Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time-travel, Action, Adventure, and Romance--Sometimes They're Planned. Other Times Not So Much

Today I’ll write the ending scene of my novel, The Pirate Episode. I expected to end this novel months ago, so I’ve been looking forward to this scene for a long time.

 To be honest, I struggled with The Pirate Episode. I love time-travel, action, adventure, romance, but still, this book pushed some of my social buttons. In retrospect, I wonder what prompted me to write it, because honestly, if my son came home with a girl ten years his junior, I would be bugged. Although, it didn’t bother me at all when my 50 year old friend married her 40 year old boyfriend. I think it would have bothered me if they had been 30 and 20.

What made me write this story? I’m not sure.

Sometimes I’m that way with scenes. Usually, I can see the scene in my mind weeks before I actually write it. That’s where I am today. I’ve been looking forward to this scene since I started The Pirate Episode last January. But every once in a while, I’ll write a scene that seems to come out of nowhere. And I’ll love it, but it will still make me wonder—where did that come from? Why didn’t I see that coming? It’s perfect, it had to happen, and yet—where and why? That’s how I feel about this scene from Witch Ways. It’s one of my very favorite scenes ever, but I still feel like it blindsided me.
Does this ever happen to anyone else?
Witch Winter Coming Soon


An unexpected excerpt from Witch Ways:
Relief zinged through me. I had the shoes. No one could connect me—or Court—with Lauren Silver. Leaning back, I tipped my head and gazed at the stars, thanking them. I was minutes from my bed and sleep, and . . . what was pressing against my leg?
I looked down but saw nothing. Dismissing it as phantom alarm, I stood, tied the laces of the shoes together and looped them around my neck. I zipped up my jacket so no one could see them, and headed for home.
A motor roared up behind me. Turning, I spotted Josh. He narrowed his eyes and pulled his bike next to me.
His blue eyes glared at me. “What the hell, Evie?” His breath stank like Lauren’s house. Beer—or something else? Was he drunk and mad? Just one was bad, but the two combined seemed over the top.
“What the booze, Josh?” I retorted without stopping.
He straddled his idling bike and used his feet to scoot and keep up with me. Blinking slowly, he focused on my face. “You sent my little brother onto the field?”
“I gave him a message to give to you.”
“He said you sent him on the field.”
“Believe it or not, I was trying to help.”
“Yeah. Well, next time, don’t!” He rolled beside me. “I helped you! I didn’t even ask what you were doing, or why you were hanging at that woman’s house, or—”
“Shh!” I hissed at him.
“Don’t shh me!” he yelled. “You don’t get to shh me!”
I looked up and down the deserted street. “Be quiet!” I whispered as loudly as I could.
I will not be quiet!” he yelled.
Several dogs started barking.
“Very mature, Josh. Now look what you’ve done.” I shoved my hands into my pockets, and headed home.
Josh rolled beside me. “What are you doing out here, Evie?”
“None of your beeswax.”
He got off his bike, let it fall beside him, and stepped directly in front of me. He was huge with his football gear on, but now, inches away, he looked behemoth. Leaning forward so his nose almost touched mine, he repeated, slowly, “What are you doing out here, Evie?”
He reeked.
I resisted the urge to back away. “Josh, you aren’t going to tell anyone you saw me tonight, and you definitely aren’t going to tell anyone you picked me up on the Old Barn Road on Wednesday.”
“Why not?” He edged closer, but I stood my ground, despite his smell.
“Because if you do, I’ll tell your mom and dad you were drinking and driving.”
Josh reeled back as if I’d slapped him. He stared down at me, blinking.
“I was going to get a scholarship,” he said quietly.
“You still can,” I said with a lot more conviction than I felt.
His shoulders slumped and he sadly wagged his head, looking a lot like Scratch after a long day. “There was a talent scout there from UConn, and after the Lincoln thing, I couldn’t catch anything. The ball actually hit me in the face.”
“You mean it hit your helmet.”
“Same thing.”
“Not really. You’re not even bruised.”
“I’m bruised, Evie! My . . .” he floundered, searching for the right word, “chances are bruised.”
“You mean your ego is bruised. The season just started.” I went over to the bike, picked it up, pulled the key from the ignition and tucked it in my pocket.
“No. It’s over for me.” He reclaimed his bike, but didn’t ask for the key. He fell into step beside me, panting. “What am I going to do? I can’t spend the rest of my life at the furniture shop. I just can’t.”
I bumped him with my shoulder. “One bad game isn’t going to ruin your life or set you on a career path.”
Josh stopped in the middle of the road and looked over his shoulder. “Hey,” he said. “Who’s your friend?”
“What?” I looked around and didn’t see anyone.
Josh pointed and I followed his finger to a black cat with amber eyes sitting next to my boot.
“Shoo!” I hissed.
The cat didn’t flinch.
Sighing, I bent over and picked him up. He started to purr as if I had just flipped an on-switch.
“He likes you,” Josh said.
“Doesn’t matter. I can’t keep him.” I checked the little silver tag attached to his collar, but I couldn’t read it in the semidarkness. “Scratch wouldn’t like him.”
“Well, he can’t come to my house. We already have five cats. It’s like I live in a damn zoo.”
“Josh!”
“It’s true! I’m in a cage with a bunch of animals.”
I stopped and put the cat down at my feet. “What’s with you? I love your family, and I know you do, too. You’re lucky.”
“Don’t lecture me, Evie. I get enough of that at home . . . and at work.” He left me with a clear view of his backside.
I had to trot to keep up. “You don’t have to work at your dad’s store.”
He shrugged. “Whatever.”
Which was code for screw you, and I knew it. And it hurt.
“Don’t be that way, Josh.”
“What way, Evie?”
Now he was emphasizing my name, which was way worse than saying whatever.
“Ew. I don’t like you drunk.”
He opened his mouth to say something, and I braced myself because I knew whatever it was, it was going to sting.
He closed his mouth, and silently walked away, taking his bike with him. But after about five steps, he stopped, turned, and glared at me.
“I can’t let you be out here by yourself in the dark.”
“You don’t need to babysit me.” I pointed at the cat. “Besides, I’m not alone.”
He didn’t say anything, but watched me with a tight-lipped scowl. When I caught up with him, he fell into step beside me. We didn’t speak all the way home.
I turned to him at the gate. “Thanks,” I said. “Be sure and use mouthwash. And you better do your own laundry.”
He nodded. “Next time you decide to take a walk at midnight, please don’t.”
“Night, Josh.”
“Night, Evie.” He paused. “You’re not going to tell Bree, are you?”
I shook my head. “Not this time, but probably next time for sure.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Notes from Education Week

I'm at BYU's Education Week and I absolutely love it. Here are some notes from a few of the classes I've taken.

Michael Wilcox- Forgiveness 

Would you be the son who lost his father, or the father who lost his son? Flooded by memories of the wonderful times he had spent with his children, he thought about his love for his own sons, and realized what his father lost by not being apart of his life. Finally, he was able to have compassion and forgiveness for his father who had abandoned him.

Do you want to be right, or do you want to have peace? If we’re human, we forgive. Shakespeare: With their high wrongs, I am cut to the quick. Not a frown further. And they shall be themselves, their true selves.


Ron McMillan Conversations:
How to spot Life’s Most Important Conversations
Relationships, greatest source of pain and joy. We only take our life lessons and relationships with us when we die. We work out our salvations with others. Relationships are the means of becoming exalted.
Three components of relationship
1.     Interactions with each other
2.     our thoughts about each other
3.     our feelings about each other
One interaction, one conversation at a time. Most conversations are routine and casual. But not all conversations are equal. Some have huge impact. We need to stop and think about those important conversations.
CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE RISKS OF NOT SPEAKING UP
The measure of success is not whether or not you have a tough problem, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.

Elder Anderson, Devotional
God is merciful to all who believe on His name. Faith is not stagnant. It is either growing or diminishing. As evil increases, the Lord will increase our faith. The Lord blessed Noah and his family, but he still required them to enter the ark. The Lord promised a land, but the saints still had to pick up their handcarts and walk.


CHARLES HAMILTON: CHANGING THE WAY WE TALK TO OURSELVES WILL CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK AND FEEL
Negativity, magnifying every issue, every mistake, and disregarding our good qualities: an interior  dialogue is happening all the time, confirming or reaffirming our believes. Be aware of what you’re saying to yourself. Is your self talk helping or hurting? Because it has a powerful effect on our goals, behavior, and where we will go. It can change our lives. Happiness is caused by THE STORY WE TELL ourselves.
I love challenges and each one is taking me to where I want to be.
Embrace imperfections
            Be grateful
            Rejoice in our blessings
Change through the atonement of Christ. The idea that we’re stuck, is a lie. We can always change our attitude.
            
Scott Marsh: Prosperity
The first wealth is health

 Wayne Gretsky- Good players skate to the puck, great players skate to where the puck is going to be.
Ten Ways to Increase Your Health Wealth
      1. risk profile
2. test/exams
3. take tests to minimize risks
4. DNA test
5. get a super computer (medical ap)
6. do something positive to change your health
7. health savings account
8. TED talks
9. open source options
10. engage in world class health care and medical solutions

Emotional Intelligence: Richard Himmer
Every person should function in a safe space; free from boundary intrusions, and free from a reliance on other people for happiness. Can you say, “something went wrong in that conversation, can you tell me what it was? We often talk when the other person needs to breathe. There is no advantage to passivity. Peacemakers can cause as much damage as bullies. “I see the same goal, but I see a different way to get it.” Conflict is practice to get what we want. It’s okay to not agree.

Instead of defending yourself, ask questions.
Bullies love to watch people defend themselves. Bullies are closet cowards and they like to make people feel powerless. And the whiners like to whine, because being a victim makes them feel good about themselves.

Inflect your voice going down to help people not feel threatened. An inflection going up is threatening. Ask open ended questions. Go to a neutral position.

Don’t try to change others, change yourself, and then they have to change because the situation has changed.

EMPATHY- the ability to mind map another’s brain
Recognizing, understanding, appreciating how other people feel. Empathy is the ability to articulate your understanding another’s perspective. Give undivided attention that’s all about the other person. When it becomes all about you, you take the wind out of the relationship. Get yourself out of the story. Ask questions about them.

WEIGHTIER MATTERS: Steven Tersigni, MD
How Important is my weight?

The body is the tabernacle of the spirit and God expects us to keep it clean. We are overfed and  undernourished, digging a grave with our teeth.
“YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN.”
Man is a tabernacle of God. Our bodies attest to our divine nature. How you use your body effects your spirit. Development of the spirit is of eternal consequences. Our pursuits need to be a tribute to God.

This is just a snippet of the things I've been learning this week.