"The Wrong Choice"
by Sherlynn A. Muckelroy
NOW LIVE on Amazon.com!
It took 3 1/2 years to complete this endeavor. The book cover took on six lives, and the title changed multiple times.
I chose to self-publish like I did with my Science Fiction Romance series, "A Quest of the Ages."
The Las Cruces, NM Writer's Group and the new Pens of the West Writer's Group in Las Cruces, NM--all talented groups of men and women writers--have been a Godsend in critiquing this novel. Their input along with my BETA readers have made me a better writer, and I appreciate them tremendously.
UPDATE--April 26, 2002: Way back in February, 2021, I entered "The Wrong Choice" into the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award Competition. A few months ago, I received the notice I did not place, BUT I did receive a GLOWING review from the competition's judge. If you would like to read what the judge had to say about my book, here is the link to it:
UPDATE--April 26, 2022: Finally! My copyright is in my hot little hands (took long enough!). Yay!!!
UPDATE--September 2021: I have recorded (using my own voice instead of hiring someone else to do it) the audiobook version of, "The Wrong Choice." It took me a year to record and now it is in the hands of the copyright office. Because the file was too large to send a digital copy to the copyright office, I had to send physical copies. As a result, it will take 3 months to receive that illustrious copyright number. then I shall send the audiobook to Audible for their review. I shall keep you posted on the progress.
UPDATE--January, 2020: I have changed the name of the title AGAIN! from "ONE MORE Choice" to "The Wrong Choice." This one is THE ONE! I hope. I also changed my book cover to one that better reflects my genre of romance. One choice is black and white, and the other a color version. Which one to use is pending. My BETA readers have read the manuscript and offered up their opinions and suggestions. The finish line is quickly approaching!
UPDATE--October, 2019: I have changed the name of the title AGAIN! from "Beware the Choices You Make," to "ONE MORE Choice." I LOVE IT and plan to keep it. Two, I am still happy with my "choice" for the 4th book cover (YAY!). Three, I am close to asking BETA readers to read the manuscript and offer up their opinions. I will approach my book club and ask for a couple of volunteers.
UPDATE--July, 2019: Three major changes come to light. One, I have changed the name of the title from, "ONE MORE TEAR," to "Beware the Choices You Make." Two, I changed the book cover for the 4th, and hopefully final, time. Three, I have decided to self-publish my book when it is ready to publish.
UPDATE--January, 2019: 2019 rings in REJECTION #3 from a literary agency. The newest addition to my Romance novel library, ONE MORE TEAR, has experienced a pass by the Rosenberg Group Literary Agency. Again, not to worry. 2019 also rings in the hope that an agency will offer to pick up my novel.
UPDATE--November, 2018: Since 3 months have passed and no word from Spencerhill Associates Literary Agency, I take it they passed on my novel--REJECTION #2. No problem. Failure is part of the process, so I am not upset. I have already sent query letter #3 to The Rosenberg Group in Massachusetts. It should take 2-3 weeks to hear back from them. I will keep you posted on the progress.
UPDATE--August, 2018: I have received REJECTION #1 from the Knight Agency. That's okay, I'm now on my second attempt at anchoring a literary agent to find the perfect publishing house for my book.
Preview of "ONE MORE TEAR - Choices"
The story opens in present day where a feisty Riley O'Keefe, now in her late eighties, writes a memoir dating back sixty years to when she is a young whipper snapper who wants it all--a loving marriage, satisfying career, and multiple children.
The date is 1957 and at the age of twenty-seven, Riley has the marriage part down with her husband Sherman; is enjoying her job as an Office Manager at an employment agency; and aspires to bear her first child. The only thing is, life gets in the way of all three when dealing with heartache from personal tragedies, suspicions of infidelity, childhood phobias, malicious threats against her, and overwhelming guilt. To free her spirit, Riley chooses certain paths--some get her out of hot water, and some put her smack dab into the middle of it. She is not perfect, but she strives to be in every part of her existence.
This red lipstick-smeared handkerchief does not belong to Riley.
Who owns it and why is it found in her husband's car?
Riley discovers an old diary.
What role does it play and what secret does it hold?
The Date Is 1957
The feeling of career bliss to which I had grown accustomed, excluding the disturbing phone conversation, took a mere two months, sixteen days, three hours, fifty-seven minutes, and thirty-five seconds to change.
Enter Beauregard Fitzgerald Kingston, Jr.—Beau’s father and Coral’s husband.
The hours before my first encounter with Mr. Kingston and what happened after were still fresh in my mind. Coral’s day had been manic with meetings and work-related fires only she could extinguish. Only once did she take a break, and that was to let me know she would have to cancel her lunch date with her husband who was picking her up here at the office. It should have been she who informed him of the change, but she instructed me to do it when he arrived. The request didn’t seem out of the ordinary, so with an air of sympathy, I told her I’d be happy to pass along her apologies. Getting back to work, I never gave it another thought.
I hated what I was doing at the time—sticking a company flyer in each of a zillion envelopes and licking them closed. A man had to have invented the wretched envelope sealant that left a putrid taste on one’s tongue. A woman would have adhered an agreeable flavor like peppermint or wintergreen to freshen the breath instead of making it reek of glue. The only way to rid the harsh taste from my palate was to scrape my tongue over the bottoms of my top teeth but then what did I do with the accumulated film? Spit or swallow? I couldn’t very well discard it in a Kleenex each time I licked an envelope; I’d have no more saliva left to do either. I had one choice: swallow followed by a sip of coffee.
Scowling and wrinkling my nose in a grimacing facial expression as a result of the ordeal, I happened to look through our glass office door and into the lobby where a magnificent stud—the two-legged kind; not the four-legged kind Hazel would ride—sauntered into the building. Hubba, hubba. What a magnificent specimen of the male species. Scrutinizing the man, I considered him to be about my age, perhaps a couple years older, was tall and smartly dressed from head to toe. His camel-tan suit and white shirt accented by a deep wine color tie hung on him like they were tailored specifically for him. I know expensive when I see it and this getup screamed of money as did the obviously pricey, two-toned leather shoes in shades of musk and brown with a detailed cut-out wingtip.
To top off his classy attire, he donned a beige fedora like the style Humphrey Bogart wore in the 1942 production of “Casa Blanca”. Secretly in love with Bogart and his ability to make me practically faint dead away when seeing him in any role on the big screen, which I never passed an opportunity to see, the same appetite overwhelmed me with this newcomer. It's okay to swoon; I'm not dead yet. The way he carried himself oozed of intrigue and mystique, just like my imaginary, Hollywood paramour.
My first thought, as I watched this picture of perfection stroll across the floor, was how drop-dead gorgeous he was. Nothing wrong with ogling, either. My second, third, fourth, and fifth thoughts came next. Who was this flutter bum with a sculpted jaw and a hint of dark hair peeking out the side of his hat? Which office did he work in, and why didn’t I work there, too? I’ve never seen him before. Was he new to the building?
Glancing at his wristwatch, the man came to a complete stop midway across the lobby. Without a care in the world and paying no mind to those around him, he reached inside his suit jacket and withdrew a pack of cigarettes. Knocking it against the side of his hand, the head of a single cylinder popped out. He withdrew it the rest of the way with his lips then replaced the pack to the coat’s inner pocket.
Bewitched by this stranger, I forgot all about my tedious task and leaned over the multiple envelopes on my desk to get a better look at him—as if four inches would make a difference. Fixated, I saw him feel around in his pants pocket until pulling out a small silver lighter. With the flick of his thumb, he flipped open the hinged lid and twirled the wheel that ignited a spark. Cupping his other hand around the flame, he lit the end of the cigarette.
With his fluid movement, my head filled with helium and tilted as my lungs absorbed every bit of oxygen available around me. Holding my breath, I longingly lifted both brows when he leaned his head back just enough to open his airway and deeply draw that first taste of intoxicating smoke. When he blew out the leftovers, my face softened and I exhaled as he lowered his head to eye-level. That’s when he saw me gawking at him through my door made of perfectly clear and unobstructed glass.
Seeing me watching him, his mouth curved into a brilliant smile that exposed dazzling teeth. When he smoothly lifted an arm and waved at me is when I realized my mouth was wide open and its protruding tongue had glued itself completely over the bottom lip. Both were as dry as a bone when imagining myself as that roll of thin paper filled with tobacco pressed tightly between his lips. There’s no telling how many gnats from that stupid ficus tree flew in my gaping maw while in my entranced state.
Without warning, this mesmerizing magician doused his three-quarter-full cigarette in the sand-filled smoking urn and started walking...oh, my God...my way. In a panic, I gasped what air I could gather in my lungs, my heart started racing, and my palms began to perspire. Glancing at my watch, I realized it was twelve o’clock sharp.
He was arriving to take his wife to lunch. Completely unnerved, I watched him walk toward me in what I saw as slow motion. One deliberate heel-to-toe step leisurely followed in stride by another. My brain waves arrested and my focus intensified in staring at him. Coral had instructed me to tell him something, but what was it? Oh, right, she was too busy for lunch and needed a rain check.
With all my might, I tried to peel my eyes off the man as he approached the office, but they were stuck and wouldn’t comply. Finally, the glass door swung open and the man crossing its threshold in one giant step made my heart crash into cardiac arrest as he dominated the room. Instantly, I changed my mind in thinking God was a man. Only a female God would…could…fashion this man into a sexy as hell creature with whom I was about to engage in conversation.