You, Jane – Excerpt

You, Jane releases the first week in June. This book began when I wondered, what kind of superpower would I want? To write stories that come true popped into my mind. Then I realized that every power carries its own, well, complications, shall we say. What if the stories you write would come true, but in ways you couldn’t control?

The havoc Jane’s stories create started years ago. In the opening scene, she comes across one of her first.

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“Once upon a time.”

Jane Margaret Blake read those words on the fragile old paper she held in her hand, and sighed. She sat on her comfy, shabby couch in her comfy, shabby apartment in Seattle, as an unusual ray of early autumn sunshine found its way through her big window. She sorted through some old papers she’d found in a box in her closet, a box packed long ago, and marked with one word written by a black Sharpie™ on the battered cardboard flap. STUFF.

Thank you, past self, for that oh-so-helpful label. Soon enough Jane lost herself in her past, reading old college papers, news clippings, and cards from friends she barely recalled. She looked down at this particular set of yellowing pages she held, and sighed again.

She didn’t sigh out of nostalgia for a time when her parents read fairy tales to her. Her parents never did, for one thing, and Jane believed it quite unlikely she’d be nostalgic for anything from her childhood, especially now that she was closer to forty than to thirty. No, for Jane the words meant another little story of hers, written in a kind of trance. She called them fables because they always started with those words. Once upon a time. Sometimes they were short, sometimes long, sometimes they were about people, sometimes they were about animals, angels, or other kinds of creatures. Sometimes they seemed to be about nothing much at all, though that was deceptive. And if the fables always began the same way, they also shared one other characteristic. A troublesome tendency to come true and create havoc in Jane’s life.

Oh dear, I remember this. I wrote it right after Charlie got so pissed off at me, he married that girl he took to Vegas. Jane hoped the havoc this fable created was all over, but she’d learned not to put too much stock in hope.

She braced herself, and read on.

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Once upon a time could ruin her life, or lead her to a happy ending she never imagined.