This morning I submitted my book for "word count validation" and now I have this super cool button:
Yeah, me! :)
Now I will go back and begin the editing, revising, rewriting and much-needed tweaking to what would appear to be book one of a set. Eek.
Here's a little excerpt from Gifted and Talented:
The next morning, Mrs. Counterman pulled up to the curb in the school loading zone. Peter sat in the passenger seat with his back pack between his feet. As he reached for the door handle, his mother put her hand on his shoulder. “Remember what we talked about last night. Don’t be ashamed of your gift, Buddy. Maybe this is the year you find out why God made you to see the world through numbers.”
“I know. I’ll see you this afternoon,” Peter nodded, still feeling a little groggy from the early morning start.
“I’ll be praying for you today. That you will have an excellent ‘Special Assignment’!” She let go of grip on Peter’s shoulder and patted him twice. “And don’t forget, you’re riding the bus home this afternoon.”
“Bye, Mom,” Peter unfolded his long legs out of the blue sedan, slung his back pack over his left shoulder, swinging the door closed behind him. It was a chilly fall morning, but as it would warm up mid-day, Peter had decided against grabbing a sweatshirt. He tugged on the long sleeves of his blue and green striped shirt, slipping his hands up inside each sleeve, and made his way to the front entrance. He turned and waved once over his shoulder as his mom made her way through the congested school parking lot.
Once inside, Peter walked toward the school office. There was another long line of students waiting to talk to the secretary and Ms. Inkstein already looked frazzled. Peter took his place in line and looked around, fresh numbers flitted across his vision.
2 drinking fountains.
32 trophies in the display case.
1 framed photograph of the school staff.
27 smiling staff members.
4 pencils in Ms. Inkstein’s bun.
“Good morning, Ms. Inkstein. Here is the form for the G & T class. Is there anything else I need to do?” Peter asked as he stepped up to the counter.
“Good morning, Peter.” Mrs. Inkstein, dressed all in black again, had chosen a cranberry-colored lipstick for today. The red seeped into the creases around her pursed lips. She reached up for one of the pencils from her head, made a few notes on Peter’s form and then stamped it with a date stamp. “You’re all set. Have a good day. Next!”
Peter ducked out of line and headed to his locker. The hallways were already bustling with students and Peter checked the clock above the cafeteria door to see how long before the bell rang. Three minutes. As he spun the combination dial on his locker, he looked around for X. He was anxious to see him, to have a friend to start his day with. There was an eruption of laughter from the direction of the gymnasium and Peter craned his neck to see over the crowd. Sure enough, he spotted X standing face to face with Flitch, who held X’s back pack over his head, out of reach. Peter sighed, slammed his locker shut and made his way through the crowd.
“What you got in here, Xavier?” Flitch stretched out X’s name, taunting him. “Let’s see, shall we? What sorts of weird stuff does a weird kid carry around?” Flitch unzipped the main compartment on the back pack and moved to dump it on the floor, but before he could, Peter came up behind him, standing a head taller and put one hand on his shoulder and one hand on the bag.
“Give that back, please,” he said quietly, but firmly.
“Hey. Get your hands off me,” Flitch snarled, “Mind your own business, Skyscraper-Boy.” A trickle of laughter ran through the circle of students.
“Sorry. This is my business. Please give the bag back.” Peter looked down at Flitch and offered a small smile. “Just let this one go, okay?” At that moment, the first bell rang causing the surrounding audience to collectively groan in disappointment and head off to their lockers. Soon only X, Flitch and Peter remained. Without the support of his gang, Flitch scowled.
“Fine. Here, Xavier,” he threw the back pack at X’s feet, sending several pencils flying out the zippered opening. “Next time you won’t have your babysitter around, so watch out.” And then jabbing a finger in Peter’s chest, he snarled, “And you ... I’ve got some friends in your gym class. We could make your day pretty miserable. And we will.” He grinned maliciously, spun on his heel and walked off.
Peter exhaled, relief flooding his tall frame. He had no desire to pick a fight, but he couldn’t stand by and watch anyone be bullied. Turning to X, he stooped down and helped scoop up several pencils. “You know, we don’t have to start everyday like this,” he joked. “I’d be fine with just a simple, ‘Good morning. How are you?’”
X looked up with his lopsided grin, “Good morning. How are you?”
Laughing, Peter clamped one hand on his friend’s shoulder, “I’m great. But we better hurry. I don’t think we want to be on Mr. Hink’s bad side, too.” With a quick stop off at their lockers, they half-ran, half-walked to class, slipping through the door just as the final bell rang.