It’s a weird little thing, being a writer.
Our abilities, our experiences as creative people all culminate in the exchange of ideas and notions meant to enable us. We learn from our mistakes. We navigate life with the gift of observance that trickles onto our work, into every aspect of who we become.
We think we know so much, but time has a specific way of making what we think we know very trivial and utterly wrong.
So, we write and experience and learn that our realities aren’t ours at all. They become the result of lessons, of mistakes, of the blatant refusal and eventual acceptance that we have no idea what we’re doing.
I used to believe that writing a great story meant writing something profound, perhaps something life altering. You want to impact change. You want to be the cleverest, the most sincere, the most respected. But over time, it comes down to the story. It comes down to the bits and pieces of life, of all our lives, that are as different and unique as the individuals living those stories. Art is meant to hold a mirror up to life. We’re meant to replicate what we feel and experience ourselves. Part of that is expressing all aspects of the human condition. We are not inanimate objects. We are not mere observers. We love and lose. We cry, we mourn. We suffer, we argue, we let emotions and drama and complete ridiculousness overtake our good sense.
We write the story. We live the story. We are the story.
Then why is it deemed arbitrary or saccharine when those stories are good and happy and filled with passion and love and all those wonderfully horribly, brilliantly emotional aspects of the messiness of life?
So, tell the story you want. Write about dragons and knights and aliens and lovers and sex and tears and loss and all the beautiful disasters that make up your own story.
It’s what I’ve been trying to do.
I’ve been writing a story about a girl who has been loved. Who has been betrayed. Who has been shown the bright beacon of hope and had it yanked from her grasp time and time again. She’s not complicated. She’s the every girl. She’s not trivial. She is genuine. And, in my story, she falls in love. She challenges herself. She wants to get back to the serenity she once owned.
She fails. She tries again and what is left, is her surrender to what she cannot control.
What is left, is her story.
So, I’m about to set forth down a long, crowded hallway. I am walking naked, letting the world see all the scars and bruises and insecurities life has left over my body. I’m parading every flaw, every dank, dirty little secret. It is terrifying. It is exhilarating.
It is who I am. Right now. Today.
This is the story I needed to tell.
I hope you like it and even if you don’t, I hope you’ll appreciate that it came from the heart…from this battered, hopeful, still learning heart.
Title: Chasing Serenity
Series: Seeking Serenity series, Book #1
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak
Cover Reveal Organized by As the Pages Turn
Graduate student Autumn McShane has had her share of heartbreak. She’s been abandoned and betrayed and she lost her beloved mother in a tragic car accident five months ago. That loss damaged her body and fractured her spirit but she’s learning to recover both until her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend returns to town, intent on making her life miserable.
Declan Fraser hates her ex as much as Autumn does, but the last thing she needs is to put her trust in the hands of another man, especially one like Declan: his hard body and lulling Irish accent makes more than few girls weak-kneed. The talented rugby player is rude and sarcastic, with tattooed, muscular arms and a cocky attitude, but he’s the only one who can help Autumn win an ill-advised bet that, if lost, could cost her more than she’s willing to pay. The reluctant alliance between Declan and Autumn stirs up cravings she doesn’t want to admit, but Declan is a hard man to resist.
Just when Autumn starts letting down her carefully constructed walls to the sexy bad boy, he betrays her in her moment of greatest need. Autumn suspects Declan has dark secrets, and she is determined to uncover what drove him away from her, even if that means fraternizing with the enemy. But will the truth return Declan to her arms or add to the scars on her heart?
My mother’s skin is pale. No steady thump moves the pulse in her neck, no awareness flickers in her eyes as she stares at me. There is nothing there. She is motionless, inert.
This can’t be real.
Glass is fractured all around us, stained red with our blood, and my jeans are soaked from the torrential rain that beats against the car, through the broken windshield. I can’t stop the shaking of my limbs, the shiver of cold that has nothing to do with the temperature. Mom’s face is splotched with that same red color; thick trails of blood leak from her nose and mouth. Her hands are fractured. There are breaks that twist and bend the joints, the bones, and in the stillness of the car, against the intermittent flashes from the lightening above, I notice that my hands are like hers, except where hers are battered and bloody, mine are clean. Strange that my mind can process that we share the same thin knuckles, the same translucent skin, identical ridges that tapper at the wrist. I try to reach for her, to close her eyes, but something is piercing me and it traps me to the seat.
“Mom?” I know she won’t answer. I’ve screamed my voice raw over the past hour trying to get her to respond.
Above the din of racking rain and the drumming pulse of vicious thunder, I hear sirens, but I know that it is pointless. They’ve come too late. She is gone. I am going. My vision blurs and I can only manage to look at her, to take in the dull white in her eyes and the pallid color of her lips.
“Mom, please.” The words come out in a whisper and my head swims with a dizzy cluster of swaying vision. I am floating, falling, but I train my eyes onto her face, a tether to this life, as fleeting as it is. I try again to reach her, but I am met with resistance, some sharp unknowable thing that doesn’t allow me to move. I am helpless here, something I have always made a point to never be. But I cannot rescue her. I can’t manage to even move an inch, to touch her face, to say goodbye.
My mind surfs with desperate thoughts, impossible hopes, until the scatter of images lands on our family, years before, when we were whole, when my parents loved each other, when my father wasn’t a coward. His voice rings in my ears, him singing something old, something very Irish, and I allow myself a smile. I forget the heartbreak he caused. I forget the loneliness in our too big home, how my mother’s smile was never quite the same. The bitterness that I’ve held so near to me, so certain and full next to my heart, slips away like an unintentional whisper and I rest my head back, my eyes still trained on her face. The sounds of storms and sirens around me evaporate and I listen to my father’s voice. It is soft, like a feather, and certain like the force of a windstorm.
“Autumn my love, this song is for you.”
I close my eyes as the phantom of my father sings me into silence, into calm, into the oblivion I know is waiting.
Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” will launch October 2013.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football. You can find Eden on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter.