BB Swann

Teens

Author Profile

BB  Swann

B.B. Swann is a mother of three young adults, a wife (of another big kid but don’t tell him she said that), and a 20+ year veteran teacher of firsties. She has all the age groups covered and draws on their influence when writing her books. Picture book, young adult, new adult, and beyond, they all have one thing in common—life experiences, both the good and the challenging. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL with her Bachelor’s of Ed. in Early Childhood Education, then left the corn capital to receive her Masters of Ed. in Language and Literacy from National Louis University, in Chicago. Originally from Winthrop Harbor, Illinois (go ahead, look it up, it’s a real place) she now resides in an Illinois suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Go Cards! is her new chant but Bear Down will always rule her heart. She loves to run, binge watch Netflix health documentaries, and talk to her three grown children when they have a minute. Most nights you can find her reading or writing into the wee hours. She believes in the almighty power of caffeine and battling old age with purple hair and lots of sarcasm. https://linktr.ee/BBSwannAuthor

Books

Out of the Woods

Working Title: Out of the Woods

This Book Is In Development

Out of the Woods

Teens

17-year-old Zaidyn Mitchell thinks being known as a book nerd is weird enough—until he wakes up on his bedroom ceiling. A newbie-weird-wizard-extraordinaire—Zaidyn must navigate his newfound identity, learn to fit in with his fellow freaks, and avoid scaring away Piper Duke, the girl of his dreams. Thinking to impress her, he agrees to help Piper’s father promote a project for a new library in a fairytale-like wooded area outside of town—but Project-Impress-Piper-With-a-Library backfires as Piper, along with his parents, strives to protect the wooded land. The rules for the magical community are simple: avoid discovery and keep to your own kind. Despite warnings from friends and foes, Zaidyn pursues a relationship with the normal human Piper, earning them both the ire—and retaliation—of the ones in charge. Zaidyn seeks answers. Who really owns the woods? Why is someone so bent on destroying them? And what are his parents and the other magical adults hiding in there? As he grows closer to the answers—and to Piper—the outside pressure mounts, building toward a conclusion that makes Zaidyn wonder if they will ever truly be… …out of the woods.

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from Out of the Woods

Tired of Politics?

If you're anything like me, you're tired of all the negative ads, the lies, (the threats) and everything else in the news today. I won't even mention the C-word. Quarantine fatigue is real, right? It's enough to make me want to crawl inside a book and join ANY other world. Well, maybe not the Hunger Games or the Shining, but you know what I mean. I want to help. So here's a little awkward-ask-your-dream-girl-on-a-date blurb from OUT OF THE WOODS. Just to take your mind off things. Enjoy!

Powerful Youth

My 19yo daughter is an activist. Human rights, animal rights, climate change, BLM... she can hold her own easily in any discussion on matters that are important to her. And I'm proud of her for that. Like many her age, she has big dreams and an even bigger heart. Yes, she's young. Yes she's inexperienced in many things. Yes, she has a bit of an idealistic view on things that might seem unrealistic. But I think we "grown ups" overlook the power of younger people today. We don't give them enough credit--or respect-- for the things they believe and can accomplish. (Don't believe me? Google Tik-tok and rally and see just how powerful they really can be.) What if we listened to them? What if we gave them a chance to institute the change they want? What if we give just a little and set aside our wise knowledge and let them take the reins for a bit? Because honestly, could it really get a whole lot worse right now? We've lived millennia under the guidance of "wisdom" from the minds of a lot of old (white) men. Maybe what the world needs is to follow a young idealist who listens to their heart instead.

Holiday Thoughts

It's a holiday weekend in the USA. 4th of July. Independence Day. Normally there would be BBQs, pool parties, trips to the beach or parks to watch fireworks and celebrate freedom. But there is nothing normal about this year. At all. And the thought of celebrating anything is far from a lot of people's minds. Including my own. It's difficult to be in the celebratory mood with so much turmoil in the world. So, this Fourth of July will be spent with family, hoping that next year finds us in a better place as a country. I have to believe that we will overcome the issues of today... and that we will come out stronger on the other end. Turmoil brings growth, growth brings change. Just like our founding "fathers"(with all their MANY flaws) hoped for change, today we have the same wish. And I'll do my part to help.

White Privilege: Worse Than Covid 19

That's right. I said it. I believe white privilege is worse than COVID 19. Why? Well, for the most part, people BELIEVE the virus is real. Many still scoff and claim it's a hoax by the far left (if so, tell me how you got the world to join in because I have some stuff to sell). But many more believe white privilege isn't real at all. I saw a meme today, posted on a family member's page (see my other bubbles to read about this) that made me angry. Wondering exactly when their white privilege would "kick in." I think they are confusing "privilege" with "success" or "money." And yes those things are a product of white privilege, just not a guarantee. Do I benefit from white privilege? Yes, even if I don't agree with the ignorant basis behind it. Which I don't. But that doesn't mean I should ignore it or not try to change it. And by change it I mean demolish it. And I will do my part. BLM

Unfocused

The past few months have been strange. A global pandemic, social revolution, the complete absence of normalcy, it's enough to make anyone lose sight of what they can and should be doing to improve the world and themselves. Even the simple act of reading has been hard for me. In the past I could read a 300 page novel in a few hours, now it takes me days. Writing has become even more difficult. I just can't focus. My mind spirals with thoughts that I can't seem to control; worry, fear, heartbreak, sadness. Happiness is there, too but sometimes that only makes me feel guilty because there are so many who aren't sharing that experience right now. Do I wish everything would return to normal? Yes. Will it? Again, yes, but the definition of "normal" needs to change to include equality for POC who have not been given the same opportunities. Keeping with the unfocused theme, this scene has nothing to do with my insight. But I hope you enjoy it.

Tough Love

Zaidyn will do anything for a chance with Piper--including eating a heaping dish of steaming hot crow. But will it be enough?

The New Normal

Our world is a mess. A virus pandemic, killer insects, social injustice, riots; It's enough to make me just want to hide in a cave with my computer and create new worlds on "paper" than make a whole lot more sense. And I have been doing that--though my cave is my library/office which has internet and access to food and coffee a few steps away. But frustration is a difficult adversary, one who finds sneaky ways to infiltrate my hidey-holes. So I'll just keep fighting it with my arthritic fingers, one word at a time. This scene shows Zaidyn venting some of his frustration concerning his new normal on his parents. Because sometimes, we all need to vent. Let's just all agree to do it non-violently.

Real-life Magic

One of my favorite authors is Dean Koontz. He's not a YA author, but I've read almost every book he's written. One of the things that draws me to his work is the way he weaves into the fabric of his stories, the realistic emotions of the human condition with the non-reality of the supernatural. It gives his characters a depth that can make even the most imaginative ones realistic and completely relatable. I may have never spoken with a genetically enhanced dog (Watchers) but I've owned and loved several real dogs and can identify with the idea of talking to them. By writing stories that feed on these emotions, the magic is more believable to me. A skill I strive to incorporate into my stories. No matter how fantastical the magic, real life scenarios ground us in the story. Here Zaidyn may have power over magic, but it can't protect him from the pain of rejection.

Dealing With Writer's Block

Sometimes my muse is stubborn. I stare at my computer screen or type out a couple thousand words of garbage only to scrap it all and start over. It's times like this that I use a proven strategy to unlock the creative juices: sweating. That's right. Endorphins are my greatest source of power. A walk or run on the trail near my house, a few hundred trips around the back yard communing with nature and my characters, or even a walk through my neighborhood waving to neighbors... from 6ft away. (Added bonus: seeing other humans during quarantine.) Endorphins have never failed me. They're my drug of choice when I can't seem to find the words I need. In this scene, Zaidyn finds endorphins in a different way. One that gets his heart pumping, too.

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

I don't know about you, but I use humor as a shield and with all that's going on today, my shield is pretty thick. This translates into my characters as I write. In this scene, Zaidyn sits with his parents discussing his newfound identity. He's late at coming into his powers so his parents are understandably excited and admittedly slap-happy about it. Zaidyn's side of the event is a little more confusing, but his reliance on humor shows through as well. I mean, how else would you react if you woke up floating on your ceiling and levitated out your window into your pool? Being a teen is awkward enough, right? Sometimes you just have to laugh.

Meet Zaidyn!!

Times are rough right now, especially for those who thrive on social contact. But for those of us who lean more toward the introverted side (ahem, many authors) staying at home is a bit more manageable. My new character, Zaidyn falls into the latter category, too. He would probably be perfectly happy to sit at home and escape into the books he loves. Good thing he has a VERY extroverted best friend to help him experience the world. Iggy refuses to let Zaidyn be a homebody. Of course, today, Zaidyn could give Iggy a big fat "I told you so!" :)

Breaking the Cycle (Breakin' in the 80s, Book 3)

Working Title: Breaking the Cycle (Breakin' in the 80s, Book 3)

This Book Is In Development

Breaking the Cycle (Breakin' in the 80s, Book 3)

Teens

Andrea Jones has one life goal—to NOT be like her mom. She won’t be knocked up at eighteen, in a dead-end job, and living in a trailer park forever. She’s not a fan of school but in 1987, going to college is the only path out of her dysfunctional world and nothing will stop her. Not even a chance at a full scholarship to her boss’s old beauty school—a job she’d totally rock but one that’s too close for comfort. Then along comes Gio Ruiz. Suave, confident, and sure of his future, he sends Andrea’s plans into a tailspin—along with her heart. He seeks trade school and a simpler life, dangerously close to what she is trying to avoid. Still, his no-nonsense attitude toward the merits of college makes her question if it’s even what she really wants. Their relationship flourishes until their opposite worlds collide. His private school peers create doubt while her public school enemies drag her past into the present, forcing her to confront her biggest fears and jeopardizing her plans for her future. …An overdose. …An unintended pregnancy. …And one potentially deadly choice.

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from Breaking the Cycle (Breakin' in the 80s, Book 3)

Have you ever had to make the choice?

**TRIGGER WARNING** Abortion. Yes, I'm going to go there. It's a topic nobody likes to talk about--or think about. Still, it's a driving force in elections and debates on women's rights. I am pro-life in the sense that I don't think I could ever make the choice to end a pregnancy. But I'm also pro-choice because I also don't believe I have the right to make that decision for anyone else. Our lives, our bodies they belong to us... and so do our choices. When I wrote this story, I knew Andrea was going to face this toughest of decisions. I had to imagine facing that decision. You know what? It was tough, trying to explain the feelings that would lead to the decision to abort a baby when it went against everything I would choose. But those women who make that choice deserve a voice. And despite what diehard pro-lifers might think, making that decision could never be easy. Maybe taking a walk in their shoes--even a fictitious one--can help us be more sympathetic and less judgmental.

***TRIGGER WARNING***

Surviving abuse takes courage. Overcoming the effects of abuse takes strength. Every survivor is strong, but some don't know it. Hopefully the survivor uses that strength to lead a productive and happier life. But that doesn't always happen. And even if it does, nobody ever really completely overcomes those effects. They are a part of the fabric that makes up a survivor, woven between the threads shaped by other normal experiences. Survivors learn how to live with the effects, like running through a dark tunnel just fast enough to stay within sight of the light at the end. Sometimes there are tripping hazards unseen in that tunnel that bring a survivor to their knees, and getting up is hard. But many do it every day. It's all they can do. It's all I can do. It's what you can do. Keep reaching for the light.

The past can suck it.

We all have baggage from our past. It's inescapable. No matter how hard we try to forget it, to move past it, to cover it up, the mistakes from the past are always just under the surface. Waiting. My main character, Andrea, could fill a U-Haul truck with her baggage. I'll admit, I tortured her a little. Not with make-believe baggage, but with real-life baggage from both my life and those of the students I've taught over the past 25 years.I didn't do it to be cruel, I wanted to show exactly how strong and resilient that baggage can make us. In this scene, Andrea is happy, so naturally, the past steps in to ruin things. Don't despair! You can see how Andrea works through it in 25 days!

Why go to college?

Not gonna lie. With the way things have been going this year, I have seriously been wondering why I chose to be a teacher. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching. There's nothing better than seeing the look on a child's face when they finally "get it". Or when they hug me and call me mom or dad or, yes, even grandpa. But today it's difficult being a teacher. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were seen as heroes, people to look up to, to appreciate, to support. But as the months have passed and people get frustrated with the new way of life, they just want something normal to happen. School seems to be the thing everyone wants to use to pretend there isn't a deadly virus set to wipe out the human population. Now we "heroes" have become expendable. So have the children. Yeah, I'm venting here. Sorry. But as someone in the high risk group, I feel like it's my turn to say I want something normal, too---my life. I don't think that's too much to ask for, do you?

Independence Day Thoughts

It's a holiday weekend in the USA. 4th of July. Independence Day. Normally there would be BBQs, pool parties, trips to the beach or parks to watch fireworks and celebrate freedom. But there is nothing normal about this year. At all. And the thought of celebrating anything is far from a lot of people's minds. Including my own. It's difficult to be in the celebratory mood with so much turmoil in the world. So this Fourth of July will be spent with family, hoping that next year finds us in a better place as a country. I have to believe that we will overcome the issues of today... and that we will come out stronger on the other end.Turmoil brings growth, growth brings change. Just like our founding "fathers"(with all their MANY flaws) hoped for change, today we have the same wish. And I'll do my part to help.

Mi Familia

Family is important. I would wager to say it is THE most important thing to most people. It doesn't have to be your blood relatives. It could be an adopted family, a friend's parents who've always treated you like their child, a partner's family that makes up for the loss of your own due to unforeseen (or unfortunate) circumstances. With all the turmoil today, many families are being torn apart by political views, social views, and hate or hurt. Mine included. And I don't like it. At all. Not that any do, but these are difficult times and we have all been called to make changes in the way we think and act. To stand up for justice. To do what's right even when it means being uncomfortable, and unfortunately, even when it means calling out injustice in your own family. Be the change. Be compassionate. But be strong because the fight we wage is right. BLM

Unfocused

The past few months have been strange. A global pandemic, social revolution, the complete absence of normalcy, it's enough to make anyone lose sight of what they can and should be doing to improve the world and themselves. Even the simple act of reading has been hard for me. In the past I could read a 300 page novel in a few hours, now it takes me days. Writing has become even more difficult. I just can't focus. My mind spirals with thoughts that I can't seem to control; worry, fear, heartbreak, sadness. Happiness is there, too but sometimes that only makes me feel guilty because there are so many who aren't sharing that experience right now. Do I wish everything would return to normal? Yes. Will it? Again, yes, but the definition of "normal" needs to change to include equality for POC who have not been given the same opportunities. Keeping with the unfocused theme, this scene has nothing to do with my insight. But I hope you enjoy it.

Old Friends and New Heartbreak

We all get down on ourselves sometimes. But for Andrea, it's a bad habit fueled by fear of rejection. With her history, it's understandable, but sometimes we have to block those bad voices in our heads and take a chance. Will she?

First Encounters

Do you remember the first time you saw/met your partner? That first glance. The second one. That awkward feeling where you had to know more and knew they knew you needed it? I first met my husband in a hotel poolside bar in Daytona. I was reading a book (shocking) and drinking water when he walked up to the bartender and ordered a cheese burger and a BudLight. (He's from St. Louis, so...) I can still remember the swooping feeling in my stomach when he said hi and asked me why I was eating a hot dog bun w/o the hot dog. (I'm vegetarian.) I'm actually kinda surprised he kept talking to me at that point. 23 years and 3 kids later, I can still recall the feelings of our first meeting. Those moments in our lives are unforgettable, and for good reason. This scene is Andrea's first with Gio. Exciting, awkward, and funny... everything a first encounter should be.

Daddy Dearest

Society blames delinquent behavior on everything from video games to commercials, but it's mostly parenting that determines how a child's personality will develop and the choices they will make. Kids learn through example and by watching the adults around them. If those adults are toxic, the poison they spew will shape the way their children grow. In my 25 years of teaching, I've seen fabulous parenting and mediocre parenting. Unfortunately, I've seen all too much the type of troubled parents who make you wonder why they even bothered to have children in the first place. Here, Andrea's parents reflect the cases I've witnessed over the years. Knowing some of my students have come from a dysfunctional family helps me to understand them and to find a way to help them learn despite the challenges they face. As an outsider to their world, it's easy to say, "They just need to try harder to get out of that situation." And some do. But they are the exception, not the rule. This excerpt shows the relationship between Andrea and her dad. I hope it gives you an understanding about her character because down the line, there are going to be huge choices for her to make and I want my reader to understand the reason behind the decisions she will ultimately make.

Meet Andrea!

Here is the first scene of my newest book. Part of my process for writing a story is to create a rough plot structure outline before I begin writing. But then, I like to start, letting my character dictate the flow of the story in the beginning. Andrea's character has taken over already! I can't wait to see where she takes us! Enjoy the sample and follow me for more!

Only the Beginning!

These are literally the first two lines in my new story. Short and far from sweet, but they should give you a pretty good idea what this story will be about. Keep watching for more bubbles as I take this journey with Andrea, a character based on the students I have taught for the past 25 years. Better grab a tissue or two... it's a rocky road ahead.

Breaking the Bro Code (Breakin' in the 80s, Book 1)

Teens

“[A] fun mix of drama and sweetness…” — Readers’ Favorite

Seventeen-year-old Molly Mason runs for her life—literally. Her plans include racing her heart out for a cross country scholarship to get out of her craptastic little town, even if it means leaving behind her hot and cold boyfriend, Trevor. 

Hayden Bishop, Trevor’s best friend, has a secret: He’s head over heels in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. When Trevor dumps Molly, Hayden decides to break the sacred bro code and shoot his shot. Soon, he and Molly find themselves entangled in a relationship with more twists and turns than a Rubik’s Cube.

As the finish line to their senior year is in sight, the obstacles mount. Trevor strikes back at Hayden by placing doubt in the new relationship, Molly’s scholarship is put in jeopardy, Hayden’s chance to prove himself is slipping away, and someone gets arrested…

They’re struggling to finish together, but Molly and Hayden know the hardest part of a race is somebody always has to lose.

Book Bubbles from Breaking the Bro Code (Breakin' in the 80s, Book 1)

Time for Soccer

With the pandemic in full swing, I think the thing my husband misses most is sports. Literally, he's been going through withdrawals watching replays of old games from whatever sport he can find on TV. I love sports, too, but not as much as him. Still, little can beat the feeling of being on or cheering for your team, especially when they're winning. Likewise, not much is worse than seeing or experiencing a devastating loss. Soccer was a big part of my life as a mom. With two boys playing the sport, we had many W's but it seems to be the L's that sometimes stand out more. Hayden, in his old-man-in-a-teen ways knows this. And will not let it happen.

Bad Surprises

Some people hate surprises, some like them. But nobody likes the bad things that crop up in life; illness, job loss, pandemics, death. Bad surprises have a way of changing our lives but not for the better. down the road, good can come from the bad if we wait long enough but waiting for it is not easy. One of my worst "surprises" was catching my fiance with another woman two months before our wedding. Of course, that ended our relationship, but led to me finding my husband, having three beautiful children, and living a very good life. Good from the bad, but it wasn't easy to wait for it. My character, Molly has to learn this lesson, too.

AUDIO BOOK COMING SOON!!!

For the last few days, I've been listening to auditions for the narrators of my upcoming audio book of Breaking the Bro Code. This is the scene the male voice actors read to try out. I've listened to each of them several times and feel like I know this by heart! :) It's a great scene for them to read because it has Hayden, Trevor, and Molly interacting with each other. Hearing them read the parts was like having my characters come to life... outside my head! Choosing between all the fabulous auditions was difficult, but the producer and I both feel like we have the perfect people for the job and I cannot wait to share them with my readers... er... listeners? A huge thanks to Jocqueline Protho at The Audio Flow for all her hard work in helping make this dream of mine come true.

Getting "The Talk"

As a parent, I've had thousands of conversations with my three children. Some are loving. Some awkward. Some difficult. It's the funny ones though that tug at my memory and always seem to come up while reminiscing during vacations and family gatherings. In this scene, Hayden takes Molly to meet his parents and the resulting conversations fit all the descriptions above. It's the final "talk" with his mom though that most parents of older children will identify with. I laughed writing it. Yes, I also had to give "the talk" to my sons. (**insert cringe**) I hope it brings back good memories for you or at least makes you laugh! Enjoy!

**ON SALE!!**

With people staying home and needing distraction from the news, I have made the kindle version of Breaking the Bro Code available for 99 cents! It's a story set in 1986, a happier, easier time. A Jesse's Girl story about Molly and Hayden. She's a runner trying to get a scholarship and he's 17 going on 70, as Molly likes to tease him. He'd do anything to get the girl of his dreams. This scene with his parents and Molly showcases Hayden's sensitive side. He may be the toughest on the soccer field, but this mama's boy is putty in Molly's hands. He is loosely based off my middle son. (But don't tell him that)

Manipulation

For anyone who has never been in a mentally abusive relationship, it's hard to understand how someone could keep believing the lies they are told. Keep falling for the same old lines or thinking that the person "isn't that bad" to them. This scene between Molly and her ex, Trevor, is a perfect example of how the abuser in a relationship controls the emotions of their victim with lies and manipulation better known as the bait and switch. Trevor is a master. Unfortunately, his character was based on my and my daughter's friend's personal experience.

Best Friends

Cindy is Molly's biggest supporter. She has Molly's back... no matter what. Normally, she takes the lead during Molly's confusion and gives solid advice. In this scene, Molly takes control of the situation and Cindy doesn't agree with her choices. If you've ever fought with your best friend, you'll understand the emotions of both girls. But don't pick a side yet because things aren't always what they seem. Enjoy!

Friends to Enemies

We've all had one. The BFF. The one you thought you'd spend your life hanging out with, going to school with, growing old with. Your kids would also become best friends and you'd all live happily ever after. Many do, but sometimes, under that mask of friendship lies jealousy and resentment that overshadows the good and eats away at the relationship. The person you thought would always have your back, instead stabs you in it. This scene shows that moment between Hayden and Trevor. If you've ever lost a best friend then this scene will hit home.

Molly and Mom

Some parents blur the line between parent/friend, wanting instead to be the "cool mom or dad." As a parent, I strive to do what's right for my kids. And sometimes that means I have to play the meanie. They may get angry at me, but I know in the long run, they will be better off with the rules and structure I impose. Molly's mom, Lisa, represents the type of mom I try to be. She's understanding and gives great advice, but also encourages Molly to think and make decisions based on what she thinks is right. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Molly's relationship with her strong, single mom.

Abusive Relationships

Sometimes abuse is a hard to see and understand. Molly is in a mentally abusive relationship with her boyfriend Trevor, the king of the bait-and-switch. He deflects the blame for his transgressions onto Molly and makes her feel guilty. Everyone close to her sees it--her mom, Cindy, and especially Hayden. Why can't Molly? Why does she put up with it? If you've never been in a relationship like this, you may think “I’d never take that from someone.” Many blame the victim for staying—or coming back. Having worked with several families over the years with abusive relationships, and having been in one myself, I sympathize with the victims. Blaming Molly for staying is wrong. Manipulators like Trevor, target people they know they can control. He's cute, rich, popular... and Molly falls for his bait. He reels her in then messes with her head. She can't defend herself from him because she is in too deep, loses sight of what a normal relationship looks like. Her insecurities make it easy for Trevor to continue using her. I've seen it happen. I've had it happen. Hindsight is 20/20, but when you're in the middle of it, all bets are off. This scene is just one example of Trevor's abusive power over Molly.

Jesse's Girl Syndrome

Have you ever liked someone so much your heart stopped when they walked into the room? That's how Hayden feels about Molly--his best friend's girlfriend. Only, what if he saw her first? What if the best friend stole her before Hayden got a chance to share his feelings? Hayden is tired of living out the lyrics to a Rick Springfield song. He's the loyal friend to someone not worthy but what's a guy to do? He can't break the bro code... ...right?

Inspiration for Bro Code

Authors sometimes get inspiration from weird things. The inspiration for this book came during a (very) rainy soccer tournament for my middle son. I was standing with another mom, talking about our teen boys and their current girlfriends. She told the story of her son's friend going out with an ex-girlfriend of her son. We laughed about his friend breaking the bro code and I thought, "Hey, that would be a great title for a book." And that's literally how I got the idea. After I dried out over the next few days (It was a VERY rainy tournament.) I prepared for an annual event in the writing world called Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. I wrote Bro Code during the first two weeks, edited over the next couple, got critiques from my writing group, and the book was born! Being the person I am, I focused on the issue of mental abuse in teen relationships; specifically the bait-and-switch personality that Trevor embodies in the book. We all know guys like him who make every bad thing they do someone else's fault. I wanted to show today's teens that they shouldn't be with (or BE) a person like that. Life is too short. Find a partner who respects you and isn't afraid to show it--because you deserve it.

Breaking the Barriers (Breakin’ in the 80s Book 2)

Teens

"This story is about love, social acceptance, jealousy, and more...an engaging read.” —Readers’ Favorite

They have a secret.

No one in Elkwood High School’s class of 1986 knows that seniors Mike Ryan and Cindy Wilson are dating, except for their best friends, Hayden and Molly. According to her mama, Cindy can’t date until her one-hundredth birthday or she graduates college, whichever comes first. 

On the other hand, Mike longs to shout his love from the rooftops. They’re in love. How hard can it be? But to Cindy, family is everything. With her ailing father at home, she’ll do anything to protect him from the potential stress caused by the prejudice toward her interracial relationship. Afraid of losing Mike though, she’ll compromise to make him happy…

Their newly revealed relationship becomes more frenzied than Gremlins in the kitchen after midnight. Social tensions, jealousy, and rumors of an unwanted pregnancy threaten to destroy everything. When Cindy’s twin brother's confrontation with Mike gets physical, Cindy’s greatest fear becomes a reality—her father’s illness turns critical. And she feels that it’s all her fault.

Struggling to overcome barriers erected by their families and peers and prove he’s the right guy for her, Mike desperately performs an act of supreme sacrifice that could save their relationship—but it might just cost him his life.

Book Bubbles from Breaking the Barriers (Breakin’ in the 80s Book 2)

I hate conflict!

Conflict is a part of life but it seems like conflict is all around us these days. In the news, on social media, listening to people in the stores... there's too much anger and impatience. As an author, I know conflict is a necessary evil in any story because it's such a part of real life. But I hate writing it. Today more than ever. I've even skipped the "break up" scenes and written the "make up" scenes first, just to have something to look forward to. It's a coping mechanism that works well for me. If I know the characters will "be okay" I can focus on the bad stuff much easier and make it realistic. The following scene is the beginning of the major conflict for Mike and Cindy. Well, it's the final straw anyway in their ongoing complicated relationship.

Family is Hard

Family is important. I would wager to say it is THE most important thing to most people. It doesn't have to be your blood relatives. It could be an adopted family, a friend's parents who've always treated you like their child, a partner's family that makes up for the loss of your own due to unforeseen (or unfortunate) circumstances. With all the turmoil today, many families are being torn apart by political views, social views, and hate or hurt. Mine included. And I don't like it. At all. Not that any do, but these are difficult times and we have all been called to make changes in the way we think and act. To stand up for justice. To do what's right even when it means being uncomfortable, and unfortunately, even when it means calling out injustice in your own family. Be the change. Be compassionate. But be strong because the fight we wage is right. BLM

Raindrops

Every day it seems there is something new, something scary, something terrible happening in our world. And it's easy to feel that nothing like this has ever happened before. Maybe it has maybe it hasn't, but it doesn't matter when your emotions are on overload, your focus is gone, and you just don't know how to make things better. We all need to focus on what's important right now and do what we can to improve the world for others as well as ourselves. Making changes in the way we think and treat others will go a long way in changing the world around us. Like Mother Theresa said, "Maybe you feel like one raindrop in an ocean of need. But even the ocean is not complete without that single raindrop. Just care. Just love. Just take one step. The raindrop matters.”

Another New Normal

The world is in a state of change right now. That much is obvious. We're all faced with finding a new normal and our place in it. The only mystery is what will come of the changes. I choose to believe that there will be a lot of good. Maybe it's an unrealistic dream, but my heart needs some positivity during times like this when negative vibes seem to be in control. Change itself is neither good nor bad, our reactions to that change determine for us how it will affect our lives. I choose to find hope, even when the changes bring things that I may not agree with or welcome. In this scene, Mike forces Cindy to confront an unavoidable change headed her way and she has to come to terms with the way she is going to react to that change.

Surprises!

Surprises can be fun. Recently my husband tried to surprise me for our anniversary with a box of old home videos he's had converted to dvds. He spent months watching the old videos on a camcorder to label and order them for the company he hired. Then the day of our anniversary, I was cleaning the basement for our planned family game night and found a box, wrapped in wrinkled Xmas paper and taped with blue painter's tape. Thinking it was a "gag gift" someone had forgotten about, I opened it. Nope. I ruined the months long surprise just hours before he was going to give it to me, creating a story that will live on as legacy, I'm sure. In my defense, it was March, the gift was hidden under the Xmas tree in the basement, and looked like it was wrapped by a 5-year-old, not my 51 -year-old husband. That's MY story, and I'm sticking to it! :)

Preparing for Death

Everybody dies. It's unavoidable. But that doesn't ease our pain when it happens to someone we love. Eleven years ago my dad was in an accident. I got the news and jumped into the car with my kids and husband to drive the 300 or so miles to where my parents lived. He was gone before I could even get there to say goodbye. I didn't get to prepare for his death. Part of me is glad I didn't have to watch him suffer through an illness, but at least then I could have said the things I never got to tell him. Either way, it sucks to lose someone you love. When writing Barriers, the parts with Cindy and her dad are what I wish I could have had with mine. In this scene, Mike tries to help Cindy face the inevitable so she has that chance to say goodbye... like I never did.

Showing and Telling

One of the most important rules of writing is "show don't tell". Authors seek to make readers become the character through images and dialogue. Showing is key. In this scene, Mike and Hayden discuss Cindy's blind "date" her mom sent her on. Mike finds out Hayden knew and had promised Cindy he wouldn't fight with Hayden for not telling him about it, but he still needs to deal with his feelings of betrayal. Rather than telling Hayden how angry it made him, Mike chooses the "show" option to express his feelings. The result is humorous not hurtful. Any mother of boys knows (I have 2. 3 if you count my husband.), almost anything can garner a physical reaction and sometimes, they can be pretty funny and still get the point across.

Tough Times

Love is hard and sometimes we make mistakes. This scene from Breaking the Barriers shows the aftermath of a blind date Cindy's mother made her go on. While it really wasn't her fault, Cindy still has to face the consequences. But of course, she handles it in her "Cindy" way and stands up for herself while still acknowledging the guilt she feels.

Not All Fun and Games

Sometimes, life is good. Everything seems to be going right and you're happy with what you have. But all it takes is a moment for things to turn south. In this scene The teens have taken Cindy's and Elijah's little brothers along with Mike's little brother to a pizza/game restaurant to have some fun while Cindy's mom is at the hospital dealing with their sick father. It's a fun time, but the stresses of illness and their biracial relationship, and the reactions of society to it are just under the surface waiting to suck the joy from the evening.

Sweet Revenge

Fighting with your best friend is the worst.They are supposed to be the ones who have your back--not the ones who stab you in it. But it happens. Here, Mike confronts Hayden about his knowledge of Cindy's botched blind date her mother forced her to go on. Having already made up with Cindy over the matter, Mike is still angry at Hayden for not telling him. But Hayden, the old soul, has his reasons and Mike gets it. Still, like most guys, Mike isn't good at telling his feeling so instead... he shows them.

Cheaters Never Win

Mike has always viewed the world through rose colored glasses. He never had to really struggle for anything and believes people are good, for the most part. He has a difficult time understanding why Cindy won't just tell her parents about him. They're in love. What could be wrong with that? Cindy is definitely more in tune with the ways of the world. She's seen more of the ugly side of human nature and is afraid of it. In this scene, Mike gets a glimpse into her world when he meets her parents at a track meet. They still don't know about him, but with her mother's intuition, Cindy's mom notices their attraction. She drops a bomb to try and stop it. Mike gets a harsh lesson in Relationships 101.

Oh, brother!

Cindy has a strong relationship with her twin brother, Elijah. Their family motto, Cindy jokes, should be "I got your back." Mike has a very different relationship with his older brother Tony. In some ways they are alike: stubborn, opinionated, overprotective. But they are also unique, as siblings are. In this scene, Tony learns that Mike and Cindy are dating... and he's not too happy about it. He's worried about the race issue, but it goes way deeper than that. (You find that out later.) I wrote Tony this way because even within a family, members can have very different views on what is acceptable. The old cliche rings true: Family. You have to love them, but you don't have to like them.

Wonder Twin Powers

I loved writing this scene between Cindy and her twin brother, Elijah. It showcases their differences, yet totally shows the strength of their connection, too. Their relationship is typical of siblings.They argue and get on each other's nerves, tease, and threaten to narc to their parents. But when there's trouble, family comes first and they "got each other's backs"... no matter what.

Blind Date From Hell

Cindy's mom does not allow her to date because she is afraid Cindy will end up pregnant. It seems to her that all the ladies at work know at least one teenage girl with that problem. But with pressure from Cindy's dad, Mom finally agrees to allow it... but only if SHE gets to choose the guy. This scene shows Cindy's and the family's reactions to the blind date her mom sets up for her. It was a fun scene to write because it was filled with so many contrasting emotions; Cindy's disbelief, anger, and guilt, Elijah's humor and protectiveness, Mom's controlling attitude, and Dad's love for his daughter. Enjoy!

Meet Cindy!

Every family has problems. Those problems don't stay within the walls of our homes. They bleed into our lives and affect everything we do and how we interact with the world. In Barriers, it's the stresses in her family that lead Cindy to hide her relationship with Mike to spare her family from dealing with even more issues. She desperately wants to have a normal relationship, but wants to keep her family happy and safe at the same time. This scene shows the motives behind her secrecy and explains how someone so in love with her boyfriend could still think hiding was the best option.

Character Inspiration for Mike

Mike Ryan is an interesting character, LOOSELY based on my middle son. He loves Cindy and thinks that's all that matters. Maybe he's right but as seasoned adults know, society never sees things through the eyes of innocence. Though this book is set in 1986, (my teenhood) the views of society haven't changed a whole lot. My middle son has been with his girlfriend, who is bi-racial, since they were in high school. They didn't face too many issues from being a mixed race couple, but even for them there were times when some questioned it, lightly for the most part or out of curiosity but the questions were still there. Like many friends of mine in the 80's, Mike and Cindy faced more opposition--both the light AND the dark, even some brought on by themselves. It's Mike's naivete that makes him such a relatable character. Much like my son, Mike believes in the power of love and the goodness of people. His attitude is what many hope to see reflected in others--acceptance and love for those who are different from themselves. Unfortunately, Mike finds out later just how hard this relationship can be.

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