Preview of “Howl”

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(I apologize in advance if the text in this post looks strange, because as I type this in wordpress it is looking really funky and I can’t figure out why. Nothing seems to be aligning in the center no matter how many times I click the button, and it looks like it may have taken out some of my indentions. Le sigh.)

Hello again, everyone! Didn’t I say I was going to post this last week…? I should really stop throwing dates around, because I can never seem to stick to them. Finally, I thought there would be a time I would actually post something when I said I would…but, no! Of course not! I had to get sick (well, sicker. I’ve been sick for two weeks now), and then one of my grandmothers got sick and had been in and out of the hospital. I am so sorry guys…I will try to remember to not give out deadlines so I won’t get anyone’s hopes up.

So here it is! The first five pages of the sequel to “Ice” I gave out at Decopolis:

 

 

Howl

the sequel to Ice

By

Elissa Lewallen

 

 

 

Copyright Elissa Len Lewallen

Not for individual sale, or reproduction .

 

 

Chapter One:

Alone

 

 

Nobody wants to be alone. Loneliness is one of the worst feelings you can have. It’s hard to shake, and it lingers, making you feel hopeless.

There was a time when I felt like nobody in the world understood me, and that I was destined to feel that way for the rest of my life.

Then someone came along who did and was all too eager to befriend me, even though I was quiet and strange and unhappy. He helped me to smile and warm up to my uncle, whom I didn’t know very well at the time. If he hadn’t have healed me, I may still be having awkward conversations with Uncle Justin that just consist of a few words. I would still be miserable. I would still feel unbearably lonely.

Kavick, the one who saved me, brightened my world when it was cold and covered in white. When I thought I would drown in this world of ice, he showed me how to see the beauty in it. The way I perceived Alaska, and the rest of the world for that matter, depended on how I felt inside. If I hated my life and the world, then I would hate this place. If I loved my life, then I would love everything around me, too.

Of course, the death of my parents changed me permanently. I still haven’t completely reverted back to my old self, even though I feel like the hole they left has healed. I’ve moved on from the tragedy, but I will probably never be quite the same, and I will never forget them. I used to be a lot like my friend Charlotte, very talkative, except that I would be terrified the whole time I interacted with others. I would always say the wrong things, quickly ending the social experiments in disaster. Now I don’t even bother trying to make friends, because I love the ones I have.

And, I love the boy who saved me, more than anyone. Therefore, I’m content. I’m finally happy again. Maybe even happier than I ever was in California, the place I called home before I moved to this world of snow.

Kavick, the strange boy who came into my uncle’s house for shelter one night…I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was that fateful meeting that I learned there was another lost and lonely person out there like me, someone who had experienced more loss than me, but could still somehow manage to smile, even though he was still healing himself. I learned later that it was seeing me that had made him smile again. I still don’t understand how someone as dreary as I was then could make anyone smile, but he said that it was the kindness that I showed him.

I called Kavick a strange boy because he seemed strange to me then due to the fact that he can turn into a wolf at will. Descended from a line of Native Alaskans known as the “Wolf-People” that have the ability to turn into wolves and Huskies, Kavick is a cross between the two, having had a father who was a black wolf, and a mother who was a Husky. But whether Kavick is truly a wolf or a human, he doesn’t know. I know, however, that he is a human first and foremost, for he is the best of humanity. He is the most kind and loving person I know. There are people that would call him a monster and want him dead for his strange ability, but Kavick is the farthest thing from a monster.

 

“You can do this,” he told me, locking his pale blue eyes with mine. He spoke with a confidence I didn’t feel, but it put me at ease knowing that he believed in me. He placed his hand on mine that was holding the gear shift. “You don’t have to be afraid anymore. You’re fate doesn’t have to be your parents’.”

His hand on mine was making my heart race even more, yet the anxiety and fear that I was going to crash began to subside. I tried to keep from staring at him for too long (a habit of mine) and keep my wits about me. I looked to the road, silently telling myself that I could do this, just like he had told me before.

He removed his hand from mine and I put Kavick’s old car in drive (he kept calling it new though, since he had recently purchased it) and gently pressed on the gas. After I had inched along and it appeared I wouldn’t be racing toward any nearby trees like last time, Kavick cheered me from the passenger seat. “Woo! Alright!” he clapped. “I think it’ll be okay to go a little faster, though.”

“O-okay,” I said nervously. I was too scared to look away to glance at my speedometer, but I knew that I was going under five. I clutched the steering wheel for dear life and prayed I wouldn’t dart off. I barely tapped it with the toe of my sneaker, and when that didn’t seem to change anything, I tapped it again. Now I was going at a near normal pace. This pace might have been acceptable if I was backing out, but I wasn’t. Kavick had turned the car around so I wouldn’t have to worry about tackling that today.

When I reached the end of the gravel road that lead to Justin’s house, I stopped at the battered stop sign. Then I turned on the blinker. There weren’t any cars coming from either direction, but I kept sitting there.

Finally Kavick spoke up gently, “I think it’s okay to go out on the road.” He then pretended to check for cars, but I knew he had seen the deserted street already. “Yup, clear both ways.”

I clenched the wheel tighter, trying to get my heart to stop racing. “I can’t do this,” I whispered to myself, losing all of my tiny bit of confidence.

“What?” I could barely tell he was looking at me from the edge of my vision.

I couldn’t hide my breathing anymore. It was loud and fast. I could feel my chest heave with every quick pound of my heart, like it was going to jump out of my chest. I couldn’t move. I was like a statue glued to the seat. I couldn’t take my hands off the wheel to even turn the annoying blinker off, or put the car in park.

“I…I can’t do this.”

“It’s okay.” He kept saying that. Everything was “okay” when I tried to drive. “You’ll be fine. Just calm down.” His voice was soothing, but I couldn’t calm down.

“I can’t,” I said between breaths.

“Yes, you can,” he said, gently like before. “Tell yourself to take a deep a breath.”

My breathing was more like gasps now. My lungs were clenching up. I couldn’t keep from thinking about the mangled mess my parents’ car looked like in the newspaper. A trucker had been drinking and driving. Eighteen wheelers like that one were a common sight in these parts. My parents had swerved to avoid the truck when it crossed into their lane, causing them to lose control of their vehicle. It had flipped and crashed into a tree.

I’m doomed, just like them.

            “You’re not going to die like your parents,” he said, as if he could read my mind.

“Y-you don’t know that.” I mentally kicked myself for being so weak, for not being able to control myself.

He put his hand on mine again and said in that same gentle voice, “Just let go of the wheel. Turn the engine off.”

I gripped the wheel, telling myself I could do it, that I wasn’t going to be scared and pathetic anymore…but I couldn’t. It took Kavick peeling my fingers off the wheel and taking the key out for me to get a grip. Once the noisy car went silent, I was able to relax. I wanted to put my arms around him, knowing that being close to him would make me feel better, but I somehow thought that was inappropriate, even though we had already told each other we loved one another. We had even kissed once.

I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to cry. After a good sniff I seemed to be better, but my hands were still shaking.

He turned in his seat to face me straight. I turned in mine to return his gaze. He smiled at me and wiped a lone tear that had fallen against my efforts. “We don’t have to do this today. Let’s try again another time.”

I put on my determined face and said, “I can do this.”

I went to grab the keys, but he moved them out of reach and used the opportunity to steal a kiss. It was brief, but it stunned me silly. It had been ages since he had last kissed me, and I had always been too awkward to attempt it since. In fact, the last time he had kissed me was when he had told me he loved me, which was several months ago. Since then it had only been a few pecks on the forehead when we were alone, which seemed to not happen much anymore.

Now the keys were long forgotten and proving a point to myself didn’t seem so important anymore. After several seconds of me staring at him like an idiot with my mouth open, he said in an amused way, “Weren’t expecting that, were you?”

“No,” I said monotonously, finding that it was hard to gather my thoughts and that my heart was racing all over again.

Kavick gave me an apologetic grin and said nervously, “I know I…”

Suddenly, we heard the distant crackle of gravel behind us. We both groaned, knowing it was Justin. He never liked being home alone for long. With graduation approaching, Justin had been making comments about it only being a matter of time before a boy would whisk me away from him, leaving him alone again. Kavick quickly unfastened his seatbelt and switched places with me.

Once we were on the road, he asked me, “Where do you want to go?”

“Mmm…how about your house?” I figured we might get to be alone there. We hadn’t been alone much ever since Kavick started working two jobs. Not long after Kavick got out of the hospital, a little hunting store had opened in Marsh, the next town over. That’s how Kavick was able to buy the car we were riding in.

“You really want to go there?” he chuckled.

“Well, why not?” I smiled, watching him drive. “You’ve got a better idea?”

“I’m surprised you would want to go there when I can take you anywhere you want.” Then his eyes widened like he suddenly got an idea. “But, we could go to the Magic Place from there, if you want.”

I suddenly got excited at the idea. It would be like old times. “Let’s do that!”

After driving through town and a few winding roads through the woods, we were at the Skarling house. It looked battered and old, just like his car, but you could tell a family once lived in the home. It was as if you could sense it. Maybe it was the many rooms that produced this effect. I wasn’t sure and didn’t put too much thought into it since I was thinking about the Magic place. Kavick and I avoided the house all together, rushing out of the car and running for the woods.

We ran in zigzags to avoid the trees, Kavick being in the lead, of course, with his long legs. He knew the way better than me, as well. It was daytime, so it wouldn’t be as cold and we wouldn’t have to light a fire. There was only about half an inch of snow on the ground which was mushy and melting. He jumped up and swung from a limb that was hanging over. When we finally reached the last of the trees, I stood still, not following him anymore. I looked across the expanse of white and the cloudy, gray sky overhead. I almost thought it gloomy, even though I had gotten used to such days. I hadn’t thought these kinds of days gloomy for a long time, actually, and I wondered why I did now.

And then I suddenly knew why.

Just like I had been scared to go on the road, I couldn’t bring myself to enter the place I had once thought of as magical. Now all I could think of was the last time I was there, on a cold, cloudy day just like this. I took a deep breath and noticed that I didn’t see my breath, unlike that horrible day. It was May now, so it should have been warmer none the less, but as the weatherman on the TV had said earlier that day, we were experiencing a bit of a long winter.

Kavick spun around and then stopped, sensing I wasn’t near him. He gave me a concerned look. “What’s wrong?”

I placed a hand on the tree beside me, nearly clinging to it. The gun shot kept echoing in my mind. Kavick’s blank stare. The blood. Marcus.

“I HATE YOU!”

I had screamed it so loud.

I felt bark prick the skin beneath my nails and the stinging that followed told me I was bleeding. I hadn’t realized I was digging my nails into the tree. “Maybe this wasn’t a good idea,” I said in a little voice.

He walked toward me and extended a hand. “Take my hand,” he said gently. “I promise you won’t regret it.”

I took it, instantly feeling better, and we walked for a while, side by side in silence. I kicked at the snow and said, “It’s kind of boring when there’s not much snow to work with, or ice to slide on.”

However, just taking a walk with him was better than being stuck in a car. I never could get truly comfortable in a vehicle since my parents’ accident.

“We can head on to the forest, see the waterfall,” he suggested.

I remembered the last time we went to the waterfall. I had nothing but good memories of that. Suka had been excited about hiking, but once we had reached the waterfall she had become obsessed with the notion of jumping from one of the big rocks.

 

Remember, you can buy “Ice” for your Kindle for only $2.99 from Amazon.com if you want to catch up before the sequel comes out! :)

Looking Back…

Hello, everyone, and hello 2014!

Here is my first post of the new year, and it’s only right that I thank you guys for such an awesome year! I invite you to look back at 2013 with me…

Note: this walk down memory lane contains important information for independent authors that are new to the business of publishing. Deleted scene for 200 Facebook likes will be up a few minutes after this post. Thank you guys! :D

 

So, 2013 started out a little rocky since remnants of 2012 were washing over, which was a total disaster of a year for me. 2013 was improving from the get-go, though. I was still new at my job, which had started out pretty bad and I was set on quitting after I had raised the money for an editor for my book and a couple of promotional items (which would make it around a thousand dollars), but even then I was thinking that wasn’t going to happen. I was ready to get out and find a new job pronto. Things quickly turned around, though, and the people that had been rude to me, even whispering angrily about me within earshot,  were turning kind and understanding toward me! I couldn’t believe it!  Now I am so glad that I decided not to quit when I had planned and gave the place a second chance. Now I have been there for over a year! (Yaaay!)

Don’t get me wrong, 2013 wasn’t a perfect year…

So, back in 2012 I had someone helping me proof my book, and almost as soon as 2013 rolled around, I quickly abandoned the “hire an editor for an obscene amount of money” idea, and decided on asking friends and family to help me proof and give their opinion, essentially acting as editors for me. There’s a problem when you ask someone to do something for free, and when they already have their hands full with their job, family, etc….naturally, your project gets pushed to the back more often than not. I thought “Ice” was never going to finish getting edited. I had gone over it countless times, of course, but I knew I was still missing things…and I needed to know if I should change any scenes in the book! Pretty quickly it became just one person helping me edit the whole (the person who was helping me before), and I would have to take my concerns about certain parts of my book to one other person who was known for being brutally honest about my work and have her read just those sections one at a time and give me her input as we went. Even that became hard to do! (I still couldn’t get her to until right before publishing!) It was like nobody had time for “Ice” and I had finished it over a year ago! I was getting fed-up and ready to publish it as-is, but I knew that would be a mistake and I would never be able to live with myself if I did. But, how else was I ever going to get it published?

So, my full time “editor” quickly became part-time…and then once-in-a while-time…and then “Ice” didn’t get touched for 3 months at one point (by this time we are in January of 2013). I had gone from extremely depressed, to extremely frustrated. I had politely reminded my “editor” periodically throughout the three months and nothing had been done. So I went to her and I reminded her of our talk in the beginning about how often we expected work to get done. I told her if she couldn’t do it, just let me know. She insisted she could do it. Thing didn’t change, though, until one day I told her she didn’t need to worry about working on “Ice” anymore, because I had decided to publish it.

That did it! She started an aggressive schedule, and we were able to work on it every single night. We had it done by June, and then all I had to do was just edit the formatting!

Here’s my advice to fellow independent authors who cannot afford, or simply do not want to pay ridiculous fees for an editor: do not be afraid to be honest with your “editor”! I let things drag out too long! If you do not hear anything back in a couple of weeks, give them the “You don’t have to worry about it anymore, I’m publishing it now. Thanks for all of your help!” thing.

If that doesn’t work, and they are just like, “Okay,” then they didn’t really care, because they know it was their responsibility, and they failed. And then don’t hesitate to look for other people who love to read; they would probably love to have the opportunity to proof a novel! I remember back when I was a teenager, one of my friends asked me to proof, or “BETA” as we called it then, a fan fiction of theirs. I enjoyed it, because I loved to read! Even if someone is not really crazy about the subject matter, they will be curious simply because they like to read, and that the novel is going to be published will further intrigue them, and if they know you, then they’re going to want to read what you’ve been working on for so long, anyway! You do need to ask them how often they will be able to work on it, and when they have an estimate for you, make a schedule to meet with them periodically so you can address the changes, any questions they might have, and then you don’t have to worry about time slipping away from them as easily as it did for my editor. I didn’t hold us to a schedule, and that was my first and probably biggest mistake. Also, give the “editor” your phone number and e-mail address, so if they need to contact you before you meet, they will be able to. That will help things move along faster, too. And most of all, which probably goes without saying, DO NOT FORGET TO THANK THEM! You would not be able to publish your novel without their help! You should probably give them a free copy, too, so they can see the finished work you guys spent so much time on. That’s what I did. :)

 

Everything regarding “Ice” improved from there. I set out on foot putting up flyers around town, talking to shop owners about anyone that might be interested in selling a book by a local author, or simply interested in letting me put up a flyer. A lot of people couldn’t help me, but there was some valuable advice, too. Kelli of the Okie Crowe helped me tremendously! Her wonderful, darling shop is located on South Boston in the Philcade Building. She is really nice, her store that is full of unique things, as well. I love the shops in Downtown Tulsa! Everyone is selling either locally made items, and/or novelty treasures I haven’t seen anywhere else! I remember I bought a beer fizzing bath bomb from her, and it actually looked like beer! It even had foam on top! There are a lot of cute gifts in her store. I have been meaning to go back ever since. Kelli told me about William, and his store Decopolis, and how he was looking to work with local authors!

I set out to Decopolis from there. I remember I was too scared to ask if they wanted to sell my book, so I asked them if they would be interested in letting me put a flyer in their window, told them I was a local author, and if they knew of any shops that might let me advertise in their window. William said yes, and told me about some other shops, and as I started to walk away, he called out to me and told me he would like to sell my book, if I was interested. That was the start of a beautiful friendship! :)

Thank you, Kelli!

(By the way, I will have links to the stores mentioned at the bottom of this post.)

I had two book signings in 2013! I got my first royalty payment! (Yaaay again!)

No, I did not get a car in 2013 like I wanted, which I think must annoy some people I know, because a few people have really given me a hard time about it, going so far as to try to embarrass me in a room full of people. My book always came first, so I have no regrets. I am a writer, first and foremost, so that is how it will always be, and I will only have regrets if I don’t prioritize that way. You might think it irritates the people who drive me to work. But it doesn’t. They tell me the same thing: your book comes first. If I lived my life any other way, THAT would irritate them.

Publishing a book has a lot of unexpected expenses, which a lot of people don’t understand. Here’s my advice to you: if you are going to publish a book, it really does have to come first and other things are going to have to wait, otherwise, you will never get published! For example, I had used my parents computer to write most of “Ice” (I started it on a little Netbook which became the victim of a clever virus), and when it came down to the formatting business, their computer crashed. I had to suddenly buy a laptop, an expense I hadn’t been planning on. I purposely bought a Windows, because I was familiar with Microsoft Word. Well, I was in for a surprise: Windows computers no longer come with Microsoft Word, so I had to pay $110 for it! Then there was virus protection, since the free trial only lasts so long, a website…the list goes on and on.

In 2013, I made new friends and reconnected with old friends.

In 2013, I lost people dear to me, including my Aunt Billie, one of the people “Ice” is dedicated to. I often wonder what she would think of the book. Really think of it, not just what she would tell me because she loved me. She was always so excited to read it. I tell myself she would probably genuinely love it, just because it was by someone she loved, and that she would be proud of me no matter what my book was about, because that’s the type of wonderful, caring person she was.

Now that “Ice” is done, and 2013 is done, I can focus on the sequel, plan for future projects, and finally get that car! :D

I am so excited for the new year, and what it will bring for all of us! I look forward to hearing from you guys, and THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Happy New Year!

-Elissa

The Okie Crowe’s Facebook page is here, and the Okie Crowe’s website is here. Here is the link to Decopolis’ website, and here is the link to Decopolis’ Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me, and who has read “Ice”!