In anticipation of my book coming out soon (I hope), I would like to start something called Sneak Peak Sunday, where I give a peak into a chapter of my book, “Be Still.” Call it building anticipation. I will give a sneak peak every Sunday until the book is released. There are 34 chapters. By the way, I have a short attention span so I write very short chapters, and I feel that allows readers to move a bit faster through a book, too. If there is any fun stories or insights into the small few paragraphs I place on here then I will give some feedback. Sort of an author commentary. Please feel free to leave feedback and comments.
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The day was impeccable. Shannon was flawless. Jack was mesmerized.
Suddenly the echo of screeching tires drowned out the soft sound of romantic music playing in the distance. The brilliant, majestic sunset flashed an eerie burst of what Jack perceived as an explosion in the sky. He reached for Shannon and became caught in a momentary daze. In one instant she was holding his hand tight and he was rejoicing in her touch and life; in the next moment she was so far away. He felt the precise second her warm fingers slid out from his—whether it happened in slow motion or as quick as a tornado, he couldn’t intelligently distinguish. All he saw next was hot, crimson fluid blanketing the cool black pavement, trickling like a spiteful red river until it pooled against her twisted, mangled body. Jack rushed to her, praying, but the speeding car had already taken the life from his angel. All that remained of her was a vague steam, emerging like a teasing spirit from her pale blue lips.
Jack kept vigil by her side, rocking her lifeless, limp body as his tears saturated her red-tinged blonde hair. The chatter and cries of the group that had encircled them grew louder, causing him to feel dizzy until the sound of approaching sirens blared above the clamor. The paramedics rushed to his side, but he wasn’t ready to let go. He searched for any signs of life, of hope. At the sight of her lackluster gray eyes, he knew she had already left him, and without as much as garbled whisper of a good-bye. Without her, he was left all alone in the world, save for a disgruntled son who wanted nothing to do with him. He held her close, kissing her swollen and bruised cheeks, thinking his kisses might save her like in a childhood fairy tale. He clutched her tight against his chest, unwilling to relinquish her to strangers and feeling her arms fall limp against his thighs. Finally the medics plucked her from his grip, quickly packaging her twisted body without caution, like wrapping a blood-stained Christmas gift in blue paper. They rushed her into the ambulance, leaving Jack distraught as he never had the chance to tell her good-bye while she was alive. Watching the ambulance disappear from sight, carrying her broken remains and him helpless to fix her, was the worst sensation he’d ever felt.
Jack sat on the cold pavement, drenched in his dead wife’s still-warm blood. He wailed to the heavens, cursing a god he vowed never to believe in again. The god who had taken his daughter two years prior now took the only remaining love from his life. It was something he couldn’t believe in anymore. That day Jack took his faith and hope, locking them away in a box like some old, unneeded charm.
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This is the opening to the book, which will be available on Barnes and Noble as a sneak peak. The first chapter is very crucial in telling who this man is, but I chose to sneak peak this particular excerpt, because it is the recurrent theme to the book. This day is what underlines the problems Jack goes through, not only with himself but also with his son.
I rewrote this scene at least ten times, and that is being kind with the number. It is a scene I was on the fence about, not knowing whether to leave it vague or add detail. I revisit this day later in the book, but in a different perspective, so I didn’t want to give too much detail to something that would be retold. In the end, after three edits, I was encouraged to add the detail, because the next retelling is a bit different (guess you just gotta read it to understand). For me, it is difficult to write a death scene without going back to my roots of writing morbid details, and without getting too medically wordy. It isn’t easy to write in layman’s terms when i t comes to medical things.
My entire book was built around this scene. It was the first thought that jumped into my head, the rest flowed quite easily beyond it. I do not use outlines when I write. That’s like homework. I get an idea and I write. I wanted to write about what happens to a man when he is in a coma, but this scene only adds to they mystery and suspense of why he is tormented for so many years. It is his groundhog day (not what this book is about), but if he could go back and relive one day to fix it, this scene would have been that hindsight day.