Back to Me – Chapter 1

I’m done with my manuscript for BACK TO ME, which I’ve written about on here.  I recently entered my first 250 words in a contest, so I wanted to share the entire first chapter here for those who were curious what happens next.   

Kate Dalton’s heart raced as she replayed the voicemail, listening for clues hidden somewhere in the deep, Southern tones of Jake Bailey’s voice.  She missed most of what he said the first time. She was too busy celebrating that Jake had finally come to his senses and realized he couldn’t live without her.

“Hey Kate, it’s Jake.  There’s something I really need to tell you before you hear it from someone else.  Give me a call…please.”  He was almost pleading at the end.

Her heart sank.  Jake was getting married, she was sure of it.

How could he be getting married?  A year ago, when they rekindled the relationship they’d had in college, she thought they were finally getting their happily ever after.  It had only been six months since they’d broken up.  How could he have met someone so fast?  He was supposed to come back to her, just like he always had.

Surely Abby would have mentioned if she knew he was dating someone.  Whenever they broke up, which had been more frequent than she would have liked over the years, they joked that they shared custody of Abby.  They both knew Abby’s true loyalty lie with Kate, however.

Her stomach churned with an odd mixture of excitement and terror as she dialed his number and braced herself for news of his impending nuptials. 

“Hey,” he said in an even tone she couldn’t read.

“Hey there, how are you?” she asked, hoping her voice didn’t shake. 

“Are you sitting down?” he asked in a tone that seemed a little too serious to be about wedding bells. 

“Well, I’m driving.  So, yes.  What’s up?”  Come on.  It’s like a Band-Aid, just rip it off and get it over with already.

“I know you said not to call, but this isn’t about us.  I need to tell you something.”  There was a pause before he continued, “After all these years, you deserve to hear it from me.”

His tone was so sincere.  He had something he needed to tell her.  She’d always been his confidant.  Maybe it had nothing to do with marriage.  After all, they’d only been apart for a matter of months.

Her heart fluttered, and she silently reminded herself not to get too excited just yet.

 “Okay…” she said tentatively, waiting for him to go on.

“I don’t know how to say this…” 

Oh, just get it over with, she pleaded with her mind.  Continue reading “Back to Me – Chapter 1”

Finding What Works

I’m riding a high this week, as I seem to have found a new structure for Back To Me.  I spent last weekend converting the manuscript from first person present tense to third person past tense.  Then I decided to try the “two nows” structure since the back story on Kate and Jake was so important to what Kate was going through years later. 

I am so happy with how my manuscript has transformed.  Now that I’m using the “two nows,” I can’t imagine telling the story any other way.  A glimpse through the books on my shelf revealed far more novels that used this method than I had remembered reading.  I started to reread one last night to get a feel for how that author used the “two nows,” and now I’m convinced more than ever that I want to present my manuscript to agents like this.

Accordingly, I have taken down the chapters that used to reside under Back To Me under the Manuscripts menu above.  You can find the new Chapter 1 and 2 there now, which starts in an entirely different place than its predecessor. 

You may also recognize it from Entry #4 in this week’s contest.  I changed the title (to a working title I used previously) and the character’s names, because I wanted some honest feedback.  I didn’t trust you all to give it to me if you knew it was my entry!  🙂

So, I’d love to know what everyone thinks of the new starting point, tense, use of the “two nows,” etc!

Boomerang Love

Kate Dalton and Jake Bailey are each other’s boomerang love – the person who comes back when you set them free. At least that’s what Kate always thought, until one phone call changes her world forever. Now Kate must reevaluate everything she thought she knew about love and life.

I’ve shared the above teaser for my manuscript, BACK TO YOU, with quite a few people at this point.  The number one thing people want to discuss after reading it is the whole “boomerang love” concept.  

Put simply, a boomerang love is the person who comes back to you when you set them free. Surely you remember that old Richard Bach quote, “If you love someone set them free. If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were.” Okay, so you probably have no idea that Richard Bach originated the quote, but I know you’ve heard the words. Perhaps comforted yourself with them when The-One-That-Got-Away didn’t return?

What about someone who comes back time and time again? I’m not talking about the guy you lay down like a doormat for and take back no matter his indiscretions. No, this is the guy who no matter what takes you apart – careers, relocations, tragedies, misplaced priorities – always finds his way back to you. We’ve all had someone like that, right? That’s the kind of boomerang love Kate Dalton and Jake Bailey have in BACK TO YOU.

To give credit where credit is due, I got the idea from the movie Little Black Book.  Two people who have broken up each keep a boomerang to remind them that no matter where they go in the world they could still be together one day.   

It’s a small part of the movie, but it resonated with me immediately.  Funny how a $5 DVD from Walmart can make an impact.  I did what we all do when curious and set out to Google “boomerang love.”  The first few websites used the term to describe abusive relationships – not exactly what I had in mind.  Then I found what I was looking for in a daily inspiration column by Dr. John H. Skiare.  He not only wrote that boomerang love is the healthiest kind of love – a love where both parties give and take equally – but he gave an excellent quote from a Luann Rice novel (Summer of Roses):

It wasn’t real love. I didn’t know that for a long time. Real love is a boomerang − it comes back to you. With Edward, love was a sinkhole.

At that point, I had two definitions of boomerang love that fit the relationship in my manuscript perfectly.  There was the idea in the movie that boomerang love is about setting someone free because you’re confident enough in your love to know they’ll come back to you.  Then there was Dr. Skiare’s definition about how it’s the purest kind of love because it’s about give and take.  Add in these Jimmy Buffet lyrics I found, and I knew I had stumbled upon something I had to use:

We both know we live in different orbits
Different islands different worlds
Though we really are the same
I’m just glad, glad we started talking
Finally realize no one is to blame

In one night, I retitled my book BACK TO ME, which fits my manuscript in so many ways, and rewrote several pieces of it to play on this boomerang love concept.  I trashed the query I had written to send to agents and came up with an entirely different (and hopefully better) one centered around this new idea.   

It was easy to write about boomerang love, because I’ve had one.  In fact, most women I’ve talked to say thay’ve had this kind of relationship.  In my case, there was never a doubt in my mind that we would end up together eventually.  We broke up each time our lives seemed to be going in different directions, but every single time we found our way back to one another.  That’s how I knew it was meant to be. 

I’m not going to say much more about my own life, because like most writers, I used pieces of it in my writing.  I want to hear from you though – have you had a boomerang love?  Did you find happily ever after together?  Are you still waiting, confident the timing will be right for you one day?

Back To Me

Back To Me is my first full fiction manuscript.  It started out as a diary of sorts, but when I read the pages, I saw a novel.  So, many months later, it’s now a fiction manuscript.  I previously shared the first chapter over on my It’s a Swing and a Miss blog, but I have now moved it here.  

Here’s a little teaser for Back To Me:

Kate Dalton and Jake Bailey are each other’s boomerang love – the person who comes back when you set them free. At least that’s what Kate always thought, until one phone call changes her world forever. Now Kate must reevaluate everything she thought she knew about love and life.

You can check out the first chapter on the Back To Me page I created up top.  Come back this weekend if you’re curious about the “boomerang love” concept.  I think you’ll find we’ve all had one, and I’d love to hear about yours!