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! :)

“It’s aliiive!”

I have been gone for so long you guys probably thought, “She’s dead,” and “There isn’t going to be a sequel after all!” ):

I have good news: I am EXTREMELY close to finishing the sequel, just a few chapters away, then it’s ready for the editing stage! In fact, I almost finished the book before I started college, but you know how it goes: life happens. It shouldn’t be much longer guys! I have been taking my time not just because of work and school and other projects (such as the online store I mentioned in the past I will get to later in the post), but I didn’t want the story to feel rushed. I wanted it to really be the best I could make it. Basically, I want it to be better than the first book. I am not saying I am unhappy with the first book, I just know how sequels can be sometimes.

So, here are things that are still alive and moving forward:

This blog

The sequel to “Ice”

Things that are dead or on indefinite hiatus:

The online store

As much as I would LOVE to present you guys with more physical content related to my book, such as art of the characters, t-shirts, and mugs, and even some extra lovely things that are unrelated to it just to help spice things up, I simply do not have the time. I would much rather be getting that sequel to you sooner than spending time on that anymore. And I’m sure you all would much rather have the sequel, too. :)

Once again, I am so sorry it has taken so long and I thank and love you guys so much for your patience, for reading my blog, and my book. I can’t wait for you guys to read it and want to talk you about it so badly…!

I can’t really say much…but I can show you a preview of the first chapter. :)

Not long ago I did another book signing at Decopolis in Tulsa. It was my second time there on small business Saturday so it felt kind of special…and knowing I would be finished with the book soon, I thought, “I should give out a preview of the next book!”

So later this week I will be back posting that preview for you guys as a way of showing my appreciation for standing by me! I love you guys!

-EL

300 “Likes” and That Little Something Special…

Hello! As you see in the title, YOU DID IT! Thank you guys! No, I did not forget what I said, just that pesky thing called “life” happened again and dragged me away from my blog for a bit.

Really quickly: “Ice” is still only £.99 on Amazon.co.uk! TODAY IS THE LAST DAY…so get it! ;)

Wow, I’m really caps-y today. Sorry; everything seems like a big deal to me in this post.

Anywho! Here is the interesting tid-bit I told you guys about. First a little information about it so you understand what the heck you’re reading:

I had started writing the chapters that covered Christine’s birthday and I was thinking, “What on earth would Kavick get her?!”

I was kind of freaking out because I had no idea.  Naturally, I had to think like him.

Then I realized he would think, “What on earth am I going to get her?!”

No wonder I was stumped! He would have to ask someone for help, and who other than Anana, one of his closest childhood friends? So, when I wrote this scene, I knew it would never be in the book, but I needed to know how Kavick came to his decision on Christine’s gift, and I had this little idea in the back of my head that maybe I could publish a second “Ice” book (I had thought there wasn’t going to be a sequel back then) and it could be told from the perspective of the Wolf-People, being specifically Kavick, Tartok, Anana, and Suka. It would be their lives, leading up and through “Ice”. If you guys like that idea, let me know by commenting below.

Note: as I’ve mentioned before, spelling errors are many, and some things are different than in the published novel

Copyright © 2011 Elissa Len Lewallen

 

“What is that?” Anana asked in her small monotone. It didn’t even sound like a question when she said it. Questions always sounded like statements when they came out of her mouth. She was crouched on the floor looking at the item Kavick was savagely wrapping with newspaper and packaging tape, tearing a long strip with his teeth. After he patted the tape into place, he sat up straight and examined it, sitting Indian style on the floor.

“It’s a gift,” he said like he was wondering why she had to ask. He then looked at Anana, realizing that if she had to ask, that was a problem….

He looked back down at it and growled in frustration, ripping the newspaper off.

“What are you giving her?”

When he had it completely unwrapped she moved her head a little closer. There she saw an old rumpled red sweater folded loosely, nestled in the center of the nest of newspaper.

He looked to Anana again, looking worried. “I don’t know what to give her. Do you think she’ll like it?”

“What is it?”

“One of my mom’s sweaters. It’s the only female thing I have,” he said, holding it up to debate over his choice of gift again. He laid it back down on the newspaper, noticing it was pilling. “I can’t give her that,” he groaned helplessly as he dropped his face into his hands.

“Well, I think it’s nice, but is it really appropriate for you to give your friend your mother’s clothes?”

He kept his face in his hands. “Probably not,” he said in a muffled voice.

“Shouldn’t you give her something that means something to both of you?”

“Yeah,” he said in the same hopeless, muffled voice. He then removed his face from his hands, but kept his head low, looking up at the gray haired girl. “I can’t afford to by her jewelry….”

“It doesn’t have to be jewelry.”

“What do you give a girl then? I can’t afford to buy her much of anything….”

“Think about what you give me every year.”

He his eyes went up to the ceiling at he thought for a moment. His eyes then moved back to hers. “A frog?” he asked puzzled.

“That was when we were five.”

He thought again. “A rock?”

“That wasn’t exactly what I was thinking of either, but it’s not bad. You got that rock from the lake we always played at in the summer time. I had so much fun, and every time I look at the rock I remember how much fun we had.”

He looked a little more enlightened, but still worried. “I don’t have a rock to give her, though.”

She shifted her legs around from under her and stood up. “C’mon. I still don’t think you’re getting it.”

He looked up at her. “Where are we going?” he still sounded helpless.

“To my house since you can’t remember the other things you’ve given me.”

He stood up, his faded jeans wrinkled and torn in one knee. He was wearing a gray under shirt in the house, so he grabbed his coat and bear fur on his way out. Anana still had her coat on, so she just gave it a quick zip as she walked down the old, creaking steps where the white paint was peeling off the wood. Kavick didn’t bother locking the door, simply pulling it closed behind him. They tread through the snow and through the trees a few minutes before they emerged on the Miller’s property. The house wasn’t much different on the outside with white peeling paint, but it had gray trim and a second story. She unlocked the door from a little key under the snowy rug on the porch and he followed her in. The house was quiet and empty with no lights on. She headed for the hall and kept walking until they reached her room at the end. Kavick had been in there multiple times over the years so it wasn’t a new sight to him, but it looked a little different than he remembered, haven’t being in there for the last six months or so. There were less stuffed bears and no posters on the walls. It seemed quite bare compared to what he remembered. She walked over to her chest of drawers and pulled out a box. In the box was a very flat, folded piece of paper and a leather key ring he immediately recognized. His eyes widened in realization as she held it up from the metal ring. It was made of brown braided leather strips that hung down to grasp a smooth grayish pink stone that nearly matched her gray and red hair. “See? This is what I’m talking about. You gave it to me last year…”

“…because you had just learned how to drive,” he said, finally sounding optimistic.

The corners of her mouth turned up slightly. “You get it now.”

As she placed it back into the little wooden box of trinkets, her hand bumped the paper and a shriveled purple flower fell out. “Oh!” she gasped in a tiny voice.

Kavick carefully picked it up and held it out for her. “Who gave you this?” he asked puzzled, unable to remember anyone giving her such a little flower, or any flower for that matter.

She stared at it, hesitating to answer. For a moment Kavick wondered if she was going to answer at all. He saw how her face became somber and her eyebrows moved downward as if it were a struggle for her to answer. Kavick was completely caught off guard by this and was concerned by the change in her.

“Hey…are you okay? I didn’t mean to…”

She sniffed and wiped her eyes before the tears could leave her lashes. She still wouldn’t look up at him, though. “Tupit…”

Kavick looked at the flower in shock.

“Tupit gave it to me a week before…it…” She sniffed again and wiped her nose, unable to finish the sentence.

Kavick still stared at it in wonder. I never knew…

“We were walking along a cliff over some rocks…we came to a patch of grass that was full of these flowers…he gave one to me.”

She finally looked up at him, clearly knowing that he understood what it meant. Just as she her resolve was starting to crumble again he wrapped his arms around her in a warm hug. “I’m so sorry, Anana. I never knew.”

“I know,” she hiccupped. “I don’t think anyone did.”

 

Okay, so Kavick realized after this, “Hey! I can afford jewelry!” when he was working at the O’Connell’s shop one day, and c’mon. Kavick loves Christine, so even if he doesn’t have much money, he’s going to make it happen. Fortunately, the jewelry in the O’Connell’s shop isn’t expensive, either. It’s just a little gift shop.

Thank you guys again for your awesome support! And if you haven’t read “Ice” you can buy it here, on Amazon. And there’s the trailer below.

 

Talk to you later!

-EL

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”!

 

100 “Likes”!!

Yesterday I reached 100 “likes” on my Facebook page, you can visit it here.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I felt like I had to give back a little to you guys, so here is the first 10 pages of “Ice”, and for those of you who have read it, I will be uploading a deleted scene for you next. I am just copying the first 10 pages directly into this post to ensure everyone can read it.

Thank you, again! Here is “Ice”:

Copyright © 2011 Elissa Len Lewallen

Ice

Elissa Lewallen

Chapter One:

Wolves

 

 

Nobody wants to admit it. Nobody wants to feel it. Pain. That cold, hard thing…just like the Alaskan ice I ran my glove over so many times, thick and dusted with a thin veil of snow.

I know; it sounds like such a strange way to start a story, but it seems like that’s exactly what this story consists of: pain, and all its various degrees of torment…and ice.

Life is like that. It’s bittersweet. So, it’s not all tears, either. Some of my fondest memories are here in the snow. But, it also contains some of my worst memories. I’ve seen the white snow turn red with blood, a sight I will never forget.

I could never have dreamed what would happen to me when I moved to Alaska. I had no idea that it would be just as mysterious as it was majestic. Amidst the dense forests and towering snow-capped mountains, there’s a little town called Riverton. And in this small town, there’s a secret.

That secret changed my life forever.

 

“Christine!”

I turned around at the sound of Justin’s excited voice calling my name. There he was, jogging from his big Ford truck, his salt and pepper colored dog running beside him. Big John was over to me licking my face so fast, I didn’t have time to stand up. And the name really suited him; he was huge. I didn’t know much about dogs, but I was almost certain he was a wolf, I just didn’t understand why someone would take a wolf in as a pet. I hadn’t had the chance to ask Justin yet, since I hadn’t been here long and most of that time I had spent in bed sick from the temperature change. When I had left California, it was 91 degrees; when I arrived in Alaska, it was 50. It was kind of a shock to my body. It was summer time (could have fooled me), so I was hoping it would get warmer.

When I was sick, the dog slept on the floor beside my bed, next to my worried Uncle. I had a nasty cold that lingered for a grueling four weeks where I was constantly going in and out of fever. One day it would break, a couple days later I would be burning up again. Even though I didn’t like Alaska, I liked Justin. He quickly earned my respect during that period of time. He had waited on me hand and foot and prepared me a beef stew one day that was supposed to work wonders.

Poor guy didn’t know I was a vegetarian.

I had thanked him for the stew, never letting him know just how much I hated meat. I kept thinking about the cow it must have come from, as weird as that is. It wasn’t so much because of sympathy for the animal, or even a political decision. Cows just strike me as dirty, smelly, and gross, along with most other farm animals.

Today before he left for the grocery store, he told me that he was going to make his famous deer jerky.

Now that was where I began to feel sympathy for animals; I couldn’t imagine eating a deer! They were cute, majestic, beautiful, furry…not gross and smelly like a cow. I had no idea how I was going to manage faking that one. How could I possibly eat Bambi? It was my favorite movie when I was a kid, despite the fact it always made me cry….

I ruffled Big John’s thick fur and then stood up. Big John was persistent, though.

“Now, now! Down boy! Porch!” Justin commanded in a firm voice. Big John sadly dropped his head as he reluctantly walked over to the front door. He sat down on the tiny square porch and patiently waited for us.

I stood up and headed for the porch. I had been swirling a stick in a puddle, watching the ripples when my uncle drove up. I had gotten tired of walking around the front yard after I had cleaned the kitchen.

“I got lots of good stuff for dinner tonight,” he said excitedly as we walked toward the porch together. He had a brown paper bag in his arms stuffed full of food. Immediately I felt grateful for having such a caring uncle; I had heard how expensive groceries were in Alaska. I was so indebted to my Uncle for everything he had done for me, which was one of the reasons why I had cleaned the kitchen instead of going to the grocery store with him. I had to do something in return to show my gratitude. He didn’t have to take me in, but he did. He was a single guy of thirty-five, being five years younger than my dad. He had no experience with kids before me. And, I was a teenage girl at that, which probably made it even more undesirable to take me in. But, he hadn’t hesitated for a second when he first met me at my parents’ funeral. He had walked up to me, shook my hand, and said, “I’m your Uncle Justin, and you’re going to move to Alaska with me. Don’t you worry one bit, I’ll take care of ya.”

As strange as it may sound, Uncle Justin had a southern accent. Even though he had been in Alaska all of his adult life, he still had the twang from Texas where he and my dad had grown up. Why someone would have picked Alaska to move to from Texas, I had no idea. It was the polar opposite.

Justin had dark, messy blond hair (just like my dad) that stuck out from under his baseball cap, and he had a little bit of scruff on his face, which wasn’t an uncommon sight for him. And, besides loving meat, he also loves John Wayne movies. I had only been here a little over four weeks and already he had watched ten westerns that had John Wayne in them. There were only three channels Justin watched: the local news channel, the sports channel, and the Western channel. And, as if that wasn’t enough to tip me off, there was Big John; John, after John Wayne, of course.

“Even though it really wasn’t dirty, I cleaned the kitchen for you anyway, since you were planning on fixing a big dinner,” I said as I stepped through the front door.

“Aw, thanks,” Justin said awkwardly, but in a very grateful way as he walked up the steps. “Now, you didn’t have to go to all that trouble. Don’t you overwork yourself. I don’t want you gettin’ sick again. You should take it easy.”

I smiled at Justin as I stepped into the center of the light blue living room with all its woodsy, cabin-like decorations that were appropriate with the area he lived in. Even though everything was strange, new, and even kind of scary at times, I was glad I was stuck with Uncle Justin in this foreign place. He was always telling me I could rely on him, and he hadn’t given me any reason not to.

As Justin told Big John to sit on the couch, he sat his single brown grocery bag down on the little kitchen counter and took off his denim jacket. I headed for the hallway so I could take a hot bath while he fixed dinner. I was a little achy after bending over the stove, scrubbing the old grime from it. It was the only thing in the kitchen that had really needed cleaning.

I walked through the dark hallway and opened the white door that was next to my room. I flipped on the light and everything became coated in a dim, orange glow. As soon as I removed my sweater, I felt twice as cold, even though I was wearing a long sleeved shirt. I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get adjusted to the weather here, even though mid-sixties didn’t sound like it was that cold.

I turned on the bathwater and started taking off my sneakers. After I had peeled my socks off, I stood up straight in front of the bathroom sink and caught a glimpse of myself in the dim reflection. I did a double take and stared at myself. My tan was already almost nonexistent, thanks to it being cloudy the majority of the time. It had rained nearly everyday last week. This place was draining the color out of me. I pictured my skin in the near future being just as dreary as the overcast sky that hung around most days. My eyes were the same color as the gray clouds outside, only adding to the effect. I ran a hand over my ridiculous brown hood-hair and frowned at my pink nose. I sniffed and turned away from the mirror, not able to stand the sight of myself.

I soaked in the water for a while, just lying there in the warmth. I wanted to stay in the warm water forever. I felt alone, even though I had Uncle Justin. I still felt so empty and strange.

What had happened to me? I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I felt like a stranger in my own life.

No, this wasn’t my life. It couldn’t be. I live in California, where every day is bright, sunny, and hot. Not cold, damp, dark Alaska. I was used to looking out my bedroom window to see other houses. Here, all I saw were trees.

I lifted my hands up out of the water to rub my face. What happened to me? I wondered again in frightful astonishment.

Tragedy happened. Death. My parents were gone.

Now I felt like I was being crushed by an overwhelming sense of helplessness. How was I ever going to adapt to this place? What was I going to do when the school year started? Thank God it was summer, but what about when winter came? Alaska has a reputation for brutal winters, and I lived in the middle of nowhere.

I achingly remembered my two friends in California whom I had left behind, but Charlotte was the only one I still had. She had seemed horrified when I told her I was suddenly moving to Alaska. She acted like that was the worst place in the world I could go to. At the time I had thought it wasn’t quite that bad, and that it could be worse. I could be going to a whole other country. What’s wrong with Alaska? How is it any worse than Washington, or maybe Texas?

Now I knew. It was completely different.

I silently prayed I would grow to love it in time like Uncle Justin had, otherwise I was going to be miserable for as long as I was here. Charlotte was already acting like I had made my mind up to move back to California as soon as I had graduated.

“Next year we can share a place,” she had said excitedly into the phone last week. “It’s only a year.”

Personally, I didn’t see how I was going to be able to get out. I was going to have to get a job first in this strange, cold place. How was I going to manage driving myself on icy roads in the winter? What if I had an accident like my parents? The last thing I wanted to do was get behind a steering wheel. And how was I going to get a car, anyway?

I took a deep breath and decided I would just have to discuss it with Justin later.

Later. I didn’t want to think about it anymore. Everything was happening so fast. I needed to calm down and take it one step at a time.

I took another deep breath. This time I held it, and dunked my head into the warm water. For some reason I thought it would clear my head. It only made me feel better as long as my head was under the water, though. As soon as I broke the surface, I returned to my troubles. There was no escaping it.

After my bath, changing into several layers of clothing and drying my hair, I stayed in my room until Uncle Justin called for me. I didn’t wait long for dinner, though. I was just sitting on my bed with my laptop, staring at my e-mail’s inbox, hoping for a message from my other friend in California which would never come.

“Christine! Dinner’s ready!”

I quickly turned off my computer and darted up from my bed.

“Okay!” I called as I slipped my sock feet into my warm, fuzzy slippers. I quickly walked out of my room, nearly running. I shut the door behind me to keep Big John out. I loved him, but I really didn’t want his fur on my bed. The last time I left my door open I had awoken in the night to him jumping up on my bed to curl up next to me. I had regretted letting him lay there because I woke up the next day to wads of gray hair all over the burgundy comforter. It was a job getting all that fur off.

I stepped through the dark hallway, wondering if Justin would ever replace the bulb that had burned out in the little light fixture on the ceiling. I could see him in the kitchen setting silverware around the table. Big John jumped up into a chair like he was going to eat with us. Uncle Justin smiled at me before getting on to Big John.

“Get down, boy!” He used that same firm voice as he snapped his fingers and pointed to the living room. Big John let out a single airy whine as he got down out of the chair and walked over to me. He wagged his tail as he looked up at me. The way he opened his mouth looked kind of like a goofy smile.

“Hi, boy,” I said as I petted his head. Justin was washing his hands at the sink, so I bent down and scratched behind his dog’s ear and whispered, “Don’t worry. I’ll give you some meat.”

He started licking my face again, making me stand up to escape the smelly, slobbery kisses. I wiped them away with the long sleeve of my red sweater and walked into the kitchen. While I washed my hands, Justin excitedly began telling me about all the food he had made. I looked over my shoulder, carefully listening. Once again, I felt indebted to him.

“I got some corn while I was at the store,” he said as he motioned toward a big bowl of it. I almost heaved a sigh of relief. Finally, something I actually liked. Then he motioned toward his deer jerky and some beef patties he had made, just like the ones he grew up eating in Texas with my dad. I smiled, and then I felt my face immediately fall at the same time as his. We both looked down and took a seat at the table, a kind of quiet understanding not to say anymore about dad, or mom.

It was the first time he had mentioned my parents. It was a good start. Maybe one day we could say a little bit more, and maybe this time next year before I leave, we might actually be able to have a full conversation about them. There were plenty of things I would like to discuss with him about my dad. Just not today.

I bowed my head across the table from him as he said grace. Usually it was the same words, but tonight he thanked God for the beef, corn, and other foods on the table he was able to buy from the grocery store.

And, “Thank you for healing Christine. Amen.”

“Amen,” I echoed with a little smile. I was grateful to be well, but it felt a little unusual. My parents had believed in God, but they almost never said prayer over a meal unless it was Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Uncle Justin never missed a meal. Even though it felt odd, it felt nice, too. It felt a little wholesome for some unknown reason.

Uncle Justin immediately started passing me the necessary things to make a hamburger. He passed me the slices of cheese, hot sauce, the plate of patties, and the buns. I could see that he was looking forward to me eating a burger like him. I wondered how I was going to be able to slip the patty to Big John. I didn’t see how it was possible without Justin noticing, so that was one ordeal with meat I wasn’t going to be able to wiggle out of. I started building up my burger like he said.

“…And then you load up the hot sauce!” Justin said with the largest smile I had seen on his face yet.

I felt my eyes widen in horror. That much hot sauce?! I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy foods.

I momentarily had an internal panic attack while he continued to shake drops of sauce onto his beef patty. He then passed the bottle to me. To my relief, not long after I started putting the hot sauce on my burger, he started eating his. I immediately stopped since he wasn’t looking anymore, and then closed my burger before he could pass me anything else. I took a bite and my mouth was instantly on fire.

Justin looked up from his burger. He swallowed and asked, “What’s wrong?” with a worried look on his face.

I couldn’t spit it out; not only would that be gross, I didn’t want to risk hurting his feelings, so I chewed it as fast as I could. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and forced it down while it was still a big, hot lump of food. I grabbed my glass and gulped down the icy water for several seconds. Eventually I had to put the glass down because I needed to breathe. I took a few breaths, seeing Justin grin awkwardly through my watery eyes.

“Too hot, wasn’t it?”

I nodded.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand despite the napkin next to his plate, just like a typical guy. “Sorry, I forget how hot that is to people who aren’t accustomed to it.”

I shook my head. “It’s okay. You didn’t know. I should have said something.” I took another big gulp of water and then continued, eager to drown out any doubt that I didn’t enjoy it, “It’s really good, though. Really.” I nodded for extra emphasis.

He smiled, and then returned to his burger, believing my lie. He passed the jerky next, and when he wasn’t looking, I quickly broke off pieces to drop for Big John, who was sitting diligently beside me. I then chewed, pretending I had just taken a bite.

Justin asked me if I liked the jerky and I lied, nodding my head like before, saying it was delicious. He would smile in that way that was part bashful, part proud.

After dinner, he insisted on doing the dishes, just like he always did. The only reason why I let him do it before was because I had been sick. Now that I was well, I felt up to it.

“No, let me do it,” I said, stepping over to the sink next to him. I held my hands out for the plate he was holding. “I want to. You cooked the meal, so I can clean the dishes. It’s only right.”

He stared at me for a moment like he was stunned by my determination to work. I don’t think he expected that from a teenage girl. He hesitantly handed me the plate.

“Okay…but this doesn’t feel right,” he said slowly with an unsure shake of his head. “I feel like I’m workin’ ya.”

“It’s fine, I want to,” I said as I poured the bright orange dish soap onto the plate.

Uncle Justin started putting the leftovers into the fridge then. After I was finished with the dishes, I joined him in the living room for a few minutes to watch TV. I sat on the opposite end of the couch and Big John sat between us. I petted him as I watched a boring game of baseball for about ten minutes. I then got up and left for my room. I went through the tiny, dark hallway, and as soon as I had closed my bedroom door, I heard Big John whine.

“Sorry, boy,” I said through the door to him. As if he knew it was a lost cause, I heard his heavy footsteps as he walked away, toenails scratching against the hardwood that wasn’t covered by the dark blue and tan floral rug in the hall.

I walked over to my bed and turned on my laptop. I signed on the Internet and stared at my empty inbox again. Thankfully, Justin had a computer in his room with high-speed Internet; he had bought a router so I could have Internet on my laptop.

I slipped my feet out of my slippers and tucked them under me as I clicked the “compose” link so that I could write a message to my friend who didn’t want to talk to me. I reminisced about the good old times with Charlotte and Marcus. They were my best and only friends in California. Now it was just Charlotte and me, hundreds of miles apart.

I felt the familiar pain that Marcus’ memory never ceased to bring forth in me. As always, I couldn’t help myself from reliving the nasty memory of how it had all fallen apart.

Marcus Garcia had been more than a friend to me. I had secretly admired him since the first day I laid eyes on him. He was tall, tan, muscular, and always the charmer. It seemed that Charlotte and I were the only girls he hadn’t tried to charm in the school.

Just before my parents’ accident, Marcus started dating a fellow Junior. Not long after they started dating, I struggled with my feelings for him. I told Charlotte, who had always suspected it, and she told me I should tell him how I felt. Just as I was about to spill my guts to him, he told me his girlfriend didn’t want us hanging out anymore, because she suspected I had feelings for him. I went from nearly telling him just that, to lying, saying that it was a crazy idea. He said he had already told her that, but if he didn’t stop associating with me, she would dump him. And, he couldn’t bear that, because he loved her.

But, I couldn’t bear saying goodbye to one of my best friends, especially him…yet, I did anyway.

I had told Charlotte all the details after school that very day, crying my eyes out.

“Marcus and Marcia,” I had said, scrunching up my wet face. “Makes me want to gag.”

And I did.

She was almost as sad as I was; she had wanted us to get together so badly. She wanted to confront Marcus, tell him he was being stupid, but I stopped her, pointing out that it wouldn’t do any good because he loved her. He still wouldn’t talk to me, no matter what anyone said as long as it was what Marcia wanted. I knew it was useless, which was probably how I found the courage to let go of him.

I had only called him once since then, telling him I was leaving for Alaska and just wanted to say goodbye. To my surprise, he showed up at the airport with Charlotte. Apparently, Marcia had granted him the privilege of telling me goodbye in person.

How generous of her, I had thought bitterly.

We had hugged, and that was it. It still hurt to think about the hug, along with everything else. Somehow I hadn’t cried that day at the airport as I said my goodbyes. I think I had run out of tears.

I forced myself to put the memory behind me and started typing feverishly the first words that came to my mind, hoping he would read them and reply despite the voice in my head that still told me it was useless. At least it would make me feel better. (Well, that’s what I hoped.)

 

I feel like I should be talking to you right now. I’m used to talking to you whenever I’m sad…but what can I do? I feel like I have no one. I know I have my uncle, but I can’t talk to him like I could with you and like I can with Charlotte. I feel like I’m alone. It’s just me, alone, in the quiet of the night on my computer, thinking of all the words I want to say to you, all the words I will never say to you. All these words full of so many different emotions that will never reach you, staying locked up in my frustrated, aching head.

I feel so…it’s so hard to describe. Sad doesn’t explain it. I feel hollow in my chest without you in my life. I need to talk to you, but I know I shouldn’t. Know I can’t. Know I won’t, no matter how much I want to. Besides, even if I did, you wouldn’t respond, anyway. You love someone who made a request that you not talk to me. You’re going to uphold that request as long as you love her, and that will probably be forever, unlike me, which will be never.

 

 

If you like what you’ve read of “Ice” so far, you can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, or order at your local bookstore. You can also purchase “Ice” from the Kindle store and at Decopolis, located on S Boston in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

New Cover, Trailer, and Another Book Signing!

Hello, everyone!

A lot has happened since we last spoke…or rather, since I last typed at you. It’s been crazy and exciting. Remember me teasing a new cover for Ice and going on for months about making a trailer for it? And did I mention a book signing? I know I did on my Facebook page (shameful plug not-so-cleverly inserted there). Those are some of the things I am going to talk about in this blog post, then I am getting to work on the Secret Lives of Characters series again, and of course, the sequel to Ice.

 

Book Cover:

Ice cover Ice back.

Ta-dah! Photographer Micheal Lowther (Remember her?) assisted me on the new back cover, which is something I could not do without her expertise. We private messaged on Facebook back and forth until we got it just right. I am so happy with the new cover! The snowy image she selected for the back fits the story perfectly, don’t you think? If you would like to reach out to Misha, here’s her website, where you can see more of her great pieces of work and pricing. I highly recommend her. Note to Tulsa authors: she is very interested in working with you! You won’t be disappointed.

 

Which brings me to the trailer that features the new cover! Ta-dah again!

I know, it’s quick and short, but that’s what I wanted. Hopefully a longer trailer with actors will be coming in the near future. It’s definitely something I want to do and have discussed with someone on how this might be possible for my small budget. I hope this tease trailer is simple and straight to the point and intrigues one enough to check it out.

 

2nd Ice Book Signing at Decopolis:

decopolis

On November 30th, which I discovered that very morning was this new thing (well, new to me anyway) called “Small Business Saturday,” I had a book signing at Decopolis in the afternoon and into the evening. The guys there are so cool. They let me set the hours for the signings, so I am welcome to stay as long as I like. And they really do make you feel welcome. And did I mention the store is SO COOL? Some time I will have to ask them if it’s okay to shoot a video of the place and post it on here and my YouTube channel for you guys. (Oh yeah, I’ve got one of those now. Here’s the link. FYI, I am most likely going to neglect my Google+ account, because I only created it so I could have a YouTube channel.) It was another great book signing where I met some interesting and lovely people. Decopolis is doing more book signings with local authors now, so if you are in the Tulsa area check out their Facebook and their website, DecopolisStudios.com, for information about when they are having book signings. By the way, William, one of the owners, is an AMAZING artist and has designed some awesome Christmas cards you can buy. So check. It. Out.

william's christmas cards

Jeez, I’m so bossy! ;)

Also, Ice was featured on the local news!

2013-12-02 01.13.18

Decopolis had a great turn out that day. Some people said they came out just to support local businesses. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Decopolis. And thank you to Channel 2 News for inserting my little novel into your broadcast.

 

I think that covers everything, so talk to you later!

 

-EL

Strike a Pose! My Photo Shoot with Photographer Micheal Lowther

Hello, everyone!

New and exciting things are happening with Ice. Other than drawing closer to the end of the sequel, I am giving the first Ice book a makeover (and hopefully this blog, too, in the near future). As you may have figured by the lackluster, and just downright dull cover of Ice, I did it myself. I am by no means a photographer, and creating the cover was a long and agonizing process. I had a few different visions, only one of them was within my capability, and because I could never seem to get the text clear, I wasn’t even able to do that right in the end! I had to settle for a design in Create Space’s Cover Creator and have my vision diced down to a letterbox and my font chosen for me. For a cover absolutely free of charge, it wasn’t terrible. (Doing this did however mess with the quality of my image in a way I still haven’t figured out. I just know Kavick wasn’t pixel-y until I did the Cover Creator). I knew that I wanted a better cover in the future…future being hopefully in time for the holiday shopping season.

Enter Micheal Lowther, the savior of my book cover!

I met Micheal Lowther at my book launch party. She was very excited to read my book, which made me worry that my writing would be a let down. So I warned her Ice might seem slow, but that I like to think of it as a “slow burner”. ;)

Despite Misha’s busy schedule, she liked it enough to find time to read it through to the end! I was shocked. She messaged me personally to ask me when the sequel was coming out. So, it was after that I asked her if she wouldn’t mind helping me with the cover. She had told me at my launch party that she would love to work with me on any future books. I wanted help with Ice first, and I had been worried about asking her before to work on a book she might not even like!

Misha, as she likes to be called, is very professional, and also very friendly. I wanted a new photo for my author bio, so we did that first. She chose Downtown Tulsa, where there are many great places to shoot. Misha’s not afraid to think out of the box. In fact, she’s a genius at it. We were just walkin’ along, her camera in her hand, and she said, “Since they have the sprinklers on in the park, why don’t we go over to this mural?” She explained the mural to me just as we were coming up on it, and it blew me away. It was awesome, and we got some amazing shots, of course. There were several Day of the Dead murals all connected to each other. And one of them was in the style of Alice in Wonderland in the scene of the Mad Hatter’s tea party! It even had a quote by Lewis Carrol next to it! It took all my strength not to squeal at it…which I still did, just a little, in the form of, “OH MY GOSH!”

Here’s the photos from that:

Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen

We shot in front of a mural of the Blue Dome district, which was cool since the Blue Dome district is, you know, cool. And blue, my favorite color.

Ice: by Elissa Lewallen

We shot in front of windows and water for cool reflection effects. In front of beaten old buildings, and newer buildings, and even on some train tracks. At last, we rounded it up at the park, where we had originally intended.  When she announced that she had about a hundred photos to work with, I was blown away. It hadn’t felt that long, and if memory serves me right, it had only been about an hour. Everything had been within walking distance, and Misha made it such an enjoyable experience. It didn’t feel like work, or like a stuffy old photo shoot; it was actually FUN!

Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen

Later—that same day— she already had my photos ready for me to select ten for her to burn on a CD-ROM for me. They were all amazing. She blew me away again. She even gave me some extra photos, too.

Here is a link to Misha’s website, and her blog. She is wonderful to work with. You will not be disappointed. As you’ve gathered, I highly recommend her. I’ll include photos at the end of the post, of course. And soon, I will unveil the new cover for Ice! I am so excited for everyone to see it! And soon, I will be back to working on the trailer for Ice. I really want to amp up Ice’s exposure. So, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment! It would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thank you so much, guys, for reading!

EL

 

Here are all the many places you can buy Ice: Create Space, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and you can always order it from your local book store. :)

Also, I noticed the Kindle version of Ice is free right now if you have Amazon Prime!

 

Commence more photos!

Ice: by Elissa LewallenIce: by Elissa LewallenIce: by Elissa LewallenIce: by Elissa Lewallen

 

Book Signing and the Latest News on You-Know-Who

Hello, all.

I know it’s been a while since my last post (not that I’ve ever been very fast at this), but a lot has happened. As you know, I had a book signing on September 14th. (Yaaay!) Not to mention the birthday party I attended the day before, and the day after the signing was equally busy, filled with random errands, a new haircut, and lots of Rock Band 3 in which I did an emo rendition of “Shout” that my sister tried to record 3 times, but I couldn’t keep from laughing.

Yeah, I’ve been real busy. Note the sarcasm.

But seriously. I have. As you know, I have another job outside of the world of writing.

You know, when I put it that way, it makes it sound like I have a corny secret identity, but you get my drift.

And now I’m sick! D8

DUN-DUN-DUNNN!

I’ve been sick for 3 days now. Not fun. I sounded like a man on day 1, during the entire time I was at work. I told my sister that evening, “I hope I’m not sick. Only my throat hurts, and it’s messing with my voice.” I then asked her if her daughter’s been sick.

She said, “She’s been coughing, sneezing, and had a runny nose all day, but I think it’s just allergies.”

I laughed awkwardly at my sister’s response, and said, “Uh, every time you say it’s ‘just allergies,’ she ends up running a fever in 1-2 days.”

And that is the truth. However, since I have been MIA for 3 days, I don’t know if she’s been running a fever. I do hope she has only a case of nasty allergies, and that nobody catches my cold. How I got it, I’m not sure. But I really don’t care about that. I just want to get better, fast.

I hate just lying still all day, though. I feel like I need to do something, even though I don’t have the energy to, so I decided to tell you guys all about the book signing at Decopolis! (Finally!)

So I got to Decopolis at 11. William, the owner, set up a nice desk for me with an old typewrite as a display and had my books arranged in a neat way. He put up signs around the store and filled me in on the promotion he was doing that day if someone buys one of my books. It was really nice. The desk was right in front of a window by the entrance, so I had a great view of the band outside the store. The bands were really good. There was this all-girl high school band called “The Sirens” who were freakin’ amazing. The crowd loved them, as did I.

Although most people who came in passed by me without buying a book, some showed interest, and some showed only rejection. I expected the worst kind of rejection, but never expected being accused of plagiarism.

Now, if you are an aspiring writer, or are starting out as an author like I am, then I feel that you must read this part. I think it is a good way to prepare yourself for this kind of rejection, accusation, whatever you want to call it (I’m still not sure what it is, actually). Hopefully I acted as a good example of how to handle that sort of…statement. I honestly did not let it bother me while I was there. I brushed it off as just some weirdo being a weirdo. Later it dawned on me just how rude and crazy the accusation was.

Here’s what happened: One of the very first people who walked in Decopolis was a woman who I will only describe as that, because I am not looking to slander her name, or cause her any trouble. I greeted her with a smile and asked her how she was.

She asked me if there was a book signing, and I told her there was. I asked her if she would like me to sign one for her.

She acted surprised by my statement and asked if I was the author, and if those were my books. I said yes, smiling.

She then asked me what my book was about, to which I answered that it was about a girl who meets a boy who can shape-shift into a wolf. (It is way too hard to explain right off that he’s a Husky-wolf hybrid.)

“Have you read the Twilight books?” she asks me.

It’s a common question I get, seeing as I wrote a young adult fantasy/supernatural novel. I could be writing about any number if supernatural creatures and Twilight would still come up, because it has left such a huge impact on the world of literature. If I were writing about witches or wizards, or anyone with magical powers, I would be asked if I have read Harry Potter. So, her question did not offend me at all. Remember not to let those questions offend you, either. This is not what was rude, though. It gets worse.

I replied, “Oh, yeah. I read the series when I was in high school.”

“You know, there are these websites online where people communicate with each other…like a community,” she told me, struggling to explain it. “They talk about books they read and ask each other for ideas about how to write a book like that—based off of that. They do that until they have a whole book written about the other book…I don’t remember what it’s called. But they do that until they have their own book written, and then they put it on the Internet and get it published.”

I finally thought I understood what the woman was talking about. “Like fan fictions?”

Her eyes widened in recognition. “Yes, I think that’s it.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, those are websites for fan fictions. I read a few of those a long time ago. Sadly, most of them are horrible, but there are a few good writers on there. It made me wish those weren’t fan fictions then so they could be published.” I laughed again because I couldn’t believe I was talking about fan fictions with a total stranger. It was a hilarious scenario until her next words.

The lady wasn’t laughing with me. She looked me directly in the eye except to occasionally look at my book on the table in front of her. “You know, E. L. James did that. Fifty Shades of Grey was based off of Twilight. It was a fan fiction of Twilight. She wrote it based off of Twilight…and now you’ve written this book based off of it, too.”

I was stunned. Needless to say, I wasn’t laughing anymore. I was shocked enough that she assumed I knew who E. L. James was and that I had read Fifty Shades of Grey. But to accuse me of being a copycat, as if it’s impossible for me to think for myself…?!

But I just laughed again. The whole thing was so surreal, I couldn’t help but find it funny. “Oh, no. My book isn’t based off of Twilight. I came up with the idea for it one night when I couldn’t sleep and I was listening to a song called, ‘Dogs Unleashed’. I wasn’t thinking about Twilight at all.”

She just nodded and uttered a non-committal sound and started to walk away. I bade her a nice day and she bade me good luck with my book as she walked out of the store.

I’m glad that I did find it so funny in the moment, otherwise I may have handled the situation badly. I think the best thing to do when accused of plagiarism is to just laugh it off like they’re crazy. Because they are. That’s my humble opinion, anyway.

Some people had really good things to say about my book, too. More than one person was genuinely intrigued, but I remember one woman in particular. She picked up my book and said, “Huh…I think I’ll buy one.”

She rejoined her friend, who looked at my book in her hand. “You’re going to buy one?” her friend asked, surprised.

She replied seriously, “Yeah. I think it sounds interesting.”

A couple of girls who appeared to be about my age asked what my book was about. When I told them it was about a group of shape-shifters in a small town in Alaska, she said, “That’s the perfect place for shape-shifters!”

Over all, it was a really cool experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. By the way, those two girls each bought a book and wanted their picture taken with me. I was shocked. I thought, “No way! This isn’t happening!”

And, all six books the store ordered sold by 5 o’clock! I had 3 with me just in case things went well, which I sold to William that day. Two of those books sold by 6. William jokingly asked me, “Got any more of those in your bag?”

He then asked for an order of six more, which I’m currently waiting on in the mail. Shortly after 7, the last book sold, which was actually when I was planning to leave. Everything worked out so well, I still can’t believe it. I am so blessed. I didn’t think I’d even sell 2. When I was purchasing my Alice in Wonderland mug just before I left, William said he wanted me to do another book signing, possibly on Black Friday when the Pop-Up shops open. So I will keep you guys posted on the next book signing! :)

I’m going to try to post pictures in this post. If it doesn’t work, the pictures are on my Facebook page.

And don’t worry guys; I have not forgotten the series of posts I planned to do! I have actually been working on the ones about each character and am working on the first trailer for Ice. Also, I am still writing the sequel to Ice, and have been working on a manuscript for a different book! I hope to publish the sequel and the other book shortly after the start of the new year. I will be starting college then, so I can’t give an exact date at this point, only a goal. As always, I will keep updating you guys, even if it take me a little while to write a post.

 

Until next time!

-E

Pictures will hopefully appear here:

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Correction on Promo and BOOK SIGNING!

Okay, first off I have a correction to make on the numbers of the free promo: Ice was actually downloaded 246 times! I had forgotten to check the sales from the Amazon sites of other countries. It’s a mistake I’ll never make again, lol!

 

Now, my upcoming book signing: On September 14th, in Downtown Tulsa (that’s in Oklahoma, for those of you who don’t know), there’s going to be this cool festival going on called “Chalk Fest”. Not only will there be chalk artists, but there will be bands playing. During all this, I will be having a book signing in Decopolis. It’s a unique store on the corner of 6th and Boston. It’s so cool. It doesn’t just carry books; there’s paintings, and other miscellaneous items. It really is awesome, and the owners are really nice, too. (THEY SELL A DISAPPEARING TARDIS MUG! I swear, my inner Doctor Who fan/child died and went to heaven when I saw it.)

 

Okay, here I was going to talk about some stuff in my personal life, but I felt like it didn’t really fit with everything else, so I’m going to end this post here. If you want to read my random ramblings, just click on to the next post.

 

Bye for now!

Elissa