One of my favorite parts about being an author is interacting with readers and other writers. When reviews of Grasping at Eternity started coming in, many readers were saying the same thing: Maryah was frustrating. People wanted to shake her.
The reoccurring comments made me smile because I can’t tell you how badly she frustrated me, and I’m her creator. (I mean that in a literary way, not a godly way.) I replied to a few reviewers (thanking them, of course, for their honest review). I told them I wished I could give out a snowglobe with every book. The snowglobe would have Maryah inside and it would be filled with stars. That way, whenever she frustrated them, they could shake their snowglobe and feel better.
A private joke blossomed to life. Many readers became part of the beloved snowglobe club. Somewhere along the line, I promised to work “snowglobe” into book 2 as a tribute to my readers. Maybe even more of an apology to them that Maryah was so...well, Maryah.
Many months later, the snowglobe scene is the opening of Taking Back Forever. It warmed my heart to write this scene. My readers were there in the room with me, in spirit, cheering me on as I wrote. The snowglobe theme evolved and even shows up in other parts of the book. To me, every time it’s mentioned, it’s magical. My readers have influenced and helped create parts of a story that is so near and dear to my heart. That makes those readers even nearer and dearer to my heart...then, now, and forever.
Yesterday, I reached out to those who expressed their love for Grasping at Eternity and asked for their help to get it under the 5k rank on Amazon. If we could achieve that goal (which seemed unattainable at the time) I promised to post the opening scene of Taking Back Forever. The snowglobe scene.
As always, they went above and beyond, and Grasping at Eternity reached #911 in the entire Kindle paid list, #45 on Fantasy & Futuristic, #39 in Paranormal Romance, and #1 in Metaphysical Fiction.
I’m am so blessed, honored, and grateful to have such supportive and giving fans. Seriously, words can’t express.
So, here it is. It still needs some work, but if you knew how much heart and soul has been poured into this one scene, if you could see the effervescence of all my treasured readers bubbling up between every line, then you would forgive any flaws. Because as frustrating as Maryah might be, my readers are making her a better and stronger person--and everyone, including the kindrily, and especially me, are eternally grateful.xoxo
TAKING BACK FOREVER
Stars glittered down around the girl as the peacock feather in her hand fanned out into more than a dozen feathers. The liquid she stood in shimmered with iridescent colors that reminded me of Louise’s paintings and the dream I had where the hallway flooded with a river of green and gold. The figurine’s eyes were made from two tiny green jewels.
I shook the snow globe again, mesmerized by the beauty of the twinkling stars.
“It’s you,” Carson told me.
“Me?” I suspected the strawberry-blond haired girl inside the glass was me, but I felt arrogant saying it out loud. Carson said he made the snow globe for a school project, so why in the world would he have chosen me as the centerpiece for his assignment? “I don’t understand.”
Carson plopped down in a stool across from me and Krista. “All week we’ve been learning about classical conditioning and our teacher wanted each of to bring in stimuli we thought would elicit a similar reaction from everyone in the class.” He tugged at the strings of his hoodie. “So I made that.”
A close-lipped grin spread across Krista’s face and she lowered her chin. Carson glanced at her and smiled.
I rubbed my thumbs over the smooth glass. “I don’t get it.”
Carson tucked his dark hair behind his ears. “My experiment went exactly as planned. Every single one of my classmates, without fail, couldn’t resist shaking the crap out of you.”
Krista held back a laugh, covering her mouth with her hand.
I set the globe on the counter in front of me and glared at Carson. “I’m sensing there is a joke at my expense somewhere but I don’t want to know what it is.”
Carson blasted a loud and obnoxious air horn. Krista and I almost jumped out of our seats. Eightball had been asleep near my feet, but he jumped up and howled.
“What in the world?” I leaned down and rubbed Eightball’s head, assuring him everything was okay. He snorted then his chubby short legs slid apart until he lazily sprawled flat on the floor again. My pulse returned to normal but my ears were ringing. “Why did you blow that thing?”
“Yes! Ding, ding, ding.” Carson pulled out a chocolate truffle from the pocket of his sweatshirt and tossed it across the counter to me. “Way to ask a question.”
Krista leaned forward, watching us with an expectant grin on her face.
I eyed Carson, and the chocolate, skeptically. “What’s wrong with the candy?”
He smiled and tossed me another truffle.
“Seriously,” I said. “What are you doing?”
Another truffle skidded across the counter and hit my hand.
Krista nodded at him. “It’s working.”
I crossed my arms over my chest, studying the devious duo and replaying our whole awkward encounter. “Are you rewarding me with chocolate every time I ask a question?”
Krista, the traitor, handed me a truffle while Carson grinned smugly.
I smacked the candy away. “I’m not Pavlov’s dog!”
“Hey,” Carson said. “You’re finally asking questions. Pavlov would be proud.”
“I still don’t see the connection between that and the snowglobe.”
He leaned forward. “Maryah, for months so much magic has been happening all around you but you were oblivious. I speak for many when I say we really wanted to shake some sense into you. Now, you know the big secret, but you’re still not asking enough questions about us, your kindrily, your power, or your past. You need to try a lot harder if you really want to enhance your ability and recover your memories.”
“Or what?” I asked. “You’ll blast me with your air horn?”
“For questions you get chocolate. For quiet stupidity and obliviousness you get the horn.” Carson smirked. “It’s a win-win.”
“Okay,” Krista jumped to my defense much too late. “Point made. The air horn isn’t necessary but I like the chocolate reward.”
She unwrapped a truffle and popped it into her mouth.
I stared at the miniature me in the snowglobe. All the stars were in a pile at her feet. The liquid around her was completely still. I folded my hands in my lap, resisting the urge to shake it again. “Still don’t get how the snowglobe fits into your ridiculous experiment.”
He picked it up, turned it upside down, and shook it so hard his bangs flopped over his face. “It’s a stress reliever. Figured it would come in handy if Pavlov’s method doesn’t work.”
Krista cooed. “I’m impressed that you made it. It’s so pretty.”
“You like it? You can have it.” Carson ate a candy and spoke with his mouth full. “Just leave it in an easily accessible place so I can shake it when Maryah frustrates me.”
“Very funny,” I said with as much sarcasm as possible.
Krista giggled and Carson winked at her in a way that looked sort of flirty. Carson was not Krista’s type whatsoever. She was way out of his league and he knew it.
“Nathan’s not here?” Carson asked.
I glanced at the clock above the pantry. “No, but he said he’d be back by dinner.”
“It really sucks that you don’t have to go to school and I do.”
“At least it’s Friday. You’ve got an entire weekend to irritate us.” I tossed a candy at his face but he caught it.
“You call it irritate, I call it entertain.”
The kindrily—mainly Louise and Nathan—decided my time would be best spent learning about my past, practicing seeing into the eyes of their souls, and hopefully getting a handle on my ability to astral travel. At first, Nathan worried about me being deprived of all the end of the year activities of my senior year, but class trips and proms weren’t really my thing. I didn’t mind missing them, and I was much happier hanging out with Nathan, Krista, Sheila, or any other member of the kindrily. Not to mention the drama with River and his arrest was the big topic of discussion at school. I didn’t need to imagine the rumors flying around school because Faith kept me updated even when I didn’t want to hear them. I was relived to stay out of that spotlight.
“So where’d Nathan go?” Carson pried.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I didn’t ask.”
Carson blew the ear-piercing horn again and spun out of his stool. He headed for the hallway and shouted, “Snowglobe!”
“He’s so funny,” Krista said.
I rolled my eyes and patted Eightball’s head to stop him from growling. “Yeah, he’s a riot.”
When I heard Carson’s bedroom door shut I picked up the globe and cradled it in my hands, slowly rolling it side to side, examining all the stars and the detailed peacock feathers.
Krista leaned over the counter, her forehead only inches from mine. I raised my eyes, and sighed when I saw the eager look on her face.
“Here,” I handed it her. “You know you want to.”
She smiled and took it from me. “I do, but not for the reason Carson said.”
I crossed my arms over my chest. “Mmm, hmm.”
After waiting ever-so-patiently, and with what seemed like great satisfaction, Krista shook me.