A few years ago, I wrote a novel called The Time Is Now. I tried to revise it. I felt lost. A few people beta read it gave me feedback. I still couldn’t get the story right. But I really loved this story and I didn’t want it to be something that would simply collect dust.
I decided to publish it as a serial novel on wattpad. So what’s it about?
Kyra and Chris went to high school together. He was the good-looking, popular guy that everyone wanted. She was the shy bookworm who never really felt like she fit in. One day he springs her from detention and an unexpected relationship springs from it. For a little over a year, they were each other’s satellite. Then–just as suddenly–he vanished from her life.
No proper goodbye, no real closure and only sporadic contact marks the next fifteen years of their lives. Now a high school reunion brings them together again. Can they rekindle the flame…or is it too late for second chances?
It’s still in a relatively rough state, but maybe one of these days I will finally take the plunge and do a thorough rewrite/edit. Until then, it will be available for free on wattpad. The first ten chapters are already online and more will be going online in the coming days. Check it out and let me know what you think.
I am so excited that Maybe Forever (the third part of the Maybe… series) is now available in paperback. In fact, I am so excited I am giving away threeautographed copies.
So what do you need to do to be one of the lucky winners? Not very much. All you need to do is leave a comment for this post. Yes, it’s really that simple.
Tell me your favourite colour, tell me the name of the first person you ever kissed. Tell me if you think Jon Snow is really dead. Tell me which of my books is your favourite…tell me if you like meatloaf. See? You can tell me pretty much anything in your comment…
I will randomly pick three winners on Sunday, July 19th and announce them on my usual social media sites (here on my author site, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr).
This giveaway is open to international entrants.
So get cracking! The giveaway starts…NOW! Tell me something good! 🙂
I’ve started working on a new project and I thought I’d share it with you for my first #SundayShare post. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a story set in the future that features a robot who falls in love, a woman struggling with the past and the future, and an astronaut who loses more of his humanity the longer he’s in space. The title of my experiment is Under the MilkyWay. I shared a scene from it with you back in April as Flash Fiction. What you’ll get now are some snippets of scenes which aren’t connected yet. Over the next few months, I’ll share more scenes with you, even some fully developed chapters. Let’s see where my experument takes us.
She gave up trying to sleep. What was the point when too many thoughts were tumbling around in her mind? Sleep was eluding her anyway. She pushed away the tangled covers and turned over on her side. She murmured, “Blinds up…” and the black-out shades retracted, following the curve of the window. A sulphurous glow filled the window, blocking the stars from the sky. The city didn’t sleep. Though she couldn’t hear the traffic, she could see headlights bouncing off the steel and glass facades.
On a night like this, she wished Gus were beside her. Even if he were snoring, his warmth, the solidness of him, would have been enough to quell her thoughts. But perhaps it wouldn’t make a difference this time. Especially since he was the reason she could not sleep. His distance. How his eyes seemed so flat and unseeing the last time she’d spoken to him.
Though she was no longer alone in the apartment, the silence ate away at her. What was it…he..? doing while she struggled to sleep?
She slipped out of bed and put on her robe. The bedroom door slid open with a whisper, allowing her to pass over the threshold and into the hallway. With each step she took, the floor-level LED night lights bloomed on, illuminating her way until she came to the open-plan living room. Here the black-out shades hadn’t been lowered and the orange glow of the nighttime city cast enough light to chase away the shadows.
The robot–she still could not think of him as a companion or by the name he’d been given–sat at the very centre of the sofa. His eyes were open but stared blankly at the wall. He didn’t move, not a muscle flickered.
Belle ventured closer. What was it doing? Why was it…staring at the wall? It didn’t the move. Did it even breathe? She took another step forward. This time, the robot, as if sensing her presence, turned its head toward her and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you, Bellamy?”
From up here earth is beautiful. All the colors the ones on the surface take for granted, all the striations, the crags…the rivers…they all become this hazy pattern like an Impressionist painting. The first time I was at the station, I couldn’t get over it.
Now I barely notice it.
Earth is…insignificant. Sooner or later, it won’t matter. I’ve got my orders. Board the next shuttle. Go further out. Explore. Take samples. Test. Transmit results to Ground Control. They’ll tell me at some point that I should come back to Earth.
Earth. I don’t even miss it.
Sometimes I miss her. But…she doesn’t need me. I took care of that already.
She’ll move on. And then, when they give me more orders, I can head further out.
There’s so much more to explore.
In the morning she shut her mind to what awaited her. Another day without Gus. Another day of opening the bookshop and busying herself, hoping that today she would sell more than three or four books. Sometimes going to the shop drained all the happiness out of her. She loved it so much and yet no one else in the neighbourhood seemed to care about it. No, she was exaggerating. The elders—Mrs. Jankowitz—the octogenarian war widow who always wore a shade of pink as perfect as peony petals, Father Odei from the local Catholic church who always brought her fresh flowers to thank her for keeping the joy of books alive, Mama Sandra who’d grown up with Belle’s own grandmother—they came nearly every day, they told her stories, browsed…bought books even when they probably had far too many to ever read. Seeing them every day and sharing tea with them or sitting outside the shop in the sun…that dimmed the gray plume of longing inside her long enough to keep her from thinking too much about the man who once said he would pull down a star for her, but who now preferred the stars to her.
“I shouldn’t think that way.” She braced herself in the shower, her forearms pressed against the steamed glass. “I need to remember the promise he made to me.”
But she couldn’t erase the bland, distant expression on his face during their last vid call. Or the way Gus tapped his middle finger on the screen’s edge like a metronome counting the beats of their conversation, waiting for the minutes to dribble away.
She tapped the shower controls, increased the water pressure and hoped the hard droplets of water would wash her thoughts clear. There was no point in denying it. She missed him. And he was not coming back. Not now.
The last time he’d been on earth—how long ago was it? A year ago? They had 72 hours together before Gus had to return to the station. That first day, he’d barely given her a chance to speak before he began peeling away the layers of clothing, stripping her bare and touching, reclaiming her. All the motions were right…even now, when she thought about it, her hand drifted downwards, sliding between her thighs as she longed for release. She parted her lower lips until her fingertips brushed the tight bud of her clit. With each slow torturous caress, a moan erupted from her, her breath caught in her throat and her chest strained forward…if only…if only he could suck her nipples now as he did that day, catching them between his teeth and tugging, then teasing with the tip of his tongue until she begged him for more. The thick weight of his erection, pressing into her, filling her so completely…those pale eyes… always watching her, never seeming to get enough of her—was he memorising her? Trying to absorb every detail so that he would not forget?
She slid two fingers inside her, surprised at how wet she already was. At how swollen her clit was and how no amount of fucking herself gave her the release she needed. She picked up the pace, pumping her fingers in and out, trying to hit just the right spots as her knees shook. But the more she tried, the more she wanted.
Even if she closed her eyes and replayed that afternoon in her mind, it was like grasping at stardust.
She couldn’t go on like this.
Belle was still curled in the same tight ball she slept in every night. No matter how many times I tried to massage away the thoughts that troubled her, she curled into herself, one arm tucked under the pillow, the other looped round her torso.
I knew she was not yet accustomed to me beside her. Whenever she announced that she was going to bed, Belle always paused as if uncertain whether she wanted me to join her. Though she kept her expression impassive, her body gave her away. She’d rise from the sofa, her fingers picking at invisible tufts of lint or fussing with the hem of her top. A flicker of her lips was enough to betray her.
Tonight she’d been more certain. She’d crossed the living room and then waited at the mouth of the hall. I studied her, reading the quickness of her pulse, the shallow breaths she took. Tonight she held out her hand to me and said in a hushed tone, “Come to bed, Max. It’s late…”
Once we were in bed though, she did not want me to make love to her or to pleasure her with my fingers and mouth. She asked me to hold her until she slept.
I wasn’t sure how long I sat on the sofa, waiting…my face stripped of all the makeup, my dress draped across a chair in the bedroom. I would never wear it again. Now it felt jinxed. I’d changed into a pair of shorts and a tank top. My stomach grumbled, reminding me that I’d not had dinner. I should have been hungry…but the roiling sensation in my belly didn’t make me want to eat. It was too hot. My skin felt clammy, sticky. I hadn’t smoked in over a year but now I wished I could have a cigarette. I longed for the illicit pull of the tobacco. I longed to forget.
How could he forget? How could I be so easy to forget? He used to remember everything. Every little detail of my life, memorizing it like it held some hidden meaning. He used to tell me he wanted to know everything about me. He’d remember things I’d forgotten. Now it felt like he’d forgotten all the important bits. Maybe he didn’t want to remember.
The anticipated sequel to MAYBE BABY and MAYBE TONIGHT
Is the honeymoon over…?
Now married with two children, Laney and Mads are finding their life together isn’t as simple as it used to be. While Laney struggles with motherhood, Mads is so focused on chasing success that he loses sight of promises he’s made.
When frustration gets the better of her, Laney takes the kids and goes to the US, hoping to find solace with her aunt Cecily, a former school teacher who now teaches yoga and meditation in Florida.
Will Laney and Mads find a way back to one another…or is it too late?
Launching on May 15 for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.
In July it will be twenty years since I left the United States behind and embarked on an adventure in the name of love in Scandinavia. I only knew a handful of people here–the man I was in love with and his family. At the time, it never occurred to me that this was not something I should do–apply for a residency permit, buy a one-way ticket, sell all my personal belongings, board a plane, take off into the great unknown. There were plenty of nay-sayers. Whenever I told people I was moving for love, they’d tell me I was crazy. More often than not, someone would comment on how I was “giving up my life” to be with a white man–as if the color of his skin had somehow clouded my judgment or made me incapable of rational thought. I tried to ignore their negativity, but every now and then their words would annoy the hell out of me. And they annoyed me because they behaved as though my relationship with the man who would later become my husband was not “real” because he was not black or because he was not American. As if these two factors were the only way a black American woman could be happy.
While all of this was spiralling around me, I was trying to write a novel. I was nearing the end of working on my master’s degree in Creative Writing and putting the finishing touches on my master’s thesis–a collection of short stories I’d worked on for three years, tweaking until each story was a gem (in my eyes anyway). Now the novel, well, it was this unformed thing. I had faceless characters with vague back stories. I had a setting that was probably more detailed than the plot itself. And the plot…well, there wasn’t really one. In short, I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was writing about.
It took several years and a lot of false starts to finally realise that my problem was trying to write about relationships without taking any inspiration from my own life experience. I knew what it was like to be a black woman in an interracial relationship, but I wasn’t really writing about it. And what was crazy was that I was looking for books that featured interracial relationships. They were few and far between at that time. When I found them, I devoured them. I studied them, I thought about what I liked and didn’t like about those novels. The main sticking point was that, in most of the novels, the men were pursuing women who were so hung up on race that they couldn’t accept the love they felt for the man in question because his skin color was wrong. And that wasn’t the interracial experience I knew.
The more books I read, the more i wanted to read a story in which the heroine wasn’t resisting the man who loved her simply because he had a melanin deficiency. Now, mind you, I am being a tad bit snarky here. I know that a lot of it was dealing with the legacy of racism that has left an indelible mark on American society. But I was convinced that readers would love to read a novel about an interracial couple that was not only about their racial differences. I didn’t want racism to be a major part of the plot because I wanted the love story or how the couple fell in love and other everyday problems to be in the focus. So I decided to follow the advice of Benjamin Disraeli and I set about writing the book I want to read.
My first attempt was the novel I wrote to learn how to write a novel. It was called Second Skin, and it was set in my hometown of Philadelphia. I loved writing Melanie and John’s love story, but it was a painful process and the story, no matter how many times I’ve tried to revise or rewrite it, never becomes the story I intended. I’ve never published it, but I am considering simply releasing it and letting my readers decide themselves.
The next novel I tried to write never made it to the finish line. It was a near-repeat of all the mistakes I made while trying to write my MFA novel. No outline, no real plan. It was a meandering mess. Only six chapters of that novel remain. And while there are some great scenes in it, the story itself just doesn’t move me and will probably never be resurrected.
Fast-forward to when I finally wrote Snowbound. By then, I’d figured out that I like writing very flawed characters. I liked writing about people who sometimes do stupid things, who smoke, who sometimes drink too much, who sometimes fuck the wrong people and have to deal with the consequences of their actions. I wanted Mia to be a character who is not always reliable. I wanted her to be a woman who has fucked up and who is trying to figure out what she really wants and how she can prevent herself from making those same mistakes again. She walks away from the wrong relationship with the wrong guy and ends up meeting the sort of man she never expected–a conflict zone photographer who happens to be a white South African.
A few people questioned my choosing to write about a white South African man. I didn’t initially plan for Jake to be South African. I wanted to write about a man whose experiences with race would be different from Mia’s. I thought it would be interesting to contrast their experiences. A man who’s grown up with the legacy of apartheid. A woman who’s grown up with America’s own divisive legacy. But I didn’t want this to be the main focus. The focus was on finding love. And finding it when they least wanted or expected it. And I wanted to set this story in snowy Vermont. Snowbound wasn’t perfect, but it was close to the sort of story I wanted to read and write.
By the time I wrote Maybe Baby, I’d decided that it was time to write about Scandinavia. I’d avoided doing so more from criticism from my writers group. We were all Americans who’d come to Sweden for Swedish partners. And, at the time, no one in the group wanted to read a story about a woman who was in love with a Swede. So I stored it away and, when I was no longer in the group, I decided to write about a love triangle with two very different Scandinavian men being the lovers Laney would have to choose between. I wanted to write about about a woman who was rootless, who was searching for the idea of home. Laney came about, in some ways, because of my own experiences as a black American woman living in Scandinavia. Though my relationship with my Swedish husband was very different from Laney’s with her Swedish partner, Niklas, I knew about the quirks that come along with being with a Swedish man–the avoidance of conflict, the stony silence, how the darkness could affect their moods, the sudden personality change the moment they leave Sweden. I knew I could write about the cultural differences, I also knew I could write about how, for Laney, this would make her feel like she was drifting. I remembered feeling that way when I first moved here. I took all of this and put it into the my writing. And I think that the end result of Maybe Baby is exactly the sort of book I wanted to read but could never find in bookstores. Laney is not an easy character to love. She is indecisive, she is sometimes selfish, but deep down she is vulnerable and lost. And she meets Mads and, though what connects them at first is sex, there is this undercurrent between them–they have both found home with each other. And that’s what love is. And interestingly enough I managed to write a novel about an interracial relationship in which race isn’t a major factor, it’s more the journey to love that is important.
So I guess with all of this, I am trying to say that I write about about interracial relationships to show that they are no different from other relationships. Everyone is searching for love. And the person you fall in love with is the person who makes you feel more alive than you’ve ever felt before. Or whenever you are with them, you feel as though there is no other place you’d rather be. And where they come from or the color of their skin becomes irrelevant.
I’ll be sharing insight into Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight, and Caroline will be giving us the scoop on Call Me Lucky! Get to know us, our books and our characters a little better, and find out what we’ll be up to next. 🙂 We always love to hear from our readers, so check out our tour schedules and pop by!
Other news? I should be getting Maybe Forever back from the editor tomorrow, so soon I’ll now how much of a rewrite is necessary. 🙂 Once that’s done, I’ll finally be able to share a release date with you. 🙂