Title: The Well-Adjusted Household
Word Count: 86,000
Genre: Adult Upmarket Fiction
Ben has been called a lot of things: doctor, husband, father, deviant, liar. His wife Alena calls him friend and her brother Iain calls him lover.
They live in Prohibition-era Pittsburgh and booze isn't the only thing that's illegal. Homosexuality is a felony and Ben and Iain don't care to spend the next ten years behind bars. Luckily, their sham marriages to Alena and her paramour Margaux are the perfect cover.
In public, they are the wealthy and powerful Blackburn family, heirs to a steel fortune. But behind closed doors, they are an improvised household of artificially conceived children and secret passageways between bedrooms. Everything is orchestrated. Nothing is as it seems.
When a conniving maid discovers their secret, Iain and Ben are arrested on charges of sodomy and homosexual behavior. The men and their constructed family are put on trial and it is up to their wives to convince the world of their “innocence.”
With an unjust law and an unsympathetic jury, they are well-aware that the truth will not set them free.
First 250 Words:
“On your right!”
The bicycle appeared from around the corner while Ben was lost in thoughts of covalent bonds and chemical reactions. There was no time to avoid impact. His beakers hit the pavement first, followed by his face.
“Jesus Christ, I've killed him. Hello? Can you hear me?”
As Ben regained consciousness, he assessed his injuries. Pain, but no broken bones. He rolled to his back. “Left. You were on my left.”
“Pardon?” The offending cyclist hovered over him, surveying the damage. “Goodness. You're bleeding.”
Ben sat up slowly, his ears ringing and his vision blurry. He poked at his cheek where a shard of glass had lodged. “Blast.”
“Here, let me help you.” The young man grabbed Ben's arm and pulled him to his feet. “I do apologize. I've never run over anyone before.”
Ben wobbled slightly, adjusting the spectacles still somehow perched on his nose. “I find that hard to believe.”
“My apartment is just there,” he offered, disregarding Ben's comment and pointing to a building across the street. “Would you care to come up? Use the washroom? That gash is quite a sight.” The young man leaned in closer, inspecting the wound.
“I, um, don't think–” Ben suddenly noticed that his assailant was beautiful and smelled like Eau de Quinine.
“Please. It's the least I can do,” he laughed, gesturing to the mess of papers and glass at their feet.
“I insist.” He offered his hand. “I'm Iain, by the way.”
Entry Nickname: Make A Baby With Socks On
Title: You Can Still Make A Baby With Your Socks On
Word count: 60,000
Genre: Women's Fiction
When her husband announces to their entire New Year’s Eve party that having sex with her feels hollow and empty, Aida realizes that she just might be the kind of person who makes truly terrible decisions. Especially about men. What’s even worse is that her divorce therapist believes Aida’s hilariously nosy eighty-year-old Italian grandmother pen pal might be the key to turning her life around. When Aida shares in session her grandmother’s recommendation to go out on a date before her breasts droop, her therapist sees that this woman can change everything. It’s in that moment that she offers a unique challenge to Aida – to follow one piece of advice from each of her grandmother’s letters and see where life takes her.
From telling her to join a co-ed bocce ball league where she is old enough to be everyone’s mother, to having sex without taking her socks off, Aida soon learns that good things actually come when she follows her grandmother’s advice. It’s because of her that Aida finds love again in the most unlikely of places, and realizes that her grandmother knows more about life than just how to make meatballs and go to confession.
But after that love leads to everything she ever hoped for, tragedy strikes and she’s faced with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make. Her gut tells her one thing, but her grandmother says another. Now she’s left doubting the one person who has helped her the most. A wrong decision could spiral her back into a deep depression and potentially end her new found love, but the alternative jeopardizes a relationship that has transcended every obstacle in her life.
First 250 words:
I hope you got the socks I sent you. When I first mailed them, they were in a regular-sized envelope with one of those return address labels from the Easter Seals. I always feel bad using those since I only donated $5 back in 1992, and since then they've sent me enough labels to cover the Great Wall of China. Of course, I would never actually use those labels on the Great Wall because I wouldn’t want that many people knowing where I live, but it doesn’t matter because two days later the letter I wrote to you was returned for not having enough postage and I had to switch the tube socks out for trouser socks so I wouldn't have to pay more.
How is the new apartment feeling? I know it will take a while to feel like home, but you will heal from this, Aida. You will.
I never liked him. I know you thought it was because he wasn’t Italian but that’s not true. I didn’t like him because he drank too much. It would be different if he was Italian and enjoyed a few glasses of wine at night, but he liked all that beer and I heard that beer is the drink that turns most people into alcoholics. I think that’s why you don’t see any Italian alcoholics.
You’re too young to be sad. Wear one of those bodysuits you used to wear in college, the one that snaps down in the crotch (it’s really amazing you never got an infection down there with how tight those things are). You’re beautiful. Go have some fun before your breasts droop.
Loving you always,