Happy Book Birthday, SEASONS IN THE SUN!
Today’s brew: I will blow bubbles in my coffee and pretend it’s champagne.
Today SEASONS IN THE SUN comes out into the world. It seemed like just a month ago I was releasing my first book, Because the Night.
Seasons in the Sun is the prequel to Because the Night. It wasn’t part of the original plan. Hell, who am I kidding, there was no original plan. I just wanted to complete a book. I never thought it would snag me an agent, or become a thing. Seasons in the Sun came to life when I asked my friend Liz to read Because the Night. It was the first draft, and of course it was absolutely perfect and nothing like the version available to you today. Liz was a tough critic. She liked it, but she saw holes. It was the first real criticism I ever got and it was a reality check.
Her biggest beef? She just didn’t buy that Callie would be so hung up on Tristan that she’d go searching for him years later.
Oh yeah, Liz? Instead of weaving some details into Because the Night, I wrote a prequel based on Callie and Tristan’s summer together.
Now she buys it.
So if you run into Liz Washer, makeup artist extraordinaire, somewhere in the wild, you can thank her for inspiring me to write Seasons in the Sun.
A little Night Songs Collection inside info for you.
All the titles are song titles. Seasons in the Sun doesn’t have “night” in the name because there are no vampires.
And here’s a little hot first chapter action:
My bike skidded into the alley beside the café. I knew I was late. I leaned it up against the building, pulled my damp braid away from my neck, and fanned out my shirt.
“Where have you been, Callie? Your shift starts at nine. No excuses. I’m not going to treat you differently than anyone else on the staff. It sets a bad example.” My mom was rolling out dough on the table. There was flour on her apron and in her hair. It had obviously been a busy morning. She barely looked up from her work as she acknowledged me.
I looked at the clock on the wall. 9:15. “Sorry.” I mumbled as I grabbed my apron. “Where do you want me today?”
Mom sighed, pausing for a minute to think strategy. “Barista station.”
Not so bad. I figured she’d give me something I hated to punish me for being late. My mom ran a tight ship. The Magnolia Café was her dream in action and she wasn’t about to let anyone, including me, screw it up. But I loved making the coffee. It was what we were known for. I liked helping the island wake up. The regular faces became more recognizable each day.
This was my first summer as an official employee. I’d worked behind the scenes for years. I was thrilled to be old enough to be a real part of the team. Even if it I was working for my mom, I wanted to make a good impression.
“Guess what? I met the twins.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Caroline’s niece and nephew. Taryn and Tristan.” We rented the guest house on Caroline’s sprawling property. I’d been hearing stories about Caroline’s family my whole life. Her sister was a model, married to a movie star. Did it get any more glamorous than that?
“Oh.” Recall was written all over her face. My mother found Caroline’s family less impressive than I did. We didn’t even have a TV in the house, that’s how much she cared about Hollywood. “Were their parents there as well?”
“I don’t know. I just saw the twins.”
“Did Caroline say anything about the party?”
“What party?” I had no idea what my mother was talking about.
“Never mind. She wouldn’t say anything to you, anyway.” I felt like a little kid for the second time this morning.
I headed out front to relieve Olga, the early morning barista. Keisha, my cousin, was tidying up behind the counter and restocking the muffins and bagels. She came every summer from Jamaica to work with us at the Magnolia.
“What’s going on, girl? You’re late.” She hip checked me playfully as I walked passed her to the coffee station.
“So I hear. Good morning to you, too.”
“Ha! You were fired, you know.”
“Yeah I’m sure.” Where else was my mother going to find such willing, well trained, underpaid labor?
“You missed the hot Australian dude. That man can eat his croissant in my bed any day….”
I giggled and swatted at Keisha. “Oh! That reminds me. I met the twins.”
Apparently I was the only person who was excited about this. I was starting to feel a little foolish telling everyone so enthusiastically about my meeting. “Caroline’s niece and nephew. Tristan and Taryn. From California.”
“Oooooh, the movie star kids.” Now I had Keisha’s attention.
“Tell me all about them.”
“I don’t know, it was quick. We didn’t say much. But Tristan is really good looking.”
“Oh yeah? How old are they?”
“Gosh, I don’t know…Caroline said they weren’t much older than me, but they looked like they were about twenty five.”
“All those famous people have botox and nose jobs and boob jobs…did the girl have a boob job?”
“I didn’t know I was supposed to check out her chest for you.”
“God, I’d love a boob job. Instead I got a big ass. So how good looking are you talking?”
I blushed a little bit as I started making a nonfat caramel latte for Janis, one of the regulars. “Really good looking. Like I didn’t know it was possible to be that good looking.”
I could still feel where Tristan squeezed my hand while he looked me right in the eyes, making my knees knock. I could still smell the spiciness of his cologne.
“He must be gay then.” I was a little mortified by that. I shot a quick look at Janis, who was smirking at our conversation. I added her extra whipped cream before she even asked.
“Anyone from California who’s that good looking has got to be gay, girl. Get used to it.”
“How many people have you met from California?”
“None. But I know. I read Perez Hilton.”
Who? “Is he on NPR? Because that’s all I ever get to listen to and you know it.” My mom ran a tight ship at home too. We didn’t have cable and I got homeschooled. My pop culture knowledge was embarrassingly nonexistent.
“Oh yeah, I forgot I was back in the stone ages for a minute.” Keisha rolled her eyes. “I’m just saying, that’s how it is.”
It was just easier to agree with her. “Whatever. He didn’t seem gay. Not like I’d know if he was anyway. But I don’t think so.”
“I guess between the two of us, we’ll find out, right?”