It Just Feels Good

Completing yet another NaNo, picking up yet another winner's certificate isn't just a moment taken from writing for me and never has been. No, this momentous occasion is the conclusion of yet another novel finished, another novel to go through line by line as I decide what stays and what goes. This year, I eased back from the heavy word counts of previous years and have come up with a compelling story for young adults. Underage drinking, teens being picked up for alcohol consumption or driving under the influence is on the rise. Yet, instead of seeing examples, our nation's young continue to put themselves on the fast track for disaster by testing the waters with more and more outrageous behavior. There are harsh consequences to drinking for anyone but teens face losing their dreams in addition to their lives. And the survivors have an even more harsh consequence, figuring out why they lived and someone else died. That's what Softly Say Goodbye is about. It's a love story between two high school seniors who've been together through a lot of ups and downs. Yet, they never lose their commitment not only to each other but to making a stand against teen drunks. Even with threats against them unless they back down, this couple and their friends continue to send out their message. Then the consequences leaves one dead and the other wondering if it's worth the effort - until a teen they thought lost to the dark side of drinking walks back into the light. The sense of loss is still acute but the book's main character continues on her crusade to take a hard line against teen drinking and tries to move on with her life by holding onto good things over the crushing grief.

Will Softly Say Goodbye find a home? I sure hope so. In that vein, I've already started revisions and edits in the hopes I feel it's in even better shape for the Delacorte Press Award. That submission has to be out before the end of December. Yup, I do mean next month. So, after more than a year of piddling around with my writing, I end 2010 on a fantastic note. One adult romance novella sold to Vanilla Heart Publishing and now available in both print and electronic versions. One NaNo project with the potential to become a hot message book for teens, without the message boring them. What will next year bring? One can only hope more of the same, or even better, demands for me to sign a contract.

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