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L A Wibberley

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  1. Wow, this was intense. I couldn't stop reading. What a horrible situation, and sadly, one I fear is quite possibly realistic. The tension in the entire chapter is palpable and made me dread each new sentence, waiting for something horrible to happen. I must say, I'm kind of glad it ended when it did. Though I'm certainly motivated to read on. The pacing of this piece is great, like I said, I couldn't stop reading. I'll be thinking about this one for a while. The dialogue was excellent, very realistic and crisp. I loved how you showed us this boys' desperate situation through how he sees the food, thinks about the food, craves the food. I can easily imagine a starving young boy being driven by his stomach (and the threat of pain) to do ....things. A couple of tiny comments. I bumped on this sentence: The van jumped a bump, and my head whacked the slab over it—simply because I was trying to imagine what kind of slab was in a van. I realize he's in the cage and is hitting his head on something inside the cage, but perhaps ground us in this space a tiny bit more by using the word cage in this sentence instead of the next? And I wonder about using above, instead of over. Probably just me, but for some reason it seems to put me more clearly in that space. Just a thought of course My other question is about the age of your narrator. Reading this, I assumed he was an older teenager. So much of the narrative language seems too mature for someone who I'm thinking is not even ten yet, based on the line about living to his double digits. I realize this situation has likely matured him beyond his years, it's just that the phrasing of his sentences and vocabulary left me questioning his age. Might be something to consider going forward. Very impactful story delivered by excellent writing.,
  2. Thank you Brenda! Could catch on the typo. This is what comes from repetitive copy and pasting. lol I'm going to share the beginning of the very next scene, to show that those concerns are addressed very quickly.
  3. Thank you, everyone. We will find out in the next paragraph (chapter 2) that Nantucket has zero significance for her, and in the next few chapters she will find out things about her family's relationship with the island she had no idea about. This is the first hint of something uncanny. There will be more threaded throughout. The drinking is her flawed coping mechanism, but she only does it on this particular day, to numb the pain a little. The rest of her life is unravelling, though. In the third chapter, the backstory regarding her husband's death, and her resultant guilt is shown in a painful memory, the one she has been trying so hard to suppress. Also, we get to meet her adorable cat Henry.
  4. That's wonderful news! And my girl is about to turn 26. She still struggles, Covid has been hard on her, but in the past few months she's really improved. Talking about finishing the last few classes in her psych degree. Her goal is to also be a counselor, and I think she'd amazing at it. Best of luck to you both
  5. Wow, this was fabulous. That first line raises an immediate question in our heads. Does someone else remember it differently? And what are they remembering, because I'm immediately sensing conflict. Well done. Then you ground us perfectly in time and place, giving details of their life without hitting us over the head with it. By using the word snuggled we get an immediate sense of their relationship. Great! The pacing works so well. Set up an ordinary moment, then build the tension with that line, That was the plan, anyway. Then footsteps, and we're wondering whose? And then the scene with the knife. Wow There is no way I wouldn't want to read. And as a mom, with a daughter who suffers from mental illness, I was completely invested. And the end? I wanted to hug her too. I understood immediately the viciousness of trying to unknowingly get that poor girl to say mean things about herself. Ugh. Kids can be so cruel. I'm sorry for what you've gone through, and I sincerely hope there is a positive outcome to this story.
  6. Fantastic pitch, no way I wouldn't want to read more. I'm curious about the rather omniscient POV here, but I assume there is a reason for this and I'm super curious to read on. The time travel/ cold case premise is so intriguing. Well done.
  7. Hello Pat. I really enjoyed this. You've got a great YA voice, and I love how you've loaded this chapter with so much conflict. A jealous daughter, a spoiled city girl about to have a rude awakening, a dad just trying to do his best, and an old plane that is surely going to be a huge problem. And the Canadian wilderness. As a Canadian, British Columbian to be precise, I am a huge fan of the great outdoors, with a very healthy respect for bears, (which make a frequent appearance in our neighbourhood.) I'm hooked. Brava!
  8. Hello everyone. This is the first chapter of my manuscript, women's fiction with speculative elements. This story began life in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. I had to write a 2500 word story with the prompts, ghost story, butler, and paralysis. The characters wouldn't leave me alone, so I turned it into a 4000-word short story that won first place in Writers Digest's Popular Fiction Awards, in the romance category. And they still wouldn't leave me alone, so now I am writing their entire story. lol Another attempt at a Pitch Three years after the car crash that killed her husband, 32-year-old photojournalist Emma Hill is floundering. She's lost her passion for her work—for her life. No one knows what really happened the night Danny died, and Emma plans to keep it this way. If Jane, her best friend and late husband's sister, ever found out, it would destroy their friendship, and Emma couldn't survive without Jane's support. But hiding the truth is wearing Emma down. On the anniversary of Danny's death, a very drunk Jane tells Emma it's time to stop wallowing and orders her to make a wish on the first star of the night. The word Nantucket randomly pops into Emma's mind. What follows is a string of impossible coincidences involving Nantucket that convince Emma something important is waiting for her there. She travels to the island, unsure of what to expect, and is thrilled when the island's haunted history rekindles her love for photojournalism. An old butler with mysterious ties to her past, and a young widowed author in a wheelchair with secrets of his own, help Emma realize she wants more from life to simply exist. But the only way to escape the ghosts in her past and have a chance for the happiness she longs for is to risk revealing her shameful secret. Chapter One Why is it that the best days burn by like the flash of a shooting star, but the ones you want so desperately to forget drag on for an eternity? I check my watch, heart sinking when it's only six o’clock. I swear, the more I will time to speed up, the slower it creeps by. I’m so done with this day, I'm ready to scream like a banshee. Somehow, espite the excessive amount of alcohol I’ve consumed, I manage to control this primal urge. Instead, I sink into the butter-soft embrace of my best friend Jane’s leather couch and blow out a long breath. Tugging at the edges of my navy-blue cardigan, I close my eyes and imagine being wrapped in Danny’s arms. Three years of almost constant wear have reduced my husband’s sweater to a tattered shell of its former self, and only the vaguest hint of his pine-scented aftershave lingers, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. A hiccuping breath escapes as I swallow a sob. I flutter my lashes to halt the tears I've been trying so hard to suppress, but they come anyway. I drag a fingertip under each eye to remove the moisture, hoping Jane doesn't see. I promised her I wouldn't cry today. Jane walks into the room, catching me. “Oh, no. Don’t you dare. If you start, I will too, and then there’ll be no stopping us.” She places the open bottle of wine she’s carrying beside the box of tissues placed strategically on her sleek glass coffee table. She plucks a tissue out and hands it to me. “I’m sorry. I really thought this year was going to be different.” “Did you, though?” She drops to the couch beside me and gives one of my unruly auburn curls a gentle tug. “Come on, Emma. You cry at dog food commercials.” I huff, indignant. “I do not. I cry at the SPCA commercials. The ones with the sad-eyed puppies and kittens. A completely understandable reaction.” Despite her teasing, I know Jane doesn’t begrudge my tears. Danny was her brother, after all. She introduced us back when we were roommates in university. She misses him too. Jane’s my life preserver, the one who has kept me afloat these past few years. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Guilt flares, sending an involuntary shudder rippling through my body. If she ever discovers what really happened the night Danny died, she’ll never forgive me. None of her family will. “Only a few more hours to go.” She slides closer and lays her arm across my shoulders. “You’ve got this.” “Thank you,” I whisper. Her eyebrows arch. "For what?" “For, you know.” I give a helpless shrug. “Everything.” She squeezes my hand. I douse the flames of my guilt with another sip of wine. Jane always takes the day off work on the anniversary of Danny’s death, to make sure I’m never alone. No easy feat, considering she’s an anesthesiologist in high demand. And I’m endlessly grateful for her sacrifice. The first year she showed up at my place with a case of wine and three boxes of tissues. Not the healthiest coping mechanism, but I craved the oblivion alcohol promised. Since that first year, our wine consumption has dropped off, and we’ve realized home is not the best place for me to be. Now, we spend the day here, in her apartment, watching sappy chick flicks. So far, we’ve watched Valentine’s Day, Leap Year, and Sleepless in Seattle. We’ve just finished Crazy Stupid Love, one of our favorites. I defy anyone to not fall in love with that movie. The scene where Steve Carrel is cutting the lawn in the dark, and Julianne Moore is watching him from the dining room window, talking to him on the phone and pretending to need his help with the furnace. God, that scene guts me every time. It’s such a perfect representation of love. The pure, understated kind of love you know with unwavering certainty will never end. The kind of love I had for Danny. After a few more minutes of sniffling and snuffling, Jane jumps to her feet. She wobbles, a little unsteady. Small wonder. At five foot two, she’s a good six inches shorter than me and lighter by at least thirty pounds, but she’s matched my wine consumption glass to glass. Her cheeks are bright pink like they are every time she drinks. She tells me it’s because of her Japanese heritage and a missing enzyme that metabolizes alcohol. Thankfully, she rarely consumes this much, only when the occasion warrants the consequences. Like today. She clears her throat and speaks, her words slurring a little. “Okay. Listen up, Emma Hill.” Blinking, she swallows audibly, and I wondered if she’s on the verge of vomiting. I shift away, hopefully out of range. “Give me a minute,” she adds and swallows again. Danny’s last name was Matakoro, but I didn’t change my name when we married. Lately, I find myself questioning my decision because if I had taken his name, it would be like keeping a little part of him alive. Jane clears her throat, and, apparently no longer in danger of spewing, announces, “I hereby proclaim today shall henceforth be known as the official End-of-Emma’s-Wallowing Day.” She raises her glass in a toast. “Time to make a fresh start, move on, begin a new chapter…take the first step in the journey of the rest of your life.” I blink, trying to focus on the two images of my best friend wavering back and forth in front of me. When they finally merge into a single shape, I say, “Going for the world record for the greatest number of clichés in a single sentence?” She tosses her head. A curtain of silky black hair swings across her face and she flips it away, glaring at me. “Laugh all you want, but I’m serious. I mean, just look at you. You’re a mess.” Her gaze travels up and down my body. “When was the last time you had your hair cut?” I tuck an errant curl behind my ear. “Long hair doesn’t need the same attention a short bob like yours does.” “Maybe not, but it needs to be trimmed once in a while. And washed and conditioned. Pretty sure neither of those happens on a regular basis.” She yanks on the sleeve of my cardigan. “And this. You’ve been wearing this piece of crap sweater long enough. Let it go.” I wrap my arms protectively across my chest. “It’s Danny’s. I can’t just throw it away.” “Yes, you can, Emma. It’s time. Time to move on.” Tears slide down my cheeks, because how can I? I close my eyes, trying not to think about the last conversation Danny and I had. Well, no. Not a conversation, a fight. Memories strain against the restraints I’ve carefully set into place. My chest contracts with a crushing pain. A band tightens around my lungs, turning the simple act of breathing into a battle. My pulse thumps in my temple. I force myself to take a slow breath in through my nose and out through pursed lips like my counselor taught me. I will my muscles to relax. Jane misinterprets my reaction as simple grief, and her gaze fills with commiseration. “I’m not telling you to forget Danny. He’ll always be your first love. But you’re only thirty-two. Your life is an open expanse of sparkling blue water, spreading out before you in a sea of endless possibilities.” I swipe at my eyes and let out a snort of laughter. “Seriously, did you just read a book on clichés for everyday life?” She drops back to the couch beside me, takes my wine glass and sets it on the table, then reaches for my hands. “I love you, Sissy, and it’s breaking my heart to see you like this. You’re not living, you’re existing. That’s no way for anyone, let alone someone as brilliant and beautiful as you, to spend their life. And you know Danny wouldn’t want this for you.” She leans closer and lowers her voice theatrically as if she’s imparting the secret of eternal life. “I read somewhere chronic sadness wreaks havoc with your immune system, but a healthy serving of nice robust sex has the exact opposite effect.” Her eyebrows wiggle up and down suggestively. I bite my lip to stop myself from laughing at her maniacal expression. “And what, pray tell, is nice robust sex?” “You know, vigorous, plentiful … satisfying.” She narrows her eyes. “I’m telling you. You need to get laid.” I burst out laughing. “Not everyone is as obsessed with sex as you are, Jane. Some of us do just fine without it.” She blows out a puff of air through compressed lips. “Yeah, right.” Ignoring her disbelief, I say, “And I’m not just existing. I have a job, and, friends, and I do…things.” "What friends? As far as I know, I’m it, and lately, you won’t answer my texts or phone calls unless I freak out and yell at you. I’d also like to point out that this is the first time in three months you’ve been over here, and we both know if this wasn’t the day, you wouldn’t be here now.” I don’t bother to argue, because she’s only speaking the truth. “And what things do you do?” she continues. “The only time you ever go out is when I drag you kicking and screaming.” She grins. “And considering my size, that is an extraordinary accomplishment.” “I do not scream, or kick.” I try to sound offended but fail miserably. Jane can always make me laugh. “Not much, anyway.” “Come on, Emma, help me out here. There must be something that brings you joy. Something you’ve always wanted to do but never found the time, or courage to try.” I purse my lips, giving her my best contemplative expression. “Well, I’ve always wanted to bake an angel food cake from scratch,” I say, hoping to lighten the mood, which has become far too intense for my liking. Jane swats my arm. “You are the most infuriating woman I’ve ever met.” She laughs and pulls me to my feet. “Come on. I have an idea.” She drags me out through a pair of white-trimmed French doors to her balcony. Jane’s apartment is large for the west end of Vancouver where real estate is at a premium, but it’s pretty basic. Tiny kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a monochromatic color scheme in shades of gray. The stone-colored walls, weathered hardwood floors, and smoky gray furniture are not my taste at all. I prefer colorful surroundings. Her balcony, though, that’s what makes her place spectacular. It’s massive, running the entire length of the building, and overlooks English Bay. When Jane’s elderly aunt was ready to sell two years ago, I had a chance to buy the apartment. I could have afforded it, thanks to Danny’s substantial insurance settlement, but I refuse to touch a penny of that. It feels too much like blood money. Not to mention that selling the house Danny and I scrimped and saved to buy would have felt like a betrayal. Jane, however, had jumped on the chance. Now, as my house slowly falls to pieces around me, I suspect she might have been the smart one. The heavy perfume of night-blooming jasmine engulfs us, cloyingly sweet and intense enough to make me sneeze. “Ugh. I can’t fathom how you actually enjoy this smell.” Five terra cotta containers filled with the flowering plants rest against the far railing. I’m surprised the stupid things are still blooming this late into the fall. Jane arches a single, delicately shaped eyebrow in an effortless movement. “Do not insult my precious babies.” I feign a gag. “Why did you drag me out here? It’s certainly not for me to enjoy this repulsive stench.” I scan the sky. “Not that I don’t enjoy your view.” The night is clear, the sky deepened to cobalt. A deep, rich color, so saturated you can almost taste it at the back of your tongue. The crisp breeze holds only the vaguest hint of the coming winter. In the distance, I can just make out the lights of container ships waiting in the harbor. A perfect October evening. Or at least that’s what Danny would’ve called it. He was all about the atmosphere. Candle-lit dinners, moonlit walks by the ocean, a shared bottle of wine with soft jazz playing in the background. A pain stabs in the center of my chest, and I force my thoughts back to the present, a much safer place to be. Emotionally, at least. Jane points a scarlet-tipped finger at the single, white star shining beside the full moon. “There. The first star of the night. There’s magic in that Emma, mark my words. Enough to make your dreams come true.” “Magic?” “Yes, magic.” Jane turns to me, eyes wide. “Powerful magic.” “Good lord, Jane. You really need to cut back on the Hallmark movies.” She slaps my hand. “Repeat after me.” “What?” She ignores me and continues, “Star Light. Star Bright. First star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might. Have the wish I wish tonight.” I burst out laughing. “A children’s nursery rhyme?” She frowns. “Humor me, okay?” Her expression is so serious I relent and repeat the words back to her. “Okay, now make a wish. But you can’t wish for Danny back. That’s not how this works.” “Oh, do tell,” I say with a chuckle. “How exactly does this work?” She’s being ridiculous, but she’s so adorably earnest my heart fills with love for her. “Think about something that would bring you joy,” Jane says, “then wish for that.” The excitement in her voice makes me wonder if she believes in this wishing business. Either that or she’s drunker than I thought. She gives me a little shove with her shoulder. “Just do it.” God, if only it was that simple. One wish, and poof, all the misery would just disappear forever. What I wouldn’t give for that to happen. Guilt is an exhausting burden. While I’m probably one of the last people on earth who deserves to have a wish come true, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for Jane. So I say, “Fine,” and blow out a long-suffering breath. Closing my eyes, I empty my mind. Waiting for an idea to drift into my consciousness. The distant cry of a gull drifts up from the water, a boat engine revs as it speeds past, and waves crash as the boat’s wake hits the shore. Time unspools so slowly it’s as if I’m lost inside a dream. Like maybe a little of that magic Jane believes in has surrounded us. A tiny flicker of hope warms my heart. The wrinkled face of my Nana Jo appears behind my closed lids. The corners of her mouth lift in an odd smile and her faded azure eyes sparkle like she’s about to share a secret. The balcony tilts beneath my feet, forcing me to take a step to stop from toppling over. I open my eyes and grab the railing, then I speak the random word which has inexplicably appeared in my mind. “Nantucket.”
  9. #1 Act of Story Statement Story statement: Convinced she’s to blame for the death of her family in a boating accident when she was six, and later for the car crash that killed her husband, a young widow punishes herself by retreating from life. If she wants to find joy in her life again, she must find a way to forgive herself and truly believe she deserves that forgiveness. Shorter version: To find the happiness she longs for, a guilt-ridden young widow must forgive herself for the tragedies in her past that were beyond her control. #2 Antagonistic Forces The story conflict is Man vs Self, and the biggest antagonistic force in the story is a component of the protagonist, Emma Hill Emma Hill -thin, five foot eight with size ten feet, frizzy auburn curls, and grey eyes -former photojournalist -loves slippers, her cat Henry, her Nana Jo, and her best friend and sister-in-law, Jane Matakoro. Inner Conflict: Due to her deep wounds, Emma is convinced she doesn’t deserve to be happy. In the three years since her husband’s accident, Emma has withdrawn from life. She quit her high-paying job and now does gig work as a photographer. Recently she’s been consistently late with deadlines and is in danger of losing her clients. Her house is a 60-year-old wreck that is slowly falling apart. She’s been avoiding the people she loves as a form of self-punishment. Lately she doesn’t even answer their calls unless they yell at her. She’s given up on selfcare, her clothes are old and baggy, and her hair is a mess. She only goes out under duress, preferring to stay at home with her beloved cat Henry, and knit. She’s lost her passion for life and is sinking further into a rut every day. The main story conflict is between Emma’s secret longing to find peace and be happy again, and her deep-rooted belief that she does not deserve this. Outer conflicts: to find out the reason for all the odd coincidences involving Nantucket. To uncover her family’s connections to Nantucket, that her grandmother won’t tell her about, insisting she needs to find out for herself. And eventually to reconcile the feelings she has for Jonathon with her belief she doesn’t deserve to be happy. #3 Titles The Unraveling of Emma Hill: This title has a double meaning. Emma’s life is unraveling at the beginning of the story, but when she gets to Nantucket and learns about the tragic history of her ancestors, she unravels the threads of her past and learns how they connect to her future. Just a Little Push: This is line is delivered to Emma two times by two different secondary characters, Nana Jo, and Bert the old butler at the inn she stays at, and a third time at the very end of the book, again by Bert, when she finds out who he really is. I like this title because a little push is just what Emma needs to take stock of her life and realize she needs to make some changes. The Not So Gentle Art of Letting Go: Emma must let go of the past and forgive herself, Jonathon must do the same, Bert has mostly achieved this, and Jane is in the process of doing so. #4 Genre and Comparables: Genre: upmarket women's fiction with speculative elements. Comparables 1. Golden Girl by Elin Hildebrand—About a woman who dies and gets three chances to alter the lives of the people she’s left behind (like the ghost in my story.) It takes place on the island of Nantucket. 2. Virgin River by Robyn Carr —similar back story about a woman struggling to cope with the death of her husband in a car accident following a fight about whether or not to keep trying to get pregnant. 3. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen—a story about second chances, with a touch of magic #5. Hook Line A guilt-ridden young widow travels to the island of Nantucket and meets the ghost of her great, great grandfather and a troubled young widower in a wheelchair, sending her past and future on a collision course that might just bring the happiness she longs for. #5. Core Wound and Primary conflict Core Wound Emma experienced severe emotional trauma at age six, when her family was killed in a boating accident that she believes she was responsible for. This wound is re-opened and deepened, when, at age 32, her husband is killed in a car accident shortly after they have a massive fight. Primary Conflict When Emma was six, she didn’t listen to her parent’s warnings, leaned too close to the end of the boat, and fell out. As they swung around to come back to pick her up, they collided with another boat, and all died. She blamed herself and suffered severe PTSD, with panic attacks and night terrors. When she moved in with her grandparents, she worried they would die, too. This fear turned her into a nervous, risk-averse little girl. Herr grandparents worked hard with Emma’s psychiatrist and counsellor to help her overcome this trauma. In university Emma met her best friend’s brother. They married after a slow-burning courtship. During their marriage, multiple miscarriages triggered her guilt slightly and made her reluctant to share details about her pregnancies. Three years before the start of the story, Emma, 21 weeks pregnant—the longest she’s carried a baby—finds out this baby has fatal birth defects. Because of her past losses, and against medical advice, she refuses to terminate the pregnancy, endangering her own life. Her husband is furious with her decision. Grief stricken and angry with the world, she screams at him and calls him a murderer. He walks out on her, drives away, and is killed in a car accident. Emma is blames herself for his death. She’s convinced he could have avoided the SFU that crossed the center line if he hadn’t been so upset. They hadn’t told anyone about the baby yet, and she tells no one about their fight. Especially not Jane, her BFF, who is her late husband’s sister. She thinks Jane would never forgive her if she found out the truth. She loses the baby anyway, ten days later. Her PTSD is triggered by the accident and losing the baby. Keeping the truth hidden exhausts Emma, especially when combined with her grief Over the next three years, despite counselling, her life unravels. #6 Other Matters of Conflict 1. Nana Jo is Emma’s only family. But she’s as big a risk taker as Emma is risk averse. Emma worries constantly about Nana, who still downhill skis and practises karate, worried she will hurt herself, or worse, die. 2. Jane is also a risk taker, in love. She goes through partners like a hot knife through butter and constantly has her heart broken. Emma worries about her too. 3. Later, after a string of inexplicable coincidences involving Nantucket, Emma finds out her grandparents met and fell in love on Nantucket (her grandfather’s ancestors lived on Nantucket and he went to the island to work for the summer and learn about them) and married only three months later. This shocks Emma and starts her wondering what it would be like to fall in love that quickly (the opposite of she and her husband) She’s surprised by a sudden longing for that kind of insta-love, which makes her feel as if she is betraying her husband’s memory. 4. Encouraged by her Nana and Jane, and curious as to the reason for all the coincidences, Emma heads to Nantucket. She’s stunned to find the same inn she’d dreamed about back in Vancouver. She meets the inn owner’s son, Jonathon, an attractive young widower in a wheelchair. Jonathon is quite miserable at first, and their interactions are never friendly. He blames himself for the car accident that killed his wife and left him in a chair and has moved back home to Nantucket to write and hide from the world. -Despite the animosity that bubbles between them, they feel a conflicting tug of attraction. Their attraction grows, despite both of them trying to deny their feelings. The first time they kiss, Emma sees her late husband’s image in her head, and panics. There is a back and forth between these two as they fight their feelings, both convinced they don’t deserve the happiness that is tempting them. 5. Back home, Nana trips over Emma’s cat (Emma left him with her while she was away) and breaks her hip. Horrified, and guilt ridden once more (her cat—her fault, and how dare she think she could be happy again?) Emma rushes home to take care of her grandmother, leaving Jonathon hurt by her hurried departure. 6. Emma discovers that Nana Jo has a beau, and not only is she happy to have him take care of her, she’s annoyed with Emma for leaving Nantucket before she worked out her own issues. She tells Emma to go home and live her own life. (Hard love.) 7. As she’s reeling with this news, Jane tells Emma she’s pregnant with an abusive ex’s baby and wants an abortion. She’s with Bethany, a new partner, and doesn’t want her to know about the baby. This trigger’s Emma’s own pregnancy loss trauma, and even though in the past she’s always been staunchly pro-choice, she’s furious with Jane for wanting to end a healthy pregnancy. Unaware of Emma’s history, Jane doesn’t understand Emma’s anger. They have a massive fight and stop speaking to each other. 8. Abandoned by Nana Jo, and now Jane Emma sinks back into the hole she’d only just started to climb out of. And she’s so embarrassed for running out Jonathon without an explanation she can’t bring herself to call him and apologize. After all, it’s clear she doesn’t deserve to be happy again. #7 Setting: There are four important locations in the story: Jane’s apartment in downtown Vancouver, Emma’s house in East Vancouver, Nana’s house in a suburb of Vancouver, and a few locations on Nantucket, most importantly, The Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast. #1 Vancouver: The story begins at Jane’s apartment and her massive deck overlooking the ocean. It’s on this deck that Nantucket shows up in Emma’s life for the first time, though she has no idea why. Scene snippets: The heavy perfume of night blooming jasmine engulfs us, cloyingly sweet and intense enough to make me sneeze. “Ugh. I can’t fathom how you actually enjoy this smell.” Five terra cotta containers filled with the flowering plants rest against the far railing. I’m surprised the stupid things are still blooming this late into the fall. Jane arches a single, delicately shaped eyebrow in an effortless movement. “Do not insult my precious babies.” I feign a gag. “Why did you drag me out here? It’s certainly not for me to enjoy this repulsive stench.” I scan the sky. “Not that I don’t enjoy your view.” The night is clear, the sky deepened to cobalt. A deep, rich color so saturated you can almost taste it at the back of your tongue. The crisp breeze holds only vaguest hint of the coming winter. In the distance I can just make out the lights of container ships waiting in the harbour. #2 Emma’s house in East Vancouver: Emma spends most of her time at home, avoiding contact with people. In act one, her garden and yard are a mess, her hot water tank breaks, she has a mouse infestation, and her roof starts leaking. The only room in the house that has been renovated is the kitchen, and she can’t afford to fix the rest. She should probably sell the house. The upkeep is too much for her, but it feels like a betrayal of her husband to do so. -This scene takes place at night, on the anniversary of Danny’s death. She can’t sleep and is making herself a cup of tea, trying not to remember the night of Danny’s death. Scene: The kitchen is the only room we managed to renovate before Danny died. The rest of the house is a crumbling sixty-year-old mess, and I can’t afford to do anything about that. This room is the culmination of hours of planning by both of us. We fought about the color; I wanted green, he wanted gray. We settled on a grayed sage green. Everything else we agreed on immediately. Pot lights, white shaker-style cupboards, and gleaming white quartz countertops lend a brightness to the otherwise dark space. We’d planned to replace the tiny windows over the sink, to allow in more light, but … My breath hitches as a pain stabs somewhere in the middle of my chest. I gasp out a sob and then I’m tumbling down into a dark abyss of wishes, and buts, and if only-s. #3: Nana Jo’s house: This scene takes place in Emma’s grandmother’s house, where she grew up. It is a comforting space, and one where she feels safe. She’s about to discover something about her grandparents she’d never known before. Scene: She directs me to the family room just off her pristine, white kitchen. With its huge picture window that overlooks her massive back yard and garden, cascading greenery in earth-toned ceramic pots, celadon walls, and stone fireplace, her family room is by far my favorite room in her house. I drop into a leather recliner in a serene shade of gray, and pat my lap, inviting Griselda up. Nana disappears upstairs, and the cat spins around on my lap, searching for the perfect spot to curl up. “What’s she up to Grissie?” I ask, wishing the cat could speak. I’m sure she’s privy to more than one of Nana’s secrets. #4. Nantucket: This scene takes place when Emma is on Nantucket and finds the inn she has dreamt about every night for two weeks straight. She saw the name of the inn on a poster in a travel agency’s window back in Vancouver but thought nothing of it. There were no pictures of the inn on the poster, only a name, so she can’t understand how this looks exactly like the inn from her dreams. The Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast is a quaint 200 year old building, which was originally a family home, and later converted into an inn. There are six bedrooms upstairs, each with an ensuite bathroom, a large dining room for guests to eat their meals, a kitchen, and a magnificent covered porch overlooking the ocean. Emma doesn’t know that her Nana Jo has been orchestrating this whole thing, with the help of the ghost of her husband's great-grandfather, and Maggie, the inn’s owner, a long-time friend. Nana Jo has been back to Nantucket many times since she first met her husband there forty years earlier, and has remained in communication with both Maggie, the inn's owner, and Bert, the ghost. Bert had been instrumental in helping the relationship between Nana Jo and her husband blossom. Nana Jo's husband had his own troubles, similar, in a way, to Emma's. Nana Jo is well acquainted with Bert the ghost’s sad history. Like Emma, he lost his family—his wife and daughter but not his son—when their boat capsized. He spent his life blaming himself for their deaths. He fell in love with his wife’s best friend, but guilt prevented him from marrying her. When he was 77, he realized his mistake and proposed. He died days before his wedding. Nana Jo is horrified when Emma appears to be repeating Bert’s mistakes. She and Bert are determined to help Emma avoid the ghost's unhappy fate. Their plan was to get Emma to Nantucket, so she could meet Jonathon, the son of the family Bert worked for when he was alive, and whose inn he still haunts. Jonathon is punishing himself the same way Emma is, and Bert, Maggie, and Nana Jo are convinced Emma and Jonathon will find self-forgiveness by helping each other heal. Scene 1: Is it even real? Maybe I’m just imagining this. I scrub at my eyes, but when I open them again, it’s still there. I take a slow breath to calm myself. When the spinning stops, I stand and hesitantly climb the steps to the bright blue door. My hands tremble as I twist the knob and step inside, the jingle of a bell announcing my arrival. The light in the entrance is dim, the air filled with a calming mixture of lemon and lavender. I scan the space. A long rectangular rug in shades of crimson and blue covers a wide planked floor. At the far wall is a wooden counter backed by a shelving unit A woman walks in from a back room and stands behind the counter. She’s tall and angular with short, brown hair run through with threads of gray, and her face is wreathed in a welcoming smile. “Good afternoon. May I help you?” she asks, her accent proper and precise. Scene 2: I head downstairs and through the wide French doors at the back of the house. The covered porch faces the restless sea. The sky is has already darkened when I step outside into the brisk wind that whistles and keens. Overhead, gulls scream a countermelody to the crash of waves against the shore. The slow rhythm tugs at something in my belly. It melts a little of the tension that has keeping my shoulders as rigid as bedrock from the moment I spied that bright blue door. Wrought iron tables are scattered across the wide porch. Mercury glass lanterns sit on the tables, but only one is burning, giving off a soft, golden light. White wicker chairs with plump cushions in shades of aubergine and mauve invite me to sit and forget my troubles. I settle into a chair at the table with the brightly lit lantern, beneath the only overhead heater that glows red. Even with the warmth from the heater, the wind is cold. I wrap myself in a soft throw the color of new heather and sink back into the cushions. Virginia and Josephine’s house/Nantucket Locals tell Emma to visit the house of Virginia Miller and Josephine McAllister because it is said that on a specific date each month you can hear the distraught cries and splashing of someone in the water just beyond the house. But of course, the water is empty. The ladies, a mystery writer, and her editor/ a wonderful gay couple who have been together for forty years, befriend Emma and tell her all they know about the haunting. (The screams are actually from Bert’s wife and daughter, or rather, their ghosts, but she doesn’t know that) and to come back in five days, because this is when the event typically occurs, although not every person who comes to check it out can hear it. This is the scene when Emma shows up, hoping to see and hear the spectacle. When she does, it triggers the memory of the boating accident that killed her parents and sends her into a panic attack. Scene: The ladies lead me outside along a pebbled path to the sea at the edge of their property. The water is a dark indigo, the sky only a shade lighter. The moon hasn’t risen yet, though is should soon. The rush of the waves ebbing and flowing over the shoreline mingles with the distant sound of traffic in the background. A strangely soothing combination. Four Adirondack chairs, each painted a different, bright color, face the water. Flames flicker and dance in the pit dug into the earth in front of the chairs. A table draped with a white cloth is set with three glasses, a bottle of red wine, and a plate of cheese and crackers. There is a candle burning in a cut-glass holder in the center of the table. The effect is warm and intimate, and entirely appealing. “We like to set the stage,” says Virginia noticing my surprised expression. “Hopefully, this will be a show worth remembering.” Josephine places a hand at the small of my back and urges me forward. I take a seat in a royal blue chair, and she joins me in a cherry red one. “It’s such a blessing to have you here, Emma, but I have to warn you. Not many people actually hear the voices.” She lifts her chin, looking thoughtful. “I’d say, maybe one in fifty.” She turns to Virginia. “Would you agree, my love?” Josephine pours the wine and hands us each a glass, then says, “I’m not sure it’s even that many. But it’s so lovely here by the water, we’ll have a good time regardless.” She raises her glass in a toast. “To new friends and magical experiences.”
  10. Hello, I am having trouble posting my seven assignments in the topic page. When I try to copy and paste, I end up with an attachment of an image.png. and only part of my document shows up. Am I missing some vital step, or am I just technically impaired? lol

    1. Admin_99

      Admin_99

      Hmm, it might be because there is an HTML link in your paste? Regardless, copy the paste into Notepad then recopy it (Notepad will erase unwanted background coding) from Notepad and re-paste in the forum.

    2. L A Wibberley

      L A Wibberley

      Thank you! I had a friend help me figure it out last night. 

    3. Admin_99
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