Saturday, July 27, 2013

Excerpt From The Exceptional Polly Iyer's New Release ~ Threads

I'm so pleased to bring you an excerpt from Polly Iyer's latest release, Threads. It has an interesting history.

Here is Polly to explain,

Every writer has a first manuscript. Some tuck the failed masterpiece in a drawer or under the bed. Others may think it’s good enough to begin their quest for publication. The hard copy of my first book has been in a chest in my living room, but it’s also been transferred from one dying computer to another, at the mercy of my tinkering for years. 

Thirteen to be exact.

Every year or two, I’d rewrite it. It’s a complicated story with time shifts and stories within the main story. I switched the time shifts, changed the structure, divided the story into Books to try to make it clearer, switched the time periods again, then went back and started over. 

And over and over.
This year I got serious and promised myself that I would finally get the book into shape. I created the cover so I wouldn’t quit on the book. Oddly enough I had more trouble with that cover than with any of my others. Was that a sign? Was this book doomed? 
After thirteen years, my very first book is out there for people to read. It’s a hard book to explain without giving away something crucial to the story, which is why my blurb is more a tease than anything definitive about the story. 

Bottom line - don't give up if you think you have a good story. Pull the book out of the dustbin and critique it anew with an objective eye. You might be surprised.  


Think about the worst moment in your life. A moment that changed irrevocably everything you’ve ever known. Would you take that moment back?

What if that moment offers you a different life, allows you to do things you would never do otherwise? Meet people you would never know?

Think again.

That one moment transforms the lives of a dozen people, each keeping a secret they can never expose. A single thread ties them together. Inextricably and forever. Cut it, and someone dies.

Now, would you take that moment back?


“Abstract Expressionism.” Miranda wrinkled her nose. Monet, Degas, Renoir―they were artists she appreciated. Nothing abstract about them. So why was she going to the gallery opening of some no-name Canadian abstract expressionist? Simple. Because accepting Alan’s last-minute invitation seemed like a better idea than what she had planned for a Friday night. Absolutely nothing.

After rummaging through her wardrobe, she plucked a hanger from the closet. “You again. A girl can never go wrong with the little black dress.” She paused. “And you,” she said to the beaded jacket, a sale purchase from a shop on Newbury Street, “will add some pizzazz.”

Ten minutes later, the buzzer rang, and she scooted out the door. Alan leaned against the iron railing, looking, as always, like something off a Paris fashion runway.

“Breathtaking.” He latched on to her arm. “Love the jacket.”

“Do you? First time I’ve had a place to wear it.”

“I don’t understand why men aren’t flocking to you like groupies to rock stars. What’s wrong with these straight guys anyway?” He tapped his finger on what he always called her goyishe nose. “Men are afraid to ask beautiful women out because they think you’ll shoo them away like nasty flies.”

Miranda snorted. “Right. Poor guys. I’m so beautiful they’re afraid of me. That’s bullshit, Alan, and you know it.”

“Stop your damn swearing. Mr. Stanford is one of those holier-than-thou types. He might be a friend of your father’s, but one F-bomb and you’ll be out on your ass without a job.”

“Gee, and that’s my favorite swearword.” She flashed a teasing smile, and he punched her arm.

“You’re too much. Come on. There should be champagne at the gallery. After this week, we both could use a glass.”

“What would I do without you, BFF? You’re my ticket to all the trendy events in town.”

“And what would I do without you? You’re my cover. Selma would jump off the frigging Tobin Bridge if she found out I was gay. That’d be more Jewish guilt than I could handle.”

Miranda broke up. Poor Alan. He had the mother from hell, always prodding him to find a nice Jewish girl and give her grandchildren. That was never going to happen.

They walked the few blocks to Newbury Street, bracing against the late March wind, typical of Boston. She shivered. “Maybe I should have worn my winter coat. We might have passed into spring on the calendar, but spring didn’t get the memo.”

“Come here, girlfriend.” Alan wrapped his arm around her. “Would you look at this? Not a parking space in sight. I’d have torn out my hair if we’d driven.”

The artsy crowd packed the gallery’s opening night. Once inside, Alan grabbed two champagne flutes off the tray of a roaming waiter, giving him the eye and getting one back.

“Half the city’s here. Hey, check out that couple,” he whispered in Miranda’s ear. “I’ll tell you all about those two tomorrow. Scandalous. Clue―that’s not his wife. In fact,” Alan cupped his hand around her ear, “she’s not a she.”

“Huh? You’re kidding.”

“Nope. Oh, there’s Jeffrey. Mind if I go over and thank him for cluing us in on this?”

Miranda waved him on. “I’m a big girl, Alan. I can take care of myself.”

“Be right back.”

She stole another peek at the object of Alan’s gossip―sheesh, who’d’ve thought? After stopping to chat with a few acquaintances, she continued her stroll around the gallery, listening to varying reviews of the art.

The paintings, displayed on white walls with halogen spots, hung in three different abstract groups―figuratives, landscapes, and paintings the art world might describe as “what the fuck.” The artist had wielded his brush with thick, vibrant color, creating an impression of movement and energy. Miranda stood back, sipped her champagne, and squinted at each one. The portraits were easy to distinguish as were the landscapes, but she couldn’t for the life of her define the subject matter of the third category, and their titles didn’t help. Dream #1 was anything but dreamy. More like a nightmare.

“Well, what do you think?” a deep, slightly accented voice from behind her asked. “Do you like them?”

She turned to the tall, exotically handsome man who asked her opinion. He wore his dark brown hair long enough to partially cover a small diamond stud, and his smile revealed unnaturally white teeth. But his most riveting feature was his eyes―black and piercing and intensely focused on her. Heat rose on her face as those same eyes flashed with amusement at the obvious impact he had on her. She couldn’t help herself. The man could have been a movie-star idol.

“I haven’t had a chance to study them all,” she said, “but I like a few.”

“And the others?”

She stood back, deliberating, then faced him square on. “Suck.”

Gorgeous burst out laughing. People turned to see what happened. “I love it. A breath of fresh air.”

“Well, I mean, take that one.” She pointed to a large canvas with a black figure embracing a red figure. “Who are they supposed to be? Fred and Ginger?”

“The black figure is Medea.”

“What’s she doing? Is she―” Miranda stopped when she figured out the action in the painting. She shuddered. “Now I know I don’t like it. The artist―what’s his name, I forgot―must be a whackjob.”

“Hmm, could be.”

“Where is he anyway? Point him out.”

A subtle bow accompanied his offered hand. “Stephen Baltraine, at your service,” he said with a playful smile. His gaze remained on her face, exactly where it had been throughout their conversation.

Miranda’s cheeks flamed. “My father always said anyone asking my opinion better be ready for it.” She forced a smile. “I should learn to keep my mouth shut until I know who I’m talking to.”

“I’m just glad you spoke softly.”

“I don’t suppose I could start over and say it’s fabulously frenetic and original, could I?”

He leaned into her. “Not a chance. Anyway, I appreciate honesty. I’m not insulted. My work is an acquired taste.”

His total concentration and the scent of his spicy cologne as he neared caused Miranda to lose her train of thought. She secretly blessed the few admirers who stopped to shake his hand and praise his work, forcing him to release his visual hold, but not her arm. He charmed the patrons with smooth repartee, switching from slick to slicker. Was he phony or real? Miranda couldn’t decide.

When his fans departed, Stephen picked up where he left off. “Now to serious business. You haven’t told me your name.”

The respite from his intensity gave her time to collect herself. “Miranda Seaton.”

“Mir-an-da,” he repeated, extending the syllables as if he were contemplating them. “Pretty name for a pretty lady. Let me get you another glass of champagne.” He didn’t wait for her answer, snatching the half-empty glass from her hand and exchanging it for a fresh one.

“Since you insist.”

If Stephen noticed the sarcasm, he didn’t let on. Instead, he hooked her arm through his and proceeded to walk her around the gallery.

“Come on. I’ll give you a play-by-play of my work to help you understand it better.” He winked. “Maybe I can change your mind.”

Miranda caught the envious glares of the young women waiting their turn to approach him. He ignored them, focused entirely on her and his paintings. She listened, stretching her imagination to match his commentary. Some had pleasing compositions that teemed with energy, but she’d be lying if she said she liked them. She let him rattle on and kept her mouth shut.

In the middle of his explanation, Alan popped up in front of them, eyes wide with enthusiasm. “Miranda, I do believe you’ve captured Best in Show.” He thrust out his hand. “I’m Alan Gold, Mr. Baltraine. I think your work is fantastic.”

Stephen arched a brow at Alan, followed by a head-to-toe examination, while ignoring his outstretched hand.

“Alan is my escort for the evening, Stephen,” she said, explaining her friend’s abrupt presence. “It was his idea to come tonight.”

“I see.” Stephen backed up a step. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know Miranda was with a date.” Another bow to Miranda. “It’s been a pleasure. Maybe we can continue this another time, Miranda Seaton.” He turned, and within seconds a bevy of young female art groupies descended upon him as if he were the reincarnation of Rembrandt.



Polly Iyer writes suspense, mysteries, and thrillers, all with a touch of romance and characters who sometimes tread ethical lines. She grew up on the Massachusetts coast and studied at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. After pursuing careers in fashion, art, and business in Italy, Boston, and Atlanta, she settled in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina where she devises ways for life to be complicated for her characters. Better them than her.




Twitter:  @PollyIyer


  1. Nice background. It gives me hope for some of mine. Well, maybe. :-)
    But I'm so glad you persisted with THREADS. I've read it. It may be your best yet, Ms. Iyer. It touches the reader in many ways. You've written a helluva story!

  2. Thanks, Ellis. I'm the worst judge of my own writing, so I appreciate the confidence you give me.