Peter Pan

Peter never wanted to grow up.

And I don’t want my characters to grow up, either.

I just finished planning out the novel that will follow “Soar”, and I realized that it seemed a bit heavy. There are some things going on in the characters lives (which I shall not reveal, spoilers) that are dark and difficult. I’m wondering where my happy-go-lucky children went, who had a tight-knit friend group, and harped about love and growth.

Oh. Growth.

I guess when a year passes, your characters grow up. They face bigger challenges, bigger temptations, that they have to face and walk away from. So even though I just planned out a whole new novel, I have an odd sense of loss and sadness. I know that these story lines will be important, and will teach people, especially teens.

But I can’t help but feel as if I’ve lost something.

It’s like the feeling when you learn that Peter did grow up, that he gave up himself for someone else, and he isn’t your Peter anymore.

What, you didn’t know that? Well, maybe you know what I’m feeling now.

Goodbye, Peter.

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IT’S PUBLISHED (and a free excerpt)

It’s finally published! Finally, after a month of insane writing and several months of insane editing and even more months of bugging people about reading proof copies: it is finally done.

Available for the general populous at the following links.

It would honestly mean the world to me if you went and checked it out. After having written four books, I think this one is the best yet.

Also, the Facebook pages for my various writing creations are here and here. And you can find my brand new author page (which has the most updates) right here.

I can’t wait to share this new story, and some new characters, with all of you!

YAY.

And, you get a free excerpt. I just decided. I’m that excited.

Here’s part of Chapter One.

The garage door cranked open, and Quinn Smith gaped towards the space which once held her family’s cars.

“Erin?” Quinn turned her head to her sister. “What did you do?”

Erin sheepishly met her sister’s gaze. “It’s a really long story.”

Quinn dealt her an exasperated look, and their heads turned as the front door slammed shut. Becker Miller, their cousin, came galloping down their front steps. He threw his head back to keep his straw-colored Bieber hair from getting in his eyes. He was mumbling something about lemons when he stopped smack-dab in front of the garage.

“Woah,” Becker monotoned, his blue eyes larger than usual. He turned to his cousin with a grin spreading across his face. “Erin, what did you do?”

Erin stomped her foot in frustration.  “I wish you two would quit saying that. I didn’t do anything, really. There’s a perfectly simple explanation for this.”

“Yeah, well, I’d love to hear it,” Becker replied in a distracted manner as his eyes continued to take in the monstrosity before him.

Erin was just taking in a breath when Bethy stormed to the driveway from behind the house. Her blue eyes were inflamed, but her small blonde pigtails created, incidentally, a harmless look.

“Becker!” she shrieked at her brother. “What happened to my copy of Stargirl? It was in your backpack when we left the house, and—woah. Erin, what did you do?”

Erin dramatically dropped into a lawn chair and laid her hand over her head. “Is there anyone else we want here for my confession? Or can I go ahead and explain now?”

Quinn shook her head, chuckling under her breath. “I’m going to call up the gang. They won’t believe this unless they see it!” She jogged up the steps to the front door and grabbed the phone. Quickly dialing her best friend Gabby Baxter’s number, Quinn meandered to the living room and crashed on the sofa.

After several moments of ringing, someone finally picked up. “Hello?”

“Hi, Mr. Baxter. It’s me, Quinn. I was wondering if Gabby could come over to hang out today?”

Mr. Baxter’s voice lacked its usual chuckle. “Well, Quinn, I’m sure she’d love that, but I’ll have to drop her off later. She’s—busy this morning.”

Quinn, who considered herself a detective, hid her curiosity and kept her voice light and cheery. “That’s alright! I guess we’ll see her later then. Thanks, Mr. Baxter!”

Several phone calls later, Quinn smoothed back her red hair and called to her mother, “Cathy, Jimmy, and David are coming over in a few minutes, Mom!”

“Have them shovel some of that disgusting snow while they’re here!” her mother, Alicia Smith, replied.

Quinn bounced up off of the couch and returned to her family, announcing the list of coming friends. Bethy was gone, so Becker must have coughed up the location of her book. Erin was still lying dramatically across the lawn chair, and Becker was bouncing a ball off the driveway.

“Erin, you never cease to get into the weirdest situations,” Becker shook his head, jogging to the inside of the garage. “I mean, seriously? This is awesome, but—completely ridiculous.” Becker reached into a box, pulling out a jar.

Erin briefly removed her hand from over her eyes to examine any damage Becker had caused. Craning her neck, she said, “Be nice to the goods, Becker. You can have that container if you want.”

Becker made a full-force “score” gesture with his arms. He twisted off the red lid and poked his pointer finger inside, licking off the contents. His eyes widened, and he stomped the ground, dipping his finger back in. It was soon stained red.

As Becker continued to empty the tiny jar, a car rolled up and a girl with shiny nutmeg hair jumped out.

“I was so excited to get your call, Quinn!” Cathy squealed, running at high speed to tackle her friend in a bear hug. “Now, what was it you wanted me to see?”

Erin threw her arm out, gesturing towards the garage. “Go ahead,” she cried. “Say it.”

Cathy’s blue eyes opened wide, and her lip-glossed mouth formed a perfect “O”. “For goodness sake, I’ve never seen that many…Erin, what did you do?”

“There it is,” Erin sighed. “We just have to wait for Jimmy and David, and then you’ll all know the truth.”

“Would you like some?” Becker said, tilting his small jar to Cathy.

Cathy subconsciously bit her lower lip. “I don’t know. I just did my nails, and I don’t want to stain my finger. Red and purple do not go together, you know. Well, they kind of go together. Oh, maybe just a little bit.” Cathy scraped her manicured pinkie finger nail into the jar, getting a taste.

While they were smacking their lips, Bethy appeared and sat with her back against the siding of the garage, reading Stargirl to her heart’s content. A van pulled up to the driveway, and two more friends emerged.

“We’ve got a hitchhiker! Mind if he sits with us?” David laughed deeply, his hand clamped on Jimmy’s shoulder.

“I was not a hitchhiker,” Jimmy retorted with a glower. “I was walking along the sidewalk and you stopped to pick me up. Literally. I didn’t want to get in the car, and he carried me like a sack of flour.”

Becker’s lips pinched together to keep from laughing. “What is the definition of hitchhiker, Jimmy?”

Jimmy gave Becker a smirk before saying, “A hitchhiker is someone along the side of the road who solicits rides from passing vehicles. Not someone who’s enjoying a stroll through the charming snowy weather and gets put in a car against his will. I think that’s kidnapping.”

“I’m sorry I kidnapped you,” David replied, a puppy dog look in his eyes.

Erin rolled her eyes. “Kidnapping? Seriously? How did we get to kidnapping? Have you even looked in the garage yet?”

Purchase Soar and find out what on earth Erin has in the garage.

Weatherman-esque Prediction Panic

I don’t know about you, but I really love friends. Friendships have been important to me for as long as I can remember. I think because I don’t have any siblings, friends fill that role for me sometimes. Except I don’t have to live with them or anything.

I don’t like losing friends. I’m one of those people who thinks into the likely (or sometimes, really unlikely) future and act as if I can forecast what’s going to happen. “Well, we’ve got a fifty percent chance of changing schools with a slight chance of them never speaking to me again. Time to break out the sad music and stop investing so much time in them.”

No. No, no, no. That’s not how this should work.

Friends are something to cherish for the now. I shouldn’t waste my time saying, “Well, in three years, we’re probably going to go to different colleges and lose contact. There’s no hope for this friendship!”

Seriously. That’s such a time-waster, I can’t even fully express it.

Embrace your friendships right now! What do I look back on from my childhood best friend? The fun things we did, like making up our own language, or the fact that she came over every day, or the times we watched movies in her living room until really late at night, or–

See? I’m not lamenting at all about how that friendship eventually withered away. And I really doubt my nine-year-old self could have thought up the scenario that actually happened: “Oh, but what if her family moves across the United States because her father is in the military, and then we don’t see each other for a year; and, despite all attempts to stay in touch, we get out of touch?”

Sorry, nine-year-old self! You didn’t predict that one. And good thing, too, or you might have missed out on a ton of those memories!

I don’t know where I developed this weatherman-esque prediction panic, but I’d like it to stop, because it’s not benefiting me.

Because you know what? I don’t know the plans the Lord has for me. But He does. He declared it. So I’m taking hold of that. And if you too suffer from what I’ve described, give it to God: because believe me, it isn’t doing anything good for you or the plans He made.