Hi everyone! Thanks for taking a look!
On the off-chance that a couple people are checking up on my blog, I just want to say:
THE RELEASE OF "A HOUSE AFIRE" HAS BEGUN!!
I'd post a picture of the book, but oh look, there already are a few! There is even a TRAILER if you decide to scroll down and check 'er out. There should be some interesting things to come in the next few weeks- good and bad reviews (possibly just bad, but there's no such thing as bad publicity right?), interviews, and guest posts.
So, as I am a small-time author starting out and also a full-time student, I can only do so much to promote the book at this time. I've been trying to use the internet as
my main vehicle of word-spreading, and I have some ideas to try and keep this blog going for those who read while my posts become a little less frequent. My news right now is rather limited, but what IS exciting is that I may be doing my first reading in April.
What part of the book am I going to read, you ask? How does one make that selection? What kind of scene draws attention, and how do you know?
Good questions. Here's what I'm going to do:
Like any other human being, I could use a little helpful input. I'm going to post ORIGINAL EXCERPTS from the book here each week for you to read, or videos of me reading certain parts, and based on your reactions and comments, I'll choose which excerpt to read aloud. Which means, pretty much, that you'll be deciding what I read for my very first reading EVER as a published author.
So, keeping this part of the post short— for your consideration, here is the original (=there may be errors) prologue to "A House Afire."
Jeremy Heron was my good friend Janelle’s boyfriend. I would like to state for the record that he’d never said a kind word to me in my life. He always whispered nasty things to his friends when I walked by them in the hallway at school. He’d openly called me all kinds of names when I turned around and looked at him.
So what was I supposed to do? I wasn’t a big strong person physically, I couldn’t intimidate him. I’d been brought up to be kind to each and every person I met. It was discouraging. What had I done to him?
And it wasn’t as if I could burn him, breathe out flames during class.
But the party was different. It was just kids in the backyard, in the pool, in the house. Janelle’s older sister was the “adult” present. I wouldn’t have gone, shouldn’t have gone, but Janelle had told me she was going to have a fire, and she was the only friend I had.
I was alone at the party, mostly. I hung out with Cassie and Janelle until Jeremy and Trevor showed up. Then Janelle put on music and she and Jeremy started dancing, along with Cassie, Trevor and everyone else at the party.
Jeremy stopped after a few songs. “Hey Phyllis,” he said. I saw him glance at Trevor, like hey, check this out. “Hey Phyllis, you wanna’ dance?”
“Nope, I’m good.”
“C’mon Phyllis, you’re the only one who’s not dancing. Don’t you want to dance with me?”
“Well, when you put it that way, no,” I said.
“Hey,” Janelle had said to Jeremy, “you’re here to dance with me.”
“Yeah, but Phyllis is all alone,” Jeremy told her.
“Let’s go in the pool!” Cassie had shouted. Everyone had cheered at that, and we headed out. A couple of the girls and I played catch with a beach ball in the deep end, while everyone else played Marco Polo in the shallow end. Janelle’s sister brought out pizzas and soda, along with generic party snacks— chips, cookies, a punch bowl, and everything went quite well compared to my usual social experiences.
Until they built the fire.
We all sat around it, in the backyard. A bunch of kids went back in the pool and some others went inside to dance. That left me and a few others by the fire.
“Look at all the colors,” said one of the girls sitting across from me. Her glance flickered to something behind me. I ignored it, stupidly.
“Yeah,” I said, “I love fire.”
And right after the words left my mouth, my head was doused in cold, red liquid. No, not blood.
Jeremy and Trevor had dumped the punch bowl over my head.
Everyone burst out laughing. Okay, so there were only five people who saw, but that didn’t make it any less humiliating.
I ran and jumped into the pool with my clothes on. I didn’t care, it was just a T-shirt and shorts.
Janelle came out of the house as I came out of the pool.
“Phyllis, you’re all wet!”
“Yeah, don’t worry, I’m just gonna’ go sit by the fire and dry off.”
I went and sat by the fire. I was alone. There were a couple of guys kicking a ball around and two girls in the pool, but otherwise, everyone had gone back inside.
After a while I saw Jeremy come out. I looked at him, then at the fire, and, very quickly, I inhaled the fire. The whole thing, leaving behind just the pile of wood. The heat felt good in my lungs.
I stood up. Jeremy was flirting with the girls in the pool. They got out and left him to cover it.
“Janelle sent you out to cover the pool?” I asked.
He ignored me.
Now, that was just rude.
“Hey Germs, look out.”
I don’t know if he looked at me then or not, but either way, I blew the fire I’d inhaled at him with all the heat, smoke, and force I could. It must’ve looked like an explosion.
He screamed, flying backward to the other side of the pool. I breathed it back in.
I heard one of the guys on the other side of the yard say, “What the hell?”
But I didn’t care. I walked around the pool, down to Jeremy.
“Are you listening now, Jeremy?” I said angrily. “I want you to leave me the fuck alone. Forever. Because I don’t think you deserve to live.”
He looked at me. I loved the look on his face. I had never scared anyone before. I hoped he was in shock. Sadly I had somehow managed not to burn him.
“Do you understand?”
He nodded, got up and walked away. Quickly.
After that I’d called my Aunts to take me home.