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Random Encounters


Recently someone asked me, “Whatever happened with Kevin Anderson of The Good Life? Are you going to write about him?”

Well… as a matter of fact, he happens to be spending a good bit of fictional time with Isabel Alesio (also from The Good Life).

You may wonder what these two could possibly be working on together since, if you recall, Isabel had decided to live the boring civilian life at the end of The Good Life.

Then again, you didn’t really believe her, did you?

;p

whoknows

 

Be done with it and just do the work.


Genevieve Dewey

Saw this the other day on Pinterest and it’s stuck with me. I don’t know about you, but I often have trouble letting the day “go”, and certainly while writing, I am thinking of all the other “places” in the story I need to be, or get to, or polish.

But you’ve GOT to just let it go, and begin each day with fresh enthusiasm.

bedonewithit

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Win


So, recently I dusted off a Work-in-Progress that I abandoned in 2014 and am focusing my limited writing time on fleshing it out. So far this process has involved a lot of chopping and revision. I suppose you could even call it a total rewrite, except for the introduction which has only been moderately edited from its original iteration. It’s a quirky little story having nothing to do with cops and mobsters. I apologize if that makes the Downey fans a little bummed, but it will contain my other favorite topics: family, loyalty, mystery and intrigue.

Here is the introduction to “Win” in its current form (subject to further editing, of course):

Mayor Winfield bought two coffees every morning, even on holidays, because even on holidays and Sundays, someone in Smokey Hill sold coffee. It was universally agreed upon that God was more than fine with this exception to the rest-in-commerce rule, as coffee and donuts were the social glue of churches and police stations everywhere. Mayor Winfield—or Win as he was called—had developed this daily coffee-buying habit partly because he was too lazy to make coffee and felt uncomfortable asking his secretary to do it no matter how much she insisted she didn’t mind, and partly because he went out of his way to support all the local businesses on a regular basis. He patronized all thirty-eight of them, every day, except on Sunday in which it was only twenty stops. Some folk called him odd — ‘not quite right in the head’ — and others cynically insisted he was just throwing his money around, but as long as his mother still believed in him, Win didn’t care. And regardless of their opinions regarding his sanity or lack thereof, the townspeople kept electing him. Of course, running unopposed always helped.

The town of Smokey Hill had seven thousand one hundred and forty-two souls, but the combined income of the first five thousand barely reached the sum total of the taxes he paid on the Winfield family fortune. Ever since the large manufacturing company that had employed more than half the town pulled up roots and left, Smokey Hill was flat broke. The city budget ran regularly in the red, and most remaining citizens were spending only enough money to get by. Nearly half of the under-forty demographic had moved away to find better employment and better funded schools.

So to Win’s way of thinking if he didn’t regularly buy overpriced, slightly burnt coffee from Gladys Johnson’s gas station, or excessively bright paintings from Luke Turner’s gallery, or really horrible decorations from Mabel Smith’s curio shop, then the town might just tip on its already precarious lean towards tits up. It had nothing to do with politicking or flaunting his wealth, and everything to do with Win not wanting the legacy of being the last mayor of Smokey Hill.

On this particular Tuesday, Win had just bought his usual two-coffees-to-go and a homemade scone that looked like it might actually be edible when he heard the atypical sound of door chimes signal the arrival of another customer. Curious, he stopped pretending to listen to Doris insist he do something about the bland meals at Trembling Palms and turned to see who might have joined the usual crowd, all of whom were seated in the same spots in the Git-N-Sip Gas Stop that they had occupied for the last twenty years.

A woman greeted him with a question disguised as a shout, “Mayor Winfield!”

She wore a business suit that almost looked like a school uniform; slate grey, unbroken by feminine embellishment and complete with grey pencil skirt and Mary Jane shoes. Even her eyes were grey. Despite her drab get-up, she appeared to be young and healthy, possibly in her mid-thirties, slightly younger than his forty. As to anything else about her, Win couldn’t say. There was nothing else remarkable to say about her that wasn’t overwhelmed by her rapid gait and fearsome countenance.

“Yes?” he replied with a cautious and welcoming smile. Strangers were rarer than virginity in this town. Especially strangers with all of their teeth. He didn’t want to scare a potential new citizen away, no matter how much she currently scared him.

“Or do you go by Dr. Winfield?” the woman amended as she moved forward with a brisk assurance that bordered on menacing. “Your secretary said you’d give me a tour of Smokey Hill. I sent you a letter to expect my arrival? As you may have surmised, I am Arnica Dawson from Documents Analysis,” she specified, raising her hand to give him a firm shake. “Nice to meet you.”

“I’m Win,” he replied. She’d sent him a letter? When?

Her features remained blank except for a slight contraction of her eyebrows. He felt an inexplicable, yet compulsive need to fill the silent void.

“I mean, people call me Win, not Mayor or Dr. Winfield or anything,” he laughed a bit then leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner, still clasping her hand. “Between you and me, the Mayor bit is just an honorific title; I mostly just cut ribbons and give pretty women tours.”

He flashed a grin, but she simply blinked once and let go of his hand. He attempted to mimic her professional, humorless demeanor.

“So… Documents Analysis… is that a company name or division of an agency? And you are responsible for…?” Win pried.

“Analyzing documents. Do they call you Win because of your competitive nature or your last name?” she asked, finally releasing a twitchy, brief smile that was somehow both playful and cynical. Like there was an insult buried beneath a joke, but both were the inside sort.

“Neither. It’s short for my first name. Winchester.”

“Winchester,” she replied in a hollow, faintly curious manner.

“Yes. My full name is Winchester Wellington Winfield.”

“Wow, that’s a mouthful!” Arnica laughed and relaxed amusement swam over her aloof features before receding like sunshine between rain clouds, serving only to highlight the gloomy grey when it returned.

He felt stunned and slightly baffled. She reminded him of a tuning fork; silver utilitarian form hiding waves of potential energy. Why was this woman attempting to mask all that enthusiasm and vitality behind an appearance that screamed ‘ignore me’? Not that he required people to dress like their personality, but incongruity had never sat well with him. He was hoping she’d turn out to be Wonder Woman or an international superspy to provide a reasonable explanation for it. As it was, he felt a compulsive urge to keep agitating the surface to prove he hadn’t imagined the sound.

“It’s a family name,” he offered with a sheepish grimace, hoping it came off as charming and not disingenuous, seeing as how he was the one who had offered his full name up needlessly. The irony was he went to great lengths to never use his entire given name, and never his title or doctorate degree. Nothing said pretentious douche-nozzle like having three last names and a few commas.

“Or several,” she bantered dryly, fully back to her professionally bland manner. “But how do you know your parents didn’t choose Win from your last name?”

“I’ve a brother named Stillwater and a sister named Hennessey, both with the Winfield name, and both older than me. No one called either of them ‘Win’. They got ‘Still’ and ‘Henny’ for nicknames.”

This time she worried her lip a bit before replying. Her eyes danced in their sockets as they traced his features, but not in amusement, perhaps trying to decide if he was serious.

“Wow,” she settled on saying again.

He grinned and shrugged.

“So only you were blessed with the gift of alliteration and the nickname ‘Win’?” she continued.

He wondered when they had ventured from introductory polite talk to interrogation, and how she had managed to place him on the defensive when she was the stranger to town.

“Mother did try calling me Triple instead of Win when I was young, ostensibly in homage to my three ‘W’s, but father put his foot down. ‘He’s a boy, not a horse, darling’,” Win paused for another wry, hopefully charming grin. “I suppose I should be grateful I got Win.”

“Well,” Arnica replied ponderously, gifting him with a slight tilt of humor to her lips. “At least you weren’t named after an herb.”

“True,” he stopped another grin. He was startled to recall he hadn’t ever smiled this much in such a short period of time without courting some sort of fiduciary victory for his town, and never when he didn’t have the upper hand, or was at least armed with information against his opponent. And never, ever with a complete stranger. Maybe there was some truth to the idea that names had power, because usually Win needed some sort of conquest-at-hand in order to feel like smiling. He’d have to chalk it up to the incongruity conundrum, otherwise here he was engaged in plain-old humor-based teeth baring with a complete stranger. And worse, offering up loads of personal information without knowing anything more than her name.

“You could always go by your middle name…” he suggested, hoping she would deem him merely being polite and not in fact fishing for more information.

“So could you,” she parried without answering.

Hmmn, he mentally catalogued.

“I’m,” he drawled out the ‘I’ for effect then rushed the rest out, “going to have to say Winchester edges Wellington out by a thin margin.”

She laughed again, as brief as before. With an equally fleeting glance around at the tomb-silent occupants of the shop, she offered, “And I will say that being named after the firearm that won the west is a ‘thin margin’ more interesting than an herb no one’s heard of.”

“Not to quibble, but Winchester is my mother’s maiden name which just happens to also be the name of an ammunitions and firearms company. And arnica… used for bruises and minor aches and pains. Bright yellow flower—almost looks like a daisy, except yellow.”

She blinked, face betraying surprise at his knowledge.

He handed her his spare coffee before she could return her features to cold steel. “Are we going to stand here and argue semantics all day, or would you still like a tour of Smokey Hill, Ms. Dawson? Or is it Mrs.?”

She smiled faintly and let her movement toward the shop door be her only answer. As a politician—true, a reluctant one—Win was used to non-answers and deflections from council members and law enforcement. But he wasn’t used to intelligent enigmas coming into his town so brashly inquisitive, and yet so unwilling to reciprocate with information.

As he left the store, Win didn’t need to look at the occupants of the room to know they were practically ready to pass out from such a gold mine of town gossip. Offered up right there in front of God and everyone at the Git-N-Sip, no prying necessary. He had no doubt by end-of-business the tale would involve him looking like a wide-eyed ingenue baring his neck to a vampire in grey polyester.

All the best stories had a kernel of truth.

© 2017 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved.

Isabel


Wrote this last April… it remains true.

Genevieve Dewey

When I wrote First, I Love You, I didn’t have an audience in mind – didn’t even think I’d show it to anyone outside of my family and close friends. It was a liberating experience. A cathartic experience. I had a story in my soul and I told it, with no expectation or desire to please anyone but myself.

I’m finding I like writing best when I am in that zone. The minute I fall into that trap of wondering if my readers are happy enough, or trying to guess what the market “wants”, it feels like an obligation, flirting at the edges of obsession. Fellow writers will know what I mean – endlessly checking stats at Amazon, unable to read a book without examining its prose in comparison to your own, trying to correlate royalties to promotional activities, feeling pressured to join organizations… And then one day it…

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The day hell froze over


Dear Dad,

You know, who decided letters have to be addressed ‘dear, whoever’? It’s stupid really, I mean you use it for people who aren’t even ‘dear’, and it always makes me think of little old ladies or stuffy bankers. I’m not even sure why you’d put someone’s name up top, isn’t that what the envelope’s for to make sure it gets to the right person? And then there’s the fact I don’t even know what to call you anymore. Anymore is actually a lie, I’ve never known what to call you. It legit took me all morning. Dad. Mickey. Father. Mr. Downey. Obviously, I settled on Dad. So now you’re either brushing snow off your Mai-Tai, because I actually wrote back to you, or have had a coronary from shock, so Mom, since you’re now reading this, I miss you and have almost forgiven you for leaving with aforementioned dead criminal.

Reference your latest post card, no, I haven’t, and sometimes, but not lately.

Reference the reason for this letter, your spies may have informed you that Ginny is expecting a baby, but I thought I’d write to break the news to you anyway in the hopes that  ‘dear, Dad’ will bribe you into arranging a visit.

Before you scream entrapment, DAD, I’m talking about just mom coming for a visit, and I have already had assurances from my supervisor that no one is particularly concerned about the aiding and abetting charges she currently faces if she were to just happen to show up in Omaha. Although, if ever there was a Most Wanted who could get away with it, it would be you. That was in no way to be construed as endorsement for any current or future illegal activity. Mom, I can’t make any promises on the feds, but I imagine your future daughter-in-law will keep the interrogation to a minimum.

Did I mention I asked her to marry me? I guess hell did freeze over, because she said yes.

June 18th Lauritzen Gardens

Love,

Tommy

Isabel


When I wrote First, I Love You, I didn’t have an audience in mind – didn’t even think I’d show it to anyone outside of my family and close friends. It was a liberating experience. A cathartic experience. I had a story in my soul and I told it, with no expectation or desire to please anyone but myself.

I’m finding I like writing best when I am in that zone. The minute I fall into that trap of wondering if my readers are happy enough, or trying to guess what the market “wants”, it feels like an obligation, flirting at the edges of obsession. Fellow writers will know what I mean – endlessly checking stats at Amazon, unable to read a book without examining its prose in comparison to your own, trying to correlate royalties to promotional activities, feeling pressured to join organizations… And then one day it stops being fun.

What’s helped me get back to that “writing for fun” zone is writing about Isabel (from The Good Life). I don’t know if this will amount to a story; but I like writing her. There’s something endearing about her struggle to fit in after living a clandestine life for so many years.

Here’s a bit from what I’m working on (in case you are curious):

“You don’t want to see him?” Isabel wondered.

Again, Tommy communicated with only a nonchalant shrug. The only sign of emotion on his features was a slight darkening of his eyes from a vibrant green to a more mossy hue, but otherwise his face remained impassive.

“Basically,” Kyle continued, “you keep an eye on her because she’ll expect Tommy, or me, to do it and won’t suspect you.”

Demi and Isabel exchanged a quick glance and simultaneous snorts.

This is your plan? Surely you have something a little more sophisticated than that?” Isabel voiced the question she knew Demi wouldn’t want to risk offending Kyle by asking.

“Noooo,” Kevin Anderson drawled.

Did everything out of his mouth have to sound bored and derisive?

“Our plan,” he continued, “is a bit more complicated and it’s on a need to know basis.”

“And what possible need would an Air Force IT monkey have to know, Master Sergeant Anderson?

His smile conveyed a ‘fuck you’. “More than a paper pusher at HHS would.”

She raised her eyebrows in an answering ‘fuck you right back’. “Indeed.”

Isabel liked to think she and Kevin had reached solid frenemies status. Batman vs Superman. Without the superpowers. Having reached a tentative détente from their many throw-downs, she would throat punch anyone who tried to hurt him, but on the other hand, she didn’t want to spend much time around him or she’d be the one throat punching him. She was pretty sure he felt the same about her.

Kyle cleared his throat. “Soooo…” he rocked back on his heels and wiggled his brows at Demi. “You good with that?”

“Sure! Sounds fun,” Demi chirped.

This time everyone shared a look. Demetria never chirped. Ever. She breathed everything in a mysterious, ethereal, and throaty way like a grown up Luna Lovegood on a sex line.

This situation was clearly more dire than she had been letting on.

“Let’s back up a moment…” Isabel held up a finger, ignoring Kevin’s overly dramatic drawn-out sigh. “Is there an actual federal or local surveillance case open on the fugitive Downey, or is this amateur sleuth hour? If it’s the latter, I don’t want Demi involved. In fact, either way I don’t want Demi involved.”

“Uhh,” Demetria started to protest, umbrage clear in every portion of her body.

“Not your call to make,” Kyle bristled.

“Demi has other things she should focus on right now,” Isabel countered with a meaningful look at her friend. Demetria had the presence of mind to blush and shoot a guilty look at Kyle.

 

Excuse My Mess!


underconst

Please be patient while I re-organize this website for better navigation.

Gen! Does this mean you’re still writing?!

 

Yes.

Still.

Always.

Wherefore art thou, Gen?


Wondering if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth? No, not just yet. I started working full time this fall instead of part-time and the first thing that fell to the back-burner was PR and blogging. But I am still writing, never fear, my small but devoted fan base!

What’s new?

  • On Saturday, November 15th at 2pm I will be at the Kearney Public Library in Kearney, Nebraska to talk about my latest, The Good Life and the writing and publishing process. If you are in the area, I’d love to see you!
  • I am writing on two stories right now, one is a full length love story, and I say love story rather than romance because it is as much a novel about healing after a trauma, about family love and forgiveness, as it is romantic love. That one is in the early stages yet. The second project I’m working on may actually shape up into being a serial, or a short story, or screen play, I’m just really not sure yet. It centers around a quirky character and is a bit of a mystery/oddball tale of intrigue.

Here is a tiny glimpse into the main character of “Win”:

Mayor Winfield bought two coffees every morning without fail, even on holidays and Sundays. It was a universally agreed upon truth in the otherwise staunchly conservative town of Smokey Hill that God was okay with his people selling coffee on holy days. Everyone knew coffee and donuts were the social glue of churches and police stations, and Lord knew without these things the ruffians would run amok. Not that there were many ruffians to speak of in Smokey Hill but such was Mayor Winfield’s stump while campaigning for allowing daily commerce.

The actual truth was that Win lobbied for and practiced this coffee-buying habit partly because he was too lazy to make coffee and felt uncomfortable asking his live-in assistant to do it no matter how much she insisted she didn’t mind, and partly because Win had a compulsion to buy from all the local businesses on a daily basis. All thirty-eight of them. Every day. Except on Sunday, in which it was just ten open storefronts, only open on account of the coffee and donut axiom.

Some folks called him odd and ‘not quite right in the head’. Others said he was throwing his money around. But as long as he and his mother knew the truth, Win didn’t care which one they decided. And regardless of their opinions regarding his sanity or lack thereof, the townspeople kept electing him ever since he put his name in on a lark at the age of twenty-two. Of course, running unopposed for the better part of the twenty years since then had always helped.

If you were to ask Win, it wasn’t due to his very mild, hardly noticeable case of obsessive-compulsive disorder that spurred this habit. You see, ever since the manufacturing company that had employed better than half the town pulled up roots and left, Smokey Hill was flat broke. The city budget ran regularly in the red, and most citizens were spending only enough money to get by, and usually spending it a town away at the Mega-Mart. To make matters worse, nearly half of the under-forty demographic had moved away to find better employment and better funded schools.

So, to Win’s way of thinking, if he didn’t regularly buy overpriced, slightly burnt coffee from Gladys’ cafe, or excessively bright paintings from Luke’s gallery, or really horrible decorations from Mabel’s curio shop, then the town might just tip on its already precarious lean towards tits up. Especially since if one were to add up the combined income of the first three thousand of the three thousand-forty-nine souls left in Smokey Hill, it would barely reach the base of the Winfield family fortune.

Consequently, buying from everyone on a daily basis had nothing to do with Win’s personal quirks or flaunting his wealth, and everything to do with a modicum of guilt-induced duty coupled with a mound of Win not wanting to be the last mayor of Smokey Hill. After all, who would want that historical onus? He’d rather go down as the forgotten mayor, or even the ignominious title of He Who Brought the Sin of Commerce to Sunday and Christmas, than to be known as the mayor that failed to stop The End.

On this particular inauspicious Tuesday, Win had just bought his usual two-coffees-to-go and a homemade scone that looked like it might actually be edible when he heard the atypical sound of door chimes signal the arrival of another customer. Curious, he stopped pretending to listen to Doris complain about the meals at Trembling Palms Retirement Home and turned to see who might have joined the usual crowd, all of whom were already seated in the same spots they had occupied for the last twenty years. As soon as he had turned around, he was greeted with a question-laden shout.

“Mayor Winfield!”

A woman bustled toward him wearing a business suit that almost looked like a school uniform; slate grey, unbroken by feminine embellishment and complete with pleated skirt, Mary Jane shoes, and a grey beret covering all of her hair. Despite her drab get-up she appeared to be quite young, mid-thirties at the most. As to anything else about her, Win couldn’t say. There was nothing else remarkable to say about her that wasn’t overwhelmed by her rapid gait and fearsome countenance.

“Yes?” he replied with a cautious and welcoming smile. Strangers were rarer than virginity in this town. Especially strangers with all of their original teeth. He didn’t want to scare her away, no matter how much she currently scared him.

–  © 2014 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved.

It’s September! Here’s a new Letter From Mickey for my Downey Trilogy fans:


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~~~

Dear Joey,

Your last letter gave me quite the laugh! The cheek of you! Alright then, if you want me to trust you with my jet you’re going to have to tell me what the message is hidden within this tale:

Back when Finn was still the adventuring sort and fond of women and drink — well, more so than he was at the time of this tale, in any case — he came across a young scamp. This boy said he’d take care of Finn’s horse in exchange for a few coins. Now, Finn had already spent the coin he had on the aforementioned activities, but he knew the horse was in need of care.

So, he says to the lad, “Tis true the horse needs attending but I’ve a more pressing matter that’ll earn you double the coin… if you’re interested.”

The boy’s eyes lit up at the opportunity,  for he was hungrier than a louse on a bald man, and at least three times more clever than hungry. “Oh, tell me, please,” the boy pleaded.

“Take the horse down the lane, past old man McIntyre’s, then take a right turn by the old oak and another by the raspberry thicket. There you’ll see a farm of some size. Knock on the door and say you’re delivering a message from Finnegan.”

“And what’s the message, sir?” the boy asked.

“That is the message, lad.”

The boy furrowed his brows, but agreed to take the horse. When he arrived at the place, he was greeted by an old hag rather fearsome in visage.

“Oh, ho, so Finnegan’s finally been gotten the better of, eh?” the old woman asked.

The boy opened his mouth to say something, but she waggled a wizened finger at him, “And don’t be thinkin’ I’ll be paying a thief who got the better of another thief, boyo!” Then she grabbed the horse’s reins and pulled him inside.

Realizing he had been had, the boy shouted, “Wait! I found the horse and I was just returning it. I don’t know this Finnegan. I was only hoping for a bit of bread and a place to stay. Perhaps if I clean the stall, I could rest with the horse for the night?”

The old woman paused and contemplated the offer. The boy did look rather peckish and he reminded her of her son at that age. “Alright, lad. I’ll have Moira bring you some bread and goat’s milk. Ye’ll be off at morning’s light.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he assured her.

And come the morning, her stalls shined as if they’d been built yesterday. And they were just as empty. When she returned to the kitchen, Moira asked her why she was smiling so.

“Why, because I’ve finally gotten rid of all my son’s stolen horses without having to answer any questions! What a good boy, my Finnegan is.”

 

I love you, Joey. Do try and be good in as much as that’s possible for any Downey.

Your loving father, Mickey.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

REBLOG #review via @CFFBooks: “The Good Life” by Genevieve Dewey


ICYMI: Christoph Fischer’s review of The Good Life.

writerchristophfischer

TheGoodLifeDigitalCover

The Good Life

Detective Kyle Anderson is a man of simple tastes and reasonably low expectations. Give him a juicy steak and no homicides, and he’d call it good. When his sister Katelyn got engaged to his best friend Dominic, he’d figured the worst of the unnecessary drama in his life was over. But that was before Dom’s free-spirited, twig-eating, exasperating sister Demetria came back to Nebraska and completely hijacked the planning of the wedding, starting with inviting Dom’s ex-wife Isabel. Now Kate’s so determined to prove Isabel is up to no good that she insists Kyle date her to keep her away from Dom. Soon Kyle is so knee deep in Anderson-Valentini dramatics, he’s thinking of changing his name and moving to Tibet. If he could just get Demi the impossibly sexy granola-flake off his mind long enough to do it…

My review:

“The Good Life” by Genevieve Dewey…

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