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Excerpt: The Adventures of Miss Vulpe by Maria Elena Sandovici

THE ADVENTURES OF
MISS VULPE
A Coming of Age Story for Adults
by
MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI
  Genre: Contemporary / Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age
Date of Publication: April 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 160

Ana Petrescu (aka Miss Vulpe) is a troubled teenager determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ double suicide. Escaping the scrutiny of her legal guardian and the unwanted interference of several therapists, she starts looking up people from her mother’s past. Her sleuthing requires her to lie about her identity, her age, and her lack of experience with men. While impersonating Miss Vulpe is more fun than going to school, there’s bound to be trouble and heartache when her web of lies unravels.





03f22-excerpt

 

Excerpt from The Adventures of Miss Vulpe

By Maria Elena Sandovici


“Bucharest 2009”


I didn’t want to go to Louise’s party. But in the end I couldn’t stay away. And when I saw her I was glad to be there. She opened the door and smiled, not in surprise, but in acknowledgement that naturally, if she invited me, I’d come. She stood before me in her gold dress, almost a private joke between us, or maybe her way of making a point that she’d won an argument of sorts. She’d won more than that, in fact, she’d won a battle I didn’t want to see her lose. I was happy to see her like this, her cheeks slightly flushed, her glow restored. She was radiant again, the golden girl of days gone by, and as she grabbed my hand and led me into the room to introduce me I was mesmerized by her ability to rise from her own ashes like a phoenix. The rooms were lit by candles, jazz music was playing on an actual turntable, and the house seemed full of people, of champagne bottles, and of vintage ashtrays filled to the brims. All the windows were open, the curtains blowing in the linden-scented breeze of late spring in Bucharest, dancing dangerously close to the candles, and everything had an air of magic and mystery. I had no idea who most of the people were, or where she’d collected them from. It was one of her talents, wilting then re-blooming, dropping away from the world, then reigniting her social life out of nothing. The only one I recognized was her dentist – Louise had constant trouble with her teeth, and the man was an eminence of sorts to whom the old dragon paid a small fortune. He was supposed to be in high demand. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out that Louise had met all the others in his waiting room, a place where even people with connections were reduced to spending hours.

I didn’t like this crowd, but I didn’t care. I didn’t like her portrait on the wall, something one of the guests, a pretentious fellow with an obvious drinking problem, had painted. I didn’t like that she hesitated in introducing me.

“This is Richard, my…” My what, Louise? My lover? “My husband’s friend, I mean my ex-husband’s friend.” I let it slide. In the end, I was grateful he wasn’t there, the current husband. By the look of things he’d been gone a long time, and I was hoping he’d stay gone forever. “Richard often comes by to see my girls,” she lied to no-one in particular as nobody was listening at this point. They were all drinking heavily. I also doubted they knew her well enough to know how many husbands or children she’d had. They were all blissfully unaware of the girls sleeping upstairs. I was sure the old dragon was of the school of thought that children should be seen and not heard, but the thing about Louise’s children was that one never got to see them either. It was as if they inhabited a parallel universe, and I knew more about them from Rogers then I ever did from visiting their mother.

I tried to put that out of my mind. I didn’t like the party, but I liked watching her. She was so in her element. She was putting on a show for her own amusement, and everything and everybody was part of it, from these people who barely knew her to the portrait on the wall that didn’t really look like her but that validated the role she chose to play that night. I knew this Louise. She was the lady of the manor, the centerpiece in a tableau vivant she had created for her own artistic satisfaction, like a director casting us all in a scene from a movie. I liked this side of her, the energy she put into weaving together elaborate fantasies to entertain herself.

She saw me watching her and she smiled. She looked pleased with how the evening was turning out, pleased with her own reflection in the mirror hanging above the improvised bar on top of the credenza. Maybe she wore the dress not so much as a symbol, but because it matched the sparkle of champagne in the glasses, and champagne seemed to be the theme of the evening. Somebody must have bribed the old dragon with several cases full of it, and Louise must have decided it needed to be consumed right away.

When people started leaving, she started making eye contact with me from across the room. I decided I’d talk her into coming back to my place. There wasn’t any way I’d spend the night here on the old dragon’s domain, and if Louise thought that was kinky in a fun way, I’d have to talk her out of it, which would be hard. But then I heard a key in the door, and Petrescu walked in. He looked like shit, pale and skinny and like he hadn’t showered or slept in a while. Louise’s face registered a look of surprise first. But then she flew to him. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. The two other couples that were still there looked at him, and I wondered if these people even knew who he was.

“A party,” he said, “it’s nice to come home and find a party. But I have urgent business with my wife.”

The women in the room laughed, and one shoved her husband.

“Why can’t you be more like that? See, that’s hot!”

“Excuse us,” Louise said. “Please stay, we won’t be a minute.”

Among her guests, I was the only one who wanted to leave. The wife who’d misinterpreted Petrescu’s intentions with Louise was now busy using what she’d thought she’d seen to add passion to her own marriage, so she’d climbed onto her husband’s lap and was kissing him. The other couple were draining all the champagne bottles strewn across the room.

I pulled out my phone and called myself a cab. The only good thing about Louise’s guests was that they were drunk enough to be oblivious to anything that didn’t concern them. No one would notice my departure.

“Two minutes,” the dispatch said.

I got up and stepped into the hallway. I heard Louise’s heels clicking on the linoleum, saw her gold dress shimmering in the dark. She was coming from the kitchen. 

“Richard,” she said. “Don’t leave.”

She followed me outside.

“I’ll only be a minute,” she said, as if I were an unreasonable child clinging to her skirts when she needed to go use the bathroom. 


Maria Elena Sandovici lives in Houston with her dog. She travels to Bucharest often and also to Spain, but her favorite trip remains 45 South to Galveston. She has an art studio at Hardy and Nance in the Warehouse District, open the third Saturday of every month, blogs daily at havewatercolorswilltravel.com, and writes poetry in the voice of her dog. She is also the author of three previous novels about women who are struggling with finding their place in the world.




CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
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Review
5/20
Excerpt 1
5/21
Sketchbook 1
5/22
Review
5/22
Promo
5/23
Excerpt 2
5/24
Review
5/24
Guest Post
5/25
Review
5/26
Sketchbook 2
5/27
Review
5/27
Excerpt 3
5/28
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Sketchbook 3
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Racing Forward by Mica Mosbacher

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours
presents
RACING FORWARD
by

Mica Mosbacher

 
Mica Mosbacher was barely hanging on. A single mother of a son, she worked in retail while she established a career as an award-winning writer. Feeling unlucky in romance after two failed marriages, she gave up on her dreams. In her early 40s, she met the love of her life, oilman mogul and 28th US Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher Sr. A modern day commoner who went on to meet and entertain heads of states and Royals, Mica turned out to be a kind of Houston Cinderella. Mica married her prince and soul mate only to lose him to pancreatic cancer leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to grieve forward. Her brother, a racecar driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward.Life brings losses on a regular basis. Whether it’s a garden variety loss or a life changing one―debilitating illness, divorce, death―it requires a resiliency, optimism and faith.
 
BUY LINKS
 

Excerpts from Chapter 8: Racing Ahead

We were intent on making a difference. My daughter-in-law often says that I like to make waves. So does Ellen [Cohen]! Together we united to create a tsunami. A vocal defender of sexual assault victims… (pg. 95)

It was a splendid ceremony, one that marked a middle-class “commoner” proving she was worthy of a prince. Letizia Ortiz represented the future of Spain in a progressive world. (pg.96)

I suppose that’s what reality is: a dream-like experience shattered with the clanging of an emergency. No wonder we lose ourselves in fairy tales. (pg. 97)

I recall being dropped off within walking distance amid a sea of protestors. I admit I was nervous—the protestors seemed very hostile—but I was also upset. While they may not have agreed with Reagan’s policies and actions as President, making a scene at his funeral was, more than anything, disrespectful. (pg. 97)

We [also] saluted our country, which we both held most dear. It was hard not to be affected, after having so recently said good-bye to an American President beloved by many. I remain impressed with Ronal Reagan to this day. He was able to connect with people and bridge differences. In this era of partisan bickering, our country could use someone like him. (pg. 99)

Review

I’m embarrassed to say that I went into this one not having a clue who either Mica Mosbacher or her husband were. Maybe if I watched the Simpsons (gotta read the book to know what I mean by that) growing up… I approach memoirs by people I don’t know with caution, but my visor came up within the first page. Mosbacher is a great writer and you can really tell she has a background in journalism (she puts in relevant pop culture tidbits here and there to keep you interested). I was impressed with her personal and professional drive, as well as her ability to keep me from thinking of her as a gold digger. I don’t know what the high society pages in Houston said about her, but I’m guessing it wasn’t always nice. Either way, you know she made it out alive and continues to thrive. I was thrown by the cover of this book because the racing bit takes up very little space. (I actually thought she was some famous race car driver that I never heard of. Hmm…) And to be honest, that little bit was what underwhelmed me the most. Older woman having a mid- to late-life crisis buys a Ferrari (she’s kinda loaded because of her late husband) and gets into racing made me pause (although the cause it supports is AWESOME). But I thought her greatest achievements were as a supportive wife to a terminally ill husband, a caring mother, and a political fundraiser.

Michele (Mica) Mosbacher, widow of the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and oilman Robert Mosbacher, Sr., was commissioned as an Honorary Consul of Iceland, Houston and Central Texas, in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry of Iceland. She is an author, motivational speaker and proud sponsor of Godstone Ranch Motorsports, a family professional motorsports team that races for charitable causes.


She currently serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, University of


Houston; and was appointed by Governor Perry to the steering committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. Mica previously served as a director of the American Hospital Foundation, receiving the board’s highest honor presented by Ambassador Howard Leach at the United States Embassy in Paris.

Focused on education, Mica previously served as on the University of Houston’s Board of Regents and the board of Strake Jesuit Prepartory School. Mica implemented Best Friends, a character education program and the Raol Wallenberg Heroes program in the Houston Independent School District in the late 90s.

Mica has chaired numerous charitable fundraisers including Houston Ballet

Ball, Woodrow Wilson Gala, Museum of Fine Arts Costume Institute and American Hospital of Paris Foundation. With her husband Bob, she co-chaired the M.D. Anderson Milestones and Miracles celebration, honoring President George H.W. Bush, that raised more than $10 million (a record at the time). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pastoral outreach group honored Mica, and she was named Pacesetter of the Year by the Cancer Assistance League.

In April of 2011, Houston Mayor Anise Parker honored her with “Mica Mosbacher Day” for her initiation of the prominent public art installation, “On Tolerance,” featuring sculptures by world-class sculptor, Jaume Plensa.

In 2013, Mica was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to the Order of St. John; in 2012 she was awarded the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, the highest honor from the Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution. She was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2007 by TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault). Mica was named Knight Commander of the Order of King Francis I.

In 2008, Mica was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame along with Barbara Bush and other prominent Houstonians. A journalist, she has received prestigious writing awards for feature articles. Her career began in 1972, when as an intern at KPRC-TV/NBC in Houston, she was among the first female reporters on camera and radio and while an intern, Mica acquired an exclusive interview during a famous murder trial. She later pursued a career in print journalism and freelance writing.

A longtime horse lover, Mica is a former champion in the American Saddleseat Amateur Walk-Trot Division. She won her first horse show at the Dallas State Fair riding J Miller and was trained by Charles Smith at Tri-Oaks Stables in Houston.

Active in political fundraising, Mica has served as a co-chair on many statewide and national campaigns.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Mica resides in Houston and Austin.

 

 

 

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