The Dance of Divorce

Note: I found this in my popcorn file this morning. All of my novels start like this, a few pages just to see if I like the characters. My latest novel, A One-way Cruise to Africa (finished but not yet published), started like this. I’m posting this kernel for your entertainment–even though it has nothing to do with my new novel–in case you need a break and your coffee is still drinkable. I’ll let you know when A One-way Cruise to Africa is available!

The Dance of Divorce
Janelle Meraz Hooper

Janelle Meraz Hooper

Aubrey dumped her parcels in an empty chair at the table and looked at the old friend she’d run into at the mall. “I can’t believe it! You divorced Stephen? When did this happen?”

“Over two years ago. I think you were in Kansas taking care of your mother.”

“What happened?”

“He stopped dancing.” When she saw her friend waiting for the rest of the story she added, “Well, at least he stopped dancing with me. I have no idea what he may have done on someone else’s dance floor.”

“So he was fooling around?”

“I don’t know. I was speaking literally. He stopped dancing. That was the first clue. Then he stopped doing other things. One at a time like when your favorite CD gets a scratch. First it’s just one song. Then another .Then another. Until, finally, the whole CD is ruined.”

“Where is he now?”

“On the other side of town in a fancy townhouse.”

“Who’s he with?”

“I must never speak her name. You know her.”

“Augh! No way! That oinker?!”

“My mother thanks you, my lawyer thanks you, but most of all, I thank you. I found her panties in the laundry once…eee-uuu.” With that, she spread her arms as wide as she could without hitting the man at the next table”.

“That big?”

“Oh, yeah. And they were old and dingy…and cheap.”

The barista brought the coffees they’d ordered when they came though the door .

Shasta loaded up her latte with sugar. When she noticed her friend gasping she said,

“Leave me alone. Sugar is just about all I have left nowadays.”

“I’m not surprised. In college you were so shy you went to the library every time we had movie night.”

“Can we change the subject? How’s your job?”

“When the housing market collapsed, I moved over to the commercial side of the business. It’s been even worse, but at least, I’m having more fun. Contractors give great parties. You’ll have to go with me sometime.”

“Sure. Just let me know. I don’t get out much—too many deadlines now that I’ve kicked my writing into high gear.”

Shasta lingered over her coffee when Aubrey gathered up her shopping bags and went home. She was in no rush to get back to her computer. The latest blog she was going to post needed to cool off a few hours. For her, posting in haste was never a good idea. Too often, her fingers were quicker—and sharper—than her brain.


Visit my site to see my books and plays!

Janelle Meraz Hooper

*Janelle Meraz Hooper is an indie writer living in the middle of berry country
(raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, oh my!)
40 miles south of Seattle.

But wait! There’s more! If you enjoyed this kernel, check out

Chili   Chili

The Art in His bed   The Art in His Bed

(Click on the blue text)





Chili- a short story just for my blog readers

chili illustration


Janelle Meraz Hooper

My website: Janelle Meraz Hooper

Just for fun…one of the (short) stories in my head…

Joy has been through a rough divorce—but she’s learning to make it work for her…

When her doorbell rang, Joy went to the head of the stairs to see who was there. From where she was all she could only see was the top of some guy’s head in a black cowboy hat. It was enough. She turned around and went back to her kitchen. She was stirring a pot of homemade chili when she heard the latch on her Dutch door in the kitchen click.

“Aren’t you going to let me in?” the man chuckled.

“I’m still thinking about it.”


“The last time I let you in while I was making chili I ended up married to you.”

“Is that a bad thing? Let’s go to dinner and talk about it.”

“No, I’m making chili. Want some? She was already putting an extra bowl on the table.

He cautiously sniffed the air, “Did you put chili powder in it?”

“Of course. That’s why they call it chili.” She pointed to the refrigerator, “Peanut butter is that way.”

“You’re still keeping your peanut butter in the refrigerator?”

“Yes. Did you think I did it for twenty-three years just to annoy you?”

Her ex-husband took a bite of the chili and shuddered. “Joy, it’s a beautiful day out. Let’s take the boat out on the sound; I’ll buy you some fresh shrimp. ”

“Can’t. I leased the yacht out for the summer.”

The man groaned, but he quickly recovered. “Then let’s take out the bike. I’ll buy you lunch in Gig Harbor.”

“Can’t. I sold it.”

“What’s left?” he asked.

“I still have the house. Want to mow the grass?”

“I’ll pass.”

“So why are you here?”

“I stopped by to see if you wanted to get married again.”

“Why would I do that? I already have the house, a car, a yacht, half your money and a big pot of chili.”

“I wish you’d taken half of Lenore too.”

“What’s the matter? She leave you?” He shook his head yes. “That was quick. How long did this one last?”

The man hung his head and mumbled something unintelligible.

“Well, eat up. I’ve got a date.”

The man’s head snapped up, “With who?”

“Whom,” Joy corrected, “and you don’t know him. He’s just some guy who has a boat for the summer.”

the end

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Custer & His Naked Ladies. #3 in the Turtle Trilogy

finalcustercoverSee the book on Amazon

A modern-day Western novel…
See the book on my website: Janelle Meraz Hooper

PB & Kindle, suitable for New Adult (NA) and up. Amazon and others.

Published by iUniverse.

A few lines from Custer & His Naked Ladies, the third book in my Turtle Trilogy. Glory, all grown up now, lives in Seattle and has unexpectedly been left by her husband. She’s on a commuter plane between Ft. Worth and Lawton—on her way home to see her family…while she’s looking out the plane’s window, she ponders the past… 

Glory looked down at the barren landscape, after recognizing the pain and suffering of the settlers a part of her switched sides…A good example was Cynthia Ann Parker, a settler’s child who was kidnapped by Comanches in 1836 when she was nine-years-old, and later became the mother of Quanah Parker, who grew up to be a great Comanche chief. As a child, she must have been terrified when the Comanches carried her away but years later, when she was “rescued” by the white man, she didn’t want to return to the white settlement. She had become a Comanche heart and soul. She died of a broken heart when she was separated from her Indian family. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone?

Glory had read the stories about the Indian cruelty to the settlers, but little was said about the whites, like Cynthia Ann Parker, who had embraced the Indian way of life.
Still, the pain and suffering of the settlers couldn’t be ignored. Glory couldn’t imagine how she could survive if she were a mother whose child had been ripped away from her and carried off by a band of screaming Indians. Many of them never saw or heard from their child again. They must have spent the rest of their days wondering if it were alive or dead.

Glory looked down at the barren landscape. A part of her switched sides. So, you couldn’t wait to get rid of the Indians and get our land. What have you done with it? Nothing! Except maybe pollute it. Give it back! Glory tried to imagine the plains once again filled with buffalo and other game. Peaceful Indian villages would nestle next to the creeks…yeah, Glory interrupted herself, until a neighboring tribe came and set their teepees on fire…okay…so not all of the Indians’ troubles were caused by the white man.

The drink cart began to move down the aisle. A gray-haired woman on the other side of the plane leaned over the arm of her chair and softly asked Glory, “Pardon me, but I’m from New Jersey and I’m wondering if you’re a real Indian?”

“Funny you should ask. I’m going back home to try and figure that out!”

The woman didn’t know if Glory was being funny or rude. Why shouldn’t she be confused? She was!

“No, really,” Glory continued, “I was part-white and part-Mexican when my mother got remarried to a Comanche Indian when I was eight-years-old. I’m not really sure what I am!”

“I see. Perhaps you should convert to Judaism like me. Then your confusion would be complete.” She looked out her window, “We did our share of wandering in the desert. Of course, we didn’t have RVs,” she joked. Her eyes followed a caravan of recreational vehicles as they moved down the road, red dust billowing behind them.

“That’s not a bad idea. The only problem is I don’t think all of those cultures would fit on my sweatshirt.”

The stewardess came around with cold drinks and the woman struck up a conversation with her.

“Do you have any kosher Coke?” she teased.

“No Ma’am, but I have some kosher Pepsi.”

“That’ll do.”

Custer & His Naked Ladies. Book 3 of the Turtle Trilogy. Paperback and Kindle (etc.). Suitable for New-Adult and up. Published by iUniverse.


 “Janelle  Meraz Hooper has done it again! Custer & His Naked Ladies is filled with quirky and likable characters in a richly detailed setting. Humor, family, and love come shining through. There is a poignant line in the book that has stayed with me, “Old age had crept in and stolen their bodies while they were dancing through life…” These women have danced! VF Gibson, Seattle, WA

“I purchased Custer & His Naked Ladies at your booth on July 4th in Steilacoom and promised I’d let you know what I thought of it. After I finished it my husband decided to read it (We had both enjoyed A Three-Turtle Summer a few years ago)  so I waited to hear his comments. We thoroughly enjoyed the book. We both agreed that you are excellent at spinning a yarn and at painting a verbal picture of people and places. You can quote us on that! P.R., Tacoma

“I just finished reading your book “Custer & His Naked Ladies LOOOOVE it, excellent writing and story. It gave me a nice inside view of the wonderful culture of our American Indians. Good job, Janelle S.Z., Puyallup, WA

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Excerpt, A Three-Turtle Summer


My website: Janelle Meraz Hooper

See the book on Amazon

A Three-Turtle Summer

The first book in my Turtle Trilogy

Grace has to dump a man who is meaner than a rattlesnake and dumber than adobe…

Fort Sill, Oklahoma, July, 1949
It was too hot to play cards, especially if someone were keeping score, and Vera was.
Ay, carumba! You can’t stand to go two hours without beating someone at something can you?” Grace Tyler playfully pouted.

Vera ignored her little sister, and began shuffling cards as she gleefully announced, “Senoras, the game is canasta, and we’re going to play according to Hoyle.” She began to deal the cards like a Las Vegas gambler while Pauline laughed and pointed at her mother, a notorious and frequent card-cheater.

Everyone was hot, but in her long-sleeved shirt and long skirt, Grace was sweltering. Sweat beaded up on her forehead and neck and she kept stretching her legs out because the backs of her knees stuck to her skirt.

“Gracie, for God’s sake, go put some shorts on,” Vera said.

Grace ignored her sister, pulled her shirt away from her perspiring chest and asked,

“Anyone want more iced tea before Vera whips the pants off of us?”

Momma and Pauline both nodded and Grace poured tea over fresh ice cubes while Vera got a tablet and pencil out of her purse.

The room was almost silent as each woman arranged her hand. Only Momma barely tapped her foot and softly sang a song from her childhood under her breath:

“The fair senorita with the rose in her hair …
worked in the cantina but she didn’t care …
played cards with the men and took all their loot … awh-ha!
went to the store and bought brand new boots … ”

“Awh-Haaa!” Grace’s five-year-old daughter Glory joined in.

Paperback, Kindle (etc.) Suitable for adults. Bold Media 1st place award winner, novel category. iUniverse.

Book 2 of the Turtle Trilogy: As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries. iUniverse.

Book 3 of the Turtle Trilogy: Custer & His Naked Ladies. iUniverse. 

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