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Friday, October 29, 2010

Chapter Six Revised and topped off with New Leesie Poem

Whoo-hoo! It's our two week blogoversary. Celebrate good times, come on. Cue the music. Let's dance.

Here's the revision of Michael's dive log that I promised. Plus, I rounded Chapter Six off with a poem from Leesie.

I woke up this morning and she was saying, "It's Phil's funeral and you completely blew it off." Guilty. She had plenty to say about it, too.

We've been following Michael and Leesie almost minute by minute through these opening chapters. I think it's time for a leap. A jump in time. It's always tricky to figure out when to  leap and how far ahead in the story to go. Sometimes I'm tempted to leap when there's something that is too hard to write--an emotional or frightening or intimate scene. That's such a cop out. I hate it when authors do that in novels I read. So I try not to allow myself to succumb to the temptation. Sometimes I leap too far in my rough drafts because I'm eager to get on with getting the major bones of the story down.  I try to fill the holes when I go back and revise. But I'm only human, sometimes I miss them. Let me know through this process if I've leapt too far or lingered too long, okay?

For a fantastic discussion of this concept, see Ursula K. Le Guin's STEERING THE CRAFT, "Crowding and Leaping," p. 141-148. This is one of my favorite books on writing.

Have a great weekend. I'll be working on PR and checking back for your feedback. I'm starting to rely on it. THANKS!

If you have any great ideas on ways I can spread the word to more of my readers, let me know. Jo from Once Upon a Bookcase posted on her blog all about what we're doing over here, including a table of contents of links. She also wrote a wonderful email and sent it to her best blogging buddies. If you'd like me to forward you the email so you can share it with your blogging buddies, just let me know. Huge thanks go out to Jo!



CHAPTER SIX

MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME #10

Dive Buddy:  Leesie
Date:  04/29
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:

            It’s past midnight when I get back to the hotel. New day. Yesterday seemed like a lifetime. Leesie’s home phone is busy when I try to call. If her dad has a cell, I don’t know the number. Leesie never had one back home. Too broke. Crap reception in a wheat field.
            I try again in ten minutes. Busy. Fall asleep before the next ten minutes are up.
            I wake up a couple hours later. Don’t know where I am. Freak. Figure it out. Pick up the phone. Try again. It’s still not too late back there. Eleven. Big deal. He’ll be up.
            “Hello?” It’s him.
            I should have planned this better, written it out or something. I’m at a total loss what to say. “Please, sir. Don’t hang up.”
            “No. No. Of course not.” His warm voice sounds like rescue. “Don’t be afraid, Michael. Just bring her home. That’s all we care about. She’s hurt.”
            I want to tell him we’re getting on a plane tomorrow. “She’s getting the best care on earth.” Plus Cayman sunshine. Nothing can beat that.
            “Where are you?”
            “She won’t let me tell anyone yet.”
            “That’s okay.” His voice breaks. It takes him a moment to regain control. “Bring her back to us. We don’t blame you.”
            “I beg her to let me every day.” Now emotion gets to me. I swallow hard and whisper, “She won’t listen. She’s—ashamed.”
            He breathes a moment and whispers back, “Tell her we love her. Is she close? Can I talk to her?”
            “No.” I should have called from her room, put her on. She knew she’d have to talk to him. That’s why she made me call from here. “She thinks you’ll be angry with her.”
            “Never.” His voice is stronger, solid again.
            I stand and walk to my window. “I know.” The parking lot is dark except for one light. “I’ll tell her, though.”
            “Has she”—he pauses so long I think he’s gone, but finally gets the words out—“said anything more about the accident?”
            I wish I could give him something, but I’ve got nothing there. “No. Just that it’s all her fault.” I hesitate, hating the words that rise to my lips. “She thinks her mom hates her. And your God, too.”
            “Tell her that’s a wicked lie.” Wicked? Yeah. Evil and wicked. He says in a voice that sounds like a prophet. “No matter what. We love her.”
            “And, sir. I want you to know.” I swallow, switch the phone to my other ear. “I’m keeping that promise I made at Thanksgiving.” My hand grows slick with sweat. The phone slips. “I won’t touch her—not until we’re married.”
            “You’re getting married?” Does that scare him worse than anything else? “When?”
            End of summer? Tomorrow? What do I tell him? “Someday.”
            “Bring her home first.”
            “If I can, I will.”
            “Take care of her, son.” His voice fills with infinite sadness. “We miss our girl.”
            Him calling me “son” chokes me up like it always did. “She’s sorry. Tell her mom, too. She’s sorry.”

            I sleep past nine in the morning. Feel half-way human again. Talking to Leesie’s dad grounded me. We’re going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay. I got to tell Leesie—get her grounded, too. I book it down to the rehab-place, but when I get there, Leesie’s room is full of nurses and a tall, black man wearing a white doctor’s coat.
            “What were you thinking,” he speaks with a muted Caymanian accent, “traveling all this way injured as you are?” His rich voice fills the room like a preacher’s.
            Leesie holds up her purple hand with my ring tight on her swollen fingers. “We’re supposed to be on our honeymoon. I crashed two days before our wedding. The hospital said I was good to travel.” Leesie lying? Weird.
            “Well, they were crazy to let you leave.” He flips through the release papers I turned over yesterday when I checked Leesie in here. “How long is this honeymoon supposed to last? You’ll get no beach time for weeks.”
            “All summer.” I walk in and shake the guy’s hand. “I’m a dive instructor. Looking for work.”
            “Have you got Cayman papers?”
            “Working on it.”
            He knows I’m lying. “Have you been here before?”
            I nod. “It’s my favorite place in the world to dive.” At least Little Cayman is. Got to get Leesie over there.
            The doctor turns back to Leesie. “Let’s see what we have here.”
            He starts with her head, examines her cut. “Nicely done.” He glances back at the clipboard. “Concussion?” He flashes a penlight in Leesie’s eyes. “Good dilation. Does your head pound?”
            “Not right now.”
            “When your pain meds wear off?”
            “Yeah.”
            He raps under her knee with the side of his hand. It jumps like it’s supposed to. “Good. The headaches should subside in a few more days. No permanent nerve damage.”
            “That’s good?” Leesie looks over at me and smiles slightly.
            “Yes.” He snips off the bandages to examine her nose. It looks awful to me. Black, blue, purple, green. The colors twist together and scream pain. He touches her nose. “The packs your surgeon placed in the nostrils are well-positioned.” He runs his finger over the bump high up on her nose. “You’ll end up with a bit of a bump here. But we’ll keep the nose straight. You can opt for cosmetic surgery once all this is healed up.”
            “I can have any nose I want?”
            No way. She’s going to stick with the nose I fell in love with. He keeps touching it and Leesie gets paler and paler. The garish colors seems to ooze and twist moving, crawling, spreading all over her face. The room gets really hot. My heads grows fuzzy, and I can’t breathe. I think I sway.
            The nurse Leesie calls Sugar takes my elbow. “Let’s get us some fresh air why don’t we.”
            I jerk my elbow away. “No, I’m fine.” I sway again.
            “Do you want to faint in front of her?” She grabs me firmly by the arm, guides me out Leesie’s sliding door, and deposits me on a bench in the garden. “A few deep breaths, sugar, and you’ll feel better.” She disappears.
            I cycle through my free dive breathing, inhale the flowers around me. Smile when I detect my mom’s favorite scent. Gardenias. I’m glad she’s close. I could use her help about now. I wander around, find the bush and break off branch after branch of dark green leaves and small white fragrant flowers.
            When I make it back to Leesie’s room, she’s got a new pink bandage on her nose, and she’s all alone.
            “You are a wimp.”
            I inhale gardenias for strength. “If you saw your nose, you’d faint, too.”
            “Pretty gory?”
            “The goriest.” I stick my bouquet in her half-empty water cup.
            She motions towards her hospital gowned torso. “Do you want to see my ribs? He left them undone.”
            “Are they gory, too?”
            She nods. “The bruising is ugly, but the doctor is most worried I’ll get pneumonia.” She’s supposed to breath deep so the air sacks in her lungs don’t stick together.  “I told them I learned everything I know about heavy breathing from you.”
            I crack a smile. “You didn’t.”
            “No.” She manages a crooked smile back. “But it’s true.”
            I bite my lip. “I was just out there doing free dive cycles.”
            “That’s what I told them.” She punches a button so the bed sits her up more. “You’re now my coach.”
            I sit beside her. “Cool.” I smooth my hand over her head.
            She closes her eyes and leans into my caress. “He thinks it’s a good idea to keep me trussed up like this for another week so the collarbone can set. After that I’ll just need the sling.” Her eyes open.
            “What about your hand?” I pick it up, inspect the fingers, notice my ring looks tighter on her third finger. “Did we keep it elevated enough?”
            “He said that’s just for the swelling.” She wiggles her fingers. “We’re past that crisis now. I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
            Her fingers still look puffy to me.
            She pulls the sheet up to show off her footwear. “I have to wear these new boots night and day for the next three weeks so my ankles heal strong.”
            These boots, lined with support, snugged tight with Velcro, are nothing like the floppy footgear she had before. She looks tired, worn out, strained. I try to read her eyes. “Did he hurt you—poking and prodding?”
            She shakes her head. “Heavy dose of morphine this morning.” That’s why she’s dozy. “They’ve got me back on it. He said I’ll need it around the clock for at least another week. Then we can taper off.”
            “No more skipping your pills?”
            She nods—so obedient today.
            I balance her hand on my outstretched palm. “When do you get your cast off your hand?” And your nose, but I don’t want to bring that up again.
            She pulls her hand away, lays it on her own chest. “Another five weeks—maybe longer. They are going to X-ray it tomorrow and put on a new waterproof one to match my nose.”
            “Pink?”
            “Yes.” She scowls at my tone and sticks out her tongue. “And then we can go to the beach.”
            I smile. “Cool.” The smile fades as I remember what I came to tell her. “I got a hold of your dad.”
            She closes her eyes and turns her face to the wall.
            I bend down, hover over her. “They aren’t mad. Don’t blame you.” I stroke her silky head. “You can go home.” I lean closer so I can whisper in her ear. “You rest here another couple weeks, get really strong, and then let’s fly home.”
            She speaks in a small tight voice. “I can’t. He doesn’t know.”
            “He does, Leese.” I kiss her temple. “He says God doesn’t think you’re guilty. He says they love you.”
            “They’ll hate me.”
            I nuzzle my lips against the side of her bare head. “Let me call him and tell him I’m bringing you home.” I slide my arms around her so I can embrace her. “They need some hope right now, Leesie. You got to go home.” I squeeze her close, hoping.
            She doesn’t answer.
I kiss the back of her neck.
“No.”
            My arms relax defeat. “What happened, Leese? This isn’t you. Why—”
             She turns terror-filled eyes towards me. “Don’t ask me. Ever again. If you love me—” Her voice sounds ominous.
            I back off. “Look.” I slide off the bed and pick up the flowers. “I brought you something to inhale deeply.”
            “Gosh, you’re psychic.” she bends her head toward the branches and tries to smell the gardenias. “Sorry. I can’t smell anything. I’ve got stuff shoved up my nose holding the bones in place.
            “No problem. Let’s get to work on those free dive cycles.”
            She frowns. “Or I can inhale you.”
            I help her to her post-op surgically booted feet, guide her out to my bench, hold on her on my lap and coach her through cycles one to three. She’s not ready to pack yet. Then we make out in the sunshine.
            She whispers, “Kissing you is the only thing that feels right.”
            My lips moves against her mouth. “That’s just the morphine talking.”
            “Then let’s enjoy it.” She sucks my tongue into her mouth and keeps it.
            I do enjoy that. Way too much. I finally break loose, sit up straight. “Freak, Leese. That so not allowed.”
            “But we’re officially engaged.” She holds up her battered hand. The diamond on her third finger catches in the sunlight.
            “No—on our honeymoon.” I nuzzle her neck. “You little liar.”
            “You backed me up.” She tries to get my lips again but can’t reach.
            “What else could I do?”
            “Let me have your tongue back.”
            I move my mouth to her ear and whisper, “Not until you can follow it up with more action.”
            “Party pooper.”
            “Torturer.”
            A lopsided grin breaks out on her face. “That totally frustrates you?”
            “Totally.”
            “I’ll have to remember that.”
            I peck her lips one last time. “I won’t let you forget.”


LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK

POEM #78, PHIL

They buried my brother
today. It hangs in the air
between me and Michael
unsaid,
untouched,
unwept.

If we don’t speak it,
is it real?
Could it happen
without my words?
My consent?
He’s there in the locker
room, driving the tractor,
dancing with Krystal
wrapped tight in his arms.
Not cold in a coffin
too gruesome too open.
Not slid into a hearse
filled with flowers.
Not lowered into a deep hole
in a place he didn’t want
to rest. Not whispering
at the edges of my soul.
“I’m here, Leesie.
Let me in. I’m here.”

Michael doesn’t bring it up.
Keeps the silence—even
when he tells me about dad.
He sticks by me all day—drinks
half my smoothie, shares his
French fries and does his best
to make this ugly bruised cue ball
so hideous to look at he nearly fainted
feel sexy,
adored,
beloved.

He sits by my bed
while I nap—worn
out by the doctors’
ministrations, Michael’s
attentive encouragement,
and holding this back.

I dream I’m there.
Dream fingers point.
Dream angry faces
screaming condemnation
surround me.
Dream rocks, big ones,
clutched in their hands.
Dream they raise them high
over their heads and no
gentle Savior intercedes,
no quiet voice says,
“He who is without sin.”
The stones fly but I feel
nothing—they form a cairn
around me. I’m entombed,
untouched—imprisoned
forever.

Hands knock on the outside,
voices call my name—
Michael, my dad—mom—grandma,
even Phil,
and a sweet, strong voice
I know so well.

I block my ears
scream and scream and scream.

Michael wakes me, holds me,
haunted by his own alternate
reality he doesn’t leave me alone
with mine.

The morphine dulls my pain
but doesn’t make me sane.
He does.
We watch movies all night—
stupid ones, funny ones
and one that makes me cry.
Those tears are the best
medicine yet.
And Michael kissing my
fingertips, lotioning
my itching bare head,
sitting on my bed beside me,
sleeping on the sofa
when I wake late the next
morning from a sleep touched
only by dreams
of him. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chapter SIX!!

Oh, wow. Let's celebrate. I crossed the 10K word mark today. YAY!!

This chapter still needs tons of work. It's pretty close to my rough draft. You'll notice that a lot of it is Michael and Leesie talking back and forth. This is how I scribble scenes. They talk and I write it down. That part is easy. The hard part is going back and adding just the right stage directions, emotional responses and facial expressions to bring the scene to life. I'm too burnt out to do that today--so you're getting the rough draft typed up. I'll revise it for tomorrow so you can see the difference between what I scribble down for myself--to tell myself the story--and what I think my readers need to see the story unfold in the movie in their minds.

If you interested in writing scenes with great dialogue--or just want to investigate what works for me a little more, check out "Dialogue 101" on my website's liv2writ blog.

I'll see you tomorrow with the revision.


CHAPTER SIX

MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME #10

Dive Buddy:            Leesie
Date:  04/29
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:

            It’s past midnight when I get back to the hotel. New day. Yesterday seemed like a lifetime. Leesie’s home phone is busy when I try to call. If her dad has a cell, I don’t know the number. Leesie never had one back home. Too broke. Crap reception in a wheat field.
            I try again in ten minutes. Busy. Fall asleep before the next ten minutes are up.
            I wake up a couple hours later. Don’t know where I am at first. Figure it out. Pick up the phone. Try again. It’s still not too late back there. Eleven. Big deal. He’ll be up.
            “Hello?” It’s him.
            “Please, sir. Don’t hang up.”
            “No. No. Of course not. Don’t be afraid, Michael. Just bring her home. That’s all we care about. She’s hurt.”
            “She’s getting the best care on earth.”
            “Where are you?”
            “She won’t let me tell anyone yet.”
            “That’s okay. Bring her back to us. We don’t blame you.”
            “I beg her to let me every day. But she won’t listen. She’s—ashamed.”
            “Tell her we love her. Is she close? Can I talk to her?”
            “No. She thinks you’ll be angry with her.”
            “Never.”
            “I know. I’ll tell her, though.”
            “Has she said anything more about the accident?”
            “No. Just that it’s all her fault. She thinks her mom hates her. And your God, too.”
            “Tell her that’s a wicked lie. No matter what. We love her.”
            “And, sir. I want you to know. I’m keeping that promise I made at Thanksgiving. I won’t touch her—not until we’re married.”
            “You’re getting married? When?”
            End of summer? Tomorrow? What do I tell him? “Someday.”
            “Bring her home first.”
            “If I can, I will.”
            “Take care of her, son. We miss our girl.”
            Him calling me “son” chokes me up like it always did. “She’s sorry. Tell her mom, too. She’s sorry.”

            I sleep past nine in the morning. Feel half-way human again. Talking to Leesie’s dad grounded me. We’re going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay. I got to tell Leesie—get her grounded, too. I book it down to the rehab-place, but when I get there, Leesie’s room is full of nurses and a tall, black man wearing a white doctor’s coat.
            “What were you thinking,” he speaks with a muted Caymanian accent, “traveling all this way injured as you are?” His rich voice fills the room like a preacher’s.
            Leesie holds up her purple hand with my ring tight on her swollen fingers. “We’re supposed to be on our honeymoon. I crashed two days before our wedding. The hospital said I was good to travel.” Leesie lying? Weird.
            “Well, they were crazy to let you leave.” He flips through the release papers I turned over yesterday when I checked Leesie in here. “How long is this honeymoon supposed to last? You’ll get no beach time for weeks.”
            “All summer.” I walk in and shake the guy’s hand. “I’m a dive instructor. Looking for work.”
            “Have you got Cayman papers?”
            “Working on it.”
            He knows I’m lying. “Have you been here before?”
            I nod. “It’s my favorite place in the world to dive.” At least Little Cayman is. Got to get Leesie over there.
            The doctor turns back to Leesie. “Let’s see what we have here.”
            He starts with her head, examines her cut. “Nicely done.” He glances back at the clipboard. “Concussion?” He flashes a penlight in Leesie’s eyes. “Good dilation. Does your head pound?”
            “Not right now.”
            “When your pain meds wear off?”
            “Yeah.”
            He raps under her knee with the side of his hand. It jumps like it’s supposed to. “Good. The pain should subside in a few more days. No permanent nerve damage.”
            “That’s good?” Leesie looks over at me and smiles slightly.
            “Yes.” He snips off the bandages to examine her nose. It looks awful to me. Black, blue, purple, green. The colors twist together and scream pain. He touches her nose. “The packs your surgeon placed in the nostrils are well-positioned.” He runs his finger over the bump high up on her nose. “You’ll end up with a bit of a bump here. But we’ll keep the nose straight. You can opt for cosmetic surgery once all this is healed up.”
            “I can have any nose I want?”
            No way. She’s going to stick with the nose I fell in love with. He keeps touching it and Leesie gets paler and paler. The colors seems to ooze and twist moving, crawling. The room gets really hot. My heads grows fuzzy, and I can’t breathe. I think I sway.
            The nurse Leesie calls Sugar takes my elbow. “Let’s get us some fresh air why don’t we.”
            “No, I’m fine.”
            “Do you want to faint in front of her?”
            “Faint?”
            She guides me out Leesie’s sliding door and deposits me on a bench in the garden. “A few deep breaths and you’ll feel better.” She disappears.
            I cycle through my free dive breathing, inhale the flowers around me. Smile when I detect my mom’s favorite scent, gardenias. I’m glad she’s close. I could use her help about now. I wander around, find the bush and break off a few branches of dark green leaves and small white fragrant flowers.
            When I make it back to Leesie’s room, she’s got a new pink bandage on her nose and she’s all alone.
            “You are a wimp.”
            “If you saw your nose, you’d faint, too.”
            “Pretty gory?”
            “The goriest.” I stick my bouquet in her half-empty water cup.
            “Do you want to see my ribs? He left them undone.”
            “Are they gory, too?”
            She nods. “The bruising is ugly, but the doctor is most worried I’ll get pneumonia.”
            “Uh-huh.” She’s supposed to breath deep so the air sacks in her lungs don’t stick together.
            “I told them I learned everything I know about heavy breathing from you.”
            “You didn’t.”
            “No.” She manages a crooked smile. “But it’s true.”
            I bite my lip. “I was just out there doing free dive cycles.”
            “That’s what I told them. You’re now my coach.”
            “Cool.”
            “He thinks it’s a good idea to keep me trussed up like this for anther week so the collarbone can set. After that I’ll just need the sling.”
            “What about your hand? Did we keep it elevated enough?”
            “He said that’s just for the swelling. We’re past that crisis now. I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
            Her fingers still look puffy to me.
            “I have to wear these new boots night and day for the next three weeks so my ankles heal strong.”
            “Did he hurt you—poking and prodding?”
            She shakes her head. “Heavy dose of morphine this morning. They’ve got me back on it. He said I’ll need it around the clock for at least another week. Then we can taper off.”
            “No more skipping your pills?”
            She nods—so obedient today.
            “When do you get your cast off you hand?”
            “Another five weeks—maybe longer. They are going to X-ray it tomorrow and put on a new waterproof one to match my nose.”
            “Pink?”
            “Yes.” She scowls at my tone and sticks out her tongue. “And then we can go to the beach.”
            I smile. “Cool.” The smile fades as I remember what I came to tell her. “I got a hold of your dad.”
            She closes her eyes and turns her face to the wall.
            I move close to her bed and hover over her. “They aren’t mad. Don’t blame you.” I pick up her hand and stroke her bruised fingers. “You can go home.” I lean over and whisper in her ear. “You rest here another couple weeks, get really strong, and then let’s fly home.”
            “I can’t. He doesn’t know.”
            “He does, Leese. He says God doesn’t think you’re guilty. He says they love you.”
            “They’ll hate me.”
            “Let me call him and tell him I’m bringing you home. They need some hope right now, Leesie. You got to go home.”
            “No.”
            “What happened, Leese? This isn’t you. Why—”
            “Don’t ask me. Ever again. If you love me—”
            Her voice turns ominous. She turns terror-filled eyes towards me.
            I back off. “Look.” I pick up the flowers. “I brought you something to inhale deeply.”
            “Gosh, you’re psychic.” she bends her head toward the branches and tries to smell the gardenias. “Sorry. I can’t smell anything. I’ve got stuff shoved up my nose holding the bones in place.
            “No problem. Let’s get to work on those free dive cycles.”
            She frowns. “Or I can inhale you.”
            I help her to her post-op surgically booted feet, guide her out to my bench, hold on her on my lap and coach her through cycles one to three. She’s not ready to pack yet. Then we make out in the sunshine.
            “Kissing you is the only thing that feels right.”
            “That’s just the morphine talking.”
            “Then let’s enjoy it.” She sucks my tongue into her mouth and keeps it.
            “Freak, Leese. That so not allowed.”
            “But we’re officially engaged.”
            “No—on our honeymoon. You little liar.”
            “You backed me up.”
            “What else could I do?”
            “Let me have your tongue back.”
            “Not until you can follow it up with more action.”
            “Party pooper.”
            “Torturer.”
            “That totally frustrates you?”
            “Totally.”
            “I’ll have to remember that.”
            “I won’t let you forget.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leesie's next poem to finish off Chapter 5

I worked through all the chapters fixing things. Not that many changes after all. This poem finishes off Chapter 5. I'm revising Chapter Six--two dive logs from Michael. You'll get those tomorrow. Thanks for hanging in there. I'm back to forward momentum. Warning: I don't know how long it will last. I often have to go back and rework the earlier chapters before I can press forward.

So this is Chapter 5 continued . . .


LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
POEM # 77, HOME?

Run home,
run home,
run home.

Heartless.
Heartless.
Heartless.

Run home,
run home,
run home.

Heartless.
Heartless.
Heartless.

Michael discovers me,
laptop slammed closed
on my stretched out thighs,
my body propped 
straight up in my
bed that sits for me,
beating my broken hand
against my glossy head.

“Whoa, babe. Stop.”
His hand closes around mine.
“Kim’s an idiot. It won’t be
that bad. I promise.”
I slit open one eye
like a cornered creature,
realize he’s talking about
our first time. My face
squinches up. “Do you think
I’m heartless?” emerges beyond
my control.

He doesn’t answer right away,
doesn’t pat my head and kiss it better.

“Michael?”

He won’t meet my eyes. “Please,
let me call your dad. That’s what
I feel worst about.”

My eyes drop, too. “Phil’s funeral
is tomorrow.”
“Can I call in the morning?”
Our hands meet in the covers.
“Kim’s going to call and—”
“Then I should, too. Please.”
He kisses my head, and I melt.
“Okay.”
His next kiss finds my mouth,
speaks relief. “You’re not heartless.”
His lips press against my beating,
bandaged sternum.

I should warn him about Jaron
who is probably calling right now,
screaming into the phone,
cursing me—cursing Michael.
Maybe Kim called first.
“What time is it there?”
He glances at the silver globe
iPod dock alarm clock by my bed.
“About 8:15.”
“Call him tonight then. 
Back at your hotel.”
He nods, frowns. “You’re
okay? I can leave?”
I force a smile and hold up
my white nurse buzzer.
“Yup. I’ve got nurses.”

I hold his lips too long
when he puts them on mine
to say good-night. “I’ll
stay ’til you sleep.”
I kiss him once more, push
him away. “No. Call him.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Taken by Storm Calendar

I had a nice long phone conversation with the retired orthopedic surgeon I told you about. He was so nice. So helpful. All the info he gave me is kind of overwhelming. I need to go back to the beginning and add details here and there to make the medical stuff more realistic. So that's what I'm working on today and tomorrow. I should get to the next chapter tomorrow, though. I'm itching to write that. Nothing new today. Just pages and pages of notes. I like to act right away on changes I need to do because I've learned new details. Otherwise I forget. Or my notes don't make any sense when I go back to them.

And I can't decide what to write next. I'd love your input. Leesie poem processing everything that's happened so far as she goes to sleep? Or Michael dive log the next morning? Or Leesie poem next morning? I think I need to give Leesie a chance to react, but it is kind of Michael's turn and 4/28 has gone on forever. What to do? What do you guys think?

Speaking of 4/28. You might be wondering how I know what the date is. As I wrote Taken by Storm, I came to a point where I needed to map out the dates on a calendar. I wrote Michael's dive logs and those all needed to have dates, so I made up a handwritten calendar. And then when I revised it into a collage novel using Michael's dive logs, Leesie's chapbook, and the internet chats, I had to date all the chats, too. There is no year attached because Michael and Leesie's story takes place in fictional "present." But as Michael and Leesie's story stretched across more than one year, I had to add a second August-April. Eventually, I'll add through the end of the summer (at least).

My copy of the calendar is a vital tool for me now. I often worry when I can't find it. I've kept it carefully now for years. I wanted to post it and share it with you, but it's also nice to know it will be safe in cyberspace where I can't misplace or it can't burn down or anything. Some of my colleagues use calendar programs on their computer, others use a big office calendar. I have these very worn, very wrinkled scribbles.

Calendars and timelines are the most important pre-writing I do. I loathe outlining and exercises like writing out what your character has in his closet or her purse. Bleck. I get my characters talking in my head and go from there. I tend to write, write, write, and then go back and figure out the time. And then I have to revise. The more I can map events out on a calendar, the less of a mess I make--at least with the authenticity of the timeline in the story.

That's another thing I need to do right now--which is why getting this medical info is so vital. I needed to  know the stages of the healing process for all Leesie's injuries and when she will be better. Michael wants to take her diving!

When I wrote my historical YA that I'm trying to find a publisher for right now, I found authentic, accurate calendars of the exact years my book covered and used them. But Michael and Leesie? They have their own time. 20ML1 and 20ML2! Okay. Here's the calendar that got me through Taken by Storm, Unbroken Connection and now, Cayman Summer!







Monday, October 25, 2010

Chapter 5 and Making a new Friend

Good morning! Thanks for the great discussion over Chapter 4. I'm glad it's getting you talking. I was going to add this chat to the end of Chapter 4, but when I looked at it again this morning, I decided that I need a chapter break after Michael says, "afraid to let it go again." I think that's one of my favorite lines in this book so far.

In a poem, you emphasize something by placing it at the end of a line or giving it a line of it's own. In a novel, the end of a chapter is the most emphatic spot. So the chat is now Chapter 5. I got a few surprises I wasn't expecting when I wrote it. I'm curious if you guys will be surprised, too.

Before I post it, though, I want to introduce you to one of TAKEN BY STORM's earliest blog reviewers, Tristi Pinkston. I wrote to her and begged her to review Michael and Leesie's tale. She didn't know me or anything about my book, but she agreed and gave me a gutsy, sincere review. Tristi is featuring me today on her blog's "Making Friends Monday" post! Check it out. It's a very cool idea. She's full of cool ideas. And always fun.

So here's a lively intro to Tristi.


Tristi Pinkston has been blogging since 2006.  On her main blog, (http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com) she covers everything from writing tips and the life of a published author to kid funnies, spiritual thoughts, and embarrassing moments.  She also has a weight loss blog, one for writing challenges, another for her fictional characters … and she lost count of how many others she has. You can find the links for them on her sidebar.

Tristi is the author of five published novels and a whole kit ‘n caboodle of unpublished novels.  Right now she’s focusing on cozy mysteries, although she has written historical fiction in the past and plans to write more in that genre.  She works as a freelance editor and a virtual book tour coordinator.  She loves taking long naps, being charmingly annoying, and watching good movies.  She’s a Mormon, a homeschooler, a Cubmaster, and most of the time, a headless chicken.


 I've yet to catch her in headless chicken mode. I'm looking forward to that. Check out her post about me at http://tristipinkston.blogspot.com/2010/10/making-friends-monday_25.html !

One more aside and then on to chapter five. Remember I told you I had to research Leesie's injuries? Well, of course, I've been putting that off. So I go to church choir practice yesterday (our church has volunteer everything--including singers in the choir), and after I'm chatting with an older sister about my father-in-law. He's an emeritus general authority for the LDS church, and people who've heard him speak in person remember it for years and years. This kind, wonderful sister told me how he'd given a talk to a group of LDS doctors her husband belongs to. "Doctor?" "Oh, yes. My husband is a retired orthopedic surgeon." Are you kidding me? And he loves to talk about medicine. I'm calling him this afternoon.

Some writers call these gifts from the Creator serendipity. Not me. I call them blessings on my head! Perfect timing, too. Leesie's got to meet with her new doctor in the next chapter. It tickles my soul to think the Lord cares enough about Leesie and Michael to send me this gift, but it doesn't surprise me. Anyone who creates, no matter what they call the phenomenon, knows this joy. He has gifts for all of you, too. I promise.

And now, drum roll, Chapter Five!!


Chapter Five

LEESIE HUNT / CHATSPOT LOG / 04/28  9:37 PM

Kimbo69 says:  Where’ve you guys been? I signed on three hours ago.
Leesie327 says:  Hooray, Kim!!! Michael just told me he found you. This is a cool surprise. He says he filled you in.
Kimbo69 says:  With everything except why you’re hours late for our chat.
Leesie327 says:  We were busy.
Kimbo69 says:  Busy? He told me he wasn’t taking advantage of you. You big dirty liar. Busy? How busy?
Leesie327 says: Be nice to him or I’m signing off.
Kimbo69 says:  Was that from him or you?
Leesie327 says: Me. We were truly busy. I shaved my head, and Michael asked me to marry him.
Kimbo69 says:  Cause and effect? Odd strategy for getting him to commit.
Leesie327 says: He’s always been committed.
Kimbo69 says:  You believe that?
Leesie327 says:  He’s very convincing in person.
Kimbo69 says:  I’ll give him that much. So he proposed for the hundred millionth time. What did you say?
Leesie327 says:  Yes, of course. He didn’t really need to ask. I’ve been wearing his ring since I woke up from the accident.
Kimbo69 says:  Get you when you're down, huh. When’s the big day?
Leesie327 says:  He says end of the summer. I say tomorrow.
Kimbo69 says:  Don’t you have a cast on your hand and other broken stuff?
Leesie327 says:  I’m on a ton of pain pills and Michael is creative. I’m sure he can work around my shortcomings.
Kimbo69 says:  Did that come from you or the scribe?
Leesie327 says:  Me. The scribe is blushing.
Kimbo69 says:  I’d like to see that.
Leesie327 says:  It’s totally irresistible. (Change the subject, girls, or the scribe is out of here.)
Kimbo69 says:  Touchy, touchy. Listen up, Leese. Take it from your friend with years of experience. If you’re going to finally do it, wait until you can use your hands.
Leesie327 says:  (Come off it, Kim. Don’t go there.)
Kimbo69 says:  Butt out, Mr. Secretary. This actually has nothing to do with you. She needs to hear this. You’re a virgin. You’ll probably bleed for at least a week after. You need to be able to deal with the mess.
Kimbo69 says:  Hello? Where are you? Don’t get mad at me. I’m just telling you what you need to know.
Kimbo69 says:  Hey guys, this is getting rude.
Leesie327 says: sorry slow
Kimbo69 says:  He bailed?
Leesie327 says:  yup
Kimbo69 says:  Figures. Such a wimp.
Leesie327 says:  be nice
Kimbo69 says:  I don’t trust him, Leesie. What the hell are you thinking?
Leesie327 says:  he saved me
Kimbo69 says:  Don’t go making him a hero.
Leesie327 says:  I wanted to die
Kimbo69 says:  He told me you blame yourself for the accident. Don’t be crazy. Accidents are accidents.
Leesie327 says: my fault
Kimbo69 says:  It must be rough, girl. But you’ll get through this. Take it easy with Michael.
Leesie327 says:  I’m living now for him…doing a crap job so far but trying
Kimbo69 says:  At least now we can really talk. How’d you convince him to get baptized.
Leesie327 says:  he’s not
Kimbo69 says:  But that was your thing. You wouldn’t say, “yes,” until he joined your church.
Leesie327 says: doesn’t matter now
Kimbo69 says:  Excuse me?
Leesie327 says:  I don’t even care if we get married first
Kimbo69 says:  What’s got into you? You told me it was huge earth-shattering sin to do it without being married.
Leesie327 says:  nothing compared to what I did to Phil…God won’t forgive me that
Kimbo69 says:  He forgives everybody—even girls like me. That’s what I’m counting on.
Leesie327 says:  not me
Kimbo69 says:  What’s so awful about you?
Leesie327 says:  I murdered my brother
Kimbo69 says:  Murder? That’s kind of extreme.
Leesie327 says:  I am why he is dead
Kimbo69 says:  And you think God thinks it’s murder? That’s twisted. It was an accident. I don’t think your parents blame you, either.
Leesie327 says:  they will
Kimbo69 says:  Why?
Leesie327 says:  we fought
Kimbo69 says:  You and Phil? You always fought. That doesn’t mean you murdered him.
Leesie327 says:  over Michael
Kimbo69 says:  Oh crap, is that why you’re with him? He says the Mermaid Thai Queen was a friend. How can you buy that?
Leesie327 says:  his eyes don’t lie
Kimbo69 says:  When are you going to tell him about Phil?
Leesie327 says:  never
Kimbo69 says:  Go home, Leesie. It’s not too late. Tell your parents everything. They’ll understand.
Leesie327 says:  no
Kimbo69 says:  At least call them.
Leesie327 says:  no
Kimbo69 says:  They just lost their son. Running away like this is too cruel. How can you do that to your dad?
Leesie327 says:  had to…can’t go home
Kimbo69 says:  Can I tell them where you are?
Leesie327 says:  did Michael tell you?
Kimbo69 says:  No. Can I call them and tell them you’re safe?
Leesie327 says:  don’t
Kimbo69 says:  Come on.  Give them something.
Leesie327 says:  ok call
Kimbo69 says:  Good girl. You owe me huge for this, by the way. Gigantically huge.
Leesie327 says:  don’t tell them about my hair
Kimbo69 says:  What should I tell them?
Leesie327 says:  best medical care
Kimbo69 says:  That’s good. What about your wedding plans?
Leesie327 says:  no
Kimbo69 says:  You want them to think you’re shacking up with him?
Leesie327 says:  no
Kimbo69 says:  Okay. I’ll try to explain that. What if they ask me why you left?
Leesie327 says:  don’t tell them…I trusted you…please…I’ll die if my mom ever finds out I was screaming at her boy when I lost control of the truck
Kimbo69 says:  She’ll understand. They love you. You call them. Tell them everything. Michael will take you home. He told me so.
Leesie327 says:  no…I’m fine…tell them that
Kimbo69 says:  Okay.
Leesie327 says:  crap
Kimbo69 says:  Is he back? You better delete this chat.
Leesie327 says:  Jaron’s online got to get off


LEESIE HUNT / CHATSPOT LOG / 04/28  10:27 PM

jRun says:  Leesie? You’re online? What happened to you? You’re parents are going crazy. They called me. You’re dad’s voice. I’ve never heard so much pain.
Leesie327 says:  please tell him I’m sorry
jRun says:  I blame myself for trusting that creep, Michael. He came off so sincere. And you wanted him not me. That much was clear. I couldn’t stand to see you with him like that, so I walked.
Leesie327 says:  not your fault
jRun says:  But he stole you. Where are you? I’ll come get you. I’ll call your Dad. We’ll both come. The whole branch will come. Anything to get you home. I love you, you got to believe that. I’m kicking myself for leaving you alone with him. Whatever’s happened with him—I don’t care. Let me make it up to you, Leesie. Please. Where are you?
Leesie327 says:  my idea to run
jRun says:  You must have felt so desperate. I didn’t realize. I should have stayed.
Leesie327 says:  forget me
jRun says: No way. You’ll get through the grief. I saw it on my mission. I can help you.
Leesie327 says:  I’m a murderer
jRun says:  No. You’re not. Talk to my dad. He’ll help. That’s not what those scriptures mean.
Leesie327 says:  I’m dead
jRun says:  That’s stupid. Think about what you’re doing. Who you’re hurting.
Leesie327 says:  you?
jRun says:  Your mom and dad, Stephie—all of us back home. And, yes, me.
Leesie327 says:  sorry
jRun says:  I still love you. Doesn’t that matter?
Leesie327 says:  it did in high school but you ignored me
jRun says:  Ancient history—don’t throw that in my face at a time like this.
Leesie327 says:  when would be a better time?
jRun says:  I didn’t know you were like this.
Leesie327 says:  honest?
jRun says:  Heartless.
Leesie327 says:  taken
jRun says:  Tell Michael to remember what I said in the hospital. I meant it. Every word.
Leesie327 says:  My idea. Not his. Leave him alone. Leave me alone.
jRun says:  Don’t say that. A week ago you kissed me and said you loved me.
Leesie327 says:  no, I didn’t…I couldn’t say it…remember? I love him…that’s never going to change