Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Robin's Nest by Melissa Stevens: Guest Post and Excerpt


When you were a child/teenager, what did you want to be?

My sister loved children and wanted to be a teacher. Today, she’s a prison guard, and in a lot of ways, still babysits people for a living. My best friend loved to sing and play piano or guitar, he wanted to be a musician. Today, though it’s not the music that pays the bills, he’s in a band and working on his music. Me? I had no clue. I envied those around me who knew what they wanted. I didn’t like kids, at all, much less to want to make my living by working with them, and while I enjoyed singing and playing, I have no talent for it. All I wanted to do was read, but what job is there where someone pays you to read all day? None that I knew of.

Fast forward to 2009. I was 31 and the main caregiver (read Stay-at-Home-mom) to three children. I had two in school and my youngest was 3. I had no clue what I would do once he started school, and honestly, I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. I was making the day-to-day routine and that was about it.

In early October, I don’t remember the exact day, I got an email about National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo. I read the email about the international challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days (during the month of November) and I thought “That’s insane.” I hit the delete button and went on with what I was doing. Over the next several days, the idea wouldn’t leave me alone, it lingered in the back of my mind all the time. The more I thought about it, the less crazy the whole thing seemed

I decided to take a chance, sat down and got started. I wrote for the entire month of November and finished with just over 50,000 words. I had done it. I was exhausted, but I’d made it. I was exhilarated. I put the book away over the holidays, and for the next several months, I would pull it out and play with it now and then, polishing, fine tuning, but it stayed hidden.

As November, 2010 approached, I did more planning, I created a world and a species of shape shifters to write about, back story for my main characters and during November that year I managed 65,000 words, but my story wasn’t done.

I went back and to the first story and started submitting it to publishers. From those who gave feedback with their rejections I learned one thing. Stories told in first person, present tense are very hard to sell. I would have to rewrite the whole thing in order to make it not present tense and, at the time, I didn’t want to do that, not then. I set the first book aside and went back to the newer project. I worked and worked on it, getting it ready for publication That was Change. Change was released in January, 2012.

Since I started writing Change, I’ve never not been working on some project. Whether actively writing, or revising/editing one. I really enjoy it, even when it’s not easy, it’s always worth the energy. I’ve found that it’s a great outlet. I can pour my creative energies into my story and it helps keep me, personally, on a more even keel. It’s an added bonus that it’s portable and allows me to continue to run my kids here and there to all their activities and still get something done.

When I finished the first draft of Hunt, I knew I needed to put it away a while, to let it settle before I could start revisions, by then I was ready to take a look at that first piece again. The prospect of entirely rewriting the entire novel was no longer so daunting. So, that’s what I did. I rewrote it. That is what this is. Robin’s Nest is the first book I ever wrote, though, it’s had many revisions lots of polishing, it’s finally ready for the public.

My point here is that, though I never planned it, never dreamed of being an author, it’s me. I can’t imagine doing anything (with the exception of raising my children) that fulfills me as writing does. I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor, as well as the product of my imagination.

After a car accident puts her in a coma, Samantha awakens to find her best friend, Robin, never left her side.  While she recovers, Sam realizes there’s more between them than just friendship, but she’s afraid. What if it doesn’t work out between them, and it ruins their friendship.

Sam’s brush with death gives her a renewed understanding of how short life really is. Deciding the possible benefits are worth the risk, she faces the challenges from her over-protective family head on and leaps into life with both feet. When more challenges come their way, can Sam and Robin handle them together?  



 As I drew closer, I saw Robin push himself off the side of the truck and stand to his full height of 6'1". He opened his pickup door and reached for something inside. I pulled the Jeep off the highway, and watched as he locked and closed the door then crossed the highway and rounded the Jeep to the passenger side. Robin isn't a particularly large guy. Yeah, he's tall, but he's lean, like the basketball player he'd been in high school. I leaned across the seat and lifted the lock on the door to let him in.

"So, what's the problem this time?" I asked as he climbed inside and closed the door.

"Damned rotor again," he replied, tossing his baseball cap with his keys inside onto the dash. He ran his hand through his shaggy blond hair. It stayed back for maybe three seconds before falling on either side of his face again, framing his deep green eyes. 

I waited while he buckled his seatbelt, then checked for cars before pulling back onto the highway. Only going far enough to make a U-turn without hitting his truck, before heading back into town.

"I thought you kept an extra one in the glove box for when this happens?" I asked.

"I do, but I used my last one a couple of months ago and I forgot to get more on my next trip to Safford, then I just spaced it." He ran his hand through his hair again, only to have it fall right back where it started. "Of course, it was about time for Murphy's Law to smack me upside the head again, so here we are."

I couldn't help but laugh. "Are you about ready to give up on that antique or are you gonna buy another case of rotors for it?" Ribbing Robin about his stubbornly keeping the old pickup, despite its oddities, was an old habit between the two of us. Though we dig at each other and bicker once in a while, I don't think we've had more than two or three real fights in our entire friendship.

"So it eats rotors. So what? They're cheap. The frame, body, and motor are all in good condition. Why junk a good machine for one small, and relatively inexpensive, inconvenience?" He easily fell right back into the old game.

"It's broken down, and left you stranded along the side of the road, how many times now?"

"A few," he admitted, "but I can usually repair the problem in less than fifteen minutes and be back on my way. It's my own fault I ended up stranded tonight. Besides, if you'd been busy I would have found someone else, or eventually, someone would have come along and given me a ride into town."

He's right, someone would have come along. It was barely eight o'clock, and not quite dark yet. However, this wasn't the most used road out of town and he might have had to wait a couple of hours before someone came along.

"What were you doing out here?" I glanced at him before looking back at the road.

"I was on my way back from a meeting in Lordsburg."

"That sounds fun." My tone was dry. I didn't know what the meeting was for, but if had been something he had enjoyed, he would have shared more about it.

"Any leads on a new job?"

"Not yet." I shrugged. "I'll find something, I'm sure. The question is, how long until I do?"

"If you need something to make ends meet, I can put you to work. It's long hours and muddy as hell, but it's work."

"I'll keep that in mind, thanks. I've got a while before I have to worry, though. I have a good chunk in savings and since I don't have a house payment or rent, it will go a lot farther."

"That's true."

I reminded him that I'd pick him up at eight the next morning as I dropped him off in his driveway. I waited until he made it to the door before turning around and heading home.

Pulling out onto the highway my mind raced ahead. My thoughts were already back at the house. It was only eight thirty, I still had plenty of the evening left. I could settle back onto the sofa, but the thought of a hot bath was even more enticing.

Suddenly, I was drawn back to what I was doing by bright lights directed at my face. I shook my head and barely had time to register the vehicle that was supposed to be in the left lane, it was in mine instead. I had nowhere to go. I couldn't avoid it. The last thought that went through my mind was "How badly is this gonna hurt?" then everything went black.

Melissa was born and raised in Arizona, she’s spent her entire life living across the southern half of the state. She’s found that, along with her husband and three children, she prefers the small towns and rural life to feeling packed into a city.               

She started reading at a very young age, and her love for series started early, as the first real books she remembers reading is the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Through the years she’s found that there’s little she won’t read, and her tastes vary from westerns, to romance, to sci-fi / fantasy and Horror.
Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads Amazon

No comments: