Okay now that that dress fiasco has died down, I have some really big news. Like HUGE news. It also arrives to you a month and a half early.
I finished writing my book!
Yeah, you read that right. After nearly three years of creative flow, major writer’s block, high school, show choir, college, and everything else life has thrown at me, I have completed the first draft of my first novel.
This is one of the biggest moments of my life. And now I am not really sure what to do. I mean, I have to type it, and I have another book lined up already, but I just kind of…I do not really know. I feel the same as when I finished Breaking Bad: sort of lost. I am not really sure how to proceed with my life when this book has taken up so much of it.
Mostly, I just cannot believe I finished it. I never thought I would get this far. Now everyone is asking what I am going to do and how I am going to get it published. To be honest, I am not quite sure yet. Time to do research! But alas, it is week nine of the quarter–just two weeks until finals–so it must wait until spring break.
To celebrate, I will share another little excerpt from Chapter Three, where you first meet the lovely Taylor Lawrence. 🙂
The day was half over, but I didn’t want to move. It was only Thursday, my third day here. Dean, the only friend I’d made, was driving down to Florida with his mom’s fiancé, Jeff, for bonding and fishing for the weekend. I couldn’t hang out with Gracie because we got into a fight.
After I was done crying, Dean walked me back to the house. We said goodbye and when I entered through the front door, Gracie was standing against the kitchen island, glaring at me.
“Where did you go?”
“I started thinking about my mom and I just got really upset. I went for a walk on the beach. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but you were in the shower.”
“I saw you out there with Dean. Did you tell him anything? He obviously asked you what was wrong. What did you say?”
“I didn’t let on anything. I’m good at lying. You can trust me; there is no need for an interrogation. I don’t want that psychopath to find me any more than you do. Relocation to one place was hard enough; I don’t want to make up a new life again.”
“Teenage girls are the hardest to keep safe.”
“Well, I’m not just any teenage girl. I watched my mom get shot and I don’t remember the killer. Do you know what it feels like to be the only one who can bring light to this, and you can’t? It sucks. I had to lie to everyone around me, telling them I was okay when really I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. The police thought I did it. I was their lead suspect! And I was terrified they wouldn’t believe me. I’m obviously not normal. Have a little faith in me!” I yelled.
“I do have faith in you! But you can’t freak out like that,” Gracie told me.
“Why not? If my parents really kicked me out, I’d be pretty damn upset.” I stormed up the stairs.
“We’re not finished!” she called.
“I am,” I mumbled.
When I got to my bedroom, all the crying I’d done was taking its toll. I was out of adrenaline, so I brushed my teeth and fell asleep.
Now, I was lying in bed, dreading the walk downstairs. I decided to put it off as long as possible by showering, shaving my legs tediously, and blow-drying my hair. I carefully chose my outfit for the day, a pale pink, sheer top and cut-off jean shorts. Leaving the house wasn’t originally in my plans, but heading to the pier or a day at the beach sounded pretty good if needed. Finally, I headed down the flights of stairs. I didn’t hear any sounds from Gracie’s room, and she wasn’t in the kitchen or living room.
There was a note on the fridge that hadn’t been there before. “Hey, Charlotte. Sorry, I was needed at the restaurant. I have been away for a while preparing for your arrival, but some things had to be taken care of. I am also sorry about last night. I should not have been so hard on you. It is very clear that you are doing a fantastic job with this whole situation. Besides, you are not really family until you have your first fight. Even though we’re not related, I still think we should make an effort to try to be family. I will see you later! Maybe we can watch a movie and have a girls’ night. Love, Aunt Gracie.”
I sighed with relief. Maybe things would be okay. I ended up munching on watermelon squares and strawberries as my brunch because Gracie had practically every fruit known to man in her industrial-size fridge. There was a knock at the door. I looked through the peephole at a petite girl with strawberry blonde hair who looked my age.
“Hi, Miss—oh, you’re not Miss Gracie,” said the girl when she looked up from the pile of fliers in her hand.
“No, sorry. I’m her niece, Charlotte.”
“Oh! So nice to meet you. I’m Taylor Lawrence,” she said shaking my hand.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” I asked.
“I’m gathering volunteers to help at the animal shelter on the mainland. Here is a flyer. It is next weekend. Miss Gracie always loves helping out, but it’d be great if you could come, too.”
I plucked the flyer Taylor was holding out for me and looked at the pictures shown.
“It sounds like fun. You can count me in!” I told her.
“Wow, really? Thanks! And…this might sound weird, but are you doing anything right now?”
“Do you want to come along and help me? I’m a little bored by myself, and I have strength in numbers,” she said, hesitantly and then joked, “And I’m known as the Welcome Committee around here.”
“Sure! Just let me write my aunt a note really fast.” I quickly jot down my new plans on a post it and stuck it to the kitchen counter. I mean, she had GPS on my phone, but it was the thought that counted.
The next house we have to hit is the Lawson’s,” Taylor said, pointing to the beach mansion to the left of mine. “My best friend, Bree, who’s already coming, lives there, and usually I can get her brother to help. Sometimes her mom too, but she’s having a baby soon.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m going to the shower,” I said.
“Yay! You can meet Bree then. She’s out with her boyfriend, Todd. Today is their sixth month-iversary.”
“How cute.” I smiled.
Taylor and I walked over to the lemonade yellow house and knocked. After a few seconds, the door opened and a tall boy with bleached-by-the-sun blonde, shaggy hair stood there, smiling at us.
“Hey, Taylor. More volunteering?” the boy said.
“Always.” She blushed, giving him a flyer. “Bree knows about it, but you can come too. And bring friends, if you want.”
“Will do.” He smiled again and looked at me. “Hi, I’m Caleb.”
I shook his outstretched hand. “I’m Charlotte. I live next door,” I replied, pointing at my house.
An expression I couldn’t read flashed across his face, but in a second it was gone. “You’re Miss Gracie’s niece!”
“That’s me!” Wow everyone did know who I was.
“Nice to meet you.”
Caleb turned back to Taylor. “I’ll check my schedule, and let you know if I can make it.”
“No problem. Bye, ladies.”
As Taylor and I walked to the next house, there was no doubt about it, Taylor was beaming.
Gahhhh! The excitement is exploding out of me.
If any of you have any wisdom to share about publishing novels, I would love to here it. And I would love you forever for it. Emails are greatly appreciated 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, I must get back to studying. This Geology final won’t study for itself, unfortunately. Have the most perfect of Tuesdays ❤
Hopefully soon-to-be published author, A