Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 30 of Pinned but Fluttering

I've started writing the much-anticipated Chapter 30 of Pinned but Fluttering. Yep, last night at nearly two in the morning, I sat in my bathroom, scribbling dialogue and details onto two-inch-square Christmas-themed Post-Its. I ended up with seven closely-written Post-Its that I transcribed with my now-beloved Dragon Speech-to-Text software this afternoon.

Because I left my readers hanging with a fairly nasty cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 29, then posted an Outtake after Chapter 28 (in Edward's POV, no less), I felt that you all deserved a sneak peek into Chapter 30.

NOTE: This is a very rough draft of the first words of the chapter; they may be altered quite a bit in the final draft. (Or not.)  And it's fairly short....

Okay, you ready for this????

Chapter 30

"Edward? Please," came Carlisle's clear voice, clipped and tight with stress.

At long last, Edward halted his manic pacing, electing to lean against the wall nearest the grand staircase. He rested the back of his head against the wall, closing his eyes and sighing dramatically. His face was drawn, as if he were being pulled to pieces on some medieval torture device. I could not figure him out for the life of me...but I found myself relaxing slightly as his frantic movements finally stilled. But his agonized expression kept me tense with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach....

The lovely Rosalie rolled her eyes in perturbation at Edward's melancholy histronics, apparently quite at the end of her extremely limited patience when it came to Edward...or me.

My eyes flew from one Cullen to the next, noting the too–serious expression in every single pair of golden eyes. Everyone was strung nearly as tightly as Edward...and that was really saying something. Even Esme and Carlisle looked abnormally anxious, exchanging frequent and rapid glances of reassurance to one another.

After sending each of his family members a silent warning to let him speak--something I caught onto but probably wasn't supposed to--Carlisle leaned forward, his jaw tight with concern as he spoke quietly. "I'm nearly certain that you have some questions for us, Isabella. Am I correct in this assumption?"

My throat suddenly seemed desert–dry. Clearing my throat once, then twice, it still remained too dry for speaking. Panicked, I looked to Esme, my hand raised to my neck in a silent plea for a drink.

Nodding in understanding, Esme disappeared for a moment, then re-entered the room with a tray bearing a full crystal pitcher and three tall tea glasses which she set on the coffee table before me. Carlisle reached for the pitcher, which seemed to be filled with lemonade, and poured half a glass, silently passing it to me. Grasping the tall glass in both hands, I gulped down several swallows of the sweet-tart lemonade. It was so like Esme to consider my comfort above all else and make me one of my favorite drinks, even during this extremely tense time. I nearly choked in my eagerness to drink, and, as I spluttered, my eyes flew to Emmett who was attempting to stifle a laugh behind his huge hand.... I muffled my smile, realizing that humor was highly inappropriate in this tense setting.

At my awkward spluttering, Edward had pushed off from his position along the wall as if to help me. Apparently he determined that I was only klutzy and in no real danger as he woodenly turned away, the fingers of one hand gripping the bridge of his nose, and returned to his place against the wall...all without uttering a sound.

I took another long--and this time slow--drink from the glass, then set it down carefully on the tray. Before I responded, I looked into Carlisle's eyes which had always calmed me before--but his obvious worry brought me no peace this time.

I would have to answer his question, remembering how he had spoken, quietly fearful, as if my reply could ruin a great deal.

As perhaps it could....

"Yes," I managed to croak at long last, looking only at Carlisle. I swallowed nervously, then continued, "Yes, I have some questions for you."

I took a deep breath, and then the questions began pouring from my lips in an uncontrolled rush....

There! I hope you enjoyed the beginning of Chapter 30. I hope that it all falls together well as it's a pivotal chapter in the story.

Thanks for reading and for supporting me so beautifully!!!!

With love to you all,

Cassandra :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Writing from Edward's POV

There's just something about Edward Cullen.

I'm not talking about Robert Pattinson...although he does a fair job of portraying Edward. And he's captured Edward's agony well, especially in New Moon.

No, I'm talking about the amalgam of literary heroes whom, rolled together, result in Edward Cullen.

I see Edward Cullen most clearly in the character of Edward Fairfax Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: a man of principle twisted by "Fate"--by factors outside of his control--into a life of self-loathing and self-control, a self-control that he struggles with and then yields as he falls in love with his ward's quirky and plain governess. Mr. Rochester throws aside society's rules in order to pursue Jane, but when society catches up with him at the altar as he prepares to marry Jane, the lovers are separated, and Mr. Rochester goes out of his mind with grief. He sacrifices himself in attempting to rescue his mad wife who has set Thornfield, his home, on fire, and ends up blind and crippled. Once Jane is restored to him through supernatural means, he regains his sanity and his sight, finally becoming the man he was always supposed to be through the power of love and the grace of God.

I also see Edward Cullen, to a lesser extent, in the character of Heathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, an intrinsically evil character made so by forces mostly outside his control, yet becoming more human through his twisted love of the monstrous Catherine Earnshaw. Glimpses of Edward Cullen may also be seen in Mr. Darcy of Austen's Pride and Prejudice and in the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.

And let's not forget the Byronic hero, the handsome, tortured soul saved from himself through the power of love. defines the Byronic hero as "A kind of hero found in several of the works of Lord Byron. Like Byron himself, a Byronic hero is a melancholy and rebellious young man, distressed by a terrible wrong he committed in the past." Sounds a bit like our Edward, doesn't he?

Currently I'm reading the third novel by Syrie James (author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte) entitled Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker which explores the Dracula story in a mixture of fictional story wrapped around established fact. I haven't read Stoker's Dracula since college, and I must confess to remembering little of it. Besides the enjoyment of getting lost in Syrie James' wonderful literary worlds, I'm intrigued by how the character of Count Dracula relates to Edward Cullen. We shall see, I suppose....

So why do I enjoy writing from Edward's point-of-view so much? I find his character infinitely fascinating. He's flawed, but beautifully so. He's alone in his own hell of self-loathing, but then he's slowly raised out of this hell to live, for the first time in his miserable existence, by the love of a pure woman. Edward's agonized struggle between loving Bella and protecting Bella places him in a nearly impossible situation, one that requires him to further develop his humanity while suppressing his vampiric nature.

Last night I published an EPOV Outtake for Pinned but Fluttering which begins with Edward storming out of the Cullen home after seeing Downton Abbey splayed across the widescreen, his own time period on display as Bella watches with fascination. He runs, and as he runs, he recalls his first encounter with Bella, and we gain a glimpse into Edward's mind and heart as he struggles with his intense feelings for Bella. Here's a short excerpt from the third outtake from Pinned but Fluttering:

As soon as I was out of human sight, I was running with a speed and energy that surprised even me. I didn't know where I was going, and I didn't know how long I'd be running. But the repetitious motion of the running brought me a the merest beginnings of peace...a peace I hadn't felt since first catching the irresistible scent of one Isabella Swan.
My demon.
My angel.
During the drive, I had not allowed my mind to think about her. But for all my decades of careful self-control of body and mind, she had somehow become the focus of my every thought. I knew, without a doubt, that this situation would have to stop. Or change somehow.
I could not think about her.
I could not allow her into my world.
My world was simply too dangerous for such a delicate girl.
I had to protect her. Somehow. Someway.
I had to protect her...from myself.
As the miles disappeared beneath my feet, I thought back to the television program that had startled me and prompted my dramatic exit. To see splayed across the widescreen the elements of my own human era, the halcyon days before the horrors of The Great War (the war which was later named World War I after another global war began in the 30s and 40s), gripped the earth, was unnerving to say the least. The clothing, the manners, the cadence of speech, even the gentility of that time was all too familiar to me.
I could not believe that Alice had exposed Bella to my own human time. It was dangerous...and unspeakably reckless. And worse, my sister had done it on purpose, and I was not sure that I would be forgiving her any time soon....
I suppose that my reaction was a bit much, but it was Alice's smug grin of satisfaction that sent me “over the top”--another phrase from the foxholes of The Great War.
I sighed as I ran, knowing that I'd have to apologize to Esme and Alice when I got home.
That is, if I ever went home....
As usually happened in this particular damp location in the US, it began to rain, slowly at first, then in an increasingly powerful downpour. Despite Spokane's overall drier weather than the Olympic Peninsula where Forks was located, high winds whipped my wet clothing against me as I ran and raindrops struck my eyes, peppered my face, and soaked my hair.
But I couldn't stop running.
If I continued, I would end up running all the way back to the Olympic Peninsula and then would have to return to fetch the Vanquish....
Shit. Usually I didn't allow myself to use foul language, first because it offended me that most people didn't take the time to choose the best word for a particular situation; they lazily resorted to four-letter words in a decided lack of creativity. Second, such words offended Esme, and the last thing I wanted to do was to give my mother pain.
But the agony within me wouldn't allow me to stop running—but whether I was running away from Isabella or toward her, I did not know. But those brown eyes, swimming with deep emotions and fragile strength, wouldn't leave my mind's eye for more than a moment, and only then when I forced them away.
But they never stayed away long, those incredible eyes.

So I'll be continuing the story of Pinned but Fluttering with next weekend's posting of Chapter 30, picking up with the Cullens' tense discussion with Bella in the living room....

Plus, Pinned but Fluttering just passed 300,000 reads on Wattpad this morning. See?

From the Profile Page of Cassandra Lowery dated March 28, 2012

Thank you for reading my stories and for being such an amazing support and encouragement for me as a writer. Fiction writing still seems foreign and odd to me, and I certainly have a great deal to learn....

With a grateful heart,

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Middle-of-the-Night Jottings on Christmas-Themed Post-Its....

The last two weeks I've found my mind still in Pinned but Fluttering mode when I get ready for bed after posting the new chapter late. Last week some tings I wanted to address in the next chapter came to mind, so I grabbed the ever-present Christmas-themed pad of Post-It notes and, in minuscule penmanship, jotted down five Post-Its of ideas.

After getting up the next morning, I unstuck them from the bathroom mirror, brought them downstairs, and stuck them to a blank page in my "Scribblings" journal--a place in which I jot chapter ideas, points not to forget, elements to bring back in, and rough drafts of many a failed poem.

So there they are (pictured above): the basis for Chapter 28 of Pinned but Fluttering.

And this morning was no different. Going to bed at nearly 5:00 AM (when normal people are getting up, of course) after staying up all night to ready my new online classroom for the teaching of Little Women, the opening lines for Chapter 29 came to me. So again I reached for the pad of Christmas-themed Post-Its and jotted down the opening lines (subject to later revision, of course).

Here is what I wrote:

"What did I do?" I asked weakly, the room still reverberating from the sheer force of Edward's dramatic exit.

Alice seemed completely unperturbed. "Oh, it was nothing you did, Bella," she said, waving a hand toward me airily. Then she flashed me a wide grin, a "cat-just-ate-the-canary" kind of grin. Refusing to say another word, she returned to watching Downton Abbey. I tried to join her, but as engrossing as the Crawley family and household staff were, they were the furthest topic from my thoughts....

So there we are!! Now that my speaking engagements are over (although I was asked back to do the Journaling Workshop again in May), I have more time to breathe...and perhaps even write! Of course, I'm not even thinking about my "normal life" of teaching two online courses this week (teaching one is more than enough!!), homeschooling the boybarians, and just living.

But I'm still hoping to get some writing done before the weekend so I don't have to stay up so late (and keep my Wattpad readers up so late, too) posting the next chapter. I also want to write an EPOV Outtake...and after Edward's rather dramatic exit at the end of Chapter 28, perhaps now is the time. Could I do both this week? I seriously doubt it...but who knows?

And guess what? On Wattpad yesterday, Pinned but Fluttering reached a quarter of a million reads!!! 250,000!!! And last night, Evening Star reached half a million reads--that's 500,000 reads!! WOW!!!! I love my readers sooooooo much!!! :) :) :)

Okay, getting back to my real life of juggling home education with teaching outside classes....

Writing for you,
--Cassandra :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Still A-Writin'...

It's Lent.

And what does Lent have to do with fan fiction?

Well, I have given up reading fan fiction for Lent. Yep, no reading new fan fiction stories until Easter, except for Sundays (which are not part of Lent).

I'm still pegging away on writing and posting new chapters for Pinned but Fluttering, so no worries there. Promise.

In a way, not reading fan fic stories is helping me to concentrate more on events I want to include in Pinned but Fluttering. So that's a good thing, right? ;)

But it just kills me when a favorite fan fic story's new chapter, such as Nolebucgrl's Words with Friends and Words with Strangers updates. I diligently move it into my "To Be Read" pile and let it wait there until Sundays. It's not easy, but it's a good thing.

So the next chapter of Pinned but Fluttering should be up Sunday. I'm speaking at another women's conference this Saturday, so I doubt I'll have much time to write then. Plus I have a new online class beginning on Monday that I"ll be teaching, a four-week literary analysis class on Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. So I'll be a very busy girl this weekend; I'm just praying that I'll be able to post Chapter 28 in good time.

I did start writing Chapter 28 the other night at 4:00 AM when I thought of how I wanted to start the chapter. The thought hit me while I was brushing my teeth (work kept me up late), so I jotted it in miniscule handwriting on *five* Christmas-themed Post-It Notes; I stuck them into my Creative Journal the following morning. So the ideas are already flowing....

I also have some ideas for additional one-shots, and I'll definitely be writing an Edward POV Outtake for Pinned but Fluttering, hopefully very soon!

Oh, and I must thank Sherryola for her kind recommendation ofPinned but Fluttering on one of her recent chapters of her story Seeing Bella. The number of reviews for my story doubled. Seriously.

 Happy reading and writing,