A peek into a WIP

I’ve mentioned on and off that I have a novel in progress.  One of the things I need to do to really progress as a writer is learn how to do this faster, but that’s not the focus of today’s post.

Today I’m going to share a peek into my Work In Progress which for blog purposes we’ll call “The Ghost Story”

I have a dual timeline going on.  In this section, we’re in the past–1834.  This timeline’s heroine, Vivienne, is at the Quadroon Ball looking for a man to make a plaçage arrangement with.  She has met Ben–a man who excited both her mind and body on the dance floor, but he’s an American and not a Creole, and is thus unacceptable.  Her mother–for it was mothers most frequently who formalized plaçage agreements–has decided to make an arrangement with one of her father’s contemporaries, Monsieur Fortage.

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Danielle’s hand squeezed Vivienne’s arm painfully. “Allons y, Vivienne! Fortage is waiting for you on the balcony. Maitenent!” Now. It was an order, and one she did not know how to avoid.

“Oui, Maman. But—just a moment. I wish to freshen myself before I go to Monsieur Fortage,” she said, ducking her head obediently.

“Don’t tarry. You secure both our futures tonight. You’ll see—the hours out of bed and our return home will make up for any—unpleasantness—you may endure in the bedroom.”

She knows. She knows how horrible it will be to have that gaping carp of a man thrashing about in my bed. Vivienne began to make her way to the ladies lounge, trying to decide if one drink would be enough liquid courage to accept his offer or if more would be needed.

Benjamin fell into step beside here. “I see you got in trouble because of me. My apologies, Vivienne.”

“No. Thank you. I’ll treasure the memory of our dances while—“ she stopped abruptly.

“While you submit to whatever man your mother orders you to?”

She nodded.

“Why?” he demanded. “Why not your choice? Why not me?”

The ache between her legs at the thought was nearly unbearable. He’d be someone she would welcome to her bed. “You’re American. I just….. It’s not…. I can’t. I want to say yes, but I–”

He took her hand and pulled her past the entrance to the ladies lounge and into the deserted hallway beyond. “Tell me what I must do to convince you.”

“It’s not me you’d need to convince. Maman would never consent. She has already found me a match, and I am to obey. The only thing that could change her mind would be—“

“-Would be?”

Her face burned. “Would be to find me in bed with a man who would swear to take me as his left hand wife. At that point it would be too late for her to negotiate a contract with Monsieur Fortage.”

His breath was ragged. “Would you take such a risk with me?”

She intended to say no. Fortage was security. She owed it to her mother to secure their future. To get their home back. She opened her mouth to tell him as much.



Not about the quadroon balls, but I can’t wait to see the movie “Belle”.  It’s similarly relevant to my interests in race and gender.

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