I have a special surprise. With all of the preparation for my big book blog tour starting on Monday for my memoir, White Elephants, I've been thinking alot about my first YA project: BLACKBIRD FLIES.
This book will always hold a special place in my heart...for so many reasons. I truly hope that I can get the story into the hands of those who need it.
For now, I just want to share one of my favorite scenes. This book isn't just about raising awareness for mental health issues. It's also the story of a young man who faced tremendous hurdles and came out of it on top because he chose to face the positive, surrounding himself with it.
Here's a snippet that showcases the intense emotions of this beautiful story:
The next morning, Payton hung small posters on all the announcement bulletin boards around the school. He’d stayed up late for computer access, which he’d gotten at about midnight. He had no idea what his father did on the computer for so long every night, and it was probably better he didn’t know.
Since the population in the school was kept to a minimum—maybe a few hundred students—everyone was expected to participate in some way. There were no try-‐‑outs, only encouragement to show off a talent or bring people in. After all, this was the big fundraising event to get new instruments and office equipment and other necessities to keep the school up and running.
Payton was in the middle of stapling a poster up beside the auditorium when a gorgeous alto voice stopped him mid-‐‑staple. Whoever it was sang The Rose. Memories flooded his brain, sending shivers from his core out to the tips of his fingers.
He had to find out who it was. Maybe she’d be interested in doing a solo in the concert!
He walked down the hall and peered into the auditorium. He almost dropped his supplies. That gorgeous alto voice…his solo hopeful…was Lily. Pins and needles exploded in his stomach, spreading to his extremities. He flopped into one of the seats in the back row as his knees turned to mush.
Now she was singing an aria in perfect Italian. He didn’t recognize the aria but her singing voice…how she carried herself on stage…even her mannerisms were a haunting reminder of another woman close to his heart. In that moment, he felt music served a different purpose. It wasn’t painful or needed to forget (or
remember) it felt…good. It filled his heart with such longing, a joy he hadn’t felt…ever…he instinctively gripped his chest, preventing it from bursting out.
One thing Payton has come to understand about music is that anyone can learn to play an instrument or sing. But in order to play or sing in such a way that elicits heartwrenching emotion in the listener was what separated those who appreciated music from those who are gifted with it. And Lily was in the gifted category. Clearly she was more in tuned with the part of her soul that God touched with the talent of music because she had the same longing Payton did. He saw it in her gorgeous face while she performed.
A warmth grew in his pelvis that knotted in his stomach. There were so many layers to Lily she’d piled on top of herself—just like he’d done. He’d love the chance to peel away those protective layers and see the core of Lily. He knew in that moment he was witnessing a tiny glimpse of that core.
He shivered as her voice slipped into a high alto. His thoughts were going somewhere he wasn’t sure he wanted to deal with…yet.
Lily saw him and stopped. Suddenly the girl he came to know as confident, secure, not afraid to speak her mind seemed scared. She signaled to the pianist to stop playing. The two teens locked eyes. She twisted her hair, bit her lip then stormed off the stage.
He wasn’t going to let her just walk away.
I just love Payton and Lily. Okay, that's it for this week. I promise to share more from one of my WIPs next time. I hope that you enjoyed the snippet this time. Feel free to check out the link to the Astraea Press page for Blackbird Flies. OH! And do be sure to visit the other wonderful writers HERE who have signed up to share their work this week. You won't be disappointed.