The 35th reunion–there’s probably a disorder for this

I wrote this after walking around my old home town. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I’m putting it here for a bit. I have such odd feelings about my old hometown. Really, it’s one of the few times in my life where I feel like I may be the only one in the world that feels this way.

 

First of all, I want to say that my adulthood has been way better than my childhood. I’m not James Barrie wishing for never-ending childhood or a magical island. And really, even if I could relive a couple years, I wouldn’t choose high school. College was much better. I certainly wouldn’t choose junior high or elementary school, where I was constantly a fish out of water and simultaneously in over my head. Some years of my childhood could have qualified me for PTSD. I’ve told many, many students that life gets better exponentially the farther you get away from high school.

But Pullman. Ah, Pullman.

Maybe my memories would feel different if my parents had stayed in the city longer, but they moved when I was seventeen, thus encapsulating my time in Pullman in a sort of box that became my childhood, from beginning to almost end.

I didn’t grow up—I staggered up, was dragged up, fell down repeatedly, and a few times rocketed into the sky.

Our class only had about 150 students in it and most of us had lived in Pullman since kindergarten. We knew everyone and everyone knew us. In a school that small, there was no reinventing yourself. You’d been judged long ago, and everyone knew where you fit in. Teenagers don’t forget.

I made friends and made mistakes and loved people blindly and stupidly. I had my heart broken, and broken again, and literally prayed to stop caring about someone and cared anyway. I loved a couple of friends like they were sisters without considering the harsh truth that I could one day be disowned.

Well, as they say, it’s better to have loved and lost.

And then it’s reunion time. Each time I come back, I discover that my peers have been changing right alongside me, riding the river of life with all its turbulence and joys. I find I have things in common with people that I never expected. I’m truly happy for their successes and mourn their losses. I’m not looking for any sort of validation. I’m way past the age when I believe my high school peers can give that to me. So when we get caught up, it’s all as it should be and everything is right in the world.

Except that coming back is also like walking into a memory that’s empty of everything but ghosts. I see the Neil Public Library and I’m four again, picking out picture books with my mother. It’s a good recollection, but still a painful one because memories of one’s mother shouldn’t be so fleeting and threadbare, so cut short. She is gone, but part of her still lives on in that red brick building and when I look at it, it’s the one place in the world that I’m back with her.

Time skips and I’m fourteen, riding my bike without braking, all the way to the library because there’s nothing to do in the summer but read and no one will drive me. I look at Dack Street and I’m a second grader riding my bike around with a gaggle of neighborhood kids or sitting on Kristy Turner’s front porch with her, scheming how we can convince her parents to take us to Reaney Park Pool. The water is always freezing, but I jump in the deep end anyway, and we’ll spend most of our time rescuing the ladybugs that had poor navigation skills from drowning.

I look at Gladish and I’m in sixth grade and can taste the soy hamburgers that for some reason I loved. I can taste other things too—the sting of rejection. Sixth grade was the time when everyone else figured out how to act—except me. I was wild, brash, oblivious, and such a target.

Some of my peers there cut me down, intentionally and unintentionally, and for the next few years told me in subtle ways that I wasn’t enough. And I was so far from perfect—sometimes swinging that same blade at others myself. Fortunately, my church leaders, ever patient and kind, taught me that I belonged and I was more than enough. I even believed them some of the time.

And then there was high school where I tried so hard to walk the tightrope of coolness, to pretend I was someone who knew what I was doing. I didn’t. I completely didn’t. But mixed with all that insecurity was magic because sometimes you just didn’t care what anyone else thought and so many things were hilarious. Laura Kleinhofs and I made a giant paper mache hamburger in art class and left it on a stranger’s doorstep. We decided that gifting a stranger a huge random hamburger was the perfect prank. The recipient probably still wonders to this day where that thing came from.

There was the time Laura and I tricked Michael Kerr into TPing Larry Johnson’s house by convincing him that Laura lived there. That was two birds with one lie.

So many moments of happiness. The emotions I felt back then, the highs and the lows, I was sure I was the first person to ever feel them.

Now when I see the houses and buildings in Pullman, it’s like looking at a stage set that’s gone wrong. I know what the story should be and yet the actors aren’t there anymore. Every time I see a teenager milling about town, I think: Wait, I’m the one who is supposed to be young and expectant. This is my childhood, not yours. But of course, it’s not anymore.

It’s so odd to stroll around. At every turn, I feel like I should meet specters from the past. And there’s always that sense that if I just keep walking, I’ll run into myself–that part of me that was beleaguered and hopeful and innocent. When I’m in Pullman, time stops, and something feels so very unfinished. I’m not even certain what it is.

When I leave, I leave those emotions in Washington until the next time I come back, visiting my childhood like it was a tourist destination. Rome, London, Janette’s stage set of memories.

Well, as they say, “You can’t go home again.”

Sometimes They are right.

 

Slayers: Into the Firestorm (Jesse version) is available

Guess what is now available? That’s right–the last book of the Slayers series! And I do mean the last. I know you all have heard that for the last two books, but this one really is the end.

It is the Jesse version

If you are team Dirk, wait for a week or two and I’ll have that version out. They are 85% the same so you don’t have to read both versions. And no, I didn’t mean to make them that much the same but that is another blog post.

Here is the link!

Buy Slayers: Into the Firestorm for 3.99!

Slayers: The Dragon Lords (book #4)

A spy’s life is never safe.Tori knew that sending Aaron to Overdrake to act as a mole would have its risks. Overdrake might find out the truth about Aaron’s intentions—or even worse, convince Aaron that his revolution is necessary. The rest of the Slayers are less than enthusiastic about Tori and Aaron’s decision. If Aaron switches sides, they’ll have to contend with three dragons during an attack—odds that will certainly doom them. Tori, however, is positive they can trust Aaron. Trusting Dirk is another matter. He’s still convinced that if he shows Tori what dragons are truly like, he’ll trigger her dragon lord side. And he’s not wrong. Tori knows that learning how to control dragons may be the key to saving her friends, but the more time she spends with them, the more she wants to save them, not kill them. When the next face-off comes, choosing sides isn’t as easy as it used to be.

Slayers: Playing With Fire (book #3)

Having superpowers is overrated. It requires Tori to go to way more team practices than can comfortably fit into a normal teenager’s schedule. Being a dragon slayer has other drawbacks too—like fighting dragons and keeping one step ahead of power-hungry dragon lords, all without blowing her cover.
Tori Hampton is a presidential candidate’s daughter, which means she not only has a public reputation to maintain, she also has a humorless bodyguard to ditch every time she needs to go on a mission.

And Dr. B has plenty of missions for the Slayers. When he discovers that someone is selling dragon scales on the black market, he’s convinced the seller can give him the dragons’ location. A surprise strike could turn the tide in the Slayers favor, but when they track down the seller, they find more than they’ve bargained for.Suddenly, strategies need to change, alliances shift, and Tori finds herself caught in the precarious middle.

Jesse, the captain of the other Slayers team, is everything she wants, but then there’s Dirk, the dragon lord’s son—who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. He’s determined to convince her that she should love dragons, and love him too. The fact that he and his father plan to overthrow the government? Details not worth arguing about.

Tori believes she can turn Dirk around and convince him to rejoin the Slayers, but he’s just as convinced that she should leave the Slayers and become a dragon lord. Dirk can teach Tori how to control dragons, and it’s a skill she desperately wants. It could make all of the difference in a battle. It could save her friends’ lives. When Dirk offers to let her ride a dragon, she knows that meeting him is like playing with fire.

Echo in Time

Echo in Time delivers on “the possibility of an equally thrilling sequel” (Kirkus Reviews) to Erasing Time.

After being pulled 400 years into the future, twins Taylor and Sheridan have found some refuge from the government of Traventon, which used the dangerous Time Strainer to yank the girls from the past. Yet the threat of the dangerous technology still looms. Taylor and an ally, Joseph, are selected to go on a mission to destroy the time machine and weapon. But their actions before they do may have major consequences for the future and the past.

Action-packed and romantic, this futuristic sequel to Erasing Time is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Matched by Ally Condie.

The Wrong Side of Magic

The Phantom Tollbooth gets a modern-day spin in this magical middle grade fantasy filled with adventure and humor that will whisk readers away!

Hudson Brown stopped believing in magic long ago. That is, until the day he is whisked away to the magical land of Logos by a curious compass given to him by his off-beat neighbor, Charlotte.

Hudson discovers that Logos is a land ruled by words, thoughts, and memories. A fairy might ferry you across the river for the price of one memory. But be sure to look out for snarky unicorns, as they will see through those who are not pure of heart.

Not understanding the many rules of Logos, Hudson is quickly saddled with a troll curse. Charlotte, who, along with her father, was banished from Logos, can help get rid of the curse–but only if he agrees to find the lost Princess of Logos in return.

How I Met Your Brother

The best day of his life, the worst day of hers.

Back in college, Marco Dawson never thought of Belle as anything more than a friend. If she had crossed his mind on his wedding day, it was probably only to wonder why she hadn’t shown up to be a bridesmaid. After all, his new wife was her old roommate. Seven years have passed since then, and Belle just found out that Marco is divorced and vacationing with his family in an elegant Cancun resort. She’s not about to let the right man get away twice. She heads to the resort where she plans to casually bump into Marco and ignite some romantic flames.

But Belle hadn’t planned on one thing: Flynn Dawson, Marco’s handsome, charming, and determined twin brother. He thinks Marco and his ex-wife can make amends and he’s not about to let Belle stand in the way.

The Girl Who Heard Demons

Shy Adelle Hansen hears demons, but she’s determined to make friends at her new high school by keeping her ability secret.

When she overhears supernatural voices celebrating the impending death of the school quarterback, Levi Anderson, she knows she has to do something to prevent it. However, the demons aren’t the ones plotting; they’re just celebrating the chaos, and Adelle must contend with earthly forces as well if she wants to preserve Levi’s life.

Handsome, popular Levi doesn’t appreciate Adelle’s self-appointed role of guardian angel. As Adelle battles to keep him safe, she’ll have to protect her heart, too. Can she do both?

My Fairly Dangerous Godmother

Some people bomb auditions. Sadie Ramirez throws up during her tryouts on TV show America’s Top Talent. Her performance is so bad, it earns her a fairy godmother through the Magical Alliance’s Pitiful Damsel Outreach Program. Enter Chrysanthemum Everstar: a gum-chewing, cell phone-carrying, high heel wearing fairy godmother in training. She misinterprets Sadie’s wishes and sends her back in time to be a part of The Little Mermaid story and then makes her one of the twelve dancing princesses. Wishes are permanent, and if Sadie wants to get back to her home, she’ll have to strike a magical bargain–one that involves stealing a goblet from a powerful fairy queen. With a little help from a handsome and talented thief, she might be able to pull it off.

Son of War, Daughter of Chaos

An ancient war. A pharaoh’s curse. And one girl caught in the middle.

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents have instructed her from the time she was young to look for people with the signs: greater than normal strength, eyes that sometimes glow green, and the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks and unfounded paranoia. She just wants a normal high school life—maybe even one with a little romance.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, one where Horus and Set still struggle for control and people aren’t who or what they seem to be.
This romantic urban fantasy takes you around the world: from Arizona to Oxford, England, with stops on the snowy peaks of the Arctic and the ancient ruins of Egypt.