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Monday, December 13, 2010

SING ME TO SLEEP 2010 Goodreads Choice Nominee!! Plus Chapter 21 (part 2)

Friday, after I posted, I got an email from Goodreads telling me that SING ME TO SLEEP has been honored with a 2010 Goodreads Choice nomination for YA Fiction. I'm ecstatic to have SING recognized. And I'm grateful to all of you--my staunchest allies and supporters--who I know made this happen. It makes me cry just to think about it. The professional review mags were brutal to SING. This nomination is the miracle I've been praying for--and you are all part of it.

The Goodreads Choice awards are based solely on a book's ratings and popularity and other stats at Goodreads. Not sales or judges. You really did create this amazing opportunity for a novel that is truly sacred to me. If it was just me, it wouldn't matter, but SING ME TO SLEEP honors a beloved young man we lost to cystic fibrosis, and all those who suffer like him. But it can't raise awareness, if no one hears about it. So thank you.

The I'm nominated with huge industry greats. Really amazing. SING will get incredible exposure. BUT there's a huge downside to that. Winners are chosen by votes polled throughout December. I can't compete with NYT best-seller and industry insider fan bases. But, what the heck, I think I should try. Are you ready to move into campaign mode?

Please vote here, http://www.goodreads.com/award/choice#41651-Young-Adult-Fiction and let Goodreads post your vote to your blogs, FB and Twitter. I will shower you with gratitude and extra contest entries. Just let me know that you voted and where you posted. I'll get the contest post updated ASAP. Feel free to post on your blogs about this. I'm happy to answer interview questions. You can find more info on ChatSpot on my website. If you have any fantastic ideas for spreading the word, please let me know.

I finally signed up for Twitter--so you can follow me @liv2writ. If that's too weird to remember, just search my name.

I didn't think I'd ever get today's post written. It's been crazy. I spent the weekend emailing everyone I know in the universe and begging them for help. I've got more to do--I'm not good at asking people to vote for me. The last time I ran for anything was in high school and I lost big time! No one tells you this part of being an author. It's very humbling--that's probably good for me. I'm always amazed at how kind and supportive you all are. But I turned off the computer and hid away in my bedroom and got the next scene written. And now I can't wait for your comments. You guys give me sanity. And help me remember what's truly important.

Love and hugs and dancing on the ceiling!


CHAPTER 21 (cont.)




LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
POEM # ??, CONFESSION

“Look at that! There it is.”
Michael turns his rental
in the tiny parking lot next to
the tiny Grand Cayman Branch
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
He parks, turns off the ignition.
“Weird we never saw this.”
I assess the building—not a big chapel
but way nicer than where we meet back home.
“I guess we weren’t looking.”
He squeezes my shoulder.
“We’ve found it now.”

We find our way in, find
Pres. X waiting in his office.
He stands—taller than Michael,
gray touching the close cut
fuzzy black hair at his temples.
“Sister Hunt?” His voice echoes
the Cayman richness of my doctor’s
accent.
I nod.

My hand disappears into the warmth
of his huge black hand. He releases
me and turns to Michael. “I didn’t
catch your name. Brother—?”
“Michael.” He shakes Pres. X’s hand.
“I spoke with your wife.”
“Well. Come in. Come in.” Pres. X
stands aside, holding open the door.
I hold Michael back. “He’s not a member.”
Pres. X’s shoulder rise and his hands motion welcome.
“I can talk to you both.”
“Not tonight.” I’m worried Michael will say too much
or I will. I’ve promised to talk, but if I start
will I ever stop? There is too much Michael
shouldn’t hear—can’t hear—ever. “Wait, okay?”
He smiles courage at me and backs off.

I close the door, turn to the office.
Pres. X sits and folds his large hands
that seem made for putting a top one’s head
to channel God’s power into the afflicted
on top of his desk.
I take the chair he offers.
“How long have you been on Cayman?”
I count back—takes a moment to assess
the time. “Almost eight weeks, I guess.”
His gray-touched eye-brows rise and fall.
“I’m sorry we haven’t see you on Sundays.”

I stare at my toes sticking out of white sandals
resting on the standard blue Mormon church carpet.
He continues. “When is the last time you took the sacrament.”
“The Sunday before I left BYU.”
His hands come off the desk, he sits straighter, his brow
creases. “You’re a BYU student?”
“Was,” I whisper as the twin marks on my neck
pulse redder and redder. “I was.”
“The Lord gave you that great privilege,”
he tries not to let his disgust linger in his voice,
but fails, “and this is how you show your gratitude?”

He thinks I’m a slut breaking the honor code.
Fine that’s just what I’ll be. I stand up.
“That’s why I’m not going back.”
He stands, too. “Do you know how many
righteous youth want to go to BYU and can’t?”
I nod, hand on the doorknob. “I get the message.”
“No you don’t. Sit down, Sister Hunt.”
No one could resist his tone. I obey.

He sits, too, and glances at the ring glittering
on my finger. “Are you living with that young man?”
I pick a tissues from a box on his desk. “Michael. Yes.”
“Sleeping with him?”
“No.”
“Let me be clearer. Have you had sexual intercourse with him?”
“No.” But I want—I really, really want to.
I don’t say it aloud, but he hears anyway.

I concentrate on mangling the tissue.
“Are you humping?”
“No.”
“Petting?”
“He touched my breasts for half a second
this morning. Freaked out. That’s why I’m here.”
“You didn’t freak out?”
“No.”
“You don’t sound very repent, sister.”
“I’m not.”

His eyes squint into concentration
on the shredded tissue I’m littering
his desk with. “But you said he’s not a member.”
I push the mess towards him and sit back.
“He knows the rules.”
“God’s commandments.”
“He doesn’t believe in God, so I just called them rules.”
His eyes move from one bright red Michael bite
on my neck to the other. “You’re living together
but not intimate at all?”

I look him square in the eye. “It’s an apartment.
Nine of us. Six guys. Three girls.
I share a room with a girl.”
“And your parents approve?”
I have to look away.
“My parents don’t know.”
He closes his eyes a moment,
and an old familiar feeling comes into the room.
His eyes open as he says, “You’ll have to move out.”
I push away the enticings of salvation that float in the air.
“I can’t. I won’t.”
Pres. X looks at me with infinite sadness.
“I can’t help you then.”

I rise, get the door open this time.
“Wait—Sis. Hunt.”
“I don’t have anything more
to say.”
Pres. X follows me to the hall.
“I want you to know, Sis. Hunt.
The Lord loves you.”

Michael sees, hears—
more than I want him to.
I rush to him. “I was right.”
He takes both my hands.
I squeeze them hard and whisper,
“You owe me now.”
Surprise, disappointment,
or surrender? I can’t read him.
“Are you done?”
“Yes.”
“No.”
The power  in Pres. X’s voice
forces Michael’s eyes away from me
to my judge in Israel.
“Did she tell you”—Michael’s arm
surrounds me and his voice drops
to holy levels—“about
the accident? Her brother?”

16 comments:

  1. Wow. There have been a lot of crazy scenes so far but this one got to me the most! I reread Taken by Storm and Unbroken Connection the other day and by far Michael has come I think he has a good chance of joining the church. (Well at least I'm hoping so!!) I want to clarify the part that says "There is too much Michael shouldn’t hear—can’t hear—ever." Is she talking about how she was arguing with Phil over Michael?

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  2. why do you alwayz like to end with suspense ? lOl ..i pesonally think that the last 4 lines were the deepest in the whole story so far.
    ireally love it.. What does the X mean ?

    i love love love love love love It !!!!

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  3. i also agree with Jena about the "There is too much Michael shouldn’t hear—can’t hear—ever." CLARIFY please :)

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  4. Jenna, Yes. That's what she's talking about. I'll clarify when I revise. THANKS!

    And Nora, the X means I haven't come up with a good Cayman last name for the Branch President. I need to research that. And didn't have time today.

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  5. Quick question: Is a branch president asking a girl questions like "are you humping? Petting?" completely normal? Or is that sliiightly embellished to show the depth of Leesie's 'fall' (from divinity and such) and her guilt? Like, in real life, do Mormon ministers (? Is it right to call them that?) ask questions THAT bluntly? And he seemed to be awfully, well, judgmental. Is that normal, too? And do all Mormons take that in stride?
    I am terribly sorry if I've offended anyone by sounding unintentionally crude, but I haven't the first idea about Christianity or well, any religion apart from mine. Narrow-minded, I know. So I'm curious. =)

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  6. Nope. Not when someone is in a situation like Leesie is and being as tight-lipped about it. She's there to confess to him. It's his responsibility to ask those questions. He need to know how far she's strayed. He, literally, has the responsibility to be her judge. Bishops (what we call our leaders rather than ministers) or Branch Presidents (what we call leader in smaller units--Branches rather than Wards) are there to listen to the confession and help the sinner repent--which merely means change and return to living the gospel. He wants to help Leesie, but she won't let him. We're not done with the Branch President. Watch for him tomorrow.

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  7. That is really, really awkward. Leesie seems pretty comfortable and blunt in answering his questions. At least she's at least somewhat open with him. Can't wait for more tomorrow. Exams this week. This helps.

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  8. Leesie's not saying much, is she? She seems anxious to get out as quick as she can so she can say "See, I was right" to Michael. I love the way this ends. I hope he gets to have a chat with the Branch President. :-)

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  9. Leesie's had interviews with a bishop or branch president all her life. Most of the time the question would be, "Are you living the law of chastity." She would answer, "Yes," and the priesthood leader would move on to the next question.

    And yes, Gayle. She is so cheating. She's not getting anywhere near the real problem. Just dealing with the obvious issue. And bolting.

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  10. Oh Leesie. I want to see her finally break down and confess everything..I hate that she says she does not care what she has done with Michael. And that it doesn't matter that she has not been to church in a while, because deep down she DOES care. So much. It's her life, and I know she is on her path to finding her way back. I'm just hoping, that Michael will find his way with her. :) Please....
    I still can't help but think about that part in Unbroken Connection, when Michael was in China. Right? And he went to the temple, and talked to the temple worker. Well, ya know how the temple worker told Michael to bring his girl back there, when everything is worked out? I'm still HOPING for that...

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  11. You are such a tease. I can't wait to know more.

    I'm kinda disappointed with the Branch President, though. I thought he'd be understanding, instead all I get is disapproval. Bah. Leesie needs better.

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  12. I understand where Pres X is coming from, but this seems so harsh-- but then again, maybe that is exactly what she needs!

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  13. i am hoping that pres x will be able to talk to michael, help him help leesie and in turn help himself to the lds path (to leesie). and i think the president was harsh too, but maybe it is a tough love situation since leesie really isn't cooperating.
    Every posting i'm wanting a happy ending... there will be one.... right!?
    sr

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  14. You guys will have to tell me if you still think it's harsh after the next post. Remember, this is from Leesie's POV. She's judging the Branch president, too.

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  15. How about Pres. Wilson instead of Pres. X
    just a suggestion you dont have to use it :)

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  16. I think it's important to remember too that the branch president has never met Leesie before, so he doesn't have any kind of previous relationship with her, which is maybe why he comes across initially as a bit harsh.

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