Monday, February 18, 2013

Book excerpt: Spin the Plate

Happy Monday! Donna Anastasi is currently on tour with Walker Author Tours, and here on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book we have the honor of being the first tour stop! Enjoy this excerpt from the newly expanded, re-edited version of Spin the Plate. Here we get a little insight into the character of Jo, the heroine of the story.

Click here to purchase your copy of Spin the Plate.

Turning back to the dogs, she called out to them by their street names, “Titan! Cain!” which she used when they were out at night to help intimidate strangers. Rufus wriggled in delight and Ben waved his powerful thin tail. They knew they were going into the city for the evening.

Jo scowled at them and said, “Hey. Toughen up!”

Titan’s lip curled into a smile, exposing his long white canine teeth, and Cain burst into an explosive series of barks.

“Okay, that’s a little better,” she conceded, though the tails still beat the air, “Let’s go.”

The three started out into the night. Inspired by exercises from the Sumo training manual, Jo had developed her own loping stride. She did not run or jog, fearing a lean and thin runner’s build would result. Instead, she moved in a rolling rapid gait, bending her knees ever so slightly with a movement somewhere between a chimp on two feet and a Native American Ute hunter. She’d never yet hit her limit on how long or far she could go at this pace.

It took two hours for Jo to travel the ten-mile stretch from Newton to one of Boston’s grimier neighborhoods, arriving there after just after midnight. Ben was the tracker, without formal training, but with a strong natural instinct to sniff and find. Jo had shaped the behavior using verbal praise, with Ben ready to work to exhaustion to attain a rare expression of her pleasure. The huge hound was indiscriminate, able to search and rescue any living creature, whether it was a rat in need, a cat, a dog, or even a city pigeon with a broken wing. Most of his finds were lost or deserted pets of all sorts, including reptiles, ferrets, bunnies, and the occasional gerbil. Ben kept his nose to the ground in one continuous sniff. Rufus held his head high, skipping along beside Ben, tail swishing back and forth. Ben’s tail waved the air as he walked, until finally, often behind a large green dumpster, he would tense his shoulder muscles, freeze, and stare intently.

Ben was always the first to find a creature, having both the superior nose and concentration over the adolescent Rufus. Jo was never sure what species they’d encounter. She came armed with rolled oats, meat, an apple, baby food, and lactose-free milk for the animals. She carried packets of vanilla energy paste, too, which she consumed herself every forty-five minutes for concentrated calories, protein, and potassium. These she would sometimes share with severely emaciated carnivores.

She’d been picking animals up off the roadside for as long as she could remember. Jo found it ironic that this passion was initially ignited by her mother, of all people. It was nearly impossible for Jo to think about her mother as the person she once was. In fact, she thought of the woman in that memory as a different person all together, one long dead and gone.

Click here to purchase your copy of Spin the Plate.

No comments:

Post a Comment