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I’ve been writing like mad for the past week, working on my new novel — a ghost story/ murder mystery that takes place in the same ‘Gifted Ones’ world as my previous book. When I finally got my head above water last night and took a deep breath, I realized I’d forgotten deadlines, skipped appointments, ignored friends… Oops. I really need to get organized. Sorry everybody. I really do care. But when you are in the middle of writing, totally focused on the characters and their problems, you are not really in this world anymore. It’s the perfect way to time travel. My son had to eat cold cereal, toaster strudels, hamburgers, and pizza all week. (aww, shucks!) He actually prefers it that way.
Last night I sent a copy of my book to my daughter. You have to understand, Michelle does NOT like paranormal, fantasy, or sci-fi. She isn’t into vampires and werewolves. If I tell her about one of my plots, she’ll yawn and say, ‘Whatever, Mom.’ She prefers real world, contemporary YA Romance — as in, if there’s no kissing, she won’t read it. So this morning, I got a text from her that said, “So I stayed up super late last night reading your book. It was really good. You tricked me when you said it was a murder mystery and then it turned out to be more of your series, but I have to say I couldn’t put it down. Great job! I was interested in all the characters. The plot moved along very well, and I want to find out what happens to Claire. Because everything was a secret to Claire, I was introduced slowly to the Gifts, which helped me get used to the idea. Also, I learned about the Gifts through the actions of the characters, which made them seem way cooler than just explaining them. Not everyone likes sci-fi or paranormal, but most people are interested in ghosts and murder mysteries. I’m glad that Cliff kisses her in the end. It was a great ending. I think you should publish this one. I dreamed about it all night!”
As you can imagine, I have a big grin on my face. I think I’ll keep writing!
Excerpt from Running On Empty:
Later that night, I began to get angry with myself. I had been having a good time learning how to swim. It had been fun. I had felt happy and free in a way I had never felt before. That body had been an illusion. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from doing what I wanted. With a pounding heart, I put on the damp bathing suit and crept outside.
Clutching my robe around me and shivering, I paced completely around the pool, which was lit up with a soft, green glow. Steam rose off its surface. It looked warm and inviting — and empty. See, no dead bodies, I told myself firmly. I walked back down to the shallow end, took off the robe, and walked down the steps into the water. Immediately, the warmth relaxed me. I pushed off the bottom and floated under the water, enjoying the feeling of weightlessness, the smooth flow of water caressing my body. I came up for air. Then I kicked my legs hard, heading for the bend in the pool. I turned the corner.
There was the body. The dead girl. This time I didn’t panic. I went up for air. Then I ducked back down, staring at it. It’s not there. It’s not really there, I told myself.
But it refused to vanish. It drifted along the bottom. I studied the girl’s pale face. She looked familiar somehow. I swam a little closer.
That was when the girl moved her head, blinked her eyes, and looked right at me.

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