I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I did. Went to a friend’s to make mulled wine and roasted chestnuts but somehow neither happened. My friend ended up taking me out for a massage, which I seriously needed (especially after spending all morning listening to my next door neighbor’s four unsupervised children run, scream, wail, jump off of his bed loft, and repeatedly ram themselves into the walls of his approximately 200 square foot apartment, nearly sending several of my paintings crashing to the floor). Then when we got back to her apartment, another friend came over with a bottle of vintage Scotch, which was lovely, and which, for the same aforesaid reason, I desperately needed. But somehow we just didn’t get a whole lot of cooking done after that…
Anyway, I almost forgot about Sample Sunday this week. (This is a new promotion for authors on Twitter, to link to a sample passage from one of their books.) I recently uploaded page 99 of Swallow for the newish Page 99 Test site (wherein readers rate how likely they’ll be to buy your book based on a random page somewhere in the middle), but I didn’t realize you couldn’t access the site without signing up for an account. So, I’m pasting my page 99 into the body of this post instead. Here it is:
Okay, I made it worse. I decided to cut my losses and just shut up.
We found Stephen in the next room examining a sketch of Rodin’s sculpture of a woman with her legs splayed in the air.
“This is the ideal woman,” he nodded.
“She’s upside down,” I said.
“Well, obviously. I mean the proportions. Fleshy womb, generous hips, well proportioned-breasts…” He sounded lost in a dream. I cocked my head to try to see her right-side up as Stephen became interested in a Gauguin Polynesian princess. From what I could tell, her body seemed very unlike mine.
I followed Thom’s laughter to some advertisements. There was a hilarious turn-of-the-century one of a woman riding witch-like not a broom, but an uncorked, exploding champagne bottle. Another, more contemporary one, depicted a naked woman, her back to the viewer, but head cocked over shoulder, demurely smiling, sitting at an outdoors picnic with two fully clothed men and a stereo. Caption read, “We could all use a bit of romance in our lives.” Like, buy the stereo, get the woman included. There were naked women selling sports cars, men’s cologne, everything under the sun. This room could have gone on forever and a day.
I saw Stephen shaking his head at something. I walked up. It was an advert featuring a naked female model being sprayed playfully by a hose. Honestly couldn’t tell exactly what it was advertising though. Tap water? Didn’t think so.