Title: Fire in the Woods
Publication date: September 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton
When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.
But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?
Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.
Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.
As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.
Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.
Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.
Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.
Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.
First of all, thank you so much for having me, and thanks also for asking to see a deleted scene from FIRE IN THE WOODS! When I started reviewing my “deleted scenes” file in preparation for this post, I didn’t really think I’d have anything to show you, but I ended up toiling over three scenes that I loved that didn’t make it into the book. So, you may wonder, “If you loved them, why didn’t they make it into the book?” Well, I’m glad you asked!
In the end, it was all about pacing. I wanted FIRE IN THE WOODS to be extremely “readable” and fast paced. That does not mean that there is high-action on every page, but I needed the plot to keep moving. What I was going for is the “I couldn’t put it down” kind of book, and I really hope that is what readers end up thinking.
What I’d like to show you today is a scene that I deleted because the lead up to Jess finding out David’s secret seemed a bit too slow. I ended up cutting this entire scene, which I loved, and cut paragraphs out of other scenes to tighten the story even more. Of course, I am thrilled with the end result, but I just wish I could have found a way to keep this mancala game in there.
So, here you go! For the first time in public, the deleted “Breakfast and Mancala” scene. We begin with Jess making eggs for breakfast while trying to figure out how to get David to tell her who he really is.
David’s nose crinkled. “Eggs?”
I set the fork down. “Wow, I don’t think you could possibly look more grossed out.” I threw the eggs onto a pan and set them on the warm burner. “Okay, how about oatmeal?”
“Oatmeal?” Uncertainty shone in his eyes.
“Yeah.” I showed him a box of instant oats. He watched me closely as I ripped open the package and prepared the flakes. His eyes perked up when I handed the bowl to him.
“Be careful, it’s hot,” I said.
He scooped a steamy spoonful and sniffed it before tasting the edge. His eyes lit up. “Mmmm. It’s good.” The rest of the spoon disappeared between his lips.
Could this guy get any weirder?
He was about to spill the beans last night. How could I ease back into that conversation today? How could I get him to confide in me without losing his trust?
He scraped the bowl and licked off the spoon. Apparently food was a good start.
I scooped some eggs onto my fork.
He eyed the contents of my plate warily. “Do you have more oatmeals?”
Mom always said the way to a guy’s heart was through his stomach, and I managed to find a guy who actually liked stuff I could make. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oatmeal—who knew? I ripped open a few more packages, cooked them up, and passed him the bowl.
Now, how to start up a conversation about personal stuff again…
David accepted the bowl with a smile, grabbing my fingers with his other hand. “You’re being very nice, not asking me questions.”
I eased my hand away.
Sure I was being nice, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want answers. “Does that mean you are ready to talk?”
“That depends. Are you ready to hear?”
Was I? My stomach flipped over. My heart raced. “I’m ready.”
He rand his fingers through his hair. “To be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready. But I think I at least owe you an explanation.”
The clock on the microwave turned over to ten fifteen. David stared at his oatmeal, stirring the flakes before taking a bite. I waited in silence until he scraped the bowl clean.
A smile crossed his lips. “Thank you.”
I took his bowel and ran it under the water. He fiddled with the pinky on his right hand, lifting it with his index finger and letting it fall
“Are you stalling?”
He bit his lip and looked up at me. “Maybe a little. I want to tell you. I’m just not sure how.”
“How about the truth?”
“It’s not the kind of thing that you just blurt out.”
“Well, at the moment I’ve thought up several scenarios. You could be a secret agent, or a international courier, or the harbinger of the apocalypse. Am I close on any of those?”
Not really? A good old fashioned “no” would have made me feel better.
David strolled into the family room, and ran his fingers across Dad’s Mancala board. “Stones,” he whispered.
“What?” I moved beside him.
“This.” He flipped the wooden board over in his hand. “It looks like a game I used to play called Stones.”
I set the board on the coffee table between us, and counted out the multi-colored gems into the eight pockets. “It’s called Mancala. Do you want to play?”
Why not? We could talk over the game board.
The grin nearly leapt from his face. “Yes. Yes I do.”
David dropped the last gem into his cubby, winning the game…again.
I sighed. “You are way too fast a learner.”
He bent his fingers into a little shelf and rested his chin on it. “Like I said, your rules are very close to the way we play Stones. I think you took it easy on me, though.”
“Yeah, maybe a little.”
Not. He kicked my butt, and I’d hardly even gotten any info out of him.
I placed the board back against the wall and folded my arms. Why did he have to be so perfect? He can’t even lose at a stupid game.
“Are you angry?” he asked.
“No.” I shifted my weight. “I’m just not used to playing on that side of the table.”
A smirk started to break across his lips, but he reigned it in. “Should I have let you win?”
“No, but…” I shook my head. “I don’t know. Never mind.”
I don’t even know what I was thinking. I was mad, but I wasn’t. I was just…Ugh! What was I feeling, anyway? Why did I get all googly around David? I mean, I’d seen cute guys before. I guess I’d just never talked to one, or played games with one, or had them sleep in my closet. I shook my head. When did my life get so weird?
I knew when it got weird. The day David walked into my life. I needed to find out what was going on, and I needed to know now.
“You said it’s a lot warmer where you’re from, but I’d really like to know where that is.”
He bit his lip and released it with a pop. “We call it Erescopa.”
“And where is Erescopa?”
He stood and stretched. His hand reached to his stomach.
“You can’t be hungry already.”
“Do you mind if we eat something before I tell you where Erescopa is? Because I’m afraid you’re going to throw me out when I tell you.”
I folded my arms. “I’m not going to throw you out.”
“Yeah, you are.”
“What are you— a terrorist or something?”
Dangit. This guy was getting on my nerves.
“All right, but this is it. No more eating. No more games.”
His eyes brightened. “Good. Can we have PB&J?”
I just love this scene. It is so cute, and I think it really shows their personalities, but yes, it was a little slow for that point in FIRE IN THE WOODS, where the readers should be really tense, and waiting for Jess’s reaction when she finds out the truth. But thanks so much for asking, so I could have the opportunity to show this scene off to the world!
And now for the giveaway!!!!
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton (INT)
One (1) custom made necklace (used as inspiration for the necklace in Fire in the Woods). Adjustable chain from 10 to 12 inches. T (US ONLY)