In between checking e-mails, I stumbled across an MSN article about exercising ruts. Okay, I admit, I read the whole thing.
And I was surprised to see that I was stuck in a rut or two myself. After thinking about it, I realized how simple it would be to make a couple of adjustments and *ding* my rut would be gone.
For you exercise enthusiasts out there- I decided I needed more resistance training. I kind of let that one go out the window at least six years ago. I know- kind of bad of me. But I can change. It would be easy. I just needed to think about it and realize that I should do it.
What about writing ruts?
1- Just like in exercising, sometimes you need to switch things up. If you go on the same walk for 30 minutes every single day, your muscles get used to it and you plateau.
Instead of doing exactly the same thing everyday, be aware of when you need to be diverse. When you're writing there are many things that take time- planning your plot, developing your characters, creating scenes, finding weak spots in your plans, editing, writing, etc.
The list can really keep going for a long time. In fact, if you're simply writing and never planning or thinking into your story, it won't be as strong of a book.
2- Is the story itself stuck in a rut? This is where stepping back and doing resistance training will help. Get your weights out and find new ways to strengthen your plot and characters. Figure out what's missing. Maybe the stakes aren't high enough, we need more time in the character's head, more action, less info dump, more dialogue, less dialogue... you get the picture.
Sometimes the only way we can see the problem is to step back and think about it from a different angle.
3- And lastly, we're setting our workout machine on "fat burning" so that we stay in a zone that is easier, but ultimately burns fewer calories and ends up being a less effective workout.
There's a chance you could push yourself a little more when it comes to the writing industry. Maybe you need more social media, writers conferences, a writers group, etc. Or perhaps you could handle writing more hours in the day than you do. If you could be doing more than you are, try to.
And in the end, we'll have a better story- uhm, and a better body too I guess if you apply all the same exercise principles. So get your tennis shoes out, or your computer, and have fun!
I can't believe how impossible it's been to tell the whole world, but I think it's about time. Maybe just for my own sake. Or maybe it's just so you know- in case you're still convinced I'm some kind of superstar... ha ha ha... so kidding.
First, let me tell you that I acknowledge how teeny tiny and not universally important the following is. Whew. Glad I got that out of the way.
In April my little bubble of my writing career popped. My agent, who I had signed with nearly a year previous, decided she was no longer interested in representing YA. (As a small consolation, I have reason to believe she gave the same news to her other clients. I received collective e-mails addressing her former YA writers.)
So there I was, standing with finished manuscripts in my hands and no one to represent them. I thought I had been patiently waiting for the process to work. I know how busy agents can be and for that reason I tend to leave people alone to do their job unless something important comes up.
I have to admit that I felt like a complete idiot when she said she thought she dumped me six months previously. SIX MONTHS. Uhm, she didn't. The beauty of e-mails. I read every single one she sent me, and nothing remotely referred to this. But I had left her alone for six whole months, busily writing the book she had given her enthusiastic blessing on, the whole time thinking that any day, a contract would magically pop out of the ground like a tulip.
Do I take any of the blame? Yes.
I learned that if I don't hear anything from my agent at all, I should check in at least once a month via e-mail just to be sure we're still on the same page.
Other than that, I think the hardest part has been getting over my own reaction to the hit. All I could think was that my writing wasn't good enough. Which of course equates to- I'm not good enough. And if my writing and me aren't good enough, what the heck do I think I'm doing in the book industry?
And then, after nearly two months, I've finally come to a new conclusion. People are willing to give me more chances. I have to be willing to take them.
The light went on. I was trying to convince myself that I didn't need writing, that it wasn't worth the pain I felt because I couldn't be happy unless I aspired to the career I knew I wanted. That I still want.
But in the process of trying to leave it, story ideas have tracked me down and followed me around like Marley's chains. The only way I can ever feel free is if I write.
And now- I am in love with it all over again. I still don't have an agent. I don't know how long it will take to get one. I may end up having to write a whole new story and start over with the queries.
Everyone else on the list- you guys live around here, so come to my house and choose which book you want. Seriously. I have some new books you can take a look at.
As for the rest of you- are you ready for summer? I am. So ready.
We've been getting these half committed days that act like a combination of winter and spring. Choose one already! Of course, by that I mean choose summer.
Considering the weather nationally though, I'm not going to complain.
But this does bring me to the topic of commitment.
What does it mean to be committed to writing?
For me it means a few things. First, to write in spite of everything. This one is the hardest. To write in spite of everything means that no matter how many times I get a rejection letter or watch my books NOT sell, I keep writing. In the face of failure, I write. When I'm sure I'm probably a washed up wanna be, I write. When I've convinced myself that I never really had a gift with words, just a lucky moment here and there, I write. When I don't believe a single encouraging word I've said to someone else, or that someone has said to me, I write. When I've finally decided I should just give the whole thing up... I'm still shaking my head... I write. In spite of the fact that there is not one shred of proof that all the hours I spend on this craft will ever end in success, I write.
Second, to write because of everything. I know this sounds like a close cousin to the first reason, but it feels different to me. Given all the discouragement listed above, I can not keep the stories from following me around. I can't help but notice the rare perfect moments when the world feels right. It's impossible to ignore the fact that maybe all I need is to keep writing because one of these days I might get it right. Life creates moments that beg to be used in a story.
And what if I didn't write? Would the stories in my head slowly sink into the ground and leave me alone? Would I feel as though my life was profoundly more fulfilling having escaped the flood of rejections that writing necessarily causes? I ask myself these questions all the time. The problem is I am pretty sure giving up wouldn't end in happiness.
It seems the only way to be happy is to be miserable. Or maybe one has to go through the misery to get to the moments of sheer joy.
Whatever it is, I haven't successfully talked myself into quitting, and I've been trying really hard to lately. I want to be happy. There has to be a way to strike a balance between the heartbreaks of never reaching goals and the satisfaction of knowing that persistence will win in the end.
First, I must tell you how excited I am about my fourteen-year-old son taking first place in Districts yesterday for the high jump. YAY! Today he runs- and for the life of me I still can't keep straight which distances they are. I can remember the relay- I know, lame mom of me. But he's a great runner and I'm hoping he can get out there and do something he feels happy about at the end of the day.
And, yesterday we had a fabulous Spring Show with the Boise Cloggers. Honestly, I don't know how I ended up getting so many fantastic families to come to my studio. I feel so blessed. My dancers are more than talented athletes, they are true friends and bright individuals.
Speaking of gratitude. I had a surprise e-mail to made my day this morning...
I found and read Alvor one day at the BYU bookstore and loved it. Several months later I found myself interning at Cedar Fort. That was last summer and fall. Last week I read your book, Wings of Light and loved it. I'm a fan.
How awesome is that? It was very cool for me to hear from someone who found my book and fell in love. Oh, and please go to Amazon.com and buy a copy. Read it. Post a review for me.
You'll love it. You know you will. ;)
I found out last week that Wings of Light may or may not make it onto very many Brick and Mortar bookstore shelves. Complicated explanation, but it's usually cheaper online anyway. They say that online sales are higher than in-store sales now too. I never thought the day would come.
Okay- so I realized that I still have a couple of books sitting around that need a new home. I'll pick two winners- and the winners get to pick if they want a Middle Grade or Young Adult book as their prize.
What do you have to do?
*Leave a comment and tell me something random of your own. *Make me feel better by promising you will read my book soon- or that you already have. Seriously people, Wings of Light is good. And summer is coming. You're going to need something fun to read. *Your e-mail so I can tell you if you won.
(My oldest son in the middle and me on the left- St. Patrick's Day 2011)
The first week of February I sent in my ominous application to take the TCRG exams in October. About a month later, a packet came from Ireland with lots of study material in it. How exciting.
Then April and May hit me like a waterfall and I haven't been able to keep my head above water long enough to study anything. Zip.
So when I got an e-mail this morning with a confirmation letter to take the exams in October, I decided it was time to recommit to my original plan.
What would happen if I decided not to take the exams in October?
I would likely be barred from ever taking the TCRG exam. In my life. That's a pretty long time, and what if I regretted giving up because it was hard? Would I ever regret it?
Most likely. Darn it. When has hard ever stopped me before?
Oh yeah. Never.
It doesn't mean I'll pass my tests with flying colors, although that is the goal. But to get this close and give up because it will be a ton of work would be...depressing, pathetic, defeating or, yes, in the back corner of my mind I can admit that it would also be a tiny sigh of relief.
But then, giving up on anything hard would give an instant sense of relief, followed by a lifetime of what-ifs. It's the what-ifs that can kill you in the end.
Mmm, and for those of you who have no clue what in the world I'm talking about- I know you're out there- yeap, you- TCRG is a world-recognized certification to teach Irish Dance. It also allows your students to compete Irish dance at feis (pronounced fesh).
Yes, technically you can teach Irish dance without any certification at all, but only TCRG teachers are universally recognized as having credentials, which is why only TCRG students can compete in feis. There's also ADCRG- and that's one step above TCRG. Those are the adjudicators for feiseana.
So- yes, I'm gonna do it. Yes, I'm a little terrified. I really don't want to fail. I guess life is about taking risks, and lately I've been doing a lot of that. Gambling that one of these days, I'm going to get it right.
My four-year-old just now, "Mom! It's spring! I saw two butterflies."
Maybe it's because I've just had the most amazing week, but everything seems to have more color in it today. The wind is blowing and we lack flowers or even leaves on some of our normally gorgeous bushes. Outside spring is having a debate, but inside of me, it's here.
New life. New color. My heart is full.
I always come away from writers conferences feeling inspired and ready to take on my career with more enthusiasm, but this time that feeling has been multiplied in ways that I never thought possible.
To say I loved the LDStorymakers Conference does not seem to come close to expressing the depth of how this last week affected me in so many positive ways. Yesterday when I thought about it, it brought tears to my eyes. I don't know if people are allowed to have as many perfect experiences as I had in just four days.
I will never be the same person again.
That's not to say that I won't experience more and more failures as I reach towards my writing dreams, but at least my bucket is full now and whether I deserve it or not, I feel so much hope.
How can I say thank you enough to all the talented friendly people that made this last week so unforgettable? It takes a small army to accomplish what they did and they have my deepest gratitude.
For those of you who took the time to talk to me... and you know who you are... I can't say thank you enough. Thank you for filling my heart so full that it might just burst. And would that be such a bad thing? I will never be the same again. I am a different person than the girl who left for Utah last week. And I have you to thank for that.
If you're a writer, make writer's conferences a planned part of your life. Period.
That said, now you have to figure out which ones to go to. There are so many wonderful choices, it really is hard to go wrong.
For me, it comes down to a few criteria. *How much does it cost? *How many days do I have to be away from home? *Do the dates conflict with other things in my life that I cannot (or should not) get out of? *Are there nationally recognized presenters in attendance?
If I had a limitless supply of money, I would absolutely attend more conferences. I love them.
At the SCBWI conference I attended a few weeks ago, someone asked me if I had gotten anything out of it. I have to admit I was taken back from the question because it's the last thing I would have expected to hear. But the answer is always the same- yes. I always get something out of writers conferences, no matter how big or small they are.
Sometimes I'll hear the same exact things, but I think about it in a new way or apply it to my WIP. Because where I am in life changes everyday, what I hear and learn when I go to classes changes too.
The LDStorymakers Conference is coming up this weekend. I've been working with some talented people to help organize some of the aspects of this conference- but that aside- I can honestly say that this is my favorite writers conference hands down.
Do you have to be LDS to attend? No way. We have nationally recognized agents, this year a St. Martin's Press editor and national authors both LDS and not presenting. If you've never considered this Utah conference, look into it.
And the price is extremely reasonable. How can that be? I still don't know, but I'm not complaining.
Agents attending this year... Sara Crowe with Harvey Klinger, Inc. Sara Megibow with Nelson Literary Agency Becca Stumpf with Prospect Agency
And we have Marcia Markland, Senior Editor with Thomas Dunne Books, which is a part of St. Martin's Press. Other editors are... Lisa Mangum with Deseret Book Kirk Shaw, Senior Editor for Covenant Communications
And the list of presenters is incredible as well. There are so many subjects covered in presentations that you have up to eight choices of classes to attend every hour for two days.
Don't forget the pitch sessions. Each agent is taking 25 pitches and the editors nearly as many. Since attendees can only sign up for one pitch, it means we have well over 100 people pitching to an editor or agent this weekend.
Just under 500 people are registered for the LDStorymakers Conference this year. There's a good reason for that. This is simply one of the most organized, well put together, professional and helpful conferences in the Northwest. People fly from all over the country to attend.
It makes me feel lucky that it's only a six hour drive for me.
So, if it seems I've disappeared off the face of the earth this weekend, it's only because I'm busy loving the writers conference, catching up with old writing friends and having the time of my life.
If you want to e-mail me, write email@example.com
My other e-mail still works too.
"Alvor" is a middle grade fantasy written for all ages and its award winning sequel "Wings of Light" is available too. The newest book is "Dancing with Black", a contemporary young adult book. Look for the last Alvor book to come out this summer! "Dipped in Dark" is the last of the series. But about me, I have a clogging studio in my backyard,I teach high school science full time, have five energetic and imaginative kids who all dance too, the perfect husband, three miniature horses, Two little dogs and most of the time, an hour or two a day to write.
Chapter 1 A New Book Erin sat on the back seat alone. The sound of laughter drowned out the drone of the school bus. It was amazing how much noise two fifteen year old boys could make. Soon it would be just her and her brother left for the thirty minute drive home. She thumbed through the yearbook. Grandpa Jessie always insisted on buying them each their own. “See you in the fall, man. Woo-hoo! It’s finally summer!” the boy shouted as he stepped off the bus. “Yeah! Have fun in Florida, you lucky dog!” Bain called back. The bus jerked down the street again. Bain got up and walked to the back. He sat backwards in the seat and looked at her. “Trade you,” he said. “I didn’t get to sign yours yet.” She handed him her book as he let his bounce on the seat next to her. She picked up his yearbook and let the page open randomly. Colorful permanent ink graced the page with hearts, smiley faces and lots of exclamation points. She turned the pages looking for a blank space. “I think I’ll just sign over top of my picture. It could only improve it.” Erin looked for the section where the black and white photo of her stared out. She took her red marker and wrote, “Here’s to the summer!” “Erin, didn’t you even go outside for the yearbook signing? There’s practically nothing written in here.” “Oh, I was talking to my chemistry teacher about my grade. I didn’t expect to see an A-. I was sure I had an A in there.” “The last day of school and you spend your time talking to a teacher on purpose? I think you might need professional help.” “Thanks.” “Anytime, little sister.” “Hey, only by ten minutes. “I’m still bigger than you.” He smiled with a crooked grin. He had her there. He was already almost six feet tall. At this rate, she was never going to catch up. He flipped back around in his seat so he was facing forward. She stared out the window. The trees walled the sides of the street in green. As they approached their village, the familiar Pennsylvania misted hills came into view. She loved seeing them every day from the bus after school. A purple butterfly flickered into view before it was gone again. That was one thing she loved most about her home. There were more butterflies here than any of the neighboring little towns. She never understood why there were so many gathered in her tiny village when only a few strays could be seen anywhere else. Maybe there was some kind of plant they loved in the hills. The ride home made her feel as though she was ominously leaving her familiar school. She loved school. It wasn’t that she really had very many friends, she just felt like she was somewhere when she was there. And during the school year she only had to live in an empty house at night. With Grandpa Jessie gone every Monday through Friday for work, the summer days dragged on in the quiet house. She watched as the houses began again to pass by her window and imagined what it would be like to have her mom greet her at the door. How many times had she let herself slip into the same daydream? She had to stop. It wasn’t like she should really miss her parents. She never even knew them.
“Wait up!” she called. “I can’t believe you still have so much energy after your run.” She could feel herself pant as she jogged to meet him. He didn’t even glance back. “It’s right over there,” he pointed. “I’ve never really gone this way before, but I found if you climb through a few bushes it opens up on the other side.” The landscape here was full and green. From the road they could only see a few feet into the foliage. High humidity and plenty of precipitation encouraged the trees, grass and plants to thrive. “Right,” she offered as she eyed the bushes. She hesitated. He just chuckled quietly and moved in. Beautiful as the greenery was, Erin was not fond of climbing through the mountain laurels that reached taller than her. Bain held the branches for her and helped her through the thick shrubs, all while somehow avoiding scratches from the dense vegetation. She was grateful he didn’t tease her when she tripped twice and then accidentally smacked him right in the face with a stray branch. He just laughed good-naturedly and kept going. “How far did you get this morning?” Erin asked as she tried to calculate the forest waiting for them. “Not too far, really, I just followed a trail for a few minutes. It kept going though, and we haven’t seen a new trail for a long time.” He gave her a smile as if trying to reassure her. “Don’t worry; this is going to be great.” “You didn’t waste any time finding a new place to explore this summer,” she said, trying to stall the hard hike ahead. “Did you bring all the regular gear in your backpack? We are going to need to mark the trees so we can find our way back.” “No worries. I am totally prepared, as always. There’s enough food to last a couple of days. What else could we need?” She couldn’t help but smile. It would take an enormous amount of food to actually satisfy him for a couple of days. After two hours, Erin was glad that Bain had come through with the water. They tied red twine around a few trees along the way so the trail back would be easier to find. The trees all seemed the same to her and Erin was sure she would never find her way back without the marks. Bain was a born compass though. He always seemed to know which direction they were going and how to find their way around. The bushes finally gave way into a clearing where the view made her stop in astonishment. She had seen houses that the founding fathers of this country built. Century-old homes could be found in their own village. Some were fancy, and some were not. But nothing she had ever seen could even begin to compare to the stark beauty that stood before them now. There in the lush grass stood a small cottage. It was petite, but astounding. The eaves were carved with skill into a curling Victorian pattern. Each window was framed with a lace-carved shutter. The whole structure was in different shades of wood. There was no paint to be found, but the colors that exuded from it were vibrant and contrasting. “Oh wow,” she breathed. “What? How?” She looked at Bain. He was just as mesmerized by the work of art as she was. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It looks brand new but it couldn’t be. All around the grass and trees are untouched. There’s not even a worn path on the ground.” “What do you want to do?” She wasn’t sure if they had found a new treasure or if their adventure was at an end. “Eat lunch.” “Are you serious?” Bain just smiled. “Sure. I’m starving and if there is anyone in the house maybe they will see us and come out. Besides, I need some time to figure out what this place is and the easiest way to get in.” “You could try knocking.” He was already sitting on the grass pulling out the bag of food. She gave in and sat down too. They ate peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches while they puzzled out the little house. It could be a miniature mansion. The detail suggested that the cottage was built by someone who wished to explore all the avenues of master wood carving. It must have taken ages to chisel the wooden swirls and delicate squared patterns. The oddest part was that it looked brand new. She had seen the graying effect time had on some of the older wood houses in her village, but this place looked like it had been completed just yesterday. It was perfect. “Do you think anyone lives here?” she asked as she picked up an apple. “I was wondering that too. There is no electricity. No phone line. There is a chimney, but no wood pile. The grass looks like it has never been walked on. It’s maybe the weirdest thing I have ever seen. It doesn’t make sense to build this place and not hook it up at least to electricity.” “Maybe they’re not done yet. It could be a rich person’s summer cabin that they haven’t finished yet.” “I don’t know. It still doesn’t make sense. I think we should look around. I seriously doubt this place has been lived in.” “Well I’m still going to knock on the door,” Erin said as she got up and brushed off her pants. She walked up to the rich mahogany door and knocked loudly. “Is anyone there?” she called. It didn’t surprise her that no one answered. She tried the door handle just to see. The knob turned easily in her hand. “It’s open.” Bain started packing everything into his backpack. “What are you doing?” she asked. Knowing Bain, he would assume that this was their invitation nailed to the front door inviting them inside. “I bet no one is here. Don’t you want to take a look at the inside too? It’s not like we’re going to hurt anything, just look around.” He walked up to the door and winked at her as the brass knob turned smoothly under his hand. They stepped inside onto the shiny hardwood floor. There was a stone fireplace on one wall and several wooden chairs seated around the room. There were no switches or light fixtures on the golden pine ceiling. In the corner sat a small tree with delicate leaves of bright lime green that fluttered against the white bark without the benefit of a breeze. An oil lamp sat on a small table next to one of the chairs. “Who do you think owns this?” she asked. “I don’t know.” He inspected the chairs around the room. “You have to try this! The chair is so comfortable it’s like it was built just for me to sit in!” She just watched him, not sure what to make of this place yet. The next room appeared to be a historical museum’s kitchen display. In one corner sat an old fashioned oak box with a door. Inside was lined with metal. “I think I found the fridge,” she called. “And the stove,” he said as he leaned against the doorway. “I think you actually have to build a fire in the bottom of that thing for it to work. I don’t think I would want to bake cookies here.” He walked around the room inspecting the ancient appliances. “Check this out! It looks like this floorboard lifts up.” The wooden floor was shiny and smooth with a barely recognizable handle indenting just large enough for him to fit his fingers in. Erin knelt down and tried her fingernails in the crevice. A door began to rise as she tugged on it. She quickly let the floor drop back into place. “What are you waiting for?” he asked as he crouched down and pulled the door all the way open. She stared at the dark staircase and imagined rats and snakes below the unoccupied house. “Are you feeling brave?” he asked. His eyes shone with excitement as he grabbed the oil lamp from the table and lit it with one of his matches. He didn’t wait for her reply before descending the stairs. Erin wasn’t sure what would be worse, waiting alone in someone else’s cabin or following him into the cool dark cellar. She took a deep breath and started down the stairs. “There better not be any spiders,” she called as she caught up to the torch light. The walls were made of the same gray and white granite as the stairs. Specks of mineral reflected in the lamp light on the marbled walls. She touched the cold, flat wall. It felt as smooth as ice. It unexpectedly sparked a memory, as if she had been here before. But before she could grasp it, it was gone. She couldn’t help but notice that each step was carved with straight, perfectly squared edges. It was nothing like the cement steps that led down to the coal room in her house. Bain’s voice pierced the silence as he called up to her. “There are forty nine steps! That’s a pretty big cellar.” “What do you think they keep down here?” She hoped she sounded braver than she felt. Before she made it to the last step Bain lit several torches that lined the hallway. At least she would be able to see where they were going. Already, she could see a hallway extending impossibly far with openings leading into even more corridors. “It looks like an underground maze,” he said. “I wonder who lives here. Maybe they actually live underground.” It seemed reasonable enough. There was far more room under the house than above. Down the hall just a few feet from the stairs stood a grand looking entrance. It was the only door in sight. The tall double doors bore the same exquisite carving as the front of the cottage. Above the door, swirling letters formed words carved in several languages. Erin recognized the German and French, but was only sure of the one in English. “‘Room of Truth’,” she read out loud. “What is that supposed to mean?” “‘To enter here you must tell a truth. The inner eye sees only truth. What do you wish to see?’” Bain read. “Maybe we should knock.” “Now you want to knock?” “Maybe you have to tell the door what you wish to see if you want to enter.” He continued as if he hadn’t heard her. “You can’t be serious. We’re going to talk to the door?” But even as she spoke, an odd sensation enveloped her. The cool stone cellar no longer seemed imposing, but like something she had seen in a dream. Even the door was tugging at a lost memory. How did she know this place? She stepped forward and closed her eyes. “I wish to see the truth,” she spoke in an even tone. She wasn’t sure why she knew what to say, but it all was so familiar, as if she had done this before. The towering double doors opened. She stepped inside the cavernous room as the doors closed immediately behind her. The walls were the same granite stone as the stairwell had been. The large room was empty with the exception of a podium that stood in the center. On it sat a large, leather bound book. The cover was decorated in scrolls and patterns similar to the ones on the house and door. Letters moved before her eyes and suddenly the cover read The Book of Knowledge. Just then the doors swung slowly open and Bain stepped into the room. His broad grin clearly marked how pleased he was to have won the contest with the door. ”Bain, what happened to you? You are glowing white!” “What are you talking about? I’m not glowing, but that book is. Do you see that? It’s shining bright blue! How is it doing that?” He walked over to the table. She couldn’t keep her eyes off of him; a white halo engulfed his whole body. What had that door done to him? She checked the book to see if it had started to glow, but it sat there just as before, a beautiful brown leather book. “Why do you think it’s glowing like that?” he asked. “Do you think this place is radioactive or something?” “I can’t see anything coming off the book, but you are still glowing white. Can’t you see yourself?” She was starting to wonder what was wrong with both of them. She spotted a mirror on the far wall and grabbed Bain’s arm. “Come look at yourself,” she insisted. She pulled him in front of the mirror and watched his face. He did seem to look worried. “I look the same, Erin. Something must have happened to us when we came into the room. I’m not sure what, but we’ll figure it out.” He put his arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll still love you even if you do think I’m a glow worm.” “Maybe we should check out the book.” “At least we won’t need a flashlight to read it. It has its own super charged light.” She tried to give him a stern look, but he seemed convinced. Shrugging, she touched the butter soft cover and pulled it open. It seemed to set itself open to the first page. You have entered into the first steps of becoming a new creature. Only truth will allow you to enter here. An honest heart is the only key to opening this book and new doors. The gifts you received in this room are yours to prove. Choose wisely. We are seeking the pure in heart. Your journey begins. She tried to turn the page, but it was as if it had turned to stone. She could not even lift a corner.