Archive for the Novel excerpts Category

JUST PLAIN WEIRD PREVIEW

Posted in Novel excerpts, Uncategorized, young adult, Young Adult on September 23, 2016 by tomupton33

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https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B001G0OCDE&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_9Zx5xbSQK1596&amp

Young love has never been this complicated.

Travis MacDuff is an ordinary teenager. His only concern is making his school’s football team, until he meets his new neighbor, a peculiar girl who leads him on a bizarre journey that threatens their lives as well as all life on the planet.

Just Plain Weird is a story about destiny and the triumph of young love over everything.

 

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Freaky Jules

Posted in Young Adult with tags , , , on March 6, 2011 by tomupton33

 

 

 

From D.O.T.S. Diary of a Teen-aged Stalker

Posted in Novel excerpts, Young Adult on January 17, 2011 by tomupton33

June 9, 20–

When I wake in the morning, I am certain that everything will be all right. Everything will be normal. Everything will be as it has always been.

My father will already be in the bathroom. He always beats everybody to the bathroom. He will be showering or shaving. He takes a long time, because he is so particular about how he looks. He seems to believe that in order to sell life insurance he must look absolutely perfect. Nobody has had the heart to tell him that it doesn’t matter how good he looks; if somebody is going to buy life insurance, they are going to buy it no matter what. If somebody doesn’t want it, his looking all that and more isn’t going to force that person to buy. Most people avoid life insurance salesmen, anyway, because they don’t want to think about how one day they will die. They act as though they will live forever, and if they ever hear the words “life insurance” they tend to walk away. So my father is not a popular guy; he is always the mean guy who reminds everybody that some day, sooner or later, they will be worm’s meat.

While my father is upstairs primping, my mother will be down in the kitchen. She makes breakfast. She always insists on making a hot breakfast. I don’t know why. We can never have just cold cereal or fruit, not even when she’s sick with a cold or the flu. She makes bacon and eggs, pancakes, or omelets. Really, her omelets are great: American cheese and diced ham omelets, Denver omelets. Mexican omelets…. Her Denver omelets are the best, because she never scrimps on the green peppers.

The counter radio will be on, tuned into to an oldies station that plays all the lame songs that she seems to enjoy so much. Sometimes she hums to a particular song that she has not heard in a long time. The dishes clink together. The music plays. The pots and pans rattle as they soak in the water-filled sink. The spatula scrapes across a frying pan. My mother hums….

The kitchen is filled with a symphony of sounds whenever my mother cooks.

All this happens when everything is normal.

But today is not normal.

Nothing will ever be normal again.

Forever.

 

Rule 3 Never choose a best friend you actually like

Posted in Novel excerpts, Young Adult with tags , , , , on November 19, 2010 by tomupton33

Rule 3
Never choose a best friend you actually like

I stopped in the girls’ room to try to bush out my hair before my first class.

I loved the girls’ room. I always found comfort in the way sounds echoed off the tiled walls. There was peace here, except, of course, when two girls were fighting over some guy who was usually not the least bit interested in either one of them. Or when somebody with a tin ear broke out in song, thinking the acoustics of the room would make their voice sound human. When I was a freshman, I spent hours in the girls’ room. It was my getaway from the classes I hated and routinely cut, which was pretty much all of them. I think I was going through some kind of phase. I was rebelling or something. Finally Assistant Principle Art Whit, whom everybody called Whitless, threatened to call my parents in for a meeting if I didn’t stop cutting classes. So that was pretty much that. The last thing I wanted was sympathy from the school’s administrative tight-ass. I could see him looking down his long thin nose at me, and saying, “I met with your parents, and, damn, is there anything I can do for you? I never realized… no wonder you hide in the bathroom all the time….” Really, I’d have to slit my wrists on the spot.

I stood by the sinks and bushed my hair. The bush kept getting caught in the tangles. Something fell out, and I freaked. It looked like a corn bug. It dropped in the sink and scuttled down the drain.

Just then, Trixie Allen walked into the bathroom. Trixie was sort of chubby, sort of blah, and sort of my best friend. I figured you should never pick a best friend you actually like. Then if you break up, you really don’t lose much. The flaw in my reasoning, though, is that until you break up you really don’t have very much. And that was Trixie—not very much.

She stood next to me and checked herself out in the mirror. I was surprised she even bothered. She had a hopelessly round face and dull brown eyes. Her hair was her best feature, and for that she had to pay big bucks to have styled and dyed reddish-brown, sometimes with a blue or green streak.

Her real name was Virginia, which she totally hated. She said it sounded as though she had been named after a state. Who knew why she thought Trixie was any better? To me, Trixie sounded like the name of an 83-year-old prostitute.

After checking herself out, she looked over at me in the mirror.

“Hey, what’s with you?” she asked. “You look a little green.”

“My parents drove me to school,” I said.

“No!” she gasped. “And you let them?”

I shrugged. “They insisted.”

“Don’t they know what they do to us?” she wondered.

She always talked as though her parents were as bad as mine. It wasn’t even close. In the defective-parent contest I couldn’t be beat.

Actually Trixie’s parents always seemed pretty normal to me. They bought Trixie a car for her sixteenth birthday, and not any twenty-year-old beater that smelled of chicken feathers, either. They bought her a new Camaro. I couldn’t even remember what I got for my sixteenth birthday. I was probably better off not remembering. Dad was not logical when it came to gifts. Last Christmas he installed a padded toilet seat in our bathroom. That was his gift to the family—no kidding. To him that was a big deal. Give the gift that keeps giving, or in this case keeps cushioning everybody’s butt. Merry Christmas! Ho, ho, ho!

“I can’t believe my parents,” Trixie said, rolling her eyes.

“Do tell,” I said, as though I could actually stop her.

“It’s, like, they want to be my buddies, you know? You ever have that problem?”

“Heaven forbid,” I said.

“My mom asked if she could go with to that end-of-summer bon fire. She was serious, too. Can you imagine your mom and you, together, at a bon fire?”

I tried. The only thing I knew for sure was that somebody would have ended up with a nice knit stocking cap. Everything else was a blur of knitting needles and burning wood.

“Nope,” I said.

“Yeah, me either.”

“Your parents aren’t so bad, Trix.”

“Please.”

“Really.”

“You have no idea,” she said. “But, you know, I don’t take anything from those people.”

“You go, girl.”

“Yeah.”

“No, I mean really, go,” I said, pointing at the door. “Get. Shoo-shoo-shoo.”

Her dull face seemed offended.

“Well, if you’re going to be that way…” She turned away. Before she walked out, she said, “You act like that, you ain’t going to have any friends.”

“Things are looking up all the time,” I said to myself.

I finished brushing my hair. It was as good as it was going to get. I paused and shut my eyes and enjoyed the last bit of silence that bathroom had to offer.

“Hey, I forgot to ask you…”

I ground my teeth, and opened my eyes. Trixie was poking her head back through the door.

“Didn’t I tell you shoo?”

“Are you signing up to work on the haunted house?” she persisted.

I failed to see why your friends always seem to be obsessed with what you’re going to do.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said irritably. “Now get! I need my quiet time.”

She left—again. I leaned back against the sink, and shut my eyes. Then, before I could feel any kind of tranquility, the class bell sounded loudly. I sighed, and grabbed my brush and books, and headed for my first class.

I just couldn’t seem to find the least bit of peace in my life. That was the entire problem. If I only had enough peace, everything would be just fine.

Excerpt from Just Plain Weird

Posted in Novel excerpts on August 30, 2009 by tomupton33

 

I. ELIZA

 

 

 

Raffles was probably right. It wasn’t human nature to leave things alone. It was normal for people to try to fix things that didn’t need to be fixed; or, infinitely worse, trying to fix things that were broken, because some things are meant to be broken– and that is all there is to it. Raffles also said that half the time when you didn’t leave things alone it led to some kind of trouble. I wasn’t convinced of that, though, because if that were true, then it would seem you’d be hearing about trouble all the time– unless, of course, most of the trouble in the world were kept hidden in closets, or something, and the public in general never finds out about it all.

Raffles had always been acknowledged as the smartest kid in school, and when we let out of school last June, he announced that he wouldn’t be returning to public high school in the fall. He would be going to Thomas Edison Academy, which was a private school that accepted only very smart kids. It was a very hoity-toity institution. You had to be about as smart as Albert Einstein to get into the place (which left me out of the running from the get-go); also, it was very expensive, which led me to believe Raffles had got some kind of scholarship, since his parents were by no means rich.

I couldn’t say exactly when Raffles became my best friend. I only knew it had nothing to do with me. It seemed as though he’d shown up at my house one day, and assumed the position of my best friend. I’d often think, Buddy, if I’m your best friend, you got problems. Still, throughout my middle school years I somehow managed to tolerate his presence while we did mainly normal things, although I believed Raffles was far from normal.

We would spend endless hours each summer in the tree house my father built a few years ago. I hadn’t asked him for a tree house, but he’d built it out of some belief it was his parental duty. His job required him to go on the road for long periods of time, so guilt, too, might have been involved in his decision to build the tree house. It was a trade-off for all the times he wasn’t around, all designed to make him feel better, as though he had said to himself, “Sure, I’m not home as much as I’d like to be, but at least the kid has a tree house to play in, right?” For weeks I’d watched as he grunted and groaned, lugging lumber on his back up the ladder and into the tree. What I remembered most about him building the tree house was how he seemed to lose one of his tools every three or four minutes. That was the way it had always been with him; his tools seemed to vanish magically now and then, and he could never figure out how. Then, about two minutes after the tree house was finished, he magically vanished….

 

 

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