Behind the Scenes of Remembering Home
I was writing Sensing You, and having a battle of wills with Ronnie, Felicity, and Letitia when Andrea joined in the fray. I threw up my hands disgusted with the lot of them. We all needed a break from each other. Thankfully Aiden, in all his tortured glory, popped into my head. I knew immediately that I had to write his story, but I thought it would just be a short to stretch my writing muscles and give Ronnie time to calm down. Yeah, nah (Aussie expression meaning, I hear what you’re saying, but it's wrong).
I was immediately drawn to Aiden. He’s just discovered that the man who was more of a father to him than his real father has died suddenly. Any chance he had of seeing him again has been lost. He blames himself, knowing that he’d been running from his past for years. His self-hatred was so palpable to me I almost hated looking at myself in the mirror. As Angel’s story started to unfold I cringed, thinking, well, if he can’t stand his reflection now he’s really going to lose it when he sees what he left behind. I knew she was what tethered him to his childhood home. Angel and her family.
Angel is a true southern lady. She hates swearing. She’s big on manners and looking out for the people around her. She wasn’t always the picture of elegance, though. She could climb trees better than any boy when she was young. She has suffered so much loss in her life and had to deal with way more than any girl should have to. Her strength is amazing, but the death of her father is almost too much to bear. She’s lucky to have such a fantastic support network in her father’s brothers and her best friend, Chelsea.
Chelsea... What a character! I couldn’t leave her story untold even if I wanted to. She’d never stand for that. More about her later.
The short story kept expanding. I had a heck of a time containing it into a novella. I almost regret not giving them a whole book. We may be seeing more of them in the future.
In Remembering Home Chelsea and Greyson give a brief account of how they met. Instant lust. I saw it all clearly, but didn’t get to tell you all the details. This time I did write a short story. It was titled, A Tall Drink of Water, and was posted on my EXTRAS page for a while. And again, the story kept unfolding. Of course. I mean, this is Chelsea we’re talking about. Loud, brash, no verbal filter, wild child trying to tame her ways, Chelsea. If I had a girl crush she’d be it.
Her match, Greyson, he’s all alpha. He has to be to keep up with her. He has a heck of a time trying to pin her down, but he knows what he wants and he’s not trying to tame her.
Behind the Scenes of Sensing You
This book . . . Aargh, this book . . . Let me start by saying this book completely wrecked me. Shattered. Ronnie started telling me her story a few years ago, but I just didn’t feel ready to do the story justice. I put her off. Ignored her like she does to almost everyone around her. I knew it would be intense with a dark thread weaving through its core, so I anticipated a whirlwind of emotions as I wrote this. I wasn’t wrong. I cried when I wrote some scenes. My whole body was tense writing others. Once I’d hit publish I basically went to bed for a few days.
Ronnie was a particularly tough character to get to know. She swears, she snarls, she runs away. Boy, is she good at running away. Not only is it her primary defence against unwanted attention or threatening situations, it’s her bliss (as long as she has rock music blasting in her ears). Under all that badmouthed snark is a vulnerable woman in pain just looking for some peace. She only finds it when she pushes her body to its limits.
But there’s no escaping the things that plague her. Ronnie can see and communicate with the dead. She also has visions. Sometimes they’ve already happened, sometimes they’re yet to pass, and every now and then she’ll see things that are happening in the moment, but somewhere else. It’s a huge burden for Ronnie, and something that she can never share with anyone. Can you imagine the ridicule? The stares? The big sign on her back saying, “Hey I’m a freak, kick me.”?
I sometimes wonder why this particular character came to me with her story. What was my inspiration? I guess it's because I'm curious about the afterlife and stories like Alison Dubois' and the show based on her life, Medium. In a former life I was a nurse. I worked in various roles, but one of those was in palliative care. Every patient I cared for was in the final stages of life. I've watched many people take their last breaths and been with the families through the transition. Experiences like that are bound to present questions about existence in general. Not only that, but one of my first nursing jobs was in a surgical ward that was believed to be haunted. They'd kept it closed because of strange happenings, but due to bed constraints decided to open the ward up. All but one room, that is. That room was allocated as the staff room. Needless to say we never used it during the night shift. Things did go flying down the corridor, and the furniture in that room would mysteriously rearrange itself. If every other nurse hadn't seen the same things that I had, I would've questioned my sanity.
So, for someone like Ronnie who has dealt with things like that all her life, but in her case she actually sees the ghosts reeking havoc, how could she possibly tell anyone about it? There’s only one person whom she can trust with her secret. Her granny. The woman who raised her, shows her unconditional love, and who also shares her gift. Granny was a fantastic character to write. She’s has a cheeky side, shoots straight without nonsense, and nothing escapes her attention. Granny brings out the real Ronnie showing us her capacity for love and exposing her fragility. Ronnie might act tough, but she is constantly on the edge of breaking point.
Despite her determination not to connect with anyone, Ronnie has no choice but to befriend a pushy spirit named Letitia. Taken too young and on a quest to communicate with the brother she left behind, Letitia hooks Ronnie into helping her. In return, Letitia takes on the job of Ronnie’s guardian angel of sorts, easing the demand on Ronnie’s time from unwanted spirit visitors. But Letitia is holding onto some secrets of her own that change Ronnie’s reality, irreparably.
Ronnie has so much going on inside her that she keeps hidden from the world, she had to have a man with patience, and understanding. I know we found him. And he has freckles. I love this hero!
Brad. Adorable Brad. He’s an Aussie larrikin. An adrenaline junkie; it’s hard to get him to sit still. He has suffered just as badly as Ronnie, and his pain has sent him down a path to self-destruction. He either gets an adrenaline hit by putting his life in danger or he reaches for the bottle.
Brad realises that he can’t go on behaving like an idiot and tries to put his life back on track by enrolling in university. There he sees his friend Ben whom he’d lost contact with years before. They reconnect like they’d never been apart. Ben, along with his wife, Andrea offer huge support for Brad. But it’s meeting Ronnie that is Brad’s biggest motivation for sorting out his life.
She gives meaning to his life and offers him a second chance at righting past wrongs. He is endlessly patient with her, even when her behaviour seems bizarre he doesn’t push her to explain. He takes care of her, and she needs that whether she wants to admit it or not. Because there is a dark road ahead for the both of them, and she might not survive.
In the next book in the series you'll get to read about Andrea and Ben and their unusual connection. Andrea has a few gifts of her own. Having grown up together, Letitia and Brad are a part of their story, too.
I hope that you’ll love Ronnie and Brad, and their story, as much as I do.
Star Signs by J.M. Adele
©J.M. Adele, 2015. (Unedited!!)
I watch as best-selling author, Helena Granger, sweeps through the convention room on her platform heels. Her red hair trails behind her like the flames of an Olympic torch. Heads turn and conversation lowers to a hush. The fatigue and agitation plaguing the line of waiting fans is knocked over, domino style, as she passes; replaced by excitement and awe.
Helena finds her way to a table cloaked in a red velvet cloth and strewn with book merchandise. She stands beside the table, talking to her assistant in husky tones. The smell of her perfume clouds my senses as I stand within reach, first in line. I stare at the top of her fiery head as she takes a seat, has a sip of water and uncaps her marker pen. Her eyelashes lift, revealing her unusual green-grey irises. She smiles at me and I’m struck dumb. I have her latest release clutched to my chest, with my wrists crossed. I’m unable to unlock my clawed hands from the book as she looks at me expectantly.
“Hi there. I see you have my book. May I sign it for you?” Her eyes hold a wariness unmasked between blinks.
My hands finally loosen and I fumble to catch the book before it hits the floor. I end up throwing it at her, almost spilling her drink. The sound of snickering reaches my ears from behind.
One person yells, “STALKER!”
The increased volume matches the rising heat on my face. My eyes drift down to the velvet cloth. I want to rip it off and perform a disappearing act. My heart pounds, preparing me for escape.
“Excuse me?” I snap my gaze back to Helena. “What’s your name?” She has the book open at the title page, marker ready to sign.
“Juanita,” I croak.
“How do you spell that?” Her eyebrows rise as if trying to blend with her freckled forehead.
“J-u-a-n-i-t-a.” I blurt each letter, making them incomprehensible.
Eyebrows still poised on high, she asks, “what was that?”
I just yelled at Helena Graham. Oh my God, kill me now.
She lowers the pen and swivels her head to give her assistant a look before turning back to me with a plastic smile pasted on her face.
My stomach is gearing up to revolt, I need to bail from this disaster. I swallow and wave my sweaty hand over the book telling her not to worry about it. Now her eyebrows are trying to fuse together, forming a handy shelf above her eyes where her freckles can congregate.
“Just J is fine.” I manage to whisper. How she hears me over the uproarious laughter behind me, I don’t know.
Her pen squiggles across the page before she snaps the book shut and slides it across the velvet to rest in front of me. “Thanks for buying the book. Have a great day.” The monotone of her voice is almost insulting. I nod, attempting a smile, but failing.
She was all class. It was rude not to thank her, but I’d done enough damage. I watch my feet as they eat up the carpet. Thank God I’m short and have long hair.
My assistant waves me over. “Well, that was embarrassing.” He peers at me from a lofty six foot, his designer specs unable to hide his amusement. Gorgeous bastard.
“Stating the obvious. Thanks, Taylor.”
“Your table will be set up over there. Far away from Helena’s groupies. You’ll have an hour to compose yourself before the signing. I suggest that you dye your hair, change your clothes and borrow my glasses.”
I wrap a hand around each side of my ribcage and jiggle up and down. “Har, hardy, har… Jerk.”
“Please tell me you didn’t yell at her.” Taylor holds up a hand, directing me to stop.
“I yelled at her.” My shoulders sink as the confession comes out.
“I know.” His expression is full of sympathy as he wraps one arm around my shoulders. If I wasn't so mortified I'd be relishing in the tingling heat produced by his touch.
My first big signing hasn’t even begun and I’ve made a laughing stock of myself. Excellent.