Deleted Scene from TIMEPIECE

I had sooooooo many deleted scenes in all three books, but especially in TIMEPIECE and INFINITYGLASS. The way I figure, I learned from my mistakes, so maybe you will, too! 

Set Up: Abi catches Kaleb and Lily making out in the kitchen of Murphy’s Law!

Why it didn’t work: In this version of the book, Lily and Kaleb kiss prior to him meeting Lily’s grandmother. I know it seems like a simple thing, but I needed Kaleb to realize that he cared deeply for Lily in a way that didn’t involve physicality. The conversation he has with Abi  (which is the same in all versions) is the catalyst that helps him acknowledge things are different this time (since he’s been such a douchecanoe with The Ladies in the past). Soooo, I took out the romance and moved it to a later scene. I always have to do that! (It’s because I like the kissing.)

SCENE:

“Yes, ma’am. Absolutely. I’ve tasted Lily’s cupcakes and I’ve never had anything like them. I’ll definitely be back for more.” 

It sounded lascivious instead of sincere, and about the time “that’s what she said” crossed my mind I figured out that Abi was as adept at innuendo as her granddaughter.  

Even though I hadn’t meant it that way at all. This time.

Abi’s hand flew to the rolling pin beside the cutting board, and she grasped the end tightly. “What?”

“I’ve had … the vanilla bean … with the …” I gestured with my hand, making the shape of swirled icing. My voice was way higher than it should’ve been. “With the cream stuff? They’re really good.” 

She relaxed her fingers on the end of the rolling pin. “Those are actually my specialty.”

“Oh. Well. I like them. A lot. So does my dad.” I smiled and tried to look respectable. She gave me the once over, lingering on my exposed tattoos. I was really glad I’d removed all my piercings. 

Then it hit me.

I actually cared what someone’s grandmother thought of me. 

I couldn’t stop my smile then, but I focused on Lily instead of Abi. She smiled back. 

We must have looked incredibly stupid, standing there grinning at each other like idiots, but I felt Abi’s heart soften. Just a little. 

“Okay,” I said, taking my jacket off the hook by the back door. “I’ll show myself out. I’m sure you ladies have a lot to discuss.” 

“Kaleb, wait. I want you here when I tell Abi what’s going on.” 

All feelings of goodwill disappeared. “No, I think it’s probably best if we wait – 

“I’m not waiting.” She turned to her grandmother. “We need to talk to you about something important.” 

I wish I could have warned her to phrase it a little better, because before either one of us could act, Abi had the rolling pin in her hand and was coming after me full steam.  

“Abi, wait!” Lily plucked the rolling pin out of the air about two seconds before it connected with my cranium. “We’d never even kissed until this afternoon.” 

I hoped and prayed she wouldn’t mention any of the other things that almost happened in the truck. 

“We should really sit down.” 

The timer on the commercial oven went off and Lily pulled out the last of the pies. 

“Put them on the counter to cool,” Abi said, still giving me the evil eye. “We’ll go upstairs.” 

She took the rolling pin with her. 

Completely Deleted Scene from Very First Hourglass Draft

It will be painfully obvious to you why this scene didn’t make it in the final version of HOURGLASS.

Telling, no showing. Internal monologue. Angst. SO. MUCH. ANGST.

And …… clothed in the bathtub?

Yikes!

 

I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in love with Michael Weaver.

I had excused myself and gone to hide in one of the upstairs bathrooms. I was actually lying down in the bathtub, fully clothed, with the curtain pulled.

 Granted, I could have made a worse choice for a first love. He was strong, mentally and physically, and so hot a trail of smoke practically followed behind him when he walked. So he was little secretive at times, but I was coming to understand the reasoning behind that one. I couldn’t deny that we had chemistry beyond anything I had ever experienced or even heard about, yet he made me feel safe and grounded. That was probably the clincher.

But how well did I really know him? 

We never talked about simple things, like where he and his family went on vacations, his favorite color, if he wanted to have children or not. Okay, maybe the kid part wasn’t simple, but it’s the kind of thing you should know before you go and fall in love with someone.

Did he want to work for the Establishment for the rest of his life? If he did, would everything he did for them be as dangerous as what we were about to attempt together? I didn’t even know his major, so if he didn’t want to work for the Establishment Hourglass what did he plan to do? What if it was something boring, like accounting? 

More than once he had alluded to the fact that we would end up together. He had given me a bunch of tripe about “probable versus possible,” but I couldn’t help but wonder if he knew first hand. When he talked about our connection he confirmed we had one in the future, but he never said in what way. Did we work together? Were we really good friends? Way more than really good friends?

I had actually fantasized about our wedding day – okay, mostly about our wedding night – before Jack interrupted me. Was I crazy? Was I setting myself up for a really hard fall?

Jack’s suggestion that Michael wasn’t trustworthy drug itself up from my subconscious. I had done such a good job of keeping it buried. It would so suck if I had all these romantic feelings for Michael and he didn’t have them for me. I trusted my gut enough to believe that he was a good person, and I didn’t think he was using me for personal gain. But part of me wondered if my cooperation were needed to achieve a greater good that Michael would do whatever it took to get it.

“Emerson?” Cat knocked on the bathroom door.

Thank HEAVEN for editors. Next week I’ll post some deleted scenes from TIMEPIECE, and give away a whole bunch of copies!

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, I started writing HOURGLASS. 

Here’s the first page from the very first draft. 

 

Began July 17, 2008

 The sky opened up, encouraging heaven to pour rain and throw thunderbolts. I wasn’t impressed. When your life plays like a horror movie, atmosphere is secondary.

 My hometown of Silver Falls is beautiful in the haunting way an aging debutante is beautiful. Remnants of splendor are visible even when time and neglect do their damage. The bones are exquisite, but the skin could use a lift. You could call my brother a plastic surgeon.

Or an architect. 

I dashed through the relentless downpour towards his latest renovation project, dread overflowing from my stomach into my nervous system like the rain that was currently flooding the storm sewer. My experience with my brother’s work sites was more than a little sketchy and often appeared to be filled with characters from central casting. Like now. A wide-eyed Southern Belle wearing a blue silk Civil War era dress was blocking the front door. Completing her ensemble were a silk fan and a full hoop skirt. I had worn something like it to a costume party once, but hers was an original.

 I didn’t want to be here in the first place, and now I was going to have to deal with freaking Scarlett O’Hara to even get into the building.

 I sighed and stuck my hand through her stomach to turn the knob, rolling my eyes as she gasped, fluttered her eyelashes and disappeared.

“You know, Rhett didn’t give a damn, and I don’t either.”

 

Didn’t change much, did it? 

Tomorrow, a completely deleted scene from the first draft!

Faking Normal and a Chat with Courtney Stevens

Today I have a guest who’s also a dear friend. I love her for lots of reasons, and I think you will, too. Welcome Courtney Stevens, author of the upcoming FAKING NORMAL. This is such a special book, y’all. Trust me. 
 
M: OKAY. Questions. I’d just like the give the reader a taste of your personality – the way I see you. How did we meet? 
 
C: We met via Twitter (first) on the weekend I wrote the first fifty pages of Faking Normal. One of my friends saw you on a panel and said you used to be a youth/children’s minister. I DM’d you after that because I was also a writer and a youth minister. Later on, one of our mutual buddies threw a breakfast par-tay and we bonded. BEGINNING. Woot!
 
M: What about that time we ate Mexican food and you told me about the heart book that was so special to you? 
 
C: Post breakfast par-tay, we met at Chuy’s to share creamy jalapeno and stories. (Both being awesome and addictive.) I know we connected over books, but I remember thinking … Myra is one of my people. That has proved to be true in so many ways. That day we talked a little bit about 23 (the former title of Faking Normal) and how it was “the book I had to write.” The encouragement, laughter, thoughtfulness, listening ear, and suggestion that I meet one of your friends (CJ Redwine), was a gift and half. I am so very thankful for that day.
 
M: How long did it take you to draft FAKING NORMAL? 
 
C: I had the idea for Faking Normal on August the 8th. I put the final draft in the mail to an agent on October 18th. (Yes, of the same year.) 
 
M: Did it come out in one burst or was it a slow process? 
 
C: It actually came out in three bursts. I wrote the last 170 pages longhand at the beach in 13 days. (In a lovely red chair that I sometimes set up in the living room if I’m having a writing crisis.) Some books come out like old syrup; some come out like Niagara Falls. Faking Normal was my Niagara Falls.
 
M: You always send encouraging texts just when I need them. Why do you think you’re so sensitive to other people’s needs? 
 
C: First, I’m glad those texts are there when you need them. Second, I don’t know. Maybe it’s that people are sensitive to my needs, and the only response is to give back or pay it forward. As much as I believe in the power of the written word, I believe in the power of the spoken (& texted) word. For me, words act as anchors. And when I’m drifting around or worried or upset or need encouragement, I go back to powerful, encouraging things people have said to me. It would be amazing to think I could give people those anchors.
 
M: How do you want to extend that sensitivity to your readers? 
 
C: More than anything, I hope readers find an authentic and loving me behind the book of Faking Normal. I don’t know how that love will take shape–probably in many different ways–but I hope it’s visible no matter where I am or what I’m doing. This is a very lofty (and probably unobtainable) goal, but I don’t just want to write books, I want to be someone who impacts readers with love and truth.
 
M: What do you want your readership to look like? I mean, all writers want everyone to love our books, but who’s that one reader you want to reach? 
 
C: Honestly, I was that one reader. I wrote Faking Normal for me. Maybe that’s selfish, but I needed it. So everything that’s happened beyond that one girl channeling brave to write those words down is a bonus. An awesome bonus. Specifically, and I dedicated the book to them, there are girls and guys out there who believe the pain they have been through makes them unlovable. I’d like to drop an anvil and a battle axe on that lie.
 
M: One of my favorite things about you is that acceptance and love rolls off you in waves – it’s such a part of who you are. Does any of your previous job of youth minister carry over into your current job as author?
 
C: I hope so! My previous job was to love students. I still see that as my job. Not a job, a privilege! I do it a little differently now, but the goal is still the same: serve God, love people. And I guess what I mean by that is I’d like to think that the people who meet or read me find a thoughtful, truth-seeking, grace-giving human being who lives everyday with love on the agenda and thankfulness in the heart that any of these opportunities ever happened to her .

A grace-giving human with love on the agenda. SEE WHY I LOVE HER?

And now, a word from Courtney about her cover and a contest:

Hello awesome people! Before we get into the cover stuff, I want to thank all the bloggers and authors who are helping today with this reveal. This is such a fantastic and talented community, and I’m fortunate to be a part of it. And now on to the main event, the cover of Faking Normal:

Designed by Laura Lyn DiSiena

Reasons I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cover: 1. It’s beautiful. 2. It tells a story without words. 3. Have you seen the awesome paper cut trees???

Here’s what the publisher (HarperTeen) has to say about Faking Normal:

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does. At school, nobody sees the scratches or her pain. The only person she connects with is the mysterious Captain Lyric, who writes song lyrics on her fourth-period desk for her to complete. With pencil marks and music, Alexi carves out a comfortable space for herself as she and the Captain finish each other’s songs – words on a desk feel safer than words spoken aloud. But when Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend who understands her better than anyone. He has secrets of his own and knows all about suffering in silence. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally speak up. With her powerful, moving debut novel, author Courtney C. Stevens emerges as an extraordinary new talent to watch.

Faking Normal will be released from HarperTeen on February 25, 2014. Yes, this is earlier than the date listed on Amazon.

About the author:

Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. Faking Normal is her first novel.

The goods on the Cover Reveal Contest: You don’t know me. Twitter doesn’t know me. Facebook doesn’t know me. Goodreads doesn’t know me. Amazon pre-sales doesn’t know me. (This is one of the great challenges of being a debut author.) Please help change my anonymity by placing Faking Normal on the radar of readers, bloggers, reviewers, and you know … people who like to win stuff. A few deets on the prize package- The winner receives: – A signed ARC of Faking Normal – A hand-painted cover rock by Court – Signed postcard – Silicone “Channel Your Brave” bracelet Since hand-painted cover rock isn’t usual book swag, I thought you might want a little background. In my little family, we paint rocks for significant events. I currently have three different book rocks that someone in my family made. One for when I got an agent, another for when I went out on submission, and finally one for when we sold Faking Normal. I thought it would be cool if I shared the tradition with one lucky winner by making a cover-inspired rock. (You might also be interested to know the bottom of the rock contains a spoiler: some of the first lyric quotes written by the main character and her Captain Lyric.) Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter linked to below. (U.S. only. Giveaway ends July 8, 2013.) Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find Courtney here: Email – channelingbrave@gmail.com Twitter Tumblr Facebook And she would love if you would add Faking Normal to your Goodreads shelf and pre-order Faking Normal on Amazon.