Working Title: Out of the Woods
This Book Is In Development
17-year-old Zaidyn Mitchell thinks being known as a book nerd makes him weird enough—until he wakes up on his bedroom ceiling the first morning of his senior year. He’s entered one of his beloved fantasy stories, where he’s the main character in a cast of magical creatures hidden in plain sight. A newbie-weird-wizard-extraordinaire—Zaidyn must navigate his newfound identity, learn to fit in with his fellow freaks, and avoid scaring away Piper Duke, the girl of his dreams. While learning to control his magic builds his confidence, deciding to help Piper with her school-wide recycling project gives him hope that maybe she’ll find his nerdiness endearing. Thinking to impress her, he agrees to help Piper’s father promote a project for a new library in a fairy tale-like wooded area outside of town. But every good story has conflict. Those in control of the magical community set the law for all and the rules are simple: avoid discovery and keep to your own kind. Despite warnings from friends and foes, Zaidyn pursues a relationship with the normal human Piper, earning them both the ire—and retaliation—of the ones in charge. Things go from bad to shitstorm when Project-Impress-Piper-With-a-Library backfires. His parents, the realtors representing the mystery landowners, adamantly protest the project. Piper also strives to protect the wooded land the anonymous financial backer insists on using. She asks Zaidyn to help bring the landowners forward to defend themselves but learns he has sided with her father. Caught in the middle, Zaidyn tries to help her, but his investigation only brings more questions: Who really owns the land? Why is someone so bent on destroying the woods? What are his parents hiding? As he grows closer to the answers—and to Piper—the outside pressure mounts, building toward a conclusion that makes Zaidyn wonder if they will ever truly be… …out of the woods.
Times are rough right now, especially for those who thrive on social contact. But for those of us who lean more toward the introverted side (ahem, many authors) staying at home is a bit more manageable. My new character, Zaidyn falls into the latter category, too. He would probably be perfectly happy to sit at home and escape into the books he loves. Good thing he has a VERY extroverted best friend to help him experience the world. Iggy refuses to let Zaidyn be a homebody. Of course, today, Zaidyn could give Iggy a big fat "I told you so!" :)
"This story is about love, social acceptance, jealousy, and more...an engaging read.” —Readers’ Favorite
They have a secret.
No one in Elkwood High School’s class of 1986 knows that seniors Mike Ryan and Cindy Wilson are dating, except for their best friends, Hayden and Molly. According to her mama, Cindy can’t date until her one-hundredth birthday or she graduates college, whichever comes first.
On the other hand, Mike longs to shout his love from the rooftops. They’re in love. How hard can it be? But to Cindy, family is everything. With her ailing father at home, she’ll do anything to protect him from the potential stress caused by the prejudice toward her interracial relationship. Afraid of losing Mike though, she’ll compromise to make him happy…
Their newly revealed relationship becomes more frenzied than Gremlins in the kitchen after midnight. Social tensions, jealousy, and rumors of an unwanted pregnancy threaten to destroy everything. When Cindy’s twin brother's confrontation with Mike gets physical, Cindy’s greatest fear becomes a reality—her father’s illness turns critical. And she feels that it’s all her fault.
Struggling to overcome barriers erected by their families and peers and prove he’s the right guy for her, Mike desperately performs an act of supreme sacrifice that could save their relationship—but it might just cost him his life.
Love is hard and sometimes we make mistakes. This scene from Breaking the Barriers shows the aftermath of a blind date Cindy's mother made her go on. While it really wasn't her fault, Cindy still has to face the consequences. But of course, she handles it in her "Cindy" way and stands up for herself while still acknowledging the guilt she feels.
Sometimes, life is good. Everything seems to be going right and you're happy with what you have. But all it takes is a moment for things to turn south. In this scene The teens have taken Cindy's and Elijah's little brothers along with Mike's little brother to a pizza/game restaurant to have some fun while Cindy's mom is at the hospital dealing with their sick father. It's a fun time, but the stresses of illness and their biracial relationship, and the reactions of society to it are just under the surface waiting to suck the joy from the evening.
Fighting with your best friend is the worst.They are supposed to be the ones who have your back--not the ones who stab you in it. But it happens. Here, Mike confronts Hayden about his knowledge of Cindy's botched blind date her mother forced her to go on. Having already made up with Cindy over the matter, Mike is still angry at Hayden for not telling him. But Hayden, the old soul, has his reasons and Mike gets it. Still, like most guys, Mike isn't good at telling his feeling so instead... he shows them.
Mike has always viewed the world through rose colored glasses. He never had to really struggle for anything and believes people are good, for the most part. He has a difficult time understanding why Cindy won't just tell her parents about him. They're in love. What could be wrong with that? Cindy is definitely more in tune with the ways of the world. She's seen more of the ugly side of human nature and is afraid of it. In this scene, Mike gets a glimpse into her world when he meets her parents at a track meet. They still don't know about him, but with her mother's intuition, Cindy's mom notices their attraction. She drops a bomb to try and stop it. Mike gets a harsh lesson in Relationships 101.
Cindy has a strong relationship with her twin brother, Elijah. Their family motto, Cindy jokes, should be "I got your back." Mike has a very different relationship with his older brother Tony. In some ways they are alike: stubborn, opinionated, overprotective. But they are also unique, as siblings are. In this scene, Tony learns that Mike and Cindy are dating... and he's not too happy about it. He's worried about the race issue, but it goes way deeper than that. (You find that out later.) I wrote Tony this way because even within a family, members can have very different views on what is acceptable. The old cliche rings true: Family. You have to love them, but you don't have to like them.
I loved writing this scene between Cindy and her twin brother, Elijah. It showcases their differences, yet totally shows the strength of their connection, too. Their relationship is typical of siblings.They argue and get on each other's nerves, tease, and threaten to narc to their parents. But when there's trouble, family comes first and they "got each other's backs"... no matter what.
Cindy's mom does not allow her to date because she is afraid Cindy will end up pregnant. It seems to her that all the ladies at work know at least one teenage girl with that problem. But with pressure from Cindy's dad, Mom finally agrees to allow it... but only if SHE gets to choose the guy. This scene shows Cindy's and the family's reactions to the blind date her mom sets up for her. It was a fun scene to write because it was filled with so many contrasting emotions; Cindy's disbelief, anger, and guilt, Elijah's humor and protectiveness, Mom's controlling attitude, and Dad's love for his daughter. Enjoy!
Every family has problems. Those problems don't stay within the walls of our homes. They bleed into our lives and affect everything we do and how we interact with the world. In Barriers, it's the stresses in her family that lead Cindy to hide her relationship with Mike to spare her family from dealing with even more issues. She desperately wants to have a normal relationship, but wants to keep her family happy and safe at the same time. This scene shows the motives behind her secrecy and explains how someone so in love with her boyfriend could still think hiding was the best option.
Mike Ryan is an interesting character, LOOSELY based on my middle son. He loves Cindy and thinks that's all that matters. Maybe he's right but as seasoned adults know, society never sees things through the eyes of innocence. Though this book is set in 1986, (my teenhood) the views of society haven't changed a whole lot. My middle son has been with his girlfriend, who is bi-racial, since they were in high school. They didn't face too many issues from being a mixed race couple, but even for them there were times when some questioned it, lightly for the most part or out of curiosity but the questions were still there. Like many friends of mine in the 80's, Mike and Cindy faced more opposition--both the light AND the dark, even some brought on by themselves. It's Mike's naivete that makes him such a relatable character. Much like my son, Mike believes in the power of love and the goodness of people. His attitude is what many hope to see reflected in others--acceptance and love for those who are different from themselves. Unfortunately, Mike finds out later just how hard this relationship can be.
Working Title: BREAKING THE CYCLE
This Book Is In Development
No synopsis has been added for this book
Society blames delinquent behavior on everything from video games to commercials, but it's mostly parenting that determines how a child's personality will develop and the choices they will make. Kids learn through example and by watching the adults around them. If those adults are toxic, the poison they spew will shape the way their children grow. In my 25 years of teaching, I've seen fabulous parenting and mediocre parenting. Unfortunately, I've seen all too much the type of troubled parents who make you wonder why they even bothered to have children in the first place. Here, Andrea's parents reflect the cases I've witnessed over the years. Knowing some of my students have come from a dysfunctional family helps me to understand them and to find a way to help them learn despite the challenges they face. As an outsider to their world, it's easy to say, "They just need to try harder to get out of that situation." And some do. But they are the exception, not the rule. This excerpt shows the relationship between Andrea and her dad. I hope it gives you an understanding about her character because down the line, there are going to be huge choices for her to make and I want my reader to understand the reason behind the decisions she will ultimately make.
Here is the first scene of my newest book. Part of my process for writing a story is to create a rough plot structure outline before I begin writing. But then, I like to start, letting my character dictate the flow of the story in the beginning. Andrea's character has taken over already! I can't wait to see where she takes us! Enjoy the sample and follow me for more!
These are literally the first two lines in my new story. Short and far from sweet, but they should give you a pretty good idea what this story will be about. Keep watching for more bubbles as I take this journey with Andrea, a character based on the students I have taught for the past 25 years. Better grab a tissue or two... it's a rocky road ahead.
“[A] fun mix of drama and sweetness…” — Readers’ Favorite
Seventeen-year-old Molly Mason runs for her life—literally. Her plans include racing her heart out for a cross country scholarship to get out of her craptastic little town, even if it means leaving behind her hot and cold boyfriend, Trevor.
Hayden Bishop, Trevor’s best friend, has a secret: He’s head over heels in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. When Trevor dumps Molly, Hayden decides to break the sacred bro code and shoot his shot. Soon, he and Molly find themselves entangled in a relationship with more twists and turns than a Rubik’s Cube.
As the finish line to their senior year is in sight, the obstacles mount. Trevor strikes back at Hayden by placing doubt in the new relationship, Molly’s scholarship is put in jeopardy, Hayden’s chance to prove himself is slipping away, and someone gets arrested…
They’re struggling to finish together, but Molly and Hayden know the hardest part of a race is somebody always has to lose.
For anyone who has never been in a mentally abusive relationship, it's hard to understand how someone could keep believing the lies they are told. Keep falling for the same old lines or thinking that the person "isn't that bad" to them. This scene between Molly and her ex, Trevor, is a perfect example of how the abuser in a relationship controls the emotions of their victim with lies and manipulation better known as the bait and switch. Trevor is a master. Unfortunately, his character was based on my and my daughter's friend's personal experience.
Cindy is Molly's biggest supporter. She has Molly's back... no matter what. Normally, she takes the lead during Molly's confusion and gives solid advice. In this scene, Molly takes control of the situation and Cindy doesn't agree with her choices. If you've ever fought with your best friend, you'll understand the emotions of both girls. But don't pick a side yet because things aren't always what they seem. Enjoy!
We've all had one. The BFF. The one you thought you'd spend your life hanging out with, going to school with, growing old with. Your kids would also become best friends and you'd all live happily ever after. Many do, but sometimes, under that mask of friendship lies jealousy and resentment that overshadows the good and eats away at the relationship. The person you thought would always have your back, instead stabs you in it. This scene shows that moment between Hayden and Trevor. If you've ever lost a best friend then this scene will hit home.
Some parents blur the line between parent/friend, wanting instead to be the "cool mom or dad." As a parent, I strive to do what's right for my kids. And sometimes that means I have to play the meanie. They may get angry at me, but I know in the long run, they will be better off with the rules and structure I impose. Molly's mom, Lisa, represents the type of mom I try to be. She's understanding and gives great advice, but also encourages Molly to think and make decisions based on what she thinks is right. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Molly's relationship with her strong, single mom.
Sometimes abuse is a hard to see and understand. Molly is in a mentally abusive relationship with her boyfriend Trevor, the king of the bait-and-switch. He deflects the blame for his transgressions onto Molly and makes her feel guilty. Everyone close to her sees it--her mom, Cindy, and especially Hayden. Why can't Molly? Why does she put up with it? If you've never been in a relationship like this, you may think “I’d never take that from someone.” Many blame the victim for staying—or coming back. Having worked with several families over the years with abusive relationships, and having been in one myself, I sympathize with the victims. Blaming Molly for staying is wrong. Manipulators like Trevor, target people they know they can control. He's cute, rich, popular... and Molly falls for his bait. He reels her in then messes with her head. She can't defend herself from him because she is in too deep, loses sight of what a normal relationship looks like. Her insecurities make it easy for Trevor to continue using her. I've seen it happen. I've had it happen. Hindsight is 20/20, but when you're in the middle of it, all bets are off. This scene is just one example of Trevor's abusive power over Molly.
Have you ever liked someone so much your heart stopped when they walked into the room? That's how Hayden feels about Molly--his best friend's girlfriend. Only, what if he saw her first? What if the best friend stole her before Hayden got a chance to share his feelings? Hayden is tired of living out the lyrics to a Rick Springfield song. He's the loyal friend to someone not worthy but what's a guy to do? He can't break the bro code... ...right?
Authors sometimes get inspiration from weird things. The inspiration for this book came during a (very) rainy soccer tournament for my middle son. I was standing with another mom, talking about our teen boys and their current girlfriends. She told the story of her son's friend going out with an ex-girlfriend of her son. We laughed about his friend breaking the bro code and I thought, "Hey, that would be a great title for a book." And that's literally how I got the idea. After I dried out over the next few days (It was a VERY rainy tournament.) I prepared for an annual event in the writing world called Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. I wrote Bro Code during the first two weeks, edited over the next couple, got critiques from my writing group, and the book was born! Being the person I am, I focused on the issue of mental abuse in teen relationships; specifically the bait-and-switch personality that Trevor embodies in the book. We all know guys like him who make every bad thing they do someone else's fault. I wanted to show today's teens that they shouldn't be with (or BE) a person like that. Life is too short. Find a partner who respects you and isn't afraid to show it--because you deserve it.
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