A PRETTY PICKLE: Deleted Sections


Often the writing part is easy; it's the editing process that's a gigantic b-otch.

Sometimes cutting a section of well-considered text is painful—more that a little.

In the end, a writer has to kill off parts of the story to make the remainder tighter, more concise, and which better serves the reader.

I did, however, read Libba Bray's BEAUTY QUEENS (which is a hoot and a holler). Bray cleverly added these extra juicy tidbits as footnotes—which were sometimes the most hilarious parts. Maybe I could follow suit? Something else to ponder...


Random backstory

I haven’t smelled anything that rotten since Mary Sue Padley had the koi pond removed from her backyard—twenty-five year’s worth of concentrated fish poo gets a person’s attention right enough. Mary Sue got herself in a kerfuffle after her daughter, Carol Lee, fell into the pond the night before the Miss Morning Star of Southeastern Oklahoma Pageant, and the poor girl’s overly tanned skin and bleached blonde hair lapped up that smell like funnel cake batter in a vat of hot grease. Even with Barbie’s emergency de-skunking procedure, Carol Lee’s pores just wouldn’t lose the scent. The pageant organizers ended up disqualifying Carol Lee because no one could stand to be in the same room with her; luckily, the official record listed the reasoning as “act of God” to limit the scandal and to keep her eligible for the next event. However, Mary Sue was ready for the face-off with Honey Boo Boo—the reigning four-time Ultimate Supreme Queen and had “Bye-Bye Boo Boo” shirts made for the entire Carol Lee Beauty Team. With sequins. And LED lights. Mary Sue never quite recovered from the trauma of the event, and to this day, starts twitching anytime she sees fish.


so—as the “Hee Haw” gang used to explain—you better be sure to listen close the first time.

About Holli

I consider myself more of a gourmand about such matters, preferring a giant dill pickle and Cheetos.

About Trick

You would think with all the hacking and phlegm, the man was on his death bed. Oh, no! It's like how they say once you lose a sense the others become heightened--a blind man hears, tastes, a smells better than someone who can see. The more Pop's lungs go to shit the more I swear I can hear the gears in his brain whirring faster, plotting his enemies' demise.


... an adorable fluff that fit into the palm of [Trick’s] hand. I called her Bunny because she reminded me of a cottontail.


He even—and color me shocked here!—started a GoFundMe page for the Parker kids when their parents died in the boating accident at Lake Texoma; last I heard, the community raised nearly twenty thousand dollars—a virtual fortune in our corner of the country.

About Mrs. Dahl (Barbie's mom)

Used to being the prettiest woman in the room. Wonder how she felt once the mirror informed her that title now fell to her daughter?


The woman has a such a fear of sunlight, even when she sponsored our senior trip to South Padre Island, she slathered on SPF 1000 sunscreen so thick it resembled wall spackling.


Hell, Mrs. Dahl hasn’t forgiven my family since the MerryWanna brownie scuttlebutt at the Murray County Fair in 1998, when she claimed the cannabis-infused goodies unfairly prejudiced the judging. Mrs. Dahl’s epic tantrum resulted in Murray County Merry Mandate III: Thou shalt not use mind-altering ingredients in the cooking categories at the annual fair. The first two mandates related to Gramma’s handcrafted hooch and unlicensed home business—which the county sheriff wholly ignored, being one of Gramma’s best customers.

Since then, Mrs. Dahl’s been convinced the community conspires against her. About five years ago, she opened Sweet Potatoes, a ketotarian restaurant which promised all the benefits of the keto diet without the immorality of bacon and burgers and cheese. When the Roadkill Grill moved in next door—featuring calf fries, rattlesnake bites, armadillo stew, and yes, bacon cheeseburgers—her tuna salad and chickpea stuffed avocado didn’t stand a chance.


Of course, Grand Damn is inserting herself in her nearly-thirty-year-old daughter’s life. Again.


P.S. Look for more deleted goodies on the character pages.

There is a small snippet on the "Meet Holli" post.

And, an even larger scene on the "Meet Buck" page. HINT: It is the first time we see Holli and Buck together!




Holli has such a strong voice she demanded--and not politely--that I write the novel in first person so she could tell the story her way.

Sometimes she surprises me by what comes out of her mouth, but golly, is she ever fun to write!


More about the character:

Holli is a travel writer and professional blogger for her website, HolliDayRambler.com. She loves her grandmother, Merry, more than anyone, has impulse-control problems, is snarky and observant, and has a tendency to get herself into trouble.

Deleted lines:

(Not nearly as dramatic or as large as the one involving Buck, but I like how it demonstrates her character.)

Maybe I should skedaddle over to Barbie’s salon-spa before tonight’s shindig at The Artesian in Sulphur. I would for sure go—as my nails look like the wrong end of a wood chipper—especially if I could manage a trip to Barbie Dahl’s without running into my ex-BFF herself.


Holli Day Davis Inspiration Board



Buck stands between Holli and Barbie and thier llifelong friendship--probably not a position any man would like to remain.

The scene below has been deleted from the novel ... for now. One of my workshop partners found the arrival of Buck a little too coincidental to be believeable. Sad to say, I had to agree. Parts of this scene may appear again. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a peak into Buck and Holli's emerging relationship.


Deleted Scene from Chapter Two:

“The Jenkins’ foal is sickly. I was on my way over to check on him, saw Bing’s truck, and…Wasn’t sure what I saw but thought I should make sure y’all were okay.”

Every time I see Buck, I swear my heart beats to the rhythm of Big and Rich’s “Save a Horse [Ride a Cowboy].” Even now, seeing him here in the field after the worst night of my life, the “dah, dah, da-dah, da-da-dum” of the song’s intro and images of our one night together flash through my head like a porn slideshow. I feel the need to fan myself and blush all at once.

Then he shocks my hair straight by kissing me full on the lips. In front of Bing. In public. Okay, a near-empty field, but a passing drone could see.

I stand rooted to the spot. I couldn’t move even if the entire OU defensive line was trying to sack me. Yep, Buck’s the sourdough bread to my bread-and-butter pickles.

Bing stares at me.

I blink, or I mean to.

“So he’s off to save a horse.”

I touch my fingers to my lips. “Ride a cowboy.”

“What?” Bing laughs. He laughs so hard tears stream down his face.

I nod, or I mean to, and I must have made an odd noise because Bing slaps me on the back as if I’m choking.


Buck Nguyen (Holli’s Beau (at least, she wishes)) Inspiration Board