Book Excerpt Just a Curtain


We’re happy to share an excerpt with you from “Just a Curtain”. This is a literary fiction novel / coming of age story. Have fun reading!

Book Excerpt

In less than the half hour prescribed, I am in the ‘kitchen,’ which is more an upscale cafe/tavern in the north wing of the house,  facing the entire staff of this newest headquarters of the Drummond Group. The entire in-house staff presently consists of eighteen people. Charles’s assistants in the basement labs, numbering five, Nellie’s three lieutenants from the wing which supports the other Directors’ offices boasting two assistants each for our absent Directors presently in the field: Dar Hammond, Amanda Drury and Ben Knightley. And there are two gardeners—hand-picked by Nellie, of course.

          My introduction and short speech can be summarized even farther: We can do better than we have been these last few months. For the next sixty days spare no expense to make it so, whether that entails: hiring the right people, procuring the right facilities and equipment, or buying whole corporate entities that will further our goals.

          “Make it so! And don’t for a second think that I’m just barking marching orders then curling up in my office or playing cowboy at the ranch. Nellie, please read aloud my itinerary and agenda for the next seven weeks to our folks.”

          Nellie clears her throat. And recites verbatim from what we’d just cobbled together while waiting for the staff to assemble. I am going to be personally negotiating resolutions to our geothermal supply chain issues, reorganizing and centralizing as much as possible our nano-tech R & D, performing the interviews and making the hiring decisions for the interagency contracting unit to interface with the GFHAS, and lastly, I shall personally get the aerospace installation up to speed and ramped up for production with prototypes and products out the door within nine months.

          There are a few chuckles from the group and a bit of whispering. I nod. “Okay, skepticism?”

          One of Charles’s assistants, a Jillian Malloy, steps up and says plainly, “Mr. Drummond, no offense but that’s crazy talk. No one can do in seven weeks what you suggest. And in nine months have a producing aerospace division?! That’s a fantasy!”

          I nod and smile, although Charles and Nellie are already wincing. I turn to Charles, “Dr. James? Can you do without Miss Malloy?”

          There are gasps and Jillian’s face goes pale. Charles responds candidly, “Boss, I’d really rather not, but like you said a while ago, I am going to be hiring more of the right people anyway…” Jillian’s face looks downright tortured.

          I face her. “Good. Miss Malloy you’re with me for the next seven weeks. You will assist Miss Stevens as personal adjutant and follow her instructions as if they came from me directly; her own staff here shall function as remote support…” and I turn to them directly, “And there shall be a great deal of support required.” I look them all over and back to Miss Malloy, “Am I understood?”

          She gulps and can only nod. I’m afraid I’ve stolen her voice for the present. “I don’t know what is your speciality but it’s about to become a much broader resumé.” I turn back to the group. “Any other comments or suggestions? Any questions?”

Just a Curtain

Curtain coverTitle: Just a curtain

Author: J.L. Lawson

Genre: Literary Fiction, Adventure, Coming of Age

“If you had virtually unlimited resources and a pristinely practicable imagination, and a knack for turning air into butter, what do you suppose you’d do next?”
—Tera Elphinstone, Drummond Group Director

Just A Curtain is the remarkable, fast-paced gateway to both The Elf series and the grander epic recorded in J. L. Lawson’s other works: The Donkey and The Wall trilogy and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga.

Just A Curtain chronicles the remarkable life and achievements of Dashiel Drummond and the capable group of people he gathers around him to make a change for the better in the world in which he finds himself. A coming of age story, orphaned at sixteen, he rises through the angst of adolescence to the challenge of fulfilling the promise of his potential—from ranch hand and welder to the pre-eminent global entrepreneur and builder of starships.

Author Bio

DSC04684I am a father, a grandfather and a “Came-to-Writing-Professionally-Late-in-Life” kinda guy. After rewarding careers as a Land Planner, Standards Engineer, Technical Writer/Graphic Designer, and as an Educator (High School and College Literature/Composition) I settled down at the laptop and began storytelling for a living. My wife and I live in the Cross-timbers country of North Texas and spend as much time seeing this amazing country, its National Parks and Forests, as we can manage.

My own journey has taken me both far afield and deep within. It is a journey, no doubt, similar in nature to many seekers’ travels who have come before me. However, an unconditional commitment to the work is the trait of only a handful of those who set their aim very high indeed, and then to find a guide who knows the way through this rarely known land, is without question what all others have equally sought. Some gave up the search, some became distracted by the lure of other interests, many became satisfied with the knowledge they had already gleaned from their initial searches. There is, in the end, only so much gold.


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