When readers are first introduced to Ell Clyne, the main heroine, she is at her lowest. She is dealing with mixed feelings of defeat and ostracism. And on top of such overwhelming emotions for a twenty-year-old human, the discovery of her family secret, which threatens the vampire underworld, forces Ell into a chain of circumstances that lead her to question how she’s been living her life. Or rather, how she hasn’t been.
My goal for this novel and for Ell was to be true to her awkward, quirky spirit as I saw her in my mind while honestly portraying that numb place where we go when our tears have run dry. When we think it’s safe to turn off. When we think no one’s looking.
It’s so easy to get swept away by the supernatural crazy-fun-yea scenes while writing fiction but, for me, the personal moments are just as crucial. I have this fear—in all the digital media—that we’re more and more sacrificing a certain level of spontaneity and rawness to perfectionist ideals: erasing blurry photos, retouching bad angles, superimposing people and places…
Until we’ve missed the whole point of the moment and turned reality into fiction.
Sometimes the photos that sink to the bottom of the box or get pushed to the back of the album are the best ones. But they often go overlooked and underappreciated until our hearts seek them out, needing something from them.
The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. My hope is that for every thousand words, my writing will capture the importance of those raw moments in a way that will move readers as if they’re looking at those long lost photographs.
The best fiction is built on truths, no matter how many types of monsters are involved.
Now that I’ve written a novel about the novel, I definitely have to thank a few people:
-A thousand red roses to Indie Designz for formatting my manuscripts and for always creating love-at-first-sight cover art.
-A long, gushy love sonnet to Vandenberg Photography for the awesome photos.
-And a giant thanks to Rhonda Helms for her super-ninja editing expertise.
Thank you again, Angie! I always love being here. And I hope your readers will join Ell as she battles vampires, burns a house down to make a point, and redeems her soulless life. Souled Out is available through Amazon (e-book & paperback) and Createspace (paperback).
Ell Clyne is lost living someone else’s life. But reading souls to save the fate of a loved one seemed like a fair trade. At first.
The lie has cost Ell her family, her future, her very soul. Now the secret is out and the vampires want answers. Becoming a pawn in her own conspiracy and being abducted more times than a psychiatrist might recommend, Ell just wants to stay alive and reclaim her life without burning something down. Oops, something else.
This is the story of a girl who isn’t a superhero or a badass, but manages to fight for her place in a cold-blooded world regardless of the pain caused by that empty space where her soul should be
Souled Out Excerpt:
As my mind drifted, the densely forested landscape arrested my troubled thoughts like a dream catcher, vaporizing them. But one got through: a memory of my mother.
The day after high school graduation, I sat in the window seat in our living room reading That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E. Hinton. Ironic. Ellenore was celebrating our spanking-new sense of freedom with friends, and Dad was working overtime. Mom walked in wearing a melon summer dress that made her long, wavy brown hair striking. Her skin glowed under the mid-afternoon rays pouring through the windowpanes. The combination was enchanting.
Before she said anything, she gave me the smile. It was her personal smile reserved only for me. Trying to explain it would be like trying to explain the complexity of the Mona Lisa’s to someone who’s never seen it. Mom’s smile had a certain power over me. It coerced me into obedience from the time I was old enough to make my own decisions, or thought I was. And it sheltered me from the fallout of any regrets my choices, or lack of, may have stirred within. It made everything better than okay.
I moved my knee to make room for her to sit down. She held an undersized white envelope that jingled ever so slightly as her hand shifted.
Mom smiled even larger. Ellenore and I had a silent joke that we could tell Mom’s mood by the amount of teeth showing. No teeth signaled run for the hills. Most showing told us her excitement was uncontainable. I could see a fair amount.
“Yesterday was a big day.”
I shut the book with an, “Uh-huh,” knowing conversations starting in that manner meant I was supposed to pay attention.
“Dad and I are very proud. This is the beginning to anything you girls want in life.”
“Mom,” I sighed like the whiny teenager I was. “I know.”
She gently waved her hand. “Let me say this, Myranda. We know Ellenore applied to a lot of colleges. A lot.” She paused to chuckle before continuing, “And that isn’t what you want. We understand that. It warms a part of our hearts to know you don’t want to run across the country to get away from us so soon. And your dad is ecstatic that you’ll be working at the photo shop. But we also don’t want you to pass up good opportunities because you’re hesitant to try new things.”
“You meant ‘scared’ to try new things, and it’s okay. I’m not scared.” And I wasn’t. I was just comfortable living the life I was in. Why was everyone having a difficult time accepting that? I’d planned to work at my dad’s photography shop, learn the trade, enter some competitions, and maybe even keep the business going one day when he retired. Staying in my hometown to build a career and overall life for myself was a priceless idea. Ellenore was the one with big collegiate dreams of overabundance in every form.
“Don’t think we’re pushing you into anything. I just want you to know that options are always around, and it’s okay to exchange one for another if you feel it’s the right thing for you.” Mom smiled that smile again. Genuine love. “Your dad and I got this for you.” She tipped the envelope upside down long enough for a silver pendant and matching chain to slide into the palm of her hand. Holding it up, she explained, “It’s the tree of life.” Dainty strands of silver intertwined to create the branches and trunk of a tree inside a loop. “It represents family and growth. One day, if your choices lead you far away, this will be a little piece of us to carry with you so you’re not alone.” She draped it around my neck, adding, as she clasped it shut, “Don’t be afraid to let the world know you’re in it.”
I blinked rapidly as I found myself back in the car with Gabriel. The fresh memory made me want to cry like a lost child, like I was that naïve girl once again. I had believed every word she told me. That little tree hung around my neck from the day my mother put it on, to the day I walked out of their house for the very last time, to the many days I spent wishing I wasn’t alone. Then, one day, it sat on the top of my dresser, and then one day turned into many until it was moved out of sight. Isn’t that funny how something so immensely important can be forgotten into nonexistence?