"Once you use those quotation marks, it's not you the writer talking, it's you the writer listening."—Albert Ríos
“Okay, guys.” I’ve gathered my characters together in a corner of my mind resembling the dining room of Nicola’s big old inn. They’re pretending to listen to me. “The verdict’s in. Ya’ll swear too much.”
“Y’all,” Bobby corrects me. He’s a Tar Heel, after all; he knows.
“You always fu.... misplace that apostrophe, darlin’,” That was purposeful. He’s grinning at me, blue eyes laughing behind his Lennons. At least he’s listening.
Rush and Delilah are at the piano, working on arrangement to “Everybody Hurts.” It’s gorgeous. And furthermore, it’s nice to see them getting along so well.I almost hate to interrupt them, but our meetings have become infrequent since publication; these are exceedingly independent individuals, and by now – seventeen chapters into the sequel - they are running their own show.
“Attention please.” I clear my throat in a futile bid for the spotlight. “About the swearing. You guys drop the F bomb way too often. You take the Lord’s name. Some of my readers are upset.”
“Then they ought to jump into my shoes for a day.” Bobby cracks a Budweiser and takes a long draught while I refrain from comment. “I spent four hours in a dumpster last night waiting for a bust that never happened. Came home stinking like moldy tacos and kitty litter. Sometimes ‘gee whiz’ doesn’t cut it, see?”
“Ha.” Sophie’s smile dimples her narrow cheeks. “Try tending bar if you want to test your tolerance levels, big guy.”
“No, the writer lady is right about this.” Help from an unexpected quarter; Delilah speaks to the piano keys. “You’ve got kids in this house.”
“Give it up.” Rush elbows her without missing a note. “You’re worse than the rest of us.”
“He’s in bed. And the nice writer lady is only worried about her Amazon rank, kiddo.”
Not fair. I slink from the room, closing the door on their argument and leaning against it to get my breath.
We’ll take this up another time. In the meanwhile, gentle reader, try not to judge.