I want to... have fun with writing again. Enjoy my work, enjoy playing with the language and characters like a sculptor plays with clay. But there's this manic focus on numbers--how many books have you written and how many have you sold and it's all push, push, push, and no time for reflection--but at heart, books are about dreaming... which is just the opposite. So I don't know... M.M. Bennetts comment to Nancy Bilyeau as related in Nancy's tribute "M.M. Bennetts: The Closest Friend I Never Met
Listen and listen good, shitbrain. If you ever touch someone I love again, I will shove this cross down your throat and watch you choke on it. You want to know why a Prince of Hell wanted me so bad? Now you do. I’m not a nice girl. I’m a Seer. It is my job to save the people of the world from vultures like you. Now you take that back to whoever your boss is and let him come find me, if he’s stupid enough. I’ll bury you all if I have to.
He’s close enough now that I can hear his footfall on the pavement, and I knowmy chances of outrunning him are slim. I’m practically in a full sprint, and my pounding heart is begging me to take it down a notch. I try to will my feet to keep pace with its beat; but I think it’s humanly impossible to run that fast. And then it dawns on me that my footsteps are the only ones I hear. Somewhere along the way, Tristan’s must have come to a stop. And I can’t quite explain why I’m running this fast in the first place. I slow to a jog, intending to just pick up with my original pace; but I can’t seem to suck in breaths fast enough to propel my feet any further. My molten shoes stutter to a stop, as my hands come to rest on my knees. I’m stillwheezily sucking in breath after breath of thick, humid air, when I warily turn to look over my shoulder.Tristan’s standing about fifty feet back, hands on his hips and a comp
Do you think they’ll ever be a place for us? I mean, do you think there’s a place for someone who lives under the radar, someone who has to pretend, someone who is a spy?” “Yes.” Daly said it with such confidence that I sat up in my bed, my cast dangling over the edge. “How do you know?” I asked. “There has to be. I don’t usually philosophize, but I do know one thing.” “What’s that?” “That even when we’re pretending, even when we’re hiding under wigs or accents or clothes that aren’t our style, we can’t hide our nature. Just like I knew from the moment I met you that you would choose this life. And just like I knew, when you told me about this mission, that you would agree to help the CIA find this girl. You would sacrifice yourself and your time with your brother to save someone. It’s just who you are.” “I’ve already messed things up, Daly. What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t do it?” “That’s the thing, though. You’ll find a way.” I lay back again and buried the side of my face into my pillow. “I’m just not sure how.” “If you continue to think as you’ve always thought, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got,” Daly said. I considered that. I wasn’t ready to give up. At least not yet. “That one is Itosu wisdom, in case you wondered.” I yawned into the phone. “It’s good advice.” “I’ll let you go. You should be resting. Don’t you have school in the morning?” He said the last part in a teasing tone. “Yeah, if I make it through another day at school. Maybe they’ll get rid of me—kick me out or something. You’d think I would have inherited some of my mom’s artistic genius.” “Can I give you one last bit of advice, Alex?” “Sure.” “Throw it all out the window.” “What?” I stared at my open window. A slight breeze blew the gauzelike drapes in and out as if they were a living creature. “Everything you’ve learned about art, the lines, the colors, the pictures in your head from other artists—just throw it all out. And throw out everything you’ve learned from books and simulations about being a good spy. Don’t try to be like someone else. Don’t force yourself to follow a set of rules that weren’t meant for you. Those work for 99.99% of the people.” “You’re telling me I’m the .01%?” I asked skeptically. “No, I’m telling you you’re not even on the scale.” Daly’s soft breathing traveled through the phone line. “With a mind like yours, you can’t be put in a box. Or even expected to stand outside it. You were never meant to hold still, Alex. You have to stack all the boxes up and climb and keep climbing until you find you. I’m just saying that Alexandra Stewart will find her own way.” The cool night air brushed the skin of my arm and I wished it was Daly’s hand instead. “You sure have a lot of wisdom tonight,” I told him. I expected him to laugh. Instead, the line went silent for a moment. “Because I’m not there. Because I wish I was.” His words were simple, but his message reached inside my heart and left a warmth—a warmth I needed. “Thank you, James.”“Take care, Alex.” I wanted to say more, to keep him at my ear just a little longer. Yet the words itching to break free couldn’t be said from over two thousand miles away. They needed to happen in person. I wasn’t going home until I found Amoriel. Which meant I had to complete this mission. Not just for Amoriel anymore. I had to do it for me. (page 143)