In “The Valley”

T’was such a lovely day today that I took a walk around the reservoir near my house, listened to the water sparkle in the sun, watched fishermen load their gear onto aluminum rowboats, and thought no thoughts at all.  It was my way of decompressing after finishing the edits on my third book, writing back cover blurbs and brainstorming over a title that just won’t come to me.

The problem is the title I wanted to use (Wrestlemania) I can’t. It’s a trademarked name and the people who own the trademark, might object.  Plus, people might get the wrong idea.  It’s not about Hulk Hogan.

I’ll tell you what it’s about and if you have any ideas for a title, let me know and I’ll be forever in your debt.

motherIt’s about a woman, an ordinary woman you’d see in the grocery store with her two children, or maybe she’s your neighbor and you’d see her outside and wave every now and then.  You don’t see too much of her husband but you’ve heard from the other neighbors that he’s an executive at a highly successful brokerage and you wonder “why doesn’t she drive a fancier car?”

Then one day there’s a for sale sign in front of her house and you stop seeing her during the day or at the store but you start to see a lot of her husband.

HappyValleyYou live in “The Valley” where husbands aren’t seen during the day and if they are rumors start to swirl.  It’s a community famed for its schools and high property values.  It’s a community – you sadly lament – where misfortune is treated as a contagious disease and the victim must be quarantined.  You’re not happy about that fact but, you tend to agree with the fellow denizens of “The Valley” that misfortune is the result of bad choices.

Eventually the woman, her children and the dog move away and suddenly!  Poof! You don’t see them anymore. Life goes on.  You walk with your friends around the reservoir, provide snacks for your children’s soccer games, your husband works late but that’s okay.  He’s an accountant.  He can be trusted with your finances and your children’s college funds so you don’t worry.

And then one day there’s a knock on the door.  You peer through the glass and there she is.  The woman who no longer belongs to “The Valley.” But you’re a kind person so you begrudgingly let her in.

wolfAfter polite conversation she asks hesitantly for a favor.  At first you’re shocked.  You want to help her but.. you don’t want to do anything that would put you under the scrutiny of the IRS in any way, shape or manner.  At first you agree – yes, I’ll sign a paper saying you weren’t driving fancy cars or taking expensive vacations – then you wonder.  What would your husband say if you signed a document testifying in favor of Maya Bethany’s application for Innocent Spouse?  Why did you need to get involved?  You didn’t really know her. She was just the woman who lived next door.

You send her away hoping she’ll never come back because in “The Valley” misfortune only happens to other people.  You, on the other hand, can totally trust your spouse.  You’ve followed the recipe.

You can read the prologue here. Thanks everyone!

11 thoughts on “In “The Valley”

  1. Aren’t book names the hardest? I lived in torment for a week before I stopped trying and a coworker gave some great advice. He said, “What is the pivotal moment? What is the peak or the point of no return? Harry Potter books are named after the that moment. You should do that.” I didn’t quite do that, but it led to what I did do. Now I’m not making sense 🙂

    It kind of makes me think Let Well Enough Alone or Let Sleeping Dogs Lie…these are bad titles, but I keep thinking of people half asleep… sleep walking through the valley..

    Best of luck! I’m sure whatever you come up with will be brilliant.

  2. Hi Jan! Wow, this book sounds really fascinating. It gives me the creeps, but in a good way.

    One thing I notice is that you talk about walking around the reservoir yourself, and also in the synopsis of the story. So I wonder if the word “reservoir” could somehow be in the title. It’s kind of a loaded word, with “reserve” in there, and there’s also that man-made (human-made?) aspect of some reservoirs.

    I walk/run around a reservoir in my town at least once–if not twice–every day, and I do some of my deepest thinking on those little journeys (not that I’m ever particularly deep) but there’s something about the serenity of the place that inspires thought. OK, I’m rambling now. The best I can come up with is something like “Deep Reservoir” or “Walking the Reservoir” or “Dark Reservoir”. I’m heading off to bed soon, but will sleep on this.

    1. Thanks Mary! “Walking the Res” is what the locals refer so that might just work! Sometimes the deepest thoughts to have are no thoughts at all – know what I mean? Take care, jan

  3. Ooh, it sounds a wonderful read, Jan. Congratulations on finishing this one off.
    And here’s my tossing the proverbial hat into the ring–Bearing Witness.
    It felt like it would work with the synopsis up above, but not so much the prologue. Still, happy to brainstorm when asked.
    Can’t wait for the reveal! Cheers

  4. Wow number three ( in what – less than 18 months?)! I’m looking forward to reading this one – do you know when it is coming out? I’ve been thinking about titles …. something to do with Crime and taxes, injustice, maybe – The Sins of the Husband (except readers may imagine something quite different).

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