I’ve written before about how hard it can be to let go of a manuscript. It can be agonizing when I send that first draft to my editor. And the rewrites? Oh, how I want to keep shaping and polishing!
But releasing the final read through of designed pages? That can be easier.
At this point I’ve read and re-read and gotten input and hashed out story lines and fretted over commas and did I call that house a cabin or a cottage? and what did I name that minor character and please take this book away from me NOW.
Of course, as soon as I hand the final packet over to the UPS driver I’ll immediately want it back to check on that one last whatever, but all-in-all, it’s usually a relief to TURN LOOSE.
Which is precisely what I’ll do this weekend.
Just as soon as I double check that ONE THING on page 272.
If you’d like to join me in this final read-through, here’s a snippet about one of the main characters–Serepta McLean–set at the famed Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, WV, circa 1930.
Serepta pulled her tailored jacket tighter around her as she stood between imposing columns outside the massive Greenbrier Hotel. Jake sent word he’d meet her there where she kept a suite to host clients for her bootleg business. She and Jake both knew the Harpes wouldn’t dare try anything at a ritzy place like this, miles away from their home turf.
Even so, she wasn’t sure she wanted to see her son.
The breeze made her wide-legged trousers flap at her ankles, and more than one society matron looked askance at her standing there with legs planted wide, back straight, head held high. She’d never been accused of being beautiful, but she knew she cut an imposing figure with her stylish menswear clothing and simple pearls. The necklace with its perfect, graduated gems was the first thing she purchased once she’d asserted control over her husband’s estate. It represented her freedom and her worth.
There was good money in bootlegging, even though Prohibition had ended more than five years earlier. Plenty of places still restricted the sale of alcohol, and the McLean clan was well known for supplying the commodity. Serepta may have come from humble beginnings, but she made sure no one could tell it by looking at her.
A hand touched her elbow from behind, sending warmth up her arm. She turned to see Charlie Hornbeck standing there. Her cook, handyman, and more, Charlie was everything her husband had not been. Smart, quiet, gentle, and dark. He had worked for her father-in-law, who had more or less given her Charlie as a gift. If he’d only known what a gift. Charlie was worth more than six normal men and was the only person whose advice she trusted. He was also absolutely devoted to her, and she—well, what she felt for Charlie came as close to devotion as she supposed she was capable. His eyes stayed serious behind spectacles.
She bit the inside of her cheek and nodded. “I’ll be right there.” She took a deep breath and went to face her eldest son.