Happy Leap Day! How nice to get an extra day in the year. I’m using mine to be utterly corny and take a leap — here are a few paragraphs from my novel.
I was too dumbstruck by the skaters to notice who they were right away. But, squinting more closely at the bigger, broader skater, I saw Viv was right. “It is Jim Dietz!” I whispered back, surprised. Jim Dietz had been the equivalent of a heavy metal power ballad at our school, semi-famous for his maroon Camaro and a lethal combination of bad temper and good looks. Viv had a crush on him when we were freshmen. But he got suspended pulling a knife on a kid in the cafeteria two years ago, and then was sent to his dad’s house in Wisconsin. No one had heard of or from him since. And now he’d come back, and become a skater. He had gotten much bigger and grown his hair out, but it was him.
“He’s amazing,” Viv noted, admiration in her voice as we watched him. She was right: he had incredible strength and power. Jim attacked every movement with a forward intensity, as if he wanted to smash himself into something and take glee in the rubble, like a human hurricane on concrete. He had a heft that belied the fearsome speed he got on the board, able to explode into astonishing flips and spins in mid-air.
Then there was the other skater, the one no one knew at all. He was less flamboyant in style, but once you started watching him, you couldn’t help but stare. Next to Jim’s massive bulk, he was taller and lankier, with dark hair and pale skin. A network of tattoos covered him, snaking all over his sinewy arms and shoulders. He had a different skating style from Jim, imbuing everything with a kind of offhand grace and intricacy. The way he moved wasn’t exactly feline, but it had an animal-like, instinctive quality. He could do half-cabs like they were nothing, one after the other. He could do all kinds of flips and grinds, dashed off like an afterthought. He could soar up into the air with ease, getting incredible air off the simplest of railings. He nailed the hardest skate tricks ever, the most complex combinations, and he did it like it was the easiest thing in the world.
I watched them for a bit, admiring the show like everyone else. But feeling my own board clutched against my chest, I remembered what I had set out to do tonight — and realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Nothing anyone did tonight would compare. It was this bittersweet feeling: seeing the most beautiful skating of my life, and realizing how janky my own efforts would seem in comparison to it.
I tugged at Viv’s arm, motioning for us to go. “Aren’t you going to go up?” she whispered, looking confused. I could tell she didn’t want to go.
I only shook my head. “Let’s go.” I took one last look at the two skaters, soaring high in the air in a way I could never hope to touch, and then turned and made my way back to the edge of the park where I belonged.
It is called, at the moment, LOVE AND CONCRETE, and it tells the story of Lily, a skateboarder who falls in love with a mysterious, gifted skater she meets on the scene. But he’s a werewolf, and of course, hijinks ensue. Okay, not hijinks! I jest — it’s a paranormal romance, for God’s sake! But there is illicit swimming in ponds, moshing with skinheads, animal sacrifices, skinned elbows and a secret lurking in the woods. If you’ve ever been giddy with a crush-turned-true-love, you know what my book feels like. If you’ve ever cowered in fear in the middle of the woods at night as you overhear the crunch of breaking bone and flesh against metal — well, you also know what my book feels like, too.
I also started a Tumblr for my book, collecting all the images I’ve been squirreling away since I started the novel. And I must say, it is super, super-hot, with loads of gorgeous wolf pics, skater pics, and the occasional snapshot of alt-rock heroines. Visit it: xoloveandconcrete.tumbr.com. I also started two Pinterest boards, one of just skaters, one of everything else. You can also check out my dream home Pinterest board while you’re there. Or the one of my wardrobe. Those are kind of dorky, but well, there you go!