I told The Famous Author we were all sick of hearing about Dennis what's-his-name.
What about those writers he retreated with on the beach in St. Petersburg while the college literary workshop was going on? Lorin, Kim, Brenda, Melissa, Jason? Wasn't TFA bragging like heck about them on the flight home, telling the young stewardess that his just-concluded, sandy swaree' included many future publishing stars; that one day, like Paris in the 1920s, St. Pete Beach would be famous for this single, amazing gathering of writing talent.
"That's actually when they cut off my liquor," TFA said last night. "But that has no reflections on my expectations for this group."
"Gee, boss, are you still drinking?"
"Do you mind? I'm starting back on tour again tomorrow. This has been a mini-vacation."
"Sort of like tropical drinks on the beach without the beach?"
"Exactly," TFA said.
"So who's our first Future Star? Who's kicking off this new feature you're making me post?"
"I'm not sure she'd want to be associated with you, Austin. Sorry. Maybe she'll sign in with a comment."
"Or maybe not," I said. "Okay, so what's up with Melissa? Is that her, up on top? The pretty blond?"
"That's Melissa. She writes all kinds of wonderful things, but right now, she's giving her beautiful, gripping, and magic novel an agent-guided final polish before it hits New York."
"Have you read any?"
"As a matter of fact, I have," TFA said. "Prior to a critique group a few years ago, I was handed the first five pages of this novel. The synopsis told me Melissa's story involved faeries and monsters, and I started shaking my head. I really don't like this kind of fantasy. I can't even read Harry Potter."
"Harry Potter is maybe the biggest hit series ever. Are you KIDDING me?"
"But when I read Melissa's opening line, I smiled, and I don't even remember turning or handling the pages. Suddenly I was just at the end, flipping each page over to see if maybe there was more written on the back. It was magic the way she made me believe and trust everything about her new world."
"Hey! Hey, TFA. Wake up, dude. You're getting glassy-eyed."
"Melissa is a future star. You wait."