frustrated. “You said ‘Eros’. I understood that much. I’m sorry. I’m trying to learn Greek, but it’s been a real challenge.”
Butterfly girl offered a smile, and Frank couldn’t help but wonder how old she was. It was impossible to tell with immortals. This girl, much like Thalia, looked young, perhaps in her late teens or early twenties. Her long hair reminded Frank of glistening brown sugar, and the sunlight coming through the windows fell across her face, lighting up her wide, amber eyes.
“Excuse me,” she told Frank. “I was thinking out loud. You are exactly as Eros described.”
This took Frank by surprise, although, considering the circumstances, she wasn’t exactly sure why. “Archer,” she stumbled, “I mean, Eros told you about me?”
Butterfly girl laughed, and the sound of bells echoed quietly beneath the vaulted ceiling of the large room. “Of course he did. I’m his wife. Eros tells me everything.”
I’ll admit, I was thrilled with the feedback this teaser got … but there was a lot of editing to be done, so I went back to work.
It must have been about ten minutes later when I saw a movement off to my right. I didn’t pay attention to it immediately. I was in the middle of a paragraph, and I’ve taught myself not to get distracted. (I’m about 90% successful on most days. My house is filled with a multitude of distractions. I had to become impervious to them or I'd never get a single thing accomplished.) When I saw it again, I looked up, and was surprised to find … a butterfly with orange and brown wings.
I have a faulty screen on my sliding glass door. It’s not quite big enough to fit the space because it actually belongs on the sliding glass door in the bedroom. It’s summer It's hot. I don’t have central air. The math is pretty easy to figure out on this one. There is a small space where insects, usually mosquitoes, get in. But never has a butterfly come through that opening … and never one that so closely resembles the butterfly in which I’d just introduced to my readers.
I was surprised. Okay. I was more than surprised. I followed her―yes, obviously it was a her―around my kitchen and living room. Every time she landed, I tried to get a photo, but she was not willing to pose. This went on for a couple of minutes, and then she decided to flit down the hall and disappear from sight. When my son, Scott, came out of his room at the end of the hall, I thought they might have met one another, but when I told him about my visitor, he said he hadn’t made her acquaintance.
I was a little excited, and Scott wondered why. I told him about the teaser I’d posted, and then Psyche’s timely and mysterious arrival. Then I mentioned the fact that she’d disappeared before I could get a picture.
Mouse, my nineteen-pound domesticated panther, had also spotted the beautiful Psyche. He's on the chubby side, my feline, but he's an excellent bug hunter. Normally, I cheer him on. I'm all about him catching flies and moths and casting them from my domain. Heck, most of the time I point the pests out to him in hopes that he'll do what he's so good at. This butterfly, though ... she was different.
I climbed over the doggie gate―there are several of them in the house to contain the previously mentioned puppy―and made my way down the stairs in a clumsy attempt to save my little visitor. I got to the door, but I was too slow … and for once, Mouse was incredibly fast.
Psyche made quite a meal for my normally lazy beast. As he choked the poor little butterfly down, I heard Scotty laughing from above me. He'd only come into the kitchen for a snack. He wasn't expecting to get a show, too.
"Look at it this way," he told me after he was able to catch his breath. "Psyche's a goddess, right? Doesn't that mean she's immortal?" Strangely enough, when I shared the story with my good friend Robin, she said the exact same thing.
So, was this butterfly's arrival just a strange coincidence? Maybe. I'm not convinced, though. When the universe speaks to me, I try really hard to listen. I'm pretty sure Mouse was listening, too, because thirty minutes after he made a meal of my tiny goddess, she returned with a vengeance. Apparently, deities don't digest well.
Honeymoons, Harpies & House Arrest is completely outlined. I've had the book organized and plotted for months. As a matter of fact, a good portion of it has already been written. There's been a new twist added to the story line, though. Why? Because I'm pretty sure that's the way Psyche wants it.