Sorry, I’ve been incommunicado, but these past several months have been tough. I’ve had some health issues that we are still trying to figure out, but, no fear, I’ve still been working, when I can. I re-vamped Wake Up! Based on a true story of abuse and betrayal with a new and improved cover as well as rewriting the inside which added 100 more pages to the manuscript. Here’s the new cover and the redone blurb on the back:
I’ve also been working on a second book that, although is a stand alone as well, intertwines with Wake Up! I don’t have a title; the ones I’ve been throwing around just haven’t fit, but here’s a snippet anyway:
Being crammed in a conference room the size of the girls’ bathroom at school with tons of other people didn’t bode well with me. The next thing I knew, up on the “stage” jumped an extremely nerdy looking guy. Not only was he wearing a multi-colored Hawaiian shirt with puke-green pocket filled with what looked like a hand-held notebook, pocket protectors and writing utensils. He reminded me of the nerds I had seen on TV, like Saved by the Bell or Wonder Years I’d watched growing up. “Marvelous.” I huffed a huge sigh. It was probably a good thing my mom wasn’t t to hear me. She despised the exasperated sigh thing.
“How is everyone tonight? My name is Calvin Rupert, head honcho here at Youth Empowerment.” The goofy grin on his face made me want to run. Watching the door out of the corner of my eye, I wondered if I could make it out without getting caught. Hearing others mumble made me feel a little better; good, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to be there. Hearing the rumble didn’t deter the leader as he continued talking. “Hope you are all here for, not only a fantastic time, but to get to know who you are.” Grabbing a woman’s hand, he said, “This is my right hand woman, and the love of my life, my wife Saige.” The guy actually acted as if he sincerely believed the sun set and rose in her eyes. “She has spent countless hours getting ready for your arrival. There is no way I could run these seminars without her.” Saige didn’t look quite as nerdy as Calvin, but you could tell they were a perfect fit. Although her clothes matched better than his, she too had the nerd pocket with all the same stuff in it. She didn’t look like she talked much, but surprised me when, in a swift movement, grabbed the microphone from Calvin and began introducing the rest of the staff. Great! Rita was counselor, I thought as she walked up to the stage with the rest of them. I prayed fervently I wouldn’t be stuck in her group.
“Okay, counselors, go ahead and find your area (this was the place where most of the “therapy” would take place).” With that done, roll call started. When my name was called, I glared so hard my head hurt. Not only was I in Rita’s group, but so was Reghan and Georgina.
Once everyone was in their respective groups, the getting to know you game was underway. Starting things off was a guy named Evan Montgomery. He didn’t look like he was much older than my 15 years, maybe 18 or 19 with black hair, cut short, blue eyes and a killer smile. Although I thought he was cute I did my best to tune everyone out. I tried sitting off my myself, but there was a boy, about 12 or 13 with brown, curly hair and the saddest green eyes I had ever seen who followed everywhere I sat, trying to sit next to me. He looked sad and lost so I smiled at him. I didn’t bother trying to move again because I had the feeling he would follow me again anyhow. I received a tiny smile in return, but that was it. I was so absorbed in his sad little face that I barely heard anything Evan said. The only thing I heard was, “Please, call me Evan, not Mr. Montgomery. That’s what you call my father.” The comment elicited giggles and guffaws throughout the group. When the counselors were finished; there were two more, Rita Blakely and Alyah Ebdon (of course, they wanted us to call them by their first names as well), it was our turn, the screw-ups, the depressed, the goody-too-shoes, the perfectionists, the suicidal. Reghan seemed to be in her element as she told everyone about herself and our family. That left little for me to say except my name. I was not about to divulge my deepest, darkest fears and secrets to total strangers.
After me, it was the boy’s turn. He appeared to be a lot like me because the only thing he said was, “Lyle Brees” when asked to tell about himself. As the rest of the group talked about themselves, I found myself watching Lyle. What made him so sad? Why did he seem so lost? He had a haunted look about him. Lyle was shorter than me, with the curliest brown hair I’d ever seen on a boy, and piercing green eyes. Boy, when he got older, there would be a lot of hearts broken. He looked as if he might be a heartbreaker, even now, and for some reason, I wanted to know him. Little did I know, I’d learn firsthand of Lyle’s heartbreaking abilities.
Our group was the first to finish the get to know you part of our weekend so it left us time to get to know each other, for real. At least, what I thought was “for real.” For reasons I didn’t understand, I wasn’t ready nor did I want to make friends with the kids I would more than likely never see again. While everyone pretended to want to be there, for that was the way I looked at it, I got up to stretch my already numb legs.
“Hey! Where ya goin’?” I hadn’t realized Lyle followed me until I turned around and bumped smack into him.
“Nowhere.” Why was he following me? It annoyed me to some extent, but not as much as it should have. Having a kid who was close to my little brother’s age who tailed my every move like a lost puppy wasn’t all that bad. He looked at me, like he expected me to blow him off. Seeing the haunted look, I couldn’t brush him off. Something, or someone wouldn’t let me.“How old are you?” I inquired.
Should I tell him my real age or fib a bit? What were the chances we would see each other once the seminar was over? “I’m almost sixteen.” For some reason, that comment awarded me an almost sly grin.