Saturday, November 13, 2010

Phew I Made it! Chapter 12, first part

Phew! I made it. Here's the first part of Chapter 12. Not dinner out with all the guys, Sana. Sorry. We had this shopping trip to get to. Monday Michael's dive log will be at the dinner. But he doesn't drool over the guys. There's lots of juicy stuff here, though. Who knew Michael was moving Leesie into such a hot bed of jealousies and broken hearts? Well, it is a novel. Could it be anything else?

See you all Monday. Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Chapter Twelve

POEM # ?,

Saturday I’m strong enough to don
overzie rubber gloves, fill
a bucket with bleach, dish soap,
and the hottest water, open
the window, flick on the fan
and scrub down every inch
of that nasty bathroom.
I changed the water twice,
bleached all the towels
and threw out the rug.
I wipe down ours, too—mine
and Alex’s--for good measure.

“Now keep it clean!”
I scowl and try to look stern
while I serve the guys
grilled cheeses between dives.
Cooper eats four.
Brock and Ethan two.
Michael one.
Seth says, “Thank you,”
after his third.
Gabriel doesn’t show.

“Should I make one for him?”
I sit down with the sandwich
I’m splitting with Alex.

“I don’t think we’ll see him
much the rest of the weekend.”
Cooper tips back in his chair, points
out the sliding glass balcony door.
“Hot babe on our boat today.”
I lean around Michael so see
Gabriel sporting Speedo trunks
lingering with a bikini body
wrapped in thick golden hair.
I don’t let my hand rise to
my shorn head.

“Why do they always go for him?”
Cooper pulls a sad face.
“When they could have”—
he rises, pulls off his shirt—
“all of this?” He turns slowly
so Alex and I can assess.
Alex gives him two thumbs up.
“They must all be blind,
right Leesie?”
I nod. “Especially when you’re
sunburnt like that.”
He grins, flexes. “So I should
go down there and get in his way?”
Alex and I pull faces at each other.
Michael gets up from the table.
“We gotta go.”
He’s kind of abrupt, kind of mad,
doesn’t kiss me before they leave.

Driving into Georgetown,
Alex and I crack up over
Cooper. “He’s always like that.
Sweet. Funny.”

“So Gabriel isn’t dating
the Governor’s daughter
or a supermodel?”

Alex shakes her head, but flashes
me a wicked grin. “He could
date anybody. He’s awesome
in bed.”

I try not to choke on the sip
of water I just took. Swallow.
Steady my voice.
“You slept with him?”

She nods, bragging. “Oh, yeah.”

My eyebrows shoot then, “I thought—?”
She shrugs. “Kai and I moved down here
together. Three years I gave that dude.
And that skank Dani steals him. Seth
figured it out first, told me. Before we
could confront them, they
were gone. Our Commonwealth
brothers took Seth into Georgetown
to get him smashed. That left Gabriel 
to look after me.”

She smiles. “I was crying on his chest,
and then we were kissing, and then
we were in bed. He’s one I won’t forget.”

“Did it make you feel better?”
I blurt it like a fool.
“He got me through the night.”
“Are you going out?” I touch her arm.
“Am I in the way?”
She laughs. “One nighter. I’m not
his type.” She says it likes she wants
to be. His type.

“What is his type?”
She rolls jealous eyes
in my direction. “Waitresses.

“Isn’t it awkward now?”

Her face grows puzzled.
“I’m too busy being livid
at Kai to worry about Gabriel.”

“Would you do it again?”
I can’t believe I asked that,
but I need to know the rules
in this new kingdom I’m in.

“Maybe. It was good.
But in the morning I felt
as bad as Kai and Dani—
the creeps.” She punches
the accelerator and shakes
her head. “Yeah. I would do
it again. I’m not going to let
Kai wreck my fun.”

Fun? Not love?
Not commitment?
Fun. She pulls in the parking
lot and turns off the car.
“Hey, girl. Let’s shop.”
Okay. Fun.

I buy a white island scarf
with fringe and beads to wrap
my poor head in. It drips
down my back like cloth hair.
Next we find sandals that jingle
with gold charms, a white on white
floral print sundress, spaghetti straps,
and a low, bare back, a padded
underwire bra that gives me
a fake sense of cleavage,
low cut clingy T-s, shortest shorts,
and silky thongs that feel like sin
between my fingertips.

Alex’s phone rings. “Dinner?
Tonight?" A glance at me. "You in?”
I look down at my bags, nod.
“Sounds like fun.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leesie and Kim Chat - Another scene for Chapter 11

It's Veteran's Day today. My kids have the day off here in Arizona. When we lived in Canada, Veteran's day was still a school day, but they always had assemblies and at 11:11 they observed a moment of silence.  At every cash register in the stores, you could donate to a Veteran's cause and get a small, velvety, red poppy to wear on your lapel. All the kids at school wore them, too. I miss that. Someone would always recite or sing, "In Flander's Fields." It was written by a Canadian soldier who died in World War I.  Do you know it?

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved, and were loved and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

The Amabile Boys and Mens Choir released a CD to honor the men and women around the world who have fought and continue to fight to keep their way and our way of life safe. It's called, "Soldier's Cry." One of the cuts is a rendition of "Flander's Fields" sung by their young boys choir. It's beautiful. The whole CD is beautiful. Follow the link and listen to the samples. They also sing Kurt Bestor's, "Prayer for the Children," that he wrote during the strife in Yugoslavia. He was a Mormon missionary there in the 1970s. It's haunting. One of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. I'm playing it today while I work. And remembering.

Here's today's scene. It seems irreverent after those solemn thoughts. It's Kim's fault. I love her. I can blame everything on Kim! In this chat, though, even Kim sees what Leesie doesn't. This will be the middle of Chapter 11. I'll finish the chapter with another dive log from Michael.


Leesie327 says: Guess what? My ankles are better!! I can walk again.
Kimbo69 says: Did you go dancing to celebrate?
Leesie327 says: Me in a club? That’s a joke.
Kimbo69 says: Buy something slinky and make Michael take you.
Leesie327 says: Michael in a club? That’s unthinkable.
Kimbo69 says: There’s got to be some hot spots in Cayman.
Leesie327 says: Gabriel would know. Don’t you have to be twenty-one?
Kimbo69 says: Depends on the club. And the country. It was so easy in Mexico. Who you’re with counts, too. And the guy checking IDs. Go with Gabriel. He’ll get you in.
Leesie327 says: Me and Gabriel? I don’t think so.
Kimbo69 says: You and Michael and Gabriel. Take the whole gang.
Leesie327 says: How do you get in? You guys even went in high school.
Kimbo69 says: Fake ID. And I don’t wear a bra. Low-cut clingy top. Works every time.
Leesie327 says: Michael would hate me dressing like that.
Kimbo69 says: It turns Mark on.
Leesie327 says: And everyone else who looks at you.
Kimbo69 says: Who cares about that?
Leesie327 says: Michael.
Kimbo69 says: Didn’t he buy you a bikini?
Leesie327 says: And a giant T-shirt to go over it.
Kimbo69 says: There’s nothing wrong with showing some skin. He’s too possessive.
Leesie327 says: I’m pretty possessive, too. Alex hugged him last night, and I wanted to slug her.
Kimbo69 says: Why did she hug him?
Leesie327 says: She hugs everybody—all the time. Uber friendly. Uber nice. I like her a lot. We’re going to go buy clothes on Saturday. Michael has to work, but he said I can buy anything I want.
Kimbo69 says: Get some really sexy stuff. You’re grown up now.
Leesie327 says: I’d look ridiculous. I’m sporting a short, short crew cut these days. I’ve still got a cast on my hand and have to wear this stupid sling on my right arm because of my collarbone.
Kimbo69 says: How much longer?
Leesie327 says: Three, maybe four weeks. My hand is doing well. The doc said I can use my right hand and arm a little bit if I’m really careful.
Kimbo69 says: That’s progress, right?
Leesie327 says: I’m hungry today, too. I got up early and made everybody French toast with extra cinnamon like Michael’s gram makes it. I ate two whole pieces.
Kimbo69 says: Congratulations.
Leesie327 says: The pain seems to be less intense. My pills are strong enough now.
Kimbo69 says: The transition has been rough?
Leesie327 says: Kind of unbearable.
Kimbo69 says: You kept mum about it?
Leesie327 says: Michael would have taken me back to the rehab place.
Kimbo69 says: But now you’re okay?
Leesie327 says: Turned a corner. Another week and I can start tapering off these drugs.
Kimbo69 says: Be careful with that stuff. My mom’s best friend is stuck on them. It’s not pretty.
Leesie327 says: I hate them. I’m pitching the whole bottle as soon as I can.
Kimbo69 says: Good plan. So you’re shopping. What else are you doing for fun this weekend?
Leesie327 says: Sleep. Eat. Michael has to work. He’s off Monday afternoon, though. He promised to take me out in the sea kayak. We want to buy a nice double one to take out free diving when I’m better. We’re using the resort’s ugly plastic one, but it’ll still be fun.
Kimbo69 says: You’re going to go free diving?
Leesie327 says: No. Just paddling in the lagoon here.
Kimbo69 says: That sounds romantic—until you capsize.
Leesie327 says: Are you kidding? That’ll be the best part.
Kimbo69 says: Won’t it mess up your ouchies?
Leesie327 says: I’ll tape my cast into a grocery bag. My clavicle bones are stuck back together now. It’s just weak. It might jar it.
Kimbo69 says: That would hurt, right?
Leesie327 says: Maybe.
Kimbo69 says: And it’d wreck that thing on you’re face.
Leesie327 says: That’s gone.
Kimbo69 says: I think I’d still stay on dry ground.
Leesie327 says: You’re missing the whole point. He’ll have to rescue me.
Kimbo69 says: You’re going to wear that bikini?
Leesie327 says: Nothing but.
Kimbo69 says: You’re torturing him—you know that?
Leesie327 says: He won’t do what I want. I’m just helping him change his mind.
Kimbo69 says: Wake up, Leesie. I know I’m probably not the best one to go and get all preachy on you, but he IS doing what you always wanted.
Leesie327 says: That girl is gone forever.
Kimbo69 says: You need to find her.
Leesie327 says: Why?
Kimbo69 says: Because that’s the girl he loves.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More from Michael - Chapter Eleven beginnings

So today I couldn't stand to write Leesie going to another doctors appointment. Boring. I usually listen to my boring-o-meter. If I don't want write something because I'm bored with the scene, then it usually means readers will be bored, too. I have to be careful, though. Sometimes I kid myself that something is boring when it's really hard, emotionally draining, or intimidating. I don't think Leesie at the rehab place again would be any of those, so I skipped ahead to Michael picking her up.

This little scene does all the work, and I don't think it's one bit boring.

I got a shipment of beautiful new bookmarks and want to share. Email me your address and I'll send some out to you. Check out "Bookmarks" to see what they look like. I'm going to go load the pictures now.

Chapter Eleven


Dive Buddy:           
Date:  05/13
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

Leesie waits in the garden when I pick her up at the rehab place after her appointment. She got her stitches out. I don’t know what else they did. Lots of physio? I hope she isn’t too tired. I want to take her out to dinner, but she hasn’t been able to eat much. I think its the drugs. Her old ones wearing off or the new ones making her sick.
I spy her yellow dress and hat from the distance. She’s sitting on our bench. The first thing I notice is legs. Long bare ones. “Hey, babe. How’d it go?”
She looks up. I stop and stare. Walk closer. Stare more. They took that thing off her face. She’s got make-up on and flashes me that smile I love. Hair or no, she’s beautiful.
“What do you think?” She touches her nose.
I sit down on the bench beside her, cup her face between my hands, kiss her unveiled nose, her cheeks, her eyes. I draw back so I can see her face up close and my eyes fill up.
Leesie wipes away a ear that escapes out of the corner of my left eye. “What’s the matter? Do I look that bad?”
I swallow hard. “It’s good to have you back.”
Our lips find each other. It’s a massive relief to kiss her without that metal splint on her nose, to rub my nose against hers, to explore every inch of her face with my lips. Her hat comes off while we’re making out, and my hand moves instinctively to stroke her head. I haven’t touched it since it started coming in more. It looks prickly. I’m surprised at how soft it is. Like fur. My mouth moves there, too.
I rest my cheek on the top of her head and wrap my arms around her. We embrace, zoning into each other while a gentle evening breeze wafts warm sea air perfumed by the gardenia bush a few yards away.
“Look what else!” Leesie whispers into my neck and holds her legs out straight—pointing the toes on her bare feet.
“I noticed that first, babe.”
She pivots on the bench and puts her feet in my lap. I pick up the left foot, kiss it, pick up the right, kiss that, too. I kiss her shins and her knees. Her dress is pushed up exposing her thighs.
I pull her skirt down over them and kiss her lips one last time. “We gotta go.”
“Can you carry me? I don't have shoes.”
“Nope. If I carry you, I can’t be responsible for what happens when we get back to the car.”
“Carry me.”
“Watch your step.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I think this finishes Chapter 10!

Here's Michael's dive log. Thanks for the great response to the contest. I've always been really bad at selling stuff so that part of being an author is hard for me, but I'm wonderful at giving things away. Just think of the prizes as editorial pay. You've all been a fantastic PR team. And you're turning into a top-notch editorial board.

I woke up at 5 AM with a conversation that takes place in a scene way later in the book playing in my head. I didn't want to lose that so I scribbled that instead of this next scene. No way can I post that. Massive spoiler. But I think I'll scan those rough drafts because its one of the scenes that comes out on the page all talking. That's not so bad when it's going to be from Michael's POV. But this has to come from Leesie. That means I've got to make five rough pages of dialogue into a poem. Aargh. That all can wait it's turn now that I've pinned it down on paper so it doesn't get lost.

I think trying to make long scenes into poetry is the hardest part about writing in the collage format. I'm not sure if I'll ever do it again. It was such a rush to write SING ME TO SLEEP all from Beth's viewpoint. All my other works in progress are single viewpoint. I think that's the strongest, most intense way to tell a story. But it wouldn't work for Michael and Leesie. Maybe I'll discover another couple like them who both demand to be heard. Actually, I kind of hope I do.

So I'm late with this next scene. Michael's reaction ended up different from what we discussed. He always surprises me.


Dive Buddy:           
Date:  05/10
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            After our dive Sunday morning, I’m the last one up to the apartment. Even Leesie goes up ahead when I get stuck filling some Nitrox orders. When I et up there, it’s a pretty cozy scene. Leesie made mac and cheese for everybody.
            The guys—even snooty Gabriel—are wolfing it back.
            “How did you make this?” Alex scoops up a giant spoonful of golden yellow macaroni. “We were out of milk.” She shoves the spoon in her mouth and closes her eyes like the stuff is ambrosia.
            Leesie scoops more mac and cheese out of the pot in a new bowl. “I found some margarine behind that giant bottle of ketchup. I just used that. My grandma always made it with just butter. That’s even better.”
            Cooper’s face lights up. “Ketchup. That’s just what it needs.”
            Alex laughs. “Now you know who owns the ketchup.”
            “Did you hogs save any for the guy doing all your work?”
            Leesie hands me the steaming bowl she just dished. “Of course.”
            “Thanks, babe.” All the chairs are full, so I boost myself onto the counter closest to Leesie. “What did you do with yourself this morning?”
            She holds up pruned fingers. Her cast is soggy around the edges. “The dishes.”
            I swallow my first mouthful of buttery mac. “That took all morning?”
            She looks around at the gleaming kitchen. “Did you see the place when you left?”
            I take another bite so I don’t have to answer.
            “I need to get some rubber gloves.” She shakes water out of her cast. “Especially,” she talks loud enough for all the guys to hear, “before I tackle that bathroom. What did you guys do in there?”
            Ethan points to Brock across the table. “He’s got lousy aim.”
            “No way, brother. That’s you.”
            Cooper raises his hand. “I plead the fifth.”
            Seth looks up from his bowl. “You’re not an American. You can’t plead the fifth.” I was on the boat with him today. He was all right. Not fun like the Commonwealth trio, but he knows his stuff.
            Gabriel looks down is long, straight nose, his nostrils flair. “Disgusting.” He flashes his full-on play-boy pearly whites at Leesie. “You should not go near that room. I don’t.”
            “That’s right, eh.” Cooper squirts more ketchup in his bowl. “He showers in the buff down on the dock.”
            Leesie dishes herself a small bowl of mac and hobbles over to the table.
Alex scoots over so she can share her chair. “Don’t clean it for them.” She sticks her tongue out at all her male roomies. “They don’t deserve it.”
Leesie perches on the edge of Alex’s chair. “But it reeks.” She sets her bowl down.
“Keep the door closed.” She scrapes the last of the cheese sauce from her bowl.
Brock pushes himself back from the table. “No way we’d suffocate.”
“Here’s the deal.” Leesie puts down her spoon and glances around the table, gathering all their attention. “I’ll clean it if you’ll close the door when you’re using it.”
Ethan laughs and looks toward me. “Ye’ve seen a wee more manliness than you’re used to, have you?”
“Just close the damn door, okay?” I slide off the counter and cross to the table. “She doesn’t want to hear you guys on the john.”
Ethan backs off, still laughing.  
Leesie catches my eye. Calm down. It’s cool.
Yeah, right, babe.
She gets up to clear the dirty bowls. Cooper and Brock rush to help. She flashes her smile. My smile. At them. “So the big question is—what’s for dinner?”
Brock takes a dirty bowl from her. “We usually go out.”
Alex stares into her empty bowl. “But there’s no place close.” She picks the bowl up and licks it clean.
“I can cook if there’s food.” Leesie gazes out the window to the water that most of us will be diving in again soon. “It gives me something to do until I get this crap off me.” She stares down at her blue cast boots.
Alex hugs her. She’s big on hugs. “Bonus. I’ve got the afternoon off. Let’s drive down to Georgetown and get groceries.”
“It’s Sunday.” She actually says it. Good sign.
Alex shrugs. “The big stores are open at least until 4:00.”
Leesie stares right at me. “Okay.”
“I don’t think so.” I glare back at her and she gets the message. No tea. No shopping on Sunday. I’m not that dumb, babe. “Better wait until tomorrow. The doctors said to take it easy.”
She can’t argue that in front of everybody. I don’t give her a chance. “Alex, I’ll take your afternoon dives tomorrow so you can go out together.”
Alex smiles and says, “Deal.”
Leesie won’t talk to me. I don’t care if she’s mad.
Everybody clears out. Alex walks down to the corner store with a shopping list for tonight.
I don’t have to dive. Sunday’s are slower. Tomorrow I was on for morning and night. Now I’ve got afternoon. Better go nitrox all day. Wouldn’t want to end up bent just when I’m starting a new job.
I sit down on my cot and pick up the laptop. It’s warm from being left on all day. “This is nice. Just us.”
Leesie’s sulking over by the sink. “Can you help with the dishes?”
“Just a second.” I need to check my email. I might have a note from Stan. He promised to let me know if the police are going to lay charges. I flip open the top. The screen dilates on to a ChatSpot wall.
And a post from Jaron is front and center. I should have thought of that. Told her friends about the accident. I glance up at Leesie. She would have killed me. I read the post again.
Come home. I love you.
The guy’s got some nerve posting that. I scroll up through all the posts on her wall. They all say it. Every post makes me feel worse and worse for taking her away. I didn’t steal her. I’m not the bad guy. My fingers are on the keys typing.
Leesie bangs a pot down on the counter. “Are you going to help or what?”
I nix the post, nix the site, jump to clear the rest of the table. “I’ll wash.”
“You bet you will.”
I take the dish cloth from her and reach into the hot sudsy water, pick up a bowl, scrub it and scrub it until she takes the bowl from me. She knows something up. I don’t look at her, keep my eyes on the sink.
She saw that wall. She read those posts. Especially the one from Jaron. Does she regret choosing me? Look where we’ve ended up. This isn’t the greatest. I can’t believe she opened up ChatSpot. I guess she has to when she talks to Kim. I should ask her. Maybe she wants to go home. I saw your wall, babe. Do you want to talk about it? That’s it. All I have to say. I saw your wall. I don’t want to push her. Upset her. Right. Truth is. I don’t want to take her home. I don’t want to lose standing beside her scrubbing dirty bowls.
I had her a overly clean one. “We’ve got all afternoon. Do you want to do something.”
She shifts from one sprained ankle to the other. “I’m kind of tired.”
“How about a drive down to the blow holes?”
“Where you wouldn’t stop yesterday?”
“We can sit in the sun and watch the waves crash into them.”
“Sounds pretty lazy.”
“Yeah. I could use a break, too. And we need to get out of here.”
Her eyes drift to the bedroom. “Not really.”
“Are you kidding?” I throw the dishcloth in the sink. “This place really does reek.”
She dries off the last bowl and snaps the dish towel in my face. “Good thing I’m an expert at cleaning up after pigs.”


Monday, November 8, 2010


The hands-down, absolute best part about blogging Cayman Summer is all YOUR comments. To show my gratitude for your ideas, critiques, character names and constant cheering and to encourage lots more comments along the way, I've put together this give-away. 

Everyone who comments will receive one entry for every comment he/she makes on any post. It's that easy. You're already entered, and you didn't even know it. (I reserve the right to disqualify inappropriate, rude, or clearly spam comments.)

If you tell me in your comment that you've shared the post anywhere and anyway (blog, FaceBook, Twitter, GoodReads, email to your best friend, phone call to your grandmother), you'll receive an extra entry for each place you've shared it. 

Anyone who runs blog posts about the CAYMAN SUMMER blog in general or this contest, will receive FIVE extra entries. Please, post links to your posts in the comment section of this post. (Or email me the links.) If you Tweet or FaceBook or something I've never heard of about the contest or the cool journey we're taking together, you'll receive two extra entries. 

If you've posted a review of ANY OF MY BOOKS on Amazon, GoodReads or your blog, remind me with a link below, and I can give you FIVE extra entries for each review (but not each venue).  

FROM DECEMBER 15TH to DECEMBER 30th VOTE FOR SING ME TO SLEEP for the GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD for YA FICTION, tell me on the blog, and receive an extra entry. Post your vote to FaceBook or Twitter and receive TWO extra entries. Post on your blog encouraging your followers to vote and receive FIVE extra entries.

You can win more than one prize, but you cannot win more than one of the same prize. 

This will cost me a fortune, but all contests are INTERNATIONAL. All over the world, you've found me and made me a part of your lives. This is my way to say THANKS!!

You will all be invited to a special event when CAYMAN SUMMER publishes with more prizes and cool goodies for all. We'll have lots to celebrate together. 


5 winners will receive a signed, paperback copy of 

5 winners will receive a signed, paperback copy of 

10 winners will receive a signed copy of
CAYMAN SUMMER, hot off the press--when it's off the press

One winner will receive a signed collection of all three books!

3 winners will receive a signed, first edition, hard cover copy of TAKEN BY STORM

1 winner will receive a signed, marked (that means I scribble notes to you in the margins throughout the book), first edition, hard cover copy of TAKEN BY STORM

3 winners will receive signed, first edition, hard cover copies of SING ME TO SLEEP!

1 winner will receive a signed, marked (yep, I scribble notes to you all through it), hardcover copy of SING ME TO SLEEP

Three winners will receive a special prize that I can't tell about yet. I'll post pictures when I get to that part in the book. It's a cool memento. You'll want it!


Tell me that you write in a comment, and I'll enter you in a contest for special writer prizes! I'll make a list and enter you every time you comment and share just like the other prizes.)

3 writers will receive first chapter/synopsis critiques (no more than 10 pages)

2 writers will receive 30 page/synopsis critiques 

Keep in mind, that I won't critique explicit material. Inappropriate material will be returned and another winner will be chosen. 

I reserve the right to change this all up if necessary, add or delete prizes, disqualify obnoxious spammers,  choose new winners if I can't find the first one, and change anything else if the need arises. 

Leesie's Wall

Happy Monday! Does such a thing exist?

My Monday morning started out miserable, but it's turning into a good day. It's beautiful and cooler here today, and I needed cheering up, so I sat outside while I wrote. Ahhh. So nice. And then I came in and found that Brandi at Blkosiner's Book Blog posted a TAKEN BY STORM giveaway and an interview all about SING ME TO SLEEP. The contest runs until Tuesday, November 16th. Brandi is reading UNBROKEN CONNECTION now and will be joining us here soon. YAY!

Did I tell you all that the world famous Amabile Youth Singers RECORDED "Take me Home," the song that changes Beth's life in SING ME TO SLEEP? Harriet Bushman did an amazing job writing the music and arranging it. It will be live on iTunes soon. I'll let you know when. I cried when I first heard it.

TODAY is the last day to enter the contest for SING ME TO SLEEP on Linda Weaver Clark's blog. Don't miss out on that. Tell all your friends and post it all around!

One last commercial before the post--I'm making you pay for it today, aren't I? You have until this Friday (November 12th) to bid on the marked-up-full-of-all-my-secrets hardcover copy of SING ME TO SLEEP on Leave a Mark Auctions.

I'm hoping to post the details of our contest tonight. So check back, okay?

Phew. Now, here's Leesie's wall poem. I'm trying to decide if I should have Michael find her wall still up when he wakes up the laptop and what his reaction will be. Confront her with the post from Jaron or bury it inside to fester like a giant sliver in the taste of joy he discovered in the last dive log he wrote? I think he'd go with the second choice. What do you guys think?


My mouse drifts as far away
from the link to my wall as it can linger.
I thought I was safe here in chat.
My online status is eternally turned off.
Only Kim can find me.
The wall? Nothing much is ever on it.
It’s not like I’m a ChatSpot queen
with thousands of friends.
What did Kim do? She promised.
I’ll click her off, too. And that
will be that. ChatSpot?
Who needs it?
Friends? I’ve eve got a new
one of those. Rare thing for me.

Look at it.
Look at it.
Look at it.
No. No. No.

I move the mouse to click
the site closed. My finger
hovers over the mouse pad—
draws a line to the wall
and taps.

That’s all it takes for it
to bloom before my eyes.
Tiny square pictures—roomie’s
and friends, a girl from my English class,
even kids from home who hated me
and liked Phil—
all saying one thing:

“Leesie, we love you.
Come home.”

There’s even one from Phil’s
glittering Krystal, “Leesie,
I love you. Come home.
We don’t blame you.”

Tawni says she wants to room
with me next year. Dayla
sends hugs from her and Noah.
Roxi, Cadence and Lily
join the refrain,
“Leesie, we love you.
Come home.”

Hardest to read
is from Stephie.
I vaguely remember her
friending me last month
thinking wow, she’s growing up.
On ChatSpot already?
What happened to Barbies?
“Leesie, I love you.
Come home.”

Nothing from Kim.
She kept her promise.

Nine pages down
I discover the culprit.
In a few quiet words,
Jaron spills all my secrets
to the word: the accident,
Phil’s death, my injuries,
and flight. He asks
them to pray. He asks
them to understand
my grief, my pain, my guilt.
He closes with,
“Leesie, I love you.
Come home.”

Never. Never Never.
You spoiled, self-righteous jerk.
This wasn’t your right. I rage
at the screen. This isn’t your
story to uncover. Don’t flay
me with kindness,
unending understanding.
You aren’t my keeper.
Don’t you dare remind God
I exist. How can you be so cruel
to break my heart with all
this lost, lost, love.

Come home?
How can I ever?
I killed my brother.
His blood drips in my dreams
every night. My hands
are crimson—never to be white.
You can’t love me.
You can’t forgive me.
No one can.
No one will.
No one should.

I slam down the screen,
need to get far, far away,
grab my crutch and hop
a long down to the boat dock.
A white boat crashes through
the foaming break in the reef
into the aquamarine
jeweled water of the safe inlet.
Yes. It’s his. That’s him
waving, smiling, flexing
his bare pects at me
that sheen with sweat
when he finally hugs me hello
after hefting hundreds of pounds
of gear and tanks out of the boat
and onto the deck.

“I love you,” he whispers
and kisses my cheekbone.
“You wanna go home?”

I tense, clench my teeth
and then realize he’s talking
about the apartment--
our home.
My home with my Michael
where I can hide forever
embraced in his strong arms
that keep me afloat.