Last year, I had the enjoyable experience of co-authoring a book, THE EDGER, with my sister Sharon Goldman, an award-winning landscape artist from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where our story is set. Sharon has lofty goals. She imagines us appearing on “Oprah,” and touring the country together signing our book. Being an artist, she’s visualized that outcome. I tried to explain the realities of the publishing world, but she is dreaming big. I am proud because I think I have done some of my best work and the process of creating this book with my sister long-distance turned out to be easier than I thought.
In THE EDGER, an 85-000-word women’s fiction, landscape artist Alexandra Newborn’s shocking reunion with her college art professor, Nick Anselmo, now a homeless lawn man, sows the seeds for murder, mystery and romance.
Sharon was inspired by the story to create the artwork above. Following is an excerpt from our manuscript, the Prologue of THE EDGER.
Everyone thinks I murdered my husband. Believe me, I wanted to. That’s why I’m stuck in this stark, colorless jail cell wearing an unfashionable orange jumpsuit, which my personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s would find highly offensive. She knows I’m more of an Eileen Fisher woman.
Why I was singled out, when there are enough suspects for a game of Cutthroat, is a mystery. The Jacksonville Beach Police Department is also looking at my former college art professor—hot and homeless Nick Anselmo, who has since skipped town; and my husband Mark’s mistress—cool, blonde home wrecker Bitsy Diamond. By rights, that woman should be cooling her Jimmy Choos in a jail cell, but the police are not looking very hard in other directions because they’re convinced I’m the guilty party.
Maybe it was the red stains the cops found splattered all over my studio and soaking my nightgown when they came to inform me that Mark’s body had washed up in front of Bitsy’s beach house.
My toxicology results seem to be MIA at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Where is CSI Miami when you need them? Jacksonville Beach is no Miami, which is why I’m still sitting in the slammer waiting for my lawyer, Mr. Redmond “Red” Cross, to provide some relief from this domestic disaster, and wondering where it all went wrong.
I’m wondering whether I will be allowed out to attend my husband’s funeral tomorrow, and if so, how I will explain to my three girls why their mother is arriving in shackles with a police escort. Wondering whether I’ll ever again enjoy the sweet sanctuary of painting outdoors in natural light, measuring the growth of my daughters as they link arms beneath the moss-draped canopy of the bald cypress in our backyard. A cypress that my husband Mark planted, but never nurtured.
The low-maintenance cypress only required pruning to remove any dead or damaged branches and frequent deep watering when it was first planted. But that tree turned out to be very resilient, as it was tolerant of both the wind and Mark’s neglect.
As far as writing craft, I think I’m best at dialogue, pacing and description. I enjoy incorporating humor into my writing and I’m a pantser. Since a mystery is at the heart of our story, a book I’ve found useful is “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel,” by Hallie Ephron.
Added: Here’s another example of my sister’s artwork. This one of her own backyard.