Monday, December 16, 2013

Chapter Two

This was one of my favorite chapters to write. I loved being able to mold Jared and Payton's relationship. I wanted them to have a playful relationship that was secretly loaded with tension. I wanted their first conversation in the book to be light and fun while their true feelings for each other were very serious, and the reader is able to decipher this through Jared's thoughts. He feels more strongly toward Payton than he lets on.

This chapter is also where I first introduce Payton and Kim's characters. Kim comes across very superficial and without any depth, this is something that Jared even describes her as. However, I wanted Kim to be more real. She is like many High School girls trying to find herself and her place, wanting to be accepted and noticed, but not sure how far she will go to get it. Throughout the novel I try to slowly add more personality traits to her character that readers can relate to and even like.

Payton is described as almost the complete polar opposite as Kim, in looks and personality. Payton doesn't care about popularity or what other people think, however she comes across as perfect to other people. She is beautiful without even trying and knows exactly who she is. People are drawn to her. We all know people like this in our lives; the ones who are impossible to forget.

When I was in High School I took a psychology class. I expected it to be easy, which it was. What I didn't expect was how interesting it would be. I loved it. The Psychology class in my book actually plays a very important role in it and I refer to the 'Stages of Change' throughout its' entirety. I used the stages of change module to help the flow of my book. It is a great life reference. Everyone at some point in their life has habits that they need to change, they don't necessarily have to be addictive behaviors, the process is the same. Here is some of the diagrams and information I referred to while writing

The second part of the chapter was the hardest to write. I knew what I wanted to happen and the reaction from Jared that I wanted, it was just extremely difficult to write what I wanted my readers to feel when they read it. This is the first time B.J. appears in the novel. Maybe it is because I was so emotionally invested into this novel that it was so hard to write. In a sense I needed to try to describe what I thought my son would have looked and acted like if he were to be standing in front of me. It was like an intangible thing that I couldn't grasp. I didn't want to get it wrong, but I didn't know what was right. I wanted B.J. to seem mysterious ... because that is kind of what he is to me. He is a mystery. I would like to say that if I were given the chance to see him, that I would instantly know he was my son ... but maybe not. So I just tried to make him similar to his brother, Jared without giving too much away.

I worried that the hints would be too obvious and that instantly every reader would know that B.J. (this new kid) was Jared's brother, but a few people have told me that they didn't know and that they were surprised once they read the truth. It would be interesting to know how many readers figured it out early on, so feel free to comment and let me know.

All in all, the second chapter was really fun to write, once I was done I started to feel like it was real. I was really starting my dream of writing a novel!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I am thinking about Bryce today and how losing him has impacted my life in so many ways. I remember leaving the doctors office on June 11, 2007. We were told to go to the hospital after our doctor couldn't find our babies heartbeat. It looked pretty clear from the ultrasound images that he wasn't moving and his heart wasn't beating ... but that didn't stop me from praying the entire twenty minutes to the hospital for a miracle.

The miracle that I had been asking for didn't come. I ended up given birth to our still born son, Bryce Richard Yeager three days later. But that experience and heartache did change me and my family. It was hard at times but the true miracle was that we were able to make it through those hard times and are able to continue to stay strong even though after six years it still stings.

I will be lighting a candle for Bryce tonight ... I love and miss you so much!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chapter One- "It was easier to feel nothing."

When I started actually writing my story after the outlining process was over, and I felt pretty comfortable with it, I decided to go in order from start to finish. So my prologue was the first section I wrote, and my Chapter One followed it. I probably rewrote and revised my first chapter the most. I wanted to write something that would immediately captivate anyone that read it. I knew that my prologue packed a punch, and that is why I needed my first chapter to hold up when compared to it. My goal was to write it in such a way that after reading it, people couldn't help but already be invested in the main character, Jared, and need to continue reading to find out his story.

I hope I accomplished just that. There aren't many books out there where the main character is a male and the author is a female, or vice-versa. I worried that I wouldn't be able to connect with the male mind enough to make the Jared's character believable, but I believe I was able to pull it off. It took a lot of observation on my part. I would catch myself paying close attention to how my brothers and husband would react to certain things. 

I have never had to deal with addiction in my life, personally, however there are some people I know that have, and I have heard stories of people who have loved ones dealing with it. I tried to convey the hopelessness one feels when they are plagued with something so controlling. I wanted Jared's character to be relatable to many. I hoped that when people would read my story that they would grow alongside Jared and learn how to handle their struggles.

I patterned Lynn's character after my younger sisters in many ways. I took a little of all of their personality traits and lumped them together into one character, and Lynn was the outcome. I had some sisters who dealt with bullying growing up and others who struggled making friends, and me being the oldest in my family was able to see how this affected them and made them stronger.

Grandpa Miller's character is really the male version of my late Great-Grandma Ruth. She passed away several years ago, but since I could remember she was plagued with dementia. Some days she didn't have the slightest clue to who I was, but other days she would light up when my family would visit her. But, the thing I remember most about her is her stories and how she could always make me laugh, even without trying. One thing in particular that was brought up by her every time I would visit was how someone named Jack was a pilot and was flying his plane to the nursing home to pick her up. I would envision this mysterious Jack character and my grandma flying off into the sunset after his heroic rescue.

The warm springs mentioned in the last section of the chapter is a description of a place in Boulder City, Nevada. I had hiked there with friends when I was in high school and was amazed by this place. A lot of people knew about it, especially young people. I didn't know it existed until the day I went, but that trip and scenery had a big impact on me.

My favorite line in the chapter is when Jared had just left his house to go to the party, after lying to his mother, Kate. He is thinking about how he didn't feel guilty for what he had just done and how he felt nothing.

It was easier to feel nothing.

I think that when people say this and think this, they are just masking a whole flood of emotions behind a hard facade. I wrote that line knowing that Jared was in fact feeling the guilt and sadness and loneliness that accompanies his lifestyle, he just didn't want to admit it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Going Home - Prologue

My novel has been published for close to two and a half months now and I have had many people ask me questions on how I came up with certain plot developments in my novel and which of those were based on true events. I actually had a few people who thought that the entire book was a true story. I thought it would be fun to dissect my book chapter by chapter to explain why I chose to write what I did and what elements were based on actual events.

If by some crazy reason, you have not had the chance to read my novel, hurry and get it so that you can join the fun as I give away some of the secrets in writing it and also so I don't spoil the book for you. :)
Click Here


For my prologue I pretty much just described my son Bryce's funeral, with just a few minor exceptions. The very first sentence makes reference to purple carnations, which my editor actually tried to change at the very beginning. However those of you who have read my book know how that particular flower has extreme emphasis throughout the entire novel.

But why purple carnations?

My editor actually suggested using yellow roses. I couldn't. I had a specific image in my head and it involved purple carnations. The day of my son's funeral, I had received many types of flowers from friends and family. A bouquet of purple carnations were among them. We had taken these flowers with us to the cemetery and throughout the entire service my son, Stephen, who was just shy of his first birthday, picked pedals off of these flowers and would line them on top of his baby brother's casket.

After the funeral, I was having a particularly hard time leaving the cemetery as we walked to our car (which I will talk about a little later) and when I opened the passenger side door sitting on my seat was a single purple carnation. I like to believe that Bryce left it for me, to help me get through that day and many others. I still have that dried out purple flower lying next to a soft baby blue blanket, locked away in my safe. Just a few months ago as my husband was working on the cover for my book he looked up carnation and learned that it means the Flower of Gods, and a Mother's undying Love.

That entire afternoon we spent at the cemetery, Stephen never left his brother's side. He clung to the casket rubbing his hands across the top of it, I think he liked the way it felt. I mention that the setting is a hot June day, which by looking at the date on the picture of my son's headstone is true to my experience.

The poem, "Mommy I'm Here", was written by my mom, Deanne Taylor. It was read by her at Bryce's funeral and is engraved on the back of his headstone. The picture on the very back cover of my paperback is a picture of Stephen when he was six years old, reading the poem, as we visited Bryce for his fifth birthday.

I mention in the last paragraph that the young boy is fifteen months old, when in reality, Stephen was only a year old. I did this because my son, Bryce, was "stillborn" at twenty seven weeks. If he would have made it to his due date, Stephen and he would have been fifteen months apart.

The last sentence was really hard for me to write. In all reality the entire prologue was probably hardest to write followed closely by the very last chapter of my novel. I cried and cried every time I would read it, but the last sentence was the hardest. My little family was the last to leave the cemetery that day. All the people had left. And I knew it was time for me to leave. I was screaming inside because I didn't want to. What kind of mother was I for leaving him like that. I could see the crane hooked to a tractor off in the distance waiting for us to go so that they could lower and bury the casket.

We walked slowly to the car and my heart hurt so bad that I felt like I was dying. Before getting into the car I looked back and his little white casket looked so tiny and bright sitting there by itself on the big grassy field. I silently apologized to Bryce for leaving him there all alone. I wanted to believe that he wasn't alone. That was when I found that beautiful purple carnation sitting on my seat waiting for me.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wishing For More Time!

There are not enough hours in the day! Somehow I am feeling overwhelmed today. I look at some other women and mothers that I know, heck, I even read about fellow authors and how they keep a strict writing regiment and I feel completely inadequate. I am lucky if I get a shower some days!

I sleep in too late most mornings because my husband and I stay up way too late watching 'Big Brother' or 'The Bachelorette' (yes, I sometimes make him watch it with me), and I stay in bed most mornings until I have four children screaming at me to feed them. I try to be the "Poster Mom" but seem to miserably fail on a daily basis. Each night I make up for it with a renewed ambition, and make promises of a clean slate and a new start as soon as the sun rises.

Unfortunately I didn't roll out of bed until eight thirty this morning. By then the kids had already decided to play with every single toy they have ever owned ... and I mean EVERY SINGLE TOY! I tried starting my son Stephen's weekly piano lesson, when my eighteen month old decided she was going to also play the piano and pound on all of the keys she could reach. It was either listening to the not-so-melodic composition of my toddler or listening to her scream as I tried to restrain her. At least my son was a good sport. It will be a miracle if he ever learns to play.

And those two are my easy ones. Don't even get me started on my five and three year old girls. My five year old, Taylor, was born difficult and I think I may have started coming to terms with it, though it doesn't give me any comfort. And my three year old, Payton, has catapulted herself into the "terrifying three's" (the terrible two's hold nothing on the terrifying three's ... new mom's BEWARE!)

Potty training is going horribly, so far this week we have had at least three accidents and had to throw away an unsalvageable pair of underwear (if you get my drift). I swear my older two weren't this difficult. Or maybe they were and I developed selective amnesia (phenomenons like that don't surprise me anymore after having kids).

I just don't have time to do it all ... my growing pins on my 'Things to Do' board on Pinterest is a testament to my lack of time. And on top of trying to survive my day with four kids I need to also find time to write more novels and market my finished book? Where did all of my time go?

My mom used to say how she would wish time could just freeze ... along with us six kids ... so she could actually get some things done.

I guess it's just payback. And right now her wish has never rang more true.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just Another Party!

My book launch party on June 14th went so well that I decided to do another one! The opportunity came for me to visit my hometown of Henderson, Nevada over the fourth of July weekend. And it has been too long since I have ventured down south. I can't remember the last time I visited Henderson. All I know is that it was a few kids ago (sometimes the amount of children is the only was I can decipher time periods nowadays). 

I am really excited to get back and catch up with old friends and see people who have been an example to me growing up. And what better way to get together than to throw a book party! I am still trying to get over the nervousness and the more than slight awkwardness that I feel when I throw myself a party, but I will survive.

During my first Launch Party I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out to show their support. There were more people than I had expected, which was a pleasant surprise. And now that a handful of those people have finished my book, I am getting to hear their thoughts on Going Home, and it is surreal. I am grateful for those people's comments and feedback. It makes all the work this past year worthwhile.

I believe that this second party will be just as great as the first!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's Almost Time!

My Book Launch Party is almost here. I don't have a lot of time until Friday, and I am super stressed. I think I have cried more these last few days than I have in a long time. I finally have all of my formats done and uploaded onto their sites. I am still waiting for my print version through Amazon to approve my cover page changes. My title was just 1/16 of an inch off! But it was too noticeable.

Once I finally got everything changed and ready, I was hit with the worst news yet. My books won't be shipped to me in enough time for my launch party. I will be receiving them some time next week. So I will be having a launch party without any books! I feel very incompetent and more that a little embarrassed right now. Even though most of the problem was completely out of my control, it still doesn't make me feel any better.

I feel bad for the people who do still come to my book-less party, because they are most likely coming out of pity. At least I will have some cookies to give them for their trouble.

I would change my party for another day, one where I can actually have my books, but June 14th is important. It is a very significant date in my novel and in my life actually. This Friday will be the sixth year anniversary of my baby boy's death. This book and this party is for him, so I feel like I can't change it. So we are carrying on, even if the situation is less than ideal. Here's to hoping everything works out!