Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncer Round 6 #13

Genre: Upmarket Women's Fiction
Word Count: 66 000 


In THE MONKEY CHARM, an upmarket women's novel of 68,000 words, Anne Ramone receives startling evidence that helping a family victimised by violence causes her husband’s brain injury to heal.  

Bob Ramone was an outgoing, athletic cop before a stroke leaves him unable to talk, walk or recognise his family. The doctors have labelled him vegetative, sparking Anne’s desperate search for a therapy to “awaken” her husband. Anne remembers another family in crisis, a mother and two young daughters, who have been traumatised by domestic abuse. She becomes their “monkey charm” – a secret, protective benefactor who mails them grocery money, pays for the girls' summer camp and watches them walk safely to and from school. To Anne’s surprise, the more she helps the Singh family, the more Bob responds to treatment.

Then the abuser violates his restraining order and places the family in danger. It is up to Anne to stop him, not only for the Singh females, but for Bob’s recovery as well. 

The manuscript for the MONKEY CHARM earned me two Ontario Arts Council grants and a Toronto Arts Council grant. My writing has appeared in literary journals, newspapers and on CBC national radio. You can read more about me and my writing at

First 250 

“He is mad.” Devanshi Singh sat in the witness box and twisted the thin copper bracelet around her wrist.

“What happened next?” Crown Attorney May MacQuillan asked.

I leaned across my desk in front of the judge and tapped the volume button on the cassette recorder. Mrs. Singh’s voice was infused with a heavy Indian accent. I didn’t want difficulties transcribing the proceedings later in my office.

“He come into kitchen.” Mrs. Singh spoke directly to May. “He push over chair.” She made a shoving motion with her hands. “The children at table. They stop eating.”

“Yes.” May moved to block Mrs. Singh’s view of her scowling husband sitting at the defense table.

“He throw plates at me, bowl, knife, fork. I go like this.” Mrs. Singh spread her fingers over her face, the bangles on her wrist jangling. “He say bad names, bad words. Children screaming. I ask him stop.”

Domestics were tough. Heartbreaking for the victim, challenging for staff.  The images stuck in my memory, long after I typed the court minutes. 

“And then?” May asked.

A man in a trench coat walked into the court and stopped in front of Judge Bailey’s bench. 

It was Police Inspector David Cooper. He worked with my husband at 51 Division. What did he have to do with the Singh case?

I felt a touch on my shoulder. “You have to go.” It was Carol, another court monitor.  

“What’s going on?” I asked.    

David Cooper looked over at me. I froze. 


  1. This sounds like a really touching novel!

    I was a little confused at the start of the fist 250 because I didn't immediately realize that Anne was the court monitor. Maybe that could be mentioned in the query?


  2. Thanks for your feedback and positive comment. I'll find a way to insert her job occupation if that clarifies the opening.
    Dianne Scott

  3. I love the way you've built the tension in your first 250 words. Bravo! What an intriguing premise--I really like the way helping one family helps her husband. Talk about giving Anne even more motivation to stop the abuser!

    Best of luck!
    Bonnie #12
    (and a fellow Torontonian)