First page of a rough draft (omg): Fat Girl Gets the Guy

Fat Girl Gets the Guy is a working title that seems to have stuck. Depending on how the story unfolds, I might change it – but I admit I’ve grown pretty fond of the story it conjures up. This is Mark’s book, the sequel to Love Handles. I expect to publish it in late May 2012. Normally I don’t open the door on what I’m writing, but if folks are interested I’ll give it a shot.

This is a very early draft. All typos and grammar mistakes are mine. (But you knew that, didn’t you?) I’m using ye olde Courier fonte and underlining the italics to emphasize its draftiness.

Chapter 1
It was the first time Rose had ever been asked to take off her clothes for a job interview.
“You don’t want me to totally strip, though, right?” Rose asked the lady with hair like a snowball. White and round.
Like me, Rose thought.
“What kind of bra are you wearing?”
Rose looked down at her chest, unusually compressed for the occasion. “It’s a sports bra. Brand new.”
“Panties?” the lady asked.
“What do you mean?”
“What kind of underpants?”
This is a very odd conversation, Rose thought. She didn’t even know the lady’s name. The receptionist had sent her up to the engineering floor for her appointment and Snowball Head had ushered her down a hallway without any preamble.
“They’re just… regular. Not a thong or anything.”
The lady nodded. “Good. We’ll need to know your real numbers. We’ll add on a little for the bust.” Then she nudged Rose deeper into the storage closet and pulled the door shut between them.
Rose looked around. She’d imagined something a little more glamorous than a small, dim closet overstuffed with clothes on racks and sagging shipping boxes. Maybe the fashion industry in San Francisco was as casual as everything else on the West Coast. And, of course, Fite Fitness was just an athleticwear company, not couture or anything.
Rose unzipped her knee-high leather boots and pulled them off, unwound her favorite silk scarf, then stripped off her low-rise black pants and magenta wrap sweater and folded it all into a neat pile. She left on her trio of long silver necklaces and assorted bangles and stood there, wearing just her underwear and jewelry, wondering if the lady expected her to walk around in the big workroom outside in all her full-figured glory.
Crossing her arms under her breasts, Rose decided to wait where she was. It was drafty out there.
After a minute there was a knock on the door. Rose opened it a crack and met the impatient eyes of the white-haired woman looking over her bifocals.

Rose opened the door wider. “I guess. I’m not sure what you want me to do.”

“You’ve never modeled before?”
Keeping a straight face, Rose said, “It’s been a few years.”
The lady stepped inside and closed the door. “You certainly have the hair for it. And the skin. I’d kill to have skin like yours.” Her gaze dropped down over Rose’s exposed, pale form.
“Thanks.” Rose was used to people complimenting her Barbie-like blond hair and peaches-and-cream complexion. Right before they suggested how lovely she could have been if she’d just stop eating. “By the way, what’s your name? I like to know the names of people I get naked with.”
The woman glanced up at her over her bifocals. “Meryl.” She peeled off one of the measuring tapes she wore around her neck and moved closer, her arms extended in front of her like a cartoon zombie. “Hands up. And don’t suck anything in, please.”
Rose did as she was told, feeling the brush of the Meryl’s fingers against the sensitive flesh of her waist, the small of her back, her abdomen. The tape met over her tummy in Meryl’s small hands.
Don’t suck it in. What did that mean? It was impossible not to tense a little bit under the circumstances. Taking a shallow breath, Rose looked over Meryl’s fluffy white head and focused on a very slim pair of black running pants hanging on the back of the door. “You’re just starting a plus-sized line?”
“Mmm,” Meryl said. “Waist, thirty-eight and a quarter.” She let one end of the tape fall to the floor as she jotted a note in a yellow pad balanced on top of one of the lopsided boxes. “That might be a problem.”
“I told Blair I didn’t know what my measurements were but she said you guys wanted to meet me anyway.”
“Let’s see what else you’ve got.”
“Plenty, as it happens,” Rose said.
Meryl leaned in to measure her bust. “Arms up again, please.” She slid the tape back and forth, paused. “Forty-seven and a quarter. But I’ll add on an inch to allow for the bra.”
Rose stared at the ceiling. This was unexpectedly embarrassing. When her roommate had told her about a job that paid seventy dollars an hour just to try on clothes, she’d been happy to hop on the first BART train to San Francisco. She hadn’t considered how being poked and prodded might make her feel like a seventh grader undressing in the school locker room for the first time.
The tape moved down to her hips. Meryl slid it around and held on with one hand as if she were lassoing a calf–
Don’t go there, girl, Rose told herself. Chin up. Big and beautiful.
“Forty-eight and a quarter,” Meryl said, wrapping the tape around her neck. “Well, that one’s within spec.”
“I really do wear an 18. Often. Well, sometimes.”
Moving to the door, Meryl tucked her yellow pad into her pocket. “You can get dressed. I won’t need the rest of your numbers.”
Rose propped her hands on her hips. “Too big?”
“A little bit. Thanks for coming in… uh… ” She stared.
“Right,” Meryl said. “Rose. Thanks for making the trip. You can bill us for the full hour.”
Rose let out the breath she’d been holding. So much for that. For a few days she’d enjoyed a little fantasy about making some easy money. It would’ve been fun to tell people she was a model. Without lying.
“If I lost a few pounds,” Rose said, would you be interested in having me come back in?”
Turning back from the open doorway, Meryl shook her head. “Probably not. We need somebody whose weight is really stable. If you lost it, chances are you’d just gain it back. Bodies have a mind of their own, you know? Yours is probably happiest where it’s at.”
“That is so true. Let me call my grandmother and you can repeat that to her.”
With a little smile, Meryl said, “Best of luck to you,” and closed the door.
While she got dressed, Rose reflected that if ever there was a good time to max out her credit card, this was it. Clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry–San Francisco’s best shops were only a few blocks away.
After all, it wasn’t every day a girl found out she was too fat to be a plus-sized model.
* * * * * * *

Interviewed by the awesome Heidi Hall

Here’s proof of how bad I am at self-promotion. I did this interview with the very fun fellow romance author Heidi Hall last November and didn’t post it until now. The original interview is at Heidi’s blog here. Check out that cover above: isn’t that awesome? A Dose of Reality is sitting very prettily around 7,000 on the Amazon Kindle store. Great job, Heidi. Thanks for the interview. Rock on!

A Fabulous Interview with Author Gretchen Galway!!!

Monday Morning… Hmph! BUT… I have Gretchen Galway on my blog today, which puts a smile on my face. We hope you enjoy getting to know her, and her writing, a little better. Remember: Chick-Lit/Romance writers rule! At least, in my mind they do.

Welcome, Gretchen!!!
ME: Thanks so much for being with us today! I’m a fan, so this is extra specialJ. What are you writing now?
GRETCHEN: My first reaction to this question was guilty panic… you know, because I’m doing all the little things except writing my new book… like chatting online with terrific people such as yourself… or eating pumpkin muffins and staring at the ceiling.
But as soon as I finish this interview and brush the muffin crumbs off my ample bosom, I’ll be outlining the sequel to Love Handles, my contemporary romance set in the San Francisco apparel industry. The new book will have a genuinely plus-sized heroine (not just a size 12) finding her happily-ever-after with the brilliant, handsome, and hopelessly geeky brother of the hero in Love Handles. My working title for this book is Fat Girl Gets the Guy. We meet our heroine just as she is told she’s too large to be the size-18 fit model for Fite Apparel (an exercise wear company) and the hunky geeky guy next door thinks she’s a lesbian. She is too tough to let either of these things bother her for long.
It is not intended to be a serious, culturally-impactful read. It should be gobs of fun.
ME: I love it! Not only the plus-size aspect (which is so needed today), but the humor I’m sure you’ll include! And now I want pumpkin muffins. How closely do your characters resemble you? (Any particular quirk?)
GRETCHEN: Well, I wish they didn’t resemble me so much, but they do. All of them, even the guys. If there’s one quirk that keeps popping up, it’s the fear of not measuring up to your potential. My main characters tend to be people in their late twenties and thirties who aren’t hugely successful in the eyes of the world, but are loyal to their own dreams.
As a fiction writer who years ago rejected the idea of law school… or graduate school… or business school… or a real job… I can relate.
ME: That’s a common theme in my own life… probably why I enjoy your writing so much! Do you ever wish you lived a character’s life (not just in your imagination)?
GRETCHEN: God, no! (Laughing.) I’m too busy making them suffer (before they get their happy ending) to envy any one of them. Perhaps in the epilogue.
ME: We do tend to make our characters suffer for our art, don’t we? How about this: Sunglasses (a particular fetish of mine): designer or drugstore cheapies? How many pairs are enough?
GRETCHEN: In between. My favorite pair right now are a sporty $35 pair from REI. I can’t get them too expensive (though that’s the most I’ve ever paid) because I destroy or lose them.
I have only two demands for my sunglasses:  1) wrap-around so I can see when I drive, and 2) they must be purple.
I love me some purple sunglasses.
ME: Ha! I bought an adorable pair of purple sunglasses on the beach in Mexico this summer. But my designer shades were jealous, so I gave them to my sister-in-law. Wish I’d have known… I would have sent them to you instead. Back to writing: Would you ever want to work on a combined project with your favorite author? If so, who?
GRETCHEN: It would be hard to have a co-author on the same story, but I’d enjoy writing a novella within an anthology with other writers. Though I like the idea of being a star-struck parasite on a famous genius like Jenny Crusie, I’d also enjoy working with other newcomers (and Indies) who are unknowns like me.
ME: Finally – someone drops a name I’ve actually heard of! I love Jenny Crusie!  I agree though, I’d probably be star-struck. I like the anthology idea though.
I’ve found that readers really enjoy connecting with authors… what is one thing you want your fans to know about you that they may not already be aware of?
GRETCHEN: I recently discovered I’m allergic to hair conditioner? That I have one leg shorter than the other? LOL. There is SO MUCH TO KNOW.
(Oh, shoot. You said one thing and I gave you two.)
ME: The more the merrier! Haha. Thanks so much for being with us today and I look forward to reading Fat Girl Gets the Guy (or whatever the final title ends up being. I’m sure it will be fabulous!

Want to know more about the conditioner-allergic Gretchen Galway? Be sure to check out her latest release: The Supermodel’s Best Friend (also available for Nook). Or, go to her Amazon Author’spage for her bio and a complete listing of her books!