Category Archives: Novel

Breakfast for Jacoby

Pages 129-130 of Lily’s Tattoo.  Jacoby is a DC detective investigating a series of grisly murders. When I started writing this thriller (a new genre for me) Jacoby was a minor character, but I quickly discovered he wanted to be much more.

Autumn had arrived overnight. Jacoby was awakened early Saturday morning by the sound of rain pounding the skylight over his bed.  A cold wind blew in through the open window at the head of his bringing the rain in with it. His mood was a gloomy as the weather. Jerry Benson’s call had left him unsettled. The image of a knife-wielding adversary roaming around his city disturbed him. He hadn’t slept well. He’d been bothered by bad dreams including one that featured hand to hand-to-hand combat a samurai warrior who looked a lot like Senator Davenport. 

He stumbled to the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee. One of his few indulgences was his automatic grind and brew coffee maker.  He’d joked with his friends that it was cheaper than a wife. The truth was he would have happily traded his coffee maker for a companion. He just hadn’t met a woman willing to tolerate the demands and the distractions of his job.

Jacoby ducked outside for his morning paper and retrieved a soggy Washington Post from a puddle of water. The front section was unreadable, but the Metro Section was still legible and that was what he was interested in. He quickly scanned the local news and saw the stabbings had been pushed to the back page and there was no mention of the unidentified Tyson’s victim. He tossed the paper in the trash.

Jacoby hated weekends. During the week the demands of his job helped him forget how alone he was but on weekends he missed having a companion.  He turned on ESPN just for company and then he poured himself a bowl of Cheerios. As he ate he thought about how he would approach his encounter with Davenport that evening. He was still leaning toward the Columbo technique.

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I’m the daughter who…

I’m the daughter who was born first, talked first and left first before the poverty that stuck to the rest of them could seep into my skin, below my fingernails and trap me permanently in that circle of snuff dipping, onion peeling, bible reading, egg collecting, tobacco tying, crab picking, whiskey drinking, hard fighting, varicose veined women who were my aunts and cousins and grandmamas back to the time when the first Foreman woman squeezed out the first squalling baby girl onto the muddy banks of Pungo Creek and the first Foreman husband said “Okay, woman, now that’s done, get up and fix my dinner and while you are at it check on that stove” and she got up an put her squalling baby in the bottom drawer of the dresser she had lined with quilting pieces and flour sacks and let her howl while she put the fat back in the cast iron spider and put it on the stove that was going just fine and put her hands on her hips that were holding up the stained blue checked apron and wondered to herself how in the hell she had ended up a wife and mother at 15 years old and how in the hell she was going to stand living with that man until death released her and they put her in the dirt behind Sidney Cross Roads Free Will Baptist Church.

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Philomena Must Die

Philomena Must Die is my novel in progress.  Like most of my writing it came to me in a dream. In that dream I was standing alone in an empty cathedral when gargoyles began swooping down from the blastulades. I began writing from that point and the plot and characters took control of the novel.

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Pungo Creek

Pungo Creek. a Novel by Brenda MantzPungo Creek was inspired by a childhood in rural North Carolina where I grew up in a house shared by three generations.

Unlike most of my other work, Pungo Creek did not begin with a dream but rather with a writing prompt from a much loved and dearly missed teacher – Judi Beach: “Begin with I am the daughter who and write the longest sentence you can.”

I’m the daughter who was born first, talked first and left first before the poverty that stuck to the rest of them could seep into my skin, below my fingernails and trap me permanently in that circle of snuff dipping, onion peeling, bible reading, egg collecting, tobacco tying, crab picking, whiskey drinking, hard fighting, varicose veined women that were my aunts and cousins and grandmamas back to the time when the first Foreman woman squeezed out the first squalling baby girl onto the muddy banks of Pungo Creek and the first Foreman husband said “Okay, woman, now that’s done, get up and fix my dinner and while you are at it check on that stove” and she got up an put her squalling baby in the bottom drawer of the dresser she had lined with quilting pieces and flour sacks and let her howl while she put the fat back in the cast iron spider and put it on the stove that was going just fine and put her hands on her hips that were holding up the stained blue checked apron and wondered to herself how in the hell she had ended up a wife and mother at 15 years old and how in the hell she was going to stand living with that man until death released her and they put her in the dirt behind Sidney Cross Roads Free Will Baptist Church.

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Lilly’s Tattoo

Lilly’s Tattoo was my NaNoWriMo novel in 2007.  It started with a dream in which I was standing in front of a tattoo parlo eating a Snicker’s.  This novel literally wrote itself. In many ways it is my favorite because in writing it I found a new genre.

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