#WIPpet Wednesday A Little Bit of Spooky

The Summer Between is out into the world now! I had an amazing launch and book signing on Monday at The Corner Cup. (I always appreciate a different sort of Monday.) I am super grateful to my friends, family, and community for all their support.

FYI, The Summer Between is Jackalope approved. Pick up a copy today!

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I made the front cover my hometown paper The Herald & Tribune. This week’s edition was very small town, my book launch, a local artist and his toaster art, and the hometown barber shop gets an update. A lovely little slice of Americana. I truly love where I live, and this is my equivalent of Rolling Stone. Read the article here.

Since I must leave The Summer Between behind in this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, I will turn my attention to October and storytelling and spooky stories. The International Storytelling Festival takes place in Jonesborough the first full weekend of October. Tents pop up all over town and stories are everywhere! It’s a busy time, but a magical time.

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This is my current view in my work parking lot.

I fancy myself an amateur storyteller, and I’ve been asked to tell spooky stories again this year at Brews and Boos on October 26.

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It’s scary stories outside after dark with beer! What’s not to like? I always try and tell original stories for this, one because of copyright issues and respect, and two because it gives me a chance to write spooky stuff. I also fancy myself an amateur horror writer. I like giving myself the heebie jeebies. One day I’ll write a really great horror story, until then I like to dabble in the genre.

Below is a snippet from one of the original stories I’ll be telling at this year’s Brews and Boos. I honestly haven’t looked at it since I wrote it way back in 2006. (There is so much editing in my future.) It’s entitled “Some Things Are Beyond Our Control.”

This week I’ve got 30 sentences from this short story. For my WIPpet math we have (10+3+18-1=30) for 10/3/18.

 

. . .Vincent couldn’t let it end at that.  No, there had to be one more punch, one more stab.  “Oh, no, no, no,” Vincent chastised as he hurried after her.  “You’re going to leave me with that?” 

Julia kept walking.  “Yep.”  She moved down the stairs, headed for the door. 

Vincent finally stopped her there.  His hand grabbed hold of the front door as she opened it.  “What’s his name?” 

It was Julia’s turn to sigh, but it wasn’t a sigh of feigned boredom or pretend superiority.  It was a sigh, an honest sigh.  “I don’t want to be with anyone, remember? But I find your jealousy incredibly flattering.” 

Vincent folded his arms and leaned against the door frame.  “I’m not jealous.” 

Julia smiled and looked at the ground.  It was a smile he’d seen only a few times before.  It wasn’t her cruel and coy smile.  This was her real smile, simple and shy.  It made Vincent stop and take notice.  It took all the brag and bluster out of him. 

“I’m spending time with my family this weekend, and there’s a lot of business I need to take care of.”  Julia raised her head and looked at him.  This was the truth. 

“And this is all going to carry on into next weekend, too?” Vincent asked.

“No.  I have to finish it now.  I’m going to die on Sunday.”  Vincent’s hold on the door faltered and Julia was able to push it open enough and slip out of the house.

#TheSummerBetween #storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

(Photo credits: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash_

The Summer Between is Out Now!

The Summer Between is available now, just in time for National Book Month!

You can order the book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Mountain Gap Books!

“When I was eighteen years old, I knew everything there was to know about anything ever in the history of the entire world. I thought I was a genuine, Stephen Hawking-level genius. My entire life stretched ahead of me, and everything I’d ever wanted was going to be handed to me on a silver platter carried by admiring angels who’d ask, in dulcet tones, “Brendon, how’d you get to be so cool?”

I also thought I was immortal.

Thank God for summer break, for those ten weeks between high school and college when life took me roughly by the collar, shook me hard, and said with a deep, guttural laugh, “Buckle up, kid, ’cause I’m drivin’, and you don’t know squat.”

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After you purchase a copy of the book, please leave a review. That’s how all artists learn and improve.

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #NationalBookMonth

The Summer Between – The Elephant in the Room

This may come as a shocker to some of you, but I was never an eighteen year old boy. However, The Summer Between is told from Brendon’s perspective, and he is most definitely an 18 year old boy. There’s a back and forth argument I have with myself all the time – Anne, write only what you’ve experienced directly, or Anne, write to a larger truth. I like to combine both when I write, and I always try to capture the heart of my character’s story. As I’ve said before, this is Brendon’s story, and he asked me to tell it.

So, no, I was never an 18 year old boy, but I was 18 once. I remember quite well the fear of what came next, the anxiety, the stress. I remember the trepidation of leaving my friends, of leaving home. I certainly remember the anticipation that I needed to have a really good final summer because things would never be this way again. There’s a part of me in Brendon, but there is also a part of Brendon’s story that was never mine.

Some of the lessons I learned growing up are reflected in The Summer Between, lessons I wish someone had pointed out to me ahead of time, but I probably wouldn’t have listened. Hopefully Brendon listens better than I did, but we both still have a lot of growing up to do.

We’ll get there someday, in some form or fashion.

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The featured image on this blog is me at my high school graduation. The picture above is Brendon, of course. The picture below is me dressed up as the wrestler The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and giving “the People’s elbow” to my friend Nikie who was dressed up at the Undertaker. Ah, high school.

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Everyone thinks you make mistakes when you’re young. But I don’t think we make any fewer when we’re grown up .” – Jodi Picoult

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings

The Music of The Summer Between

I always listen to music when I write. My usual go to artists are The Counting Crows and The Killers. While I was writing The Summer Between, I had Mrs Potter’s Lullaby by The Counting Crows on a continuous loop. I feel like that song really captures the ups and downs of Brendon’s summer. (Ironically, this song did not make it onto his summer playlist, but it was definitely on my writing playlist.)

My taste in music is eclectic, to say the least, as is Brendon’s. You never know what will pop up on his iPod next. His musical world is a mix of genres and decades.

Music is very important to Brendon’s life. It might even be his future career. Music is also important to his older brother Derrick, and this shared passion may be the only thing that can repair their relationship.

The Summer Between features an original band, one Sticker Fish, original songs, and extreme karaoking. Each chapter follows along with Brendon’s summer playlist, which changes names and tone with his many moods. I suggest you listen to the songs either before or after you read the corresponding chapter. You can find Brendon’s playlist here.

Track List

Chapter One – The Climb, Miley Cyrus

Chapter Two – Cruel Summer, Ace of Base

Chapter Three – 9 to 5, Dolly Parton

Chapter Four – God Must Hate Me, Simple Plan

Chapter Five – Stuck In the Middle With You, Stealers Wheel

Chapter Six – Sitting, Cat Stevens

Chapter Seven – Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down), Chumbawumba

Chapter Eight – For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

Chapter Nine – I’m Not Talking, The Yardbirds

Chapter Ten – Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers

Chapter Eleven – The Best of What’s Around, Dave Matthews Band

Chapter Twelve – We’re Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister

Chapter Thirteen – Rockstar, Nickelback

Chapter Fourteen – One Hit Wonder, Everclear

Chapter Fifteen – It Ends Tonight, The All-American Rejects

Chapter Sixteen – I Shall Believe, Sheryl Crow

Chapter Seventeen – Desperado, The Eagles

Chapter Eighteen – Roll Away Your Stone, Mumford and Sons

Chapter Nineteen – Rock’N’Roll Dreams Come Through, Meatloaf

Chapter Twenty – To Be With You, Mr. Big

Chapter Twenty-One – Little Wonders, Rob Thomas

Chapter Twenty-Two – Closing Time, Semisonic

Happy reading and listening!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music

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(Photo credits: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash, Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash)

2009: The World of The Summer Between

I wrote The Summer Between during the summer of 2009. The story is set in that year, the final breath of the aughts. Here is a quick glimpse of that year and the world that is Brendon’s reality.

In 2009, MySpace is still king when it comes to Social Media. Facebook is open to the non-collegiate public and is slowly gaining speed, as is Twitter. There is no Snapchat or Instagram. iPhones were just released in 2007 and not everyone has a smartphone. Most people aren’t used to updating their social media status at a moment’s notice or getting news instantaneously.

iPods are still a thing, and music is stored on them and not a smartphone. Pictures, for the most part, are still taken on digital cameras. Cellphone photos are notoriously awful and grainy.

Fun fact, 2009 gives birth to the first “viral selfie.”

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(Melissa and her husband Jackson Brandts were exploring Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, Canada, when a ground squirrel photobombed their timed picture. )

The Great Recession of 2008 is still going strong, but it hasn’t impacted Brendon’s immediate reality. (He’s lucky.) It will definitely impact his future, though. He’s still facing the pressure to go to college and pick a career. But should he pick a career he loves, or one that will guarantee security?

Brendon lives in the suburban mountain South I know so well and grew up in. It’s not a small town, it’s not a large town, but it’s big enough to have a downtown, and a decent mall.

Avatar is the biggest movie of the year and American Idol (pre re-boot) is the biggest TV show.

And this is the 2009 version of Miley Cyrus, which will matter when you read the book.

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Get a copy of The Summer Between and enter Brendon’s world! Order now from Barnes and Noble or Amazon!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music

 

#WIPpet Wednesday Number #6 The Summer Between

It’s time for the final WIPpet Wednesday for The Summer Between. For the rest of the story, you’re just going to have to buy the book, which you can do here.

This week I’ve got 33 sentences from Chapter Seven: From Sunup to Sunup. For my WIPpet math we have (26+8-1=33) on 9/26/2018.

“Derrick rolls over the back of the car and somehow manages to land on his feet. We follow him as he unlocks the back gate and runs through the yard, finally collapsing near the patio furniture, his hands stretched toward the sky. “Come here.”

“Shouldn’t we go inside, to bed?” I ask.

“No!” He shoots me down.

“I’m sticking my feet in the pool.” Glenn moseys away from us.

I sigh and join my brother on the grass.

“We’re crossing two things off your list,” he says.

“Yeah?”

“We’ve done extreme karaokeing. Now we’re staying up ’til the sunrise. Check, check.” Derrick smiles at me and points above. The black of night has already faded to blue, and streaks of orange, red, and purple stretch across the sky.

“Thanks for tonight.” I say after a moment. He’s right. Tonight’s a favor that’s chipped away at my wall of worries until it’s nothing more than a smoldering pile of rubble.

“I love sunrises,” Derrick says. “I mean, with all the shit in the world, a good sunrise is priceless. And this one—” He shakes his finger upward. “— has the makings of a great one.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s the one time of day you can look up and believe everything’ll be okay. Know what I mean?” Derrick turns to look at me, his eyes large and pleading. I’d never seen this expression on his face before, and I’m not sure how to categorize it. “Know what I mean?” he asks again, a new urgency in his voice.

“Yeah, I guess.” My answer must be satisfactory because Derrick breathes a sigh of relief and directs his eyes back to the heavens.

“Everything is gonna be okay,” he mumbles as the sun breaks the horizon.”

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

And for some perspective, here is the first completed draft of The Summer Between in 2009.  (Gotta love the photo quality of my Samsung Glyde.)

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And here’s the book today, on the eve of its publication. Never, ever, ever give up!

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#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings

 

The Summer Between Meet the Characters Number 6 – The Rest of the Gang

We’re less than a week away from the release of The Summer Between! Over the past few weeks, I’ve introduced Brendon, his older brother Derrick, his best friend Lindsay, his good friend Glenn, and the ever straight forward Lillian. This blog is dedicated to the other characters who make up The Summer Between. There’s no way I could fit everyone in, but here are some of the other intriguing people who make up Brendon’s world and his summer.

Levi Connors Maxwell III – Brendon and Glenn’s dreaded boss at their equally dreaded summer job. He runs a tight ship in the Tri-City Mall.

“My name is Levi Connors Maxwell III. I am your manager. I have worked for The K-Nut Hut for ten years. This company graciously bestowed me with a job at the age of sixteen, and I’ve never looked back. I contemplated a military career, but the time has come and gone.’ The right side of Levi’s face, eyes, nose, mouth, the whole kit-and-caboodle, jerk upward in an awkward swoop as he mentions his former life. It’s a hell of a tick.”

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Then there are the rest of the employees at The K-Nut Hut: Thomas Jefferson, a poor soul trying to survive his first ever summer job, Samantha, who has a unique niche when it comes to sculpting, and ex-police officer Randy. There’s also Clark Smith and Kent Wilson, who may or may not be robots.

When he’s not stuck at work, Brendon is busy composing a song for Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. In Brendon’s own words, “I love Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. I have always, always loved her. I loved her in the tenth grade when she dyed her hair black and started a band with Amber and Andrea, aptly named the Triple A’s. Ashley Louise Alyssa Long is all about her music, a true artist. She’s going to get a double major in music performance and business, and then she’s going to be a talent agent. What I wouldn’t give to be her client, but I can’t get the girl to notice me. I’m just some kid in her class. That’s all I’ve ever been, but no more. On August 1, I’m going to take the stage at the annual Sinister Cyanide Lounge Singer/Songwriter Competition and blow her away.”

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Ashley’s favorite band is Sticker Fish. They’re also Brendon’s favorite band, and pretty much a musical fave for everyone in his circle. Who is Sticker Fish?

Sticker Fish is the best band ever, the sound of my generation! They’ve only been ‘on the scene’ for three years, and they’ve already had nine number one songs and two multi-platinum albums. You know their songs, such classics as ‘Monday Morning Amnesia,’ ‘Whirling Dervish Gypsy Divine,’ ‘Chew and Choke on This,’ and ‘American Rhapsody Temporarily Postponed.’ They may be big-time, but they always take time for their fans . . .”

 

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Then there is the Widow Radcliffe who lives with her plethora of small dogs in a cute, little house.

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But there’s more than meets the eye to Mrs. Radcliffe, just as there’s a little more to everyone Brendon interacts with. His summer will be filled with the unexpected, and lessons will come from all directions. Sometimes the lessons come from people he’ll never physically meet, like Bradley Simms and Lee Marcus.

How will these characters shape his summer, and maybe even the rest of his life?

Find out starting October 1!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music #songwriting

(Photo Credits: Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash, Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash)

 

 

#WIPpet Wednesday Number #5 The Summer Between

The books are here!

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We’re less than two weeks from release date, and that means there are only two #WIPpet Wednesdays left before The Summer Between is no longer a work in progress.

This week I’ve got 31 sentences from Chapter Nineteen: The Third Annual Singer/Songwriter Competition. How did Brendon and his brother get to this point and what will happen next? You’re just going to have to read the book to find out.

For my WIPpet math we have 31 sentences (19+9+2+1=31) on 9/19/2018.

“The show should’ve started five minutes ago, but I’m not surprised by the delay. I am surprised, however, when a hand touches my shoulder and a voice says, “Brendon, your brother needs you.” I look back to see Lillian sporting a headset. A long wire runs down her side and into a black box clipped to her belt. “Derrick needs you,” she repeats. “Come on.” I let her take me by the hand and lead the way. The crowd moves a little easier for her. After all, she looks official. I follow her up the side steps to the stage. She veers to the right, past the computer and fuse box. There’s a door at the back of the stage. It’s painted black and masked by curtains. She opens it for me, and I see a set of carpeted stairs leading down. “Go.” She inclines her head and I obey.

I hurry down the stairs to find a long hallway at the bottom. Numerous of doors branch off it. “Are we in the basement?”

“Good job, Sherlock,” Lillian brushes past me to assume the lead. We pass several rooms, and I can hear bands tuning and people singing. I wonder which, if any, of these rooms Sticker Fish is lounging in.

Lillian stops before the last door on the left. It’s cracked open. “You have three minutes,” she tells me.

I enter the room. “Derrick?” His guitar is on the sofa, but he isn’t in there.

“I told her not to get you,” a voice moans from the bathroom.

I push the dented door open with my finger to see Derrick crouched over the toilet, his head between his hands. “What are you doing?”

“Learning Tai-Chi,” Derrick remarks. “I’m freaking out!”

 

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings

 

 

The Summer Between Meet the Characters Number 5: Glenn Murray

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Glenn is Brendon’s close friend. Add Matt and Travis to the mix, and Brendon knows this group as “my people.” They share multiple interests and lots of memories.

 

In Brendon’s own words, “Matthew Senclair, Travis Walker, and Glenn Murray are my people. They’ve each come into my life at different times. Glenn has been there since third grade. Travis entered in the form of my lab partner in seventh grade, and Matthew found us the first day of freshman year. We’ve done lots of stuff together, like watch movies, test out the new games at that store in the mall, and gang up to kill Lindsay in World of Warcraft. We also enjoy the outdoors, and this summer we’re going on an extreme hiking and rafting adventure in the great wide open.”
But now Matt and Travis are out of the picture and Glenn is stuck working a less than stellar summer job with Brendon. Misery loves company, and at least they have each other, right? It’s not all bad, though. After all, their summer employment has introduced Glenn to a possible summer romance, the handsome young man across the way at the Smoothie King. This summer should solidify Brendon and Glenn’s friendship forever, and they should be in it together, but sometimes summer break knows no loyalties.
“But we can_t all be as lucky as you, or as self-centered.”
#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship
(Photo Credits: Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash)

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