Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving--hope this holds you until Monday!

Okay. This is the rest of Chapter 15--I think. I'm going to add a chat with Kim next. That will either start a new chapter or finish this one.

I just found out today that Leave a Mark Auctions is featuring the marked-up, hardcover, first edition of TAKEN BY STORM that I donated over the Thanksgiving holiday. You've got until Monday, November 29th to bid. Proceeds go to buy books for kids in need. It would be a very cool Christmas present for a Michael/Leesie fan don't you think? You might just want to send a link to it to your special someone who is searching for the perfect present. Or treat yourself.

Here's what you've been waiting for--Michael and his wetsuit. The middle still needs work, but you get the picture.

Have a great Thanksgiving. Those of you outside the U.S., I'm sorry. It doesn't seem fair to leave you with no posts, and you don't even get a holiday.


Michael takes my hand
and helps me down
into the boat—other
passengers clear a lane
for me like I’m royalty.
His princess—with my island
scarf wound round my head
and my old swimsuit giving
me away. Nothing to see here,
people. Move along.

I trip a little so I can fall
against Michael’s bare chest.
He gives me a squeeze
and a fat lady yells,
“Hold it,” and snaps our picture.

He lines up his students
along one side of the boat,
sits across from them
and gets down to business.

I sit off to the side
and watch him teach,
watch the muscles in his shoulders
and back subtly ripple when
he stands to reach his wetsuit.
The boat putters a few hundred
feet from the dock while Michael
coats himself in neoprene.
All black—wrapping him tight.
I miss his golden skin, but
can’t deny he devastates
exponentially more wetsuited.

He hovers over me.
“We won’t be down long.”
I slip my right hand out of its sling
and rub it along his shoulder and arm
while the rest of the women
watch their prince. “It’s cool,”
I whisper. “I’ll help Cooper.”

Sun burnt, sandy-haired, smiling
Captain Cooper lies on a bench
and follows the one lonely cloud
crossing the sky as he tells me about
Canada and snowdrifts that
don’t melt until April.
“I know snow.” I had him a slice
of the melon I chopped for the break.
“Great up driving in it.”
“Cool. Where?”
I nod and pitch a melon rind
over the side.
“When you going back?”
My face pulls into a frown.
“Leave here?” My glance
indicates the paradise
of sparkling blue we float in.
“Are you kidding?”
“You can’t stay forever.”
“Why not?”
“Visa runs out.”
“That sucks.”
“Not for me.”
“Shut up.”
“Make me.”
I flick a piece of melon
at him and stick my tongue out,
wander to the back of the boat,
try to see what’s going on down under.

I’ve never been so eager to get
in the water, sink into Michael’s
kingdom, obey his every command,
trust him with my life
like fat lady and friends.

Cooper hands me a mask.
“Care for a swim?”
He tapes my cast in bag,
jams fins on my feet,
and comes along so I don’t
drown. “He’s over there.”
He points to bubbles
percolating on the surface.
I swim to them, mask down,
blowing too hard through
my snorkel until
Michael comes into view.
Except I’m here.
He’s there.
Gotta change that up.
But today, this moment
of jeweled wonder floating
in pure clear ocean
I can watch, wait
and love him.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chapter 15 - Back to Michael

Here's the start of Chapter 15! Enjoy. I'm going to get up early and write a Leesie poem about Michael in a wetsuit. I think that's a nice, satisfying way to leave you for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm going to save my announcement for after the break. Look for it Monday.

Until tomorrow, here's a good shot of Michalness!



Dive Buddy: students           
Date:  06/01
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site: pool
Weather Condition: sunny
Water Condition: calm
Depth:  10’
Visibility:  perfect
Water Temp:  82
Bottom Time:  15 minutes

            Back at work. Three days off with Leesie weren’t enough. I’m teaching today, so I bring her along. Can’t leave her alone. Not yet. The fear is still too fresh.
            The classroom stuff is a good review. She doesn’t get in the pool—but she sits on the edge with her feet in the water, and follows my every move, nodding her head like she’s mentally going through the motions.
            I can’t wait until she gets that stupid cast off her arm. Then we’ll really dive. One week from today she has an appointment. I’m taking her for sure. I want to be there. If all goes well, they’ll saw that junk off her hand and not put a new cast back on. Her collarbone seems to be doing well—her arm is out of the sling more than it’s in.
It’s been over a month since she shaved her head. Her hair is growing fast—almost an inch. At least that’s what she says. It’s more than half an inch—I’ll give her that.  Yesterday she searched all over the apartment to find a ruler to measure it with. Made me promise to buy her one. Even at half an inch, it’s coming in thick enough to give the scar some camo. She doesn’t put make up on every day, but the spa ladies at the rehab place gave her heavy-duty stuff that makes a big difference with the part of the scar that marks up her forehead. If she wants to get cosmetic surgery, that’s fine with me. Whatever. If it makes her happy, I’m down with it.
I’ve got to go under the water with my students. I swim over to Leesie. “We’ll be down about fifteen minutes.” I don’t like not being able to watch her. Since I found her Thursday, I’ve been with her all day—until I turned her over to Alex—who was stupid enough to take off before I woke up on Saturday.
That scared me. Leesie was fine—up making me French toast, but still. Stupid, Alex. What was she thinking?
Now, Leesie slips off her sling and picks up a mask and snorkel she borrowed from the shop. “Can I watch you from the surface?”
I squeeze her knees. “Sure.” Freak, I love her. “Great idea.”
She gets me to tape a grocery bag around her cast while my students haul out of the pool then watch us.
“How come she gets special attention during our lesson?” A middle-aged lady with a giant butt wants to know when I rejoin them.
I grin back at the lady. “Because she’s my fiancé.” Yeah. It feels good to say that.
The lady shuts up—smiles back at me even. “Congratulations.”
“Gear up, guys. What are you waiting for?”
No one says you messing around with your babe—for that I’m grateful. Go easy on them. I coach the class of four through getting all their gear on, make them jump in, review descent when we’re bobbing on the surface. And then we’re down.
Big butt lady gets nervous, but I’m in her face—encouraging her to breathe, in and out, slow and calm—until we wear the panic down. She’ll love me after this.
I glance up quick to check for Leesie. She’s off to the side watching.
She watches me.
I watch her.
We both hesitate to rock any boats.
She wants me to look up getting married in Cayman. I keep putting it off. I promised her dad to bring her home first. She’ll freak when she hears that, but what else could I do?
I’m taking Leese out on the boat with me tomorrow. More watching. These students are doing a check out dive in the calm, shallow water inside the reef. The water is way too rough on the East End for  Leesie to sit on the boat when we go out of the reef on normal dives. She’d be puking her guts up for sure.
She can come with me tomorrow. No prob.  I’ve got morning dives on Wednesday. Then students again in the afternoon. I can bring her along in the afternoon, but what about the morning? Alex is booked on the boat with me. Cooper is captain. Gabriel, Brock, and Ethan have the other boat. That leaves Seth.
Would he hang out with her that morning? Nothing obvious or anything. She’d be ticked if she found out I’d set up a watch dog. I so don’t want to ask him. Makes me nervous—yes, jealous. But what else can I do?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, Monday! Chapter 14, part 2

What a Monday! I drug myself out of bed early, packed up my computer and my croaking wooden frogs, and went down to Salk Elementary School where a writer friend teaches all the fourth graders writing. We had so much fun, but three hours of non-stop talking to nine-year-olds took all my creative strength. I tell you I had to force myself to write this post. If it weren't for you guys, I would not have got this done. Which is good. Actually, it's great. Deadlines motivate me. Thanks for making me accountable. And then I signed on again and read all your sweet, sweet comments. I LOVE YOU, TOO!!

I'm working on a project that I'm going to invite all of my SING ME TO SLEEP readers to be a part of. It's going to be so exciting. I hope to get things pulled together by tomorrow to announce it. Watch for that.

And at lunch, I snuck out of the school and headed for the post office to mail out bookmarks. If you don't get some in a week or so, email me. Maybe I don't have your address. International letters will take a bit longer than that. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click on the "bookmarks" tab!

Okay. Business is done. Here's what you've waited all weekend for--the second half of Chapter 14. Leesie and Kim's chat actually serve as what we call in the biz an "info dump." Something we try to avoid, but sometimes necessary. When you put information in dialogue or create a scene to convey the info, it's far more palatable to the reader than paragraphs of simply telling. I am just telling here. But when you couch telling in dialogue, it feels more like "revealing," even when you're playing catch up like I am.

I tried to clear up some of the hanging threads that you, my kind reader/editors, pointed out.


Leesie327 says:  He won’t leave my side, and I like it.
Kimbo69 says:  How’s he managing that?
Leesie327 says: Took the rest of the week off.
Kimbo69 says:  They let him?
Leesie327 says: Everybody owes him shifts. He’s been working too hard.
Kimbo69 says:  You guys ever heard of the balance?
Leesie327 says: Maybe I should lose all hope more often.
Kimbo69 says:  Hardly balanced! You know Michael isn’t your only hope.
Leesie327 says:  Thanks, Kim. I know I can count on you.
Kimbo69 says:  I talked to your dad again. He says, “Hi.”
Leesie327 says:  I didn’t say you could call him!
Kimbo69 says:  He called me.
Leesie327 says:  You didn’t spill anything, did you?
Kimbo69 says: I was so tempted. But that’s your job, my friend.
Leesie327 says: I don’t want to talk about it.
Kimbo69 says:  Well, you better think about it.
Leesie327 says: I’m not thinking about anything ever again.
Kimbo69 says:  Leesie’s getting lazy!
Leesie327 says:  I’m healing—it takes a lot of energy.
Kimbo69 says: So what have you guys been doing with all this time together?
Leesie327 says: Michael slept in today. I sat on the floor and watched his face.
Kimbo69 says: Riveting.
Leesie327 says: It was! I had to tear myself away to make him Gram’s gooey cinnamon French toast.
Kimbo69 says: Gosh, that sounds good. Mail me some.
Leesie327 says: Sure thing. We sat on the balcony and ate it look out at the ocean. If diamonds were turquoise it would be this water.
Kimbo69 says:  Aquamarines?
Leesie327 says: Something like that. We talked about Suki.
Kimbo69 says: [Insert loud choking sounds here!!] Oh, my gosh—did he finally fess up?
Leesie327 says: Yup.
Kimbo69 says:  The creep.
Leesie327 says:  No—don’t say that. He was a hero.
Kimbo69 says: For getting it on with a professional?
Leesie327 says: She enticed him—you saw how gorgeous she is—and he admitted he was tempted, but even though I shoved his ring back in his face like a stupid brute, he didn’t do it. He had my ring around his neck. It stopped him.
Kimbo69 says: You believe him?
Leesie327 says: A hundred percent.
Kimbo69 says: But they were kissing. The whole world saw the photo.
Leesie327 says: The creep she was with beat her up, and Michael took care of her—helped her get back to her people. The Sea Gypsies. She kissed him good-bye. Isn’t he amazing?
Kimbo69 says:  Are you sure he’s not making that up to make himself look good? Wanted to do a prostitute doesn’t shine in my book.
Leesie327 says: No way. I had to pry the story out of him. Now I can tell our kids their dad’s a hero. He saved me, too, you know. Don’t forget that.
Kimbo69 says: You’re having kids?
Leesie327 says: Lots of them.
Kimbo69 says: You going to start that right away?
Leesie327 says: Why not? I can’t go back to school from here.
Kimbo69 says: He won’t let you go back?
Leesie327 says: He’d take me back in a second. I can tell he wants to bring it up, but he’s afraid I’ll flip out again.
Kimbo69 says: So you’re going to stay in Cayman and have babies?
Leesie327 says: I’ll go wherever he wants to and have babies.
Kimbo69 says: You’re too young.
Leesie327 says: When my mom was pregnant with Stephie, my grandmother always said, “Young bodies are made for making babies.” She’d look straight at me and say, “Don’t wait until you’re over the hill. Have them in your twenties.”
Kimbo69 says: You’ve got a good decade or more reproduce then.
Leesie327 says: But a baby with Michael’s eyes would be so cute.
Kimbo69 says: And your life would be over.
Leesie327 says: Or just beginning.
Kimbo69 says: How twisted can you be? The goal is always not to get pregnant, hon.
Leesie327 says: Not always.
Kimbo69 says: Are you trying to tell me you’re knocked up? That was fast.
Leesie327 says: No chance of that.
Kimbo69 says: Still?
Leesie327 says: We made a truce. I promised to stop trying to get him into bed.
Kimbo69 says: Crap—he is a hero.
Leesie327 says: Yeah. He’s guarding my useless virtue.
Kimbo69 says: What did he promise?
Leesie327 says: To find out how to get married on Cayman.