Tuesday, May 22, 2012

teaser part deux

I worked on revisions for a few hours on Sunday, and I'm happy to say that I am finally ALMOST DONE.  Yes, I am declaring that in SHOUTY CAPS.  LESS THAN FIFTY PAGES TO GO, HOOOOOORAY!

Of course, this is just the first round...I'll be interested to see what my readers think needs changed/added/removed, too.  I feel like I'm forgetting to add some stuff or something.  So feedback will be very, very necessary.

Anyway, to celebrate the fact that the first round of revisions is finally ALMOST DONE, I thought I would post another lil' tease for your reading enjoyment.  At least, I hope you enjoy it... 

A little set up: This scene happens right after Ella gets somewhat attacked by bad guy Max.  She and Riley are back at his house, trying to relax after a crazy night.  Riley slips into a flashback, which he often does around Ella, and then Anna's ghost shows up for a moment.  So yea, so much for relaxing. Oh, and it's from Riley's perspective this time- the story flip flops from Ella's to his throughout the story (I think I've mentioned that before). This is rated PG-13, kids, by the way.

Ella smiled at me.  “That’s such a pretty song.  The Beatles, right?”

“Yes.  My mother used to sing it to me.  Of course, it’s been said that it’s actually about an affair John Lennon was having, so probably not really too appropriate to sing to a child.  But my mother never really cared about being appropriate.”

“Tell me about your mom.  Is she beautiful?”

I pictured my mother, with her flowing, wavy, auburn hair and dark blue eyes, just like mine.  “Yes.  She’s very beautiful.  But she’s more than that.  To hear her sing...” I hesitated, trying to decide how to best describe my mother’s singing. “She sings like…like the world is about to end and her voice can save it.”

Ella cocked her head slightly to the side.  “I would love to hear her sometime.  I bet the two of you sound absolutely amazing together.”

I shrugged, setting down my guitar.  “Well, I wouldn’t know.  The last time I sang with her I was twelve, and my voice hadn’t changed yet.  It was pretty terrible, actually.”

Ella reached out for me, beckoning me to her.  “Someday we’ll go find her on the road.  Together.  And then you can join her band and I can be the groupie and we never have to come back to stupid Valley Springs.”

I eased down across from her on the bed, sliding my arms around her inside the comforter.  As though we were in a cocoon, she immediately snuggled in to me, sitting on my lap facing me, her legs wrapped around my waist.  That shimmering feeling began to work its way through my body as it always did when she was so near.  She hugged me close, so close, and we fit together as though we were making a mold, her heart pounding fiercely against my own.  “That sounds like a nice plan,” I said, nuzzling my lips against her ear. 

“Riley,” she whispered, shivering, her mouth on my neck.  “I-“

I didn’t hear her finish.

Her skin is warm against mine, her hair tickling my cheek as she lay quietly next to me, her head on my shoulder. I stroke the inside of her wrist with my thumb, marveling at how smooth her flesh is there, her pulse beating erratically.  She is trembling and I pull her even closer, pressing my lips against her temple.

“What is the matter, Anna?”

She is silent for a moment, gathering her thoughts.  “I just wish we could stay like this forever.  I wish this were our reality.”

We are in the storage room under the barn, lying amongst the sacks of flour, a rough blanket over us.  There is a chill in the air but I do not take notice of it; we have each other for warmth.  A lantern is dimly lit on a shelf, making shadows dance on the walls.  I am mesmerized by them until Anna speaks again, reminding me we cannot stay here much longer.

I pull her on top of me, my hands running down her back.  Her dark hair cascades around us like a waterfall.  “I am not ready to let you go yet,” I murmur, kissing her on each cheek.

“I do not want to go, my sweet Charlie.  But my absence will be noticed soon.”

“Soon, but not quite yet,” I say, my kisses trailing slowly to her neck, up behind her ear and back again.  “I love you so, Anna.”

“I love you so much I cannot bear it,” she replies, taking my face in her hands.  Her eyes search mine desperately, as if I hold the answers, as if there were something I could do to allow us more than just a few stolen moments like this.  My heart hurts and I cling to her, wrapping my arms tightly around her, even though we are already as close as we can possibly be.

Suddenly, there are footsteps above; heavy, thudding, angry steps. 

“Anna!  Where are you, girl?”

We both freeze, afraid to breathe, even though the trap door is sealed tightly above us.  No one could possibly know we are here.

The voice above curses and Anna lets out a tiny cry, clamping her hand over her mouth.  It is him.  We know that voice anywhere.

“I swear I saw her come this way, sir.”

“Was she with Watson?”

“No, sir.  She was alone. Perhaps she only stopped in to check on her horse.”

The voice cursed again.  “Well, she is not here now, is she?  Find her!  And do not return until you do so.”

Anna and I remain frozen until the footsteps disappear and we are certain he is gone.  Silently, she begins to untangle herself from me and reaches for her blue dress, crumpled in a heap next to her and-

“Riley!  Let go of me!  Riley!”

 My eyes focused slowly on Ella’s face, struggling to come back to the present tense.  Her features swam in and out of focus as I blinked hard, swirling from her face to Anna’s and back.

“Ease up, Riley.  You’re crushing all the air from my lungs,” she gasps, wriggling to get out of my grasp.

Realizing my arms were locked around her waist, gripping her tightly, I quickly let go and scooted backwards on the bed to allow some space in between us.  I still felt confused, my thoughts muddled and grainy.

She took a deep breath in through her mouth and let it out through her nose as she stared at me curiously.  She almost looked…annoyed.  No, she looked extremely annoyed.  Her expression was also that of disappointment and a bit of sadness, with a dash of anger thrown in for good measure.

“I am so sorry,” I said, raking my hand through my hair.

“What did you see?” she asked, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning back against my pillows. 

“I-I-was with Anna.”  My cheeks burned furiously as I recalled what Anna and I- I mean, Anna and Charlie- had been doing.  “Someone interrupted us.  Ernest.”

Ella picked at her fingernail.  “Yeah, it was pretty obvious whatever was going on went from good to bad.”

“Did I-what did I say to you? Did I-touch you?”  I looked down at my hands, ashamed.

“I’m okay, Riley.  I know this comes with the territory.  It’s just-” she paused, biting her bottom lip.  She almost looked like she might cry.  “I just needed you tonight.  Just you.”

I moved across the bed and gathered her gently back into my arms.  She did not embrace me back.  “I am so sorry, Ella.  I did not mean for it to happen.”  I felt horrible, absolutely wretched.  She’d already had an awful night with what happened with Max, and I couldn’t even provide her comfort for a full twenty minutes.

“I know you didn’t,” she said softly, her forehead against my chest.  She laughed then, although the laugh had a tinge of bitterness to it.  “Is it sad that I’m jealous of a freaking ghost?”

At that precise moment, that familiar heaviness filled the air, sucking my breath from my lungs.  I looked up sharply, hoping Ella didn’t feel it as well.  Where was she?

“Tell me what I can do,” I said to her, my hand smoothing her hair as I tried to inconspicuously glance around the room.  There.  A dim, flickering light filled the corner behind my dresser, Ella’s back to it.  Anna slowly came in and out of focus, a sad look on her face.  She shook her head and placed her finger on her lips, then disappeared.  I still felt her presence lingering; she was not completely gone yet.

Friday, May 18, 2012

the wishing well

A few weeks ago, I had a dream about a wishing well.  Like most of my dreams, I can't remember a lot of detail, just that there was this sad, crumbling old well in the distance, and I was afraid of it for some reason.  I think the dream might've been a result of listening to a lot of The Airborne Toxic Event or something...they have a song I love called The Wishing Well, which is heartbreakingly beautiful.  Like almost all of their songs are, really.

But anyway, after the dream, that image of the well stuck with me and a story started to take form in my little head.  My new story, in which I somehow already have over 3000 words written, centers around an old wishing well in a field on an abandoned farm.  There's a legend that a ghost named Gabby lives within the depths, and Gabby is responsible for granting wishes.  When Jane's (the MC) boyfriend is in a horrible accident that leaves him fighting for his life, she decides to put her doubts at rest and go to the well to cast in her wish- that Gabby somehow help save Connor's life.  But Gabby's help will come with a price.

The story will go back and forth between the present and the past, showing snippets of Jane and Connor's relationship, how they met and fell in love, and finally leading up to his accident, which Jane feels responsible for.  I'm sure ideas and concepts will change as I write, but kids, I am very, very excited for this one.

Oddly enough, there's another song out there right now that I LOVE, also centered around a wishing well-  Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well by A Silent Film.  I heard this song for the first time right after I started writing the story, when it was just two sad lonely paragraphs and I had no idea where it would go.  I think it was a sign.

I leave you right now with some song lyrics, courtesy of The Airborne Toxic Event and their song, The Wishing Well.  All lyrics are written by them; I only wish I had the talent to write this beautifully.  This is the second verse, all the way to the end of the song.

So you stand on the corner
Where the angels sit
And you think to yourself,
This is it, this is it
This is all that I have
All I can stand
Is this air in my lungs
And this coin in my hand
That you tossed in the air
And I fell, and I fell
All the way to the bottom
Of the well, of the well
Like those soft little secrets
That you tell, that you tell
To yourself, when you think
No one's listening too well

And the walls spin
And you're paper-thin
From the haze of the smoke
And the mess calling
The threat of your brow
Under unmade sheets
In your ear with the noise
From the darkest streets
We ran far and wide
You screamed, you cried
You thought suicide was an alibi
But you were always a mess
You were always aloof
Yeah, it's awful, I guess
But it's the awful truth
It was truth from the first
To the last words that she read

And she emerged from the dark
Like a ghost in my head
She said, I haven't forgot
Any words that you said
I just stare at the clocks
And I cry in my sleep
And I tear up your letters
And I burn them in heaps
And I gather the ashes
In that hole in the ground
Where we fell

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fifty Shades of Meh

I started writing a new story, you guys!  I know, I know, there's that whole revising thing still going on for my last one, which I am also pretty dang excited about, but this new one...eeeeeeee!  It's only about a thousand words right now, and I have no idea how often I'll get to work on it, but the idea is there and I really like it.  It's another ghosty-type of story, but it'll be a lot different from the last one.  Very different concept, sort of along the lines of Gayle Forman's If I Stay (which you should read if you haven't.  Which reminds me, I still need to read the sequel, Where She Went.)  I already, like, have a title and everything for this one, and don't think it'll be changing- unlike my title my current WIP, which I might as well tell you I've changed from After the Dream to Restless.  Simpler, to the point, etc.  I likey.

I just finished reading another fabulous book by Jellicoe Road author, Melina Marchetta, called The Piper's Son.   Not quite as moving as JR, but holy crap do I love Melina Marchetta.  She just has a way of making you FEEL things the same way her characters are feeling them.  I didn't fall to pieces reading this one like I did with Jellicoe, but it was still so. good.  Check her out. 

And now, I'm currently reading the second book in that wildly popular Fifty Shades series.  I read the first one a few weeks ago and I was less than impressed.  I seriously do NOT understand the mass appeal of these books.  Sure, there are very saucy scenes, probably unlike anything most peeps have read I'm sure, but those scenes are not enough to make up for the terrible writing and weak storyline-  which is basically girl meets boy, boy is into dominant/submissive relationships, boy makes girl sign contract to have a "relationship" with him, girl still somehow falls in love with him regardless of his stalkery tendencies, etc.  I just didn't find it in any way believable.  But I suppose when I think about it, Twilight was completely unrealistic, too, and look how crazy people are for that series.  The second book so far has been a bit of a snoozefest for me, too, but I feel like I need to keep reading it to try to understand the appeal.

Or maybe I'm just jealous the Fifty Shades author had so much success with her first series of books EVER. 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Takeoffs and Landings

This week I had to travel to Charlotte for work.  I am generally fine with flying- the takeoffs and landings always sort of freak me out, but once we're in the air I'm content to just sit and read and try to ignore the inevitable screaming child directly behind me.

The flight home yesterday was rough, though.  I'm not sure if I was just stressed out from the events of the day (big meeting, seeing my life flash before my eyes at least five times while my boss drove us around) or what, but I had a hard time relaxing on the plane.  First of all, it was one of those tiny puddle jumper-types of planes, too small to even carry on luggage.  I was uneasy about leaving my bag at the gate- I have an irrational fear of my luggage getting lost or someone taking mine by mistake.  This has never happened to me, so I'm not sure what I'm always so nervous about it.  Anyway, then we took off a little late into rainy and windy weather.  It seemed like the plane had a difficult time climbing into the air- it kept dipping down and sounded like the engines were trying to hard to get us up.  There were a few moments when I really thought the engines were going to give out and we were going to plummet to the earth.  I was actually trying to calculate our chances of survival based on how high up we were.

Finally, we got to a good cruising altitude and I was able to try to ignore my nerves by getting absorbed in my book (The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta- so. good.).  But then my ears were popping SO horribly that I became completely deaf a few times and I was certain my head was seconds away from exploding.  That was new to me too- I think the fact that my allergies have my sinuses so jacked up now had something to do with it. 

It was seriously the longest hour and thrity-seven minutes of my life.  I'm not sure I've ever been happier to walk through my front door, even if I was greeted by a massive pile of cat vomit in the bedroom.  Ah, home sweet home.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

bangs, day 56

Tonight I'm actually changing the hair up again, so why not post a before pic, right?  It's been almost two months since I decided to start growing out the bangs, so here's where I'm at today:

They're growing, sure, but still at that awkward length- too short to really clip back, too long to leave down, oh and then there's that awesomely weird cowlick I now sport that makes it difficult to swoop them off to the side. 


However, my good friend Holly provided me with some adorable bobby pins she made, so I will be sporting these soon enough:

Aren't they cute??  You can see more of her fantastic crafty creations at her Etsy shop- she's one part of The Lovely Wrecks along with her friend Brandi. 

I have absolutely nothing else to report right now as far as writing goes.  Things have literally been at a standstill because of all the crap going on- it was a rough week for us last week with two funerals in five days.  The next month ahead is so busy that sometimes I feel like I want to throw up.  And I shouldn't whine- most of it is fun, social stuff, after all.  I just start to feel panicky when I don't have enough Josie time, I guess. 

Oh yea, and by the way, I'm going blonde tonight.  Yay.