Manifesting Destiny (Changers)
M Pepper Langlinais
65K, Evernight Teen Publishing
Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian removed, but the more Cee becomes attached to Livian, the more she questions the decision. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never love her anyway?
Heat spread through her. Cee’s face elongated, her arms extended, her nails formed into claws, and her feet became suddenly very heavy. The bony spires erupted from her shoulders, and Cee was compelled to double over to allow the wings to grow.
Throughout, Cee fought the urge to resist, though her instinct was to do just that. She wondered what she looked like, caught a glimpse of red scales, and realized her eyesight had become sharper. All the details of the trees around her impressed themselves upon her brain: the cracks and flakes in the bark, the saw-tooth edges of the leaves, and every little spot and insect thereupon.
How big was she? Cee realized she was at eye level with the middle of the trees. She looked down and saw her friends pushing themselves even harder against the trunks, making way for Cee’s—or Livian’s, she supposed—tail as it snaked by.
Yes, we’re very pretty, said Livian impatiently. But we don’t have time for showing off just now.
The massive wings began to move, slowly at first, gathering speed that put the force of the helicopter’s artificial wind to shame. Cee realized she had no control over what was happening. It was all Livian, and she was housed inside him, somehow, along for the ride.
It was equal parts thrilling and petrifying, bursting through the treetops and being free of gravity. Cee would have liked to spend more time experiencing it, but there was the helicopter, like a massive black bug, and Livian went right for it.
People ask all the time, “Do you listen to music while you’re writing?” The answer is: no. I actually need silence to write. I need everyone out of the house and for it to be just me. I recently told my husband that we should move out to the country so I won’t even have neighbors.
That said, I do love music and find it inspiring. I mostly want it when I’m in motion, either walking or driving. But I don’t make playlists. I just load my iPod with stuff I like and put it on shuffle.
So I can’t give you a playlist, but I can list some stuff I listen to, stuff that gets me moving and primes my brain for writing.
Caveat: I’m not hip or cool. I don’t listen to the most recent thing.
- Neon Trees. I like “Animal” and “Everybody Talks” and “Sleeping with a Friend.”
- The Script. “Science & Faith” is probably my favorite song by them, but I also like “Long Gone and Moved On” and “Rusty Halo” and find “The End Where I Begin” pretty inspirational. Their songs in particular are good for evoking emotion in characters.
- It’s no big secret that Matchbox Twenty and Rob Thomas probably top my list of favorite bands/singers. I even used to have a blog of open Letters to Rob. The blog is gone but I compiled the letters and annotated and indexed them. You can find them here. Tabitha’s Secret is the pre-Matchbox Twenty, and I like them, too. The song “Dear Joan” is so haunting, and I love “Here Comes Horses” as well, and “Unkind.”
- October Project is another great band. “Return to Me” encapsulates a lot of the longing in my various characters.
- There’s a band called Great Big Sea. I love “Dear Home Town,” and their cover of “Have a Cuppa Tea.”
- I think Gin Blossoms’ No Chocolate Cake album is sadly overlooked. I use “Wave Bye Bye” and “Go Crybaby” and “Something Real” as places to start from when crafting certain relationship tensions.
- I have exactly one Scissor Sisters song on my iPod: “Take Your Mama.” That song just makes me happy.
- Ditto Fall Out Boys’ “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.”
- I listen to a lot of Gavin DeGraw. That’s probably not cool.
- I also listen to a lot of Train. What can I say? I was in high school in the 90s.
- Speaking of high school, my English Lit teacher turned me on to Jackson Browne. For craft, you can’t do better than to listen to him and his lyrics. “I’m Alive” is such a freeing song. “The Next Voice You Hear” is both empowering and a little frightening.
- Little Feat’s “All That You Can Stand.” I’m from the land of Voodoo and I love, love, love that song. Makes me feel charged up.
- I listen to Maroon 5 (love “One More Night”) and The Killers (“I Can’t Stay” is a favorite).
- OneRepublic’s “Everybody Loves Me.” I like a lot of their songs, but I really love that one.
- The Refreshments. Also (related) Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.
- Jimmy Buffett. Yup, I’m a Parrothead. I grew up listening to him, learned to work the turntable when I was three, and my parents had to hide the Volcano album because they were so sick of hearing it. I don’t know what it is about Buffett—he sells a lifestyle, and yet it’s not the lifestyle I’m into. Maybe it’s more nostalgia for me.
- Finally, “Weird Al” Yankovic. I love him and now my kids do too. We took them to see him play live, and there’s not any one singer or act that could do more to unify our family. We’re all into Weird.
M Pepper Langlinais is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright, and author. Her latest novel Changers: Manifesting Destiny, first in a new YA fantasy trilogy, is now available from Evernight Teen.
M holds a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. She has a love of Shakespeare, having both performed and taught his work, and has also interned on Hollywood film sets. M worked for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson before deciding to devote her full time to writing (and occasionally parenting). She lives in Livermore, California with her family, cat, and hamster. Find out more about her and her books at PepperWords.com.
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