Title: FINDING FINLEY
Genre: Women's fiction
Word Count: 83,000 words
40-year-old Terrin Finley has one foot stuck in her relationship with her ex, one toe in a new flirtation, and--unbeknownst to her--a fetus growing in between. Terrin has six months to sort out this yoga-pose-of-a love life, and to find stability for herself and her baby. A commercial women’s fiction manuscript complete at 83,000 words, Finding Finley follows Terrin’s quest to create a family of her own.
On the way to Dominick’s grocery store, Terrin’s future included an evening of lasagna and the Sound of Music Sing-Along with her “almost-family”--her boyfriend Steve, and his five-year-old daughter Molly. Mere moments later, Steve’s last words--I just couldn’t sign the papers--leave Terrin empty-handed and broken-hearted in the parking lot.
With one errant keystroke, Terrin sends an email intended for her ex (Steve) to Sam Abrams instead--an old summer camp crush that holds potential. Terrin soon learns of another area in her life that holds potential--her uterus. Despite the company of her couch-squatting brother Jeff, her best friends “The Dads” plus their baby Esme, and her parents, Terrin feels farther away from finding her people than ever before. And one very small, very needy person is about to find her.
A Stay-At-Home-Humorist, my writing has appeared on McSweeneys Internet Tendency, College Humor, and the website Women On Writing, which named my flash fiction Date Night as a Top 10 finalist in 2009. Babble recently named me their funniest Top 50 Twitter Mom, and I write a humor fitness column for Madison, Wisconsin’s premier women’s print publication, Brava Magazine. My growing platform also includes my award-winning blog and Listen to Your Mother, the acclaimed national live reading series I founded and direct.
Friday morning April 2nd smelled like dryer sheets to Terrin Finley, and felt like the first sip of a perfect cappuccino after an entire year spooning in bed. Steve woke at five and left before six. He kissed Terrin on the forehead and said “See you tonight.” His breath sounded shallow--his voice not warmed up for the day. Maybe he felt nervous. Terrin could only assume that signing divorce papers made a person anxious, even if two years had passed since filing them.
She fell back to sleep until the sound of the street cleaners awoke her--with their buffing away of parking ticket fragments, past-season cedar mulch, and errant dollar store gloves. All sorts of flotsam emerged from Chicago's gutters after a winter buried beneath feet of snow and parked cars. Steve had Molly with him that weekend, and they all planned to go to The Sound of Music Sing-A-long at The Music Box to celebrate as, well, a family. A campy raucous affair, everyone dressed as characters from the movie. Five-year-old Molly planned to wear her “fancy lady” pink nightgown as Liesel, and Terrin's 30-year-old couch-squatter brother Jeff volunteered to dress as Liesel's younger sister Gretl. Terrin and Steve's rented nun’s habits hung on the back of her bedroom door encased in vinyl garment bags, like tuxes awaiting groomsmen. At 40 years old, Terrin's future with Steve and Molly could officially begin, and she could finally allow herself to imagine a family of her own.