50,000 words. A novella. And my marriage survived it.

In celebration of the (early) end to my NaNo novel (yes, I beat the 11/30 deadline), here is the final excerpt you will be able to see of my latest work. Enjoy it, you ravenous reading fools!


from Unbought Stuffed Dogs and Other Pretty Thoughts


“There they are.”

I pull the black storage case out from under my bed, from behind a pair of dirty shorts, hand weights, and my yoga mat. And as I brush away the dust bunnies and dirt, it’s as though I can smell the new plastic of years past.

Their artificial expressions stare back at me from their twelve slotted spaces. Ever since I turned twelve, I’ve kept them under my bed for safe-keeping, but at least once a year I pull them back out to reminisce. To line them up and wait for the magic. Hoping that Cobra rises once more to bring the Joes back into active duty.

“Why can’t it feel the same?” I ask Crazylegs.

He has nothing to say.

“Why does everything have to turn into a steaming pile of crap?” I ask the mute figures. The poster-covered walls–Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and the Detroit Red Wings–stand watch in silence.

I line them up on the rust shag carpet.


Storm Shadow.


Cobra Commander.

Mutt and Junkyard.


Snow Job.

Sgt. Slaughter.

Sneak Peek.


Snake Eyes and Timber.


Me. Their fear-filled leader.

I place each back in the box, one by one. Slide the box back under my bed and crawl under the covers.

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