Prologue – Paris, 2385
It was ninety years ago that they parted.
Ninety years used to be a lifetime, he thought.
She said she would meet him beneath the oldest oak on The Island of La Grande Jatte, so the man found the tallest tree, spread out a blanket, removed his shoes, and waited.
The grass was cool between his toes. He raised his arm, relaxed his muscles, then laughed when gravity jerked it back to the blanket. He breathed in the potpourri of spring blossoms and rain. Real smells, he thought, then closed his eyes to focus his senses. There was a mechanical drone from the power plant in the east. Above his head, leaves brushed together like scraps of paper. The device on his arm created a rhythmic tick tick tick, and he knew they would finally share the same plane of time. (Was there anything more romantic?)
The man wondered if it would storm. He wondered if rain felt the same here as it did there. He wondered if it would be awkward when she arrived, if they would fall into their old rapport or find themselves scrambling to fill uncomfortable gaps. Would they hug? Would they kiss?
Would he call her “wife”?
When he opened his eyes, she was there, beautiful, framed by the river and painted with light from the morning sun. Her body was trapped at twenty-five. Her shoulders carried thin purple straps of a cotton dress. A sketchpad fit naturally in the crook of her arm. Her eyes were grey again.
“Is it really you?” the man asked (a cliché, but he had to be sure).
She glanced down, patted her waist, chest, and cheeks, then shrugged. “I think so.” She smiled again and joined him on the blanket. He remembered the times her hair was black, blond, red, or midnight blue; today it was as brown as the trunk of their tree.
The couple shared a picnic: white wine, strawberries, French baguettes with turkey, green apples, and Brie. Their usual rapport returned, slowly at first because the words felt like dust in their mouths. “’Dust’ is the only way to describe it,” she said and crinkled her nose.
When lunch was over, the woman brushed crumbs from her lap, opened her book, and sketched details from the island with a charcoal stick: the oak, the bench, the power plant on the hill… him. Despite her lavish drawings, she crumpled every page and tossed them in the basket. “It’s not right,” she said.
“It never was,” he replied, then touched the inside of her thigh.
The rain arrived an hour later and smothered the morning with a humid, grey blanket. The couple didn’t care. They huddled beneath the same tree, knees to their chests, catching droplets on their tongues and kissing to keep warm.
Night came sooner than the man expected and they marveled at the routine of here-and-now.
Her shoulder blades pressed against his chest. She pulled his arm around hers. “Do you ever think about ‘nothingness?’” she asked.
“I don’t think so.”
She squeezed his hand and snuggled deeper into his body. “Try it.”
“Close your eyes.”
“Are they closed?” She turned in his arms to make sure.
“Now imagine a place without life… without time or space or thoughts…”
“…a place without planets or stars…”
He nodded again.
The woman’s voice became a whisper. “No people. No God. Not even blackness.” She paused. “Do you feel anything?”
“I feel you.”
She sighed. “It works better under bedsheets… when everything’s quiet.”
“What’s supposed to happen?”
“When I think about it for long enough, I feel it. It’s like my mind can’t fathom the concept of nothingness, and for a split second, I die. Then my brain reminds me where I am.”
“You want that feeling tonight?”
The woman shook her head. “No. Tonight is nice.”
An hour later, the device on his wrist told him the day was almost done.
The man squeezed her tighter and ran his finger along the strap of her dress. In an age of endless memories, he used every ounce of his concentration—every molecule in his fingertip—to record the feeling of the tiny hairs on the woman’s bare back.
Relationships would ebb and flow like a lackadaisical tide—life would try to divert his attention with the promise of everything—but it wouldn’t matter. He would remember this day forever.
To follow my progress on The Day I Wore Purple, check out my Facebook Page.
If you have any thoughts on the prologue, good or bad, please leave feedback in the comments below!
I toyed with the idea of using a site like Cafepress to offer my fans cheap swag to promote my work… but then I had an epiphany. What if I created products that people would actually use?
So I abandoned the Cafepress idea and turned to my insanely creative friends for help. I only have a few things to offer right now, but Alli is working on jewelry inspired by Lighthouse Nights, and I’m talking with another friend about designing a bookmark for The Brandywine Prophet.
All products can be purchased directly through Paypal. If you want to use a different method, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All products come with a free ebook!
The Accidental Siren T-shirt
From Bare Tree Apparel
Includes a free ebook of The Accidental Siren
18.00 + shipping
This beautiful shirt was designed by my friend Saul at Bare Tree Apparel. The image is hand printed on a high-quality tri-blend fabric, and every shirt is unique. The text on the balloon is from chapter two of The Accidental Siren.
Unisex sizes run large on girls and range from xx-small to xx-large. Click picture to zoom, or visit my Pinterest Fan Page for more images.
Please specify size and v-neck, deep v-neck, or traditional crew.
Bare Tree Apparel’s design has appeared on The Big Bang Theory on CBS.
From Alli Perkins Jewelry
Includes a free ebook of The Accidental Siren
18.00 + shipping
These earrings, inspired by The Accidental Siren, are made with sterling silver ear wires and violet Swarovski crystals.
Alli Perkins currently hosts in-home shows, but a website is in development.
If you like Saul’s shirt or Alli’s earrings, let them know in the comment section below!
To Promotional Book Tours,
For the last month, I’ve been working with Mandie at Promotional Book Tours to pull off a fantastic “push” for my book The Accidental Siren. With only a few hours left to enter the raffle, I’d like to officially recommend this service to self-published authors and indie publishers. For only $100, Mandie and her team gathered 30 bloggers to review my book, or to post excerpts, interviews, and guest posts for their readers. Before the tour began, Mandie answered my barrage of questions immediately, and held my hand through the entire process. Thanks to Promotional Book Tours, The Accidental Siren has received hundreds of tweets and “likes,” and I have dozens of new friends on Goodreads, Facebook, and my personal blog. All-in-all, this was a great experience with a quality, online service.
To the Bloggers,
I also want to thank the bloggers who took the time to support my work. Although you can see everyone’s site on the right column of this page, I want to highlight three reviews that stood out. If you have a minute, please visit these pages! And if you’re a bookworm, follow their blogs : )
I also wanted to include a review by Melissa Byrnes in the list, but I didn’t think it was fair since she has reviewed my work before. Her site is clean and straight-forward, and her reviews are honest, insightful, and comprehensive. Check out her blog and follow her!
Melissa at Spews of My Views
To My New Followers,
For those of you who joined my blog as part of the raffle, I hope that you’ll stick around for original content about books, movies, TV, writing tips, and insight into my work. If you’re interested in a particular topic, click the “Categories” button at the top of the page. (Warning: my next few posts will be related to Halloween… but I promise I’ll return to cute quotes and writing tips in a few days!)
If you’re interested in following my progress on my next book, check out my Facebook page for The Day I Wore Purple.
It’s been an excellent month : ) Thanks again, everyone!
There’s a few more hours left on my raffle! Visit any site on my blog tour to enter… it only takes a second.
Also, The Accidental Siren is free on Smashwords until midnight tonight! Tell your friends before it goes back up to $2.99!
Eighteen cans of Diet Coke, two sleepless nights, a seamless marathon of Community and Deadwood… and The Accidental Siren website is finally (kinda) done.
I’d love it if you could check it out and let me know what you think! This whole HTML5 thing is a little frustrating, and I’m not sure if every feature is compatible with every browser. Also, I’m still trying to shorten the load time… please be patient and let me know if it’s unbearable.
CLICK HERE : ) The Accidental Siren
For the next twenty-two days, The Accidental Siren will be featured on thirty-one blogs thanks to an amazing service called Promotional Book Tours.
Every day, a different website will promote a review, excerpt, interview, or guest post related to the first book in my Blank Canvas Series. (If you pledged to my Kickstarter project, $100 of your donations went toward this tour!)
The best part is… there are prizes! Thanks to a bitchin’ site called Rafflecopter, friends and fans can enter to win some cool stuff. Entering is insanely easy… just sign in with an email address or Facebook account, then follow, “like,” tweet, draw, comment, and share to get your “name in the hat.” Simple : )
2 sexy, custom-designed, handmade shirts from Bare Tree Apparel. (Click the link. Trust me.)
2 pairs of elegant, handmade earrings from my insanely talented fiancé.
2 signed and numbered paperback copies of The Accidental Siren.
4 paperback copies of The Accidental Siren.
1 Skype date with me! (Video, audio, or text.)
2 ebooks of Lighthouse Nights.
2 ebooks of The Brandywine Prophet.
6 CDs with the music that inspired each of my books (included with the top three prizes).
To follow the tour, check out the sidebar on my blog –>
And please, if you are family or friends, take a second to spread the word about this tour! (Copy and paste this link: http://wp.me/p2y0CR-jo or use the share buttons below this post!)
The Brandywine Prophet
The second Brandywine test copy arrived today and it looks beautiful (especially with Siren and Lighthouse beside it)! I approved it for distribution, so I SHOULD meet my September deadline : )
If you ordered The Accidental Siren or Lighthouse Nights, you should have already received your reward. If The Brandywine Prophet was part of your order, then your rewards ship next week!
The Day I Wore Purple
The good news is, this book is gonna be awesome : ) The bad news is, it’s going to take longer than I thought to finish the re-write. At this point, I can safely say that it will NOT be published by the October deadline, but I’ll have it finished before the beginning of the Christmas season (if I don’t lose my mind in the process).
I won’t update Kickstarter donors with every new development, but please stop by my blog for excerpts, character profiles, and other inside looks into my writing process!
Over the last month, I’ve been talking to an old Chicago friend about the possibility of designing shirts for each of my books. He’s a brilliant artist, and his work has been featured on The Big Bang Theory and the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. At this point, he’s working on 1-2 designs for The Accidental Siren. When he finishes the designs, we’ll move forward with a pre-sale to raise the required funds for the shirts, screen-printing materials, etc. If the Siren shirt is a success, we’ll consider moving onto Lighthouse Nights!
I’ll have more info for you in a few weeks. In the meantime, check out his other designs below, and visit his Facebook page for more of his awesome work!
“[Suicide] has personally touched me in many different ways and I was afraid that my personal views were going to prejudice my opinion of the book. Turns out that it didn’t. I commend JVA for taking on such a touchy subject.”
-Melissa Byrnes, Spews of My Views
“The darkness in this book blew me away. The words paint such a picture that your heart pounds and you are left breathless with your chin on your chest. This is another BIG 5-star story that will stay at the top of my reading pile for a long time to come!”
-Jennifer Zuna, Jenn’s Review Blog
As the above quote suggests, the second book in my Four Novels in Four Months project isn’t for everybody. It’s a dark story with deeply disturbed characters. There is, however, an underlying theme of redemption that I believe counters the sadness. I’ve had some remarkable feedback from people who could relate to Gabe and Jules on a level I could never imagine.
Love it or hate it, the story tells the truth. I hope you’ll give it a chance.
You can buy it right now on Amazon, or if you’d like to know more, scroll down : )
The book was released on Wattpad earlier this year. If you’re interested in hearing what other readers think, watch the new trailer!
If you don’t know me, I encourage you to poke around my site. Take a minute to learn about my passion, and if you like what I do, please consider purchasing my novel. If you’re not interested in this book but still want to help, please use the “Share” buttons below to pass along this post to your family and friends. Also, this is the second of four VERY diverse books! The Accidental Siren is also available for purchase, and there will be two more over the next few months.
(Are you a family member or friend? Are you a zealous fan? Do you want to make the sequels a reality? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please read this page for more ways to help!)