An Excerpt From My Book, Men of God

I have been writing a novel for a while now titled Men of God. It's set in church world, obviously. I wrote 100 plus pages and then I stalled. Like, really bad. I haven't worked on it in a few months. I just can't seem to make myself do it for some reason. And I'm dying. I think about it every day but between work, cooking, cleaning, kids, homework and the useless distractions like social media and Game of Thrones, I just never seem to find the time anymore. 

I gotta fight the resistance. I have to do something that will prod me to move. 

I decided to post an excerpt from it here on the blog in hopes that maybe this will cause me to listen to these characters again and start back writing their story. That's how it works, the characters are in your head, all talking at once and they want you to write down what they are saying and for you to tell their story. trying to ignore them is no fun.

I've also found that writing fiction is a B!#ch! Writing dialog is HARD! I could go on and on but I'll spare you my pity party. The bottom line is I need to sit down EVERYDAY and write, that is the only way to get it done. Do the work, which I am not.

So anyway, here is a little taste of my book. Keep in mind there has been NO editing done yet, this is a piece of what Anne Lamott calls the "$#itty first draft". 

Please feel free to offer suggestions, comments, critiques, whatever. I covet any and all feedback.

And now, a scene from the novel, Men of God by Carole Turner

(This is set in the mid 1980's...)

Shelia Wellington sat quietly, thumping her index finger on the desk. She liked the sound of her polished red fingernails hitting the wood.  She kept glancing at her hands, admiring the manicure. She always got a manicure when she came to the states; there was no place to get one where she lived in Peru. She was deep in thought staring out the window. Robert was late as always. It never failed, when she came to the states and scheduled meetings with her brother, he was always late. She liked his office though. Waiting in it was relaxing for some reason.

“Sorry I’m late Sheila! Forgive me?” Robert said as he burst in the door. “Make yourself at home there why don’t cha’? He snickered as he walked behind his desk where she was reclining. 

“Robert, you are always late, there is nothing to forgive.” Sheila embraced her brother and all was right in the world for that moment. 

“Gosh I’ve missed you Robert!” How are you? You look great! Still working out I see.” Sheila squeezed his bicep.

 Her baby brother Robert was still that little boy she used to interview as part of her make believe “Mike Douglas” show. He would act like a movie star and she would be Mike Douglas and sometime he would play Mike Douglas and interview her. She liked being the one interviewed.

“Yea, you know, got to look good. It’s not easy staying healthy on this schedule but since I have no social life I can just work, eat, workout and sleep.” 

Shelia frowned, “Don’t tell me that. You’re too handsome and great not to have a special someone in your life. You should make time for that Robert.” 

“I know, I know. So what time do you leave tonight?” Robert wanted to change the subject quickly. He had no desire to get into his dating life with his sister who at 30, had been married for 10 years to a famous preacher and had twin girls already. He didn’t even understand her life and he never for one second believed she understood it either. She had just been swept up in a strong current and it kept pushing her further and further down stream away from any sense of normal. At least, that’s how he saw her and it broke his heart. He loved when she came to New Orleans and stopped in to visit, even if it was only once a year. 

“We fly out tonight after the meeting. I know Branham wants me to go with him but those men don’t care about what I’m doing. Branham could tell them that I was in Peru cutting up kitty meat and selling it on the black market and they wouldn’t care as long as the money keeps flowing in. You should come to London again this summer, the girls love when you come visit. I won’t be in Peru except in July when all the missions’ teams are there.”

“Let me see if I can get over there in June, I think that’s more likely than August but I’d certainly rather be in London in August than South Louisiana. What about Branham, you won’t be jet setting around the world with him this summer?” Robert tried to say that nicely but he knew it came out exactly how he felt it.

“Uh, no, not really. Well, I should say, not that I know of as of right now. The last big speaking tour before summer is at the end of May, then again at the end of August. We have our big Conference in June that we host but that’s about it.”

“Ok, I will see what I can do. I’ll come when Branham is gone so just let me know when that is.” He said with a smirk. “You better get going to that meeting, you wouldn’t want to keep all of those Godly men waiting now would you.”

“Don’t start, Robert, just pretend you don’t hate Branham ok, just for a little bit, while I’m here, please?” Shelia said as they walked over and sat on the small sofa in Roberts office. “Sorry, I guess I just know the legal side more than I’d like, especially since you are my sister. I care about you and the girls. You know Branham’s lawyer contacted Gary last week?”

Sheila was confused, “Why would he contact Gary? What does he have to do with anything?”

“That’s a good question, why don’t you ask your husband. From what I heard Branham wanted Gary to represent a pastor friend of his who is being sued. It’s all very hush hush of course so I don’t know any details but of all people for him to call, why would he call you’re ex boyfriend?”

“Did Gary talk to him?” 

“No, Gary got a message from his secretary. He called me baffled, thought maybe I would know something.”

“Thanks for telling me, I’ll talk to Branham but he won’t tell me anything, he never does. He is “protecting me” like a good husband.” Sheila rolled her eyes.

“Sheila, I know you really can’t leave him, I get that but how long can you continue this charade? Your girls are getting older, they will start to see that things aren’t as they should be. What will you do then? It’s easy to perform for the camera’s and audiences but it won’t be so easy to fool your children.”

Sheila’s face grew sad, “I know Robert but I got us into this. You don’t think I have regrets? That I don’t think I should have just came back to the states when I had the chance? That I shouldn’t have married him? You and I both know that, we’ve been over this a hundred times, it seems clear now but it wasn’t clear then. He manipulated me, I allowed it to go too far but this is my life now. I get to spend every other month in Peru, me and the girls, doing good work and if I wasn’t married to Branham that would not be possible. I have to look at the positive. My girls are my life, teaching is my life, it’s all I ever wanted to do and now I get to do it. I consider it the price to be paid to live my dream.”

“But you don’t love him Shelia.  You wouldn’t have married him if you hadn’t gotten pregnant.” 

“I don’t want to talk about this right now, we are beating a dead horse. I’m sorry I unloaded all my problems on you, I had drank too much, and you know how sappy I get when I drink. Let’s talk about something more pleasant. Like Marde Gras, how was it this year?”

Sheila had called Robert the night before she came to New Orleans, she was the only one awake in her huge house, the girls were sleeping, Branham was already in the states. She had finished a bottle of wine, lonely, and was fully immersed in her reality. She knew the only person she could talk to about her marriage was Robert so she called him, crying, unloading yet again on him. He was used to it. He knew she was miserable and always had to act like she wasn’t so he didn’t mind that he was her sounding board. He was glad for it.

And today, as they sat there in his office talking and laughing about life in New Orleans, she was glad her brother was there for her always. Robert conceded and allowed the conversation to change. He told her all about Marde Gras, filled her in on which local politician was involved in what scandal, and updated her on Governor Edwards latest adventures in organized crime. She soaked it all in. She missed living there, she missed her brother.

They talked for an hour and then it was truly time for her to be off to her meeting. “Come see us please Robert. I could introduce you to our neighbor, I think you might like him and you’re the only person I can talk to about my life. Bye, Love you!”  Sheila disappeared behind the doors of the elevator.

Robert was glad Sheila was there for him to. She knew him better than anyone else. Even though she lived thousands of miles away, they stayed in touch and could still talk to each other about anything.

Sheila had gone to London in 1973 on a hiking trip. She was a 19 year old, and a recently converted Jesus freak. Her parents weren’t thrilled with their daughter’s new faith or way of dressing but they reluctantly agreed to let her go to London the summer after her first year in college. They felt it would be an educational experience. Sheila had met her future husband, Branham Wellington at a church meeting, he was a young preacher just getting his sea legs behind the pulpit, but he was charismatic and charming beyond anything she had ever seen.  He swept her off her feet quickly and one night after church they went back to his apartment and had sex. They continued to see each other while she was in London but soon, Sheila went on her way, hiking around Europe with her friends and eventually returning to America. Branham wrote her letters, he was smitten. Sheila liked him and found him to be very interesting but she was more interested in completing college. A month after she returned home to America, she discovered she was pregnant. She called to tell Branham and he immediately asked her to marry him.  Her parents convinced her it was the right thing to do. But since he was a minister who had gotten a girl pregnant, they had to be very careful how they handled the situation. So they decided to get married as soon as they could and say that she had gotten pregnant on their honeymoon.

Branham loved Sheila the minute he saw her, but Sheila did not love Branham.


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