Guest Post: In the Mood by R.R. Smythe + Excerpt: Heart Murmurs by R.R. Smythe

Heart Murmurs

  • By R.R. Smythe
  • Editions: ebook
  • Published: March 21st 2013 by Astraea Press
  • Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
  • Mia Templeton is dying. Or was dying. After receiving a heart transplant, her world is forever altered. Before her eyes open, she overhears her donor was a murdered girl of the same age. Whispers invade Mia’s head before she’s even left the recovery room. She develops tastes for foods she once hated, and dreams so vivid, she feels they’re someone else’s memories. Her personality is altered—once a quiet doormat, she’s now inexplicably flippant, and confident. And her unexplained longing for the new boy at school is borderline obsessive.

    Morgan Kelley is new. Adopted by his aunt, a descendant of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), he’s thrown into life at a new high school, and as a historical guide for his aunt’s store—a homage to all things Alcott. Conspiracy theories abound about his mangled lower leg—but no-one has been brave enough to ask. Till Mia.

    Something is awry with the Underground Railroad tunnels beneath his aunt’s home. Mia and Morgan enter the world of a secret Literary Society–and are drafted to help bring a rogue Literary giant to justice, solve the mystery of her heart donor, the real fate of Beth from Little Women.

    ~ Bewitching BT

    In the Mood

    by R R Smythe

    The lights in the movie theater darken. The credits are over, the lowlights flicker and the story begins. Because at its heart, a movie is just…Story.
    Why does story matter? It is the suspension of disbelief. So for those precious two hours, you are transported. Forgotten is the work woes, the family responsibilities—all that remains is THIS person’s life. This person’s troubles.This person’s pain.
    You feel, with the main character, the climb of the suspense rollercoaster, clenching your stomach, tighter and tighter as they move toward the pinnacle, their black moment—when all is completely, utterly lost, and you may even shed a tear. But then, the rollercoaster hits a curve in the track, and your emotions dip up and down with your stomach, till it comes to a screeching, satisfying halt.

    And you feel so much better. It took you on an emotional journey…but a safe one. Someone elses. You feel Relieved. Exulted, even.
    Because (if you write like me) everything came out okay in the end. And maybe, our own problems seem either trivial or at least a bit more manageable.

    Writing story, when the author is ‘in the zone’ is exactly like the above. Louisa May Alcott called it a ‘vortex’ and so do I. However, authors also have real lives. Real life often makes it difficult to plummet into the vortex, and the words stall on their way from mind to fingers.

    Many come up with touchstones to drive them quickly to the zone. Some use candles, scents. Others use lighting or the place where they write (like a haven) only good things happen ‘in this space’.

    For me, the strongest….is music. I do have a soundtrack for every book I write. I recently discovered spotify and it’s a truly dangerous time suck. So for today, I will just share one song.

    The song relates to Heart Murmurs, in the lyrics. They deal with time. And how often, perfect moments, which are far and few, wish and beg to be petrified in time. Hardened pieces we could pull out like sea glass, to examine and stregthen us when times are rough.

    My main character, Mia, has a few of those perfect moments, where she wishes to halt time—only for her, she does. Her eyes stray to the hour glass beside her bed, and she wills the sands to cease their freefall. Temporarily.

    The Bravery – Ours

    Whenever I hear the music, I am instantly transported to Story. 😉 To Heart Murmurs and my summer on the deck, the sounds of my family in the yard below.

    I hope you enjoy Heart Murmurs, and Mia and Morgan’s complex, difficult and oh so satisfying story.

    Excerpt Opening Heart Murmurs:

    I don’t remember dying.

    “Stand back. Clear!”

    Nothing. A feeling of floating, weightlessness.

    “Oh, please, please, baby.” My mother’s voice, sounding uncharacteristically hysterical.

    “Clear!” A spreading, burning under my ribcage. Followed by a surging river of heat to my heart. It stutters, rumbling like a kettledrum inside my ribs, and up into my skull.

    “Come on, Mia.” My father, unglued.

    The steady beep-beep-beep of a monitor and the whooshing of a respirator. My chest rises up and down without my permission, a puppet to the machine. A rushing sound, like water filling a vacuum, clogs my ears. My new heart, my new heart, accelerates, beating so fast, it feels as if it will take flight from my newly stapled sternum.

    A dull, muted pain aches through my chest; which will, no doubt, intensify when the drugs wear off.

    “Too fast.” The monitor is screaming, wailing like a kid’s tantrum.

    Two choked sobs. Mom… and Beth.

    Beth is here, how wonderful. I try to move my fingers, to tell her I’m okay. Don’t cry.

    My brain says lift, but all I got was—“Her fingers twitched. I saw them.” Beth’s voice, relieved and oh-so scared.

    My heart thrums, finally steady and even. It feels strange, too far back in my chest. Like an ill-fitting shirt. I raise my hands to try to scratch it, adjust it.

    “Mia? Mia, can you hear me? We’re all here, darling. Dad and Beth, and Claire is outside.”

    I feel the tube down my throat, choking me. I suck in for air, but my chest rises on its own, interfering with my breathing. I feel like I’m suffocating, despite the oxygen shoved up my nostrils.

    “She’s trying to breathe on her own. We need to adjust the respirator. Easy, Mia.” Dr. Starzel, my own personal medical savior.

    Two unfamiliar, whispering, conspiratorial voices, “I can’t believe they found a donor, just in time.”

    “The report said it was a homeless girl. She was murdered.”

    “For heaven’s sake! She may be able to hear you. One more word and I’ll have both of your babbling traps fired.” My father chastises the women, whom I guess to be nurses, by the soft squeaks of their retreating Crocs.

    I have a murder victim’s heart? Worry tickles the back of my brain. How did they find a donor? How—I’m struck with pain so blinding, I feel my brain shrivel inward. Like a cowering child. And hear nothing.

    The weightless feeling is back.

    I feel the burning rush of something shoot into my IV. It’s liquid fire.

    I trace its path up my arm, into my brain, addling it. But relief is the trade-off. The pain backs off.

    Thump-thump. Thump-thump. It is the only sound I hear, for what seems a very long time…

    About the Author & Links:

    Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, R R Smythe is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love–not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

    She also writes under the pseudonym Brynn Chapman .

    Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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