Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fireworks Moments

Every couple experiences fireworks moments in their relationship. My marriage is known for them. I’m not a meek and mild wife. I say what I think, often when I should keep my mouth shut.

For some of our friends, mine and my husband’s most memorable fireworks moment was ironically on the 4th of July on our way to see fireworks. The fireworks were being shot off in my husband’s small hometown. He was driving (Are you starting to see the conflict already?) and I told him where to park and how to get there. He told me in an angry voice that he knew better than I how to get around. I won’t to go into more detail, but it turned into an ugly scene remembered by the car load of people with us to this day. (Andy and I are still married many years after this episode and can laugh about it, now - some.)

In a book, fireworks are the black moment or the significant moment of change, the parting of the ways, or the glitch in the relationship where the characters change and see their life in a different light. The turning point. Readers remember the fireworks scenes. They want to see conflict. That is what makes a story interesting. Memorable. More than anything, a writer wants their book to be memorable.

This is an example of some fireworks from my book Float Away with Me about a couple in a hot air balloon race. Every couple experience fireworks moments in their relationship. My marriage is known for them. I’m not a meek and mild wife. I say what I think, often when I should keep my mouth shut.

Emily turned off the water to the shower. Was that Reid’s cell ringing? It was late for a call. With the time change between the east and west coasts maybe not that late, but certainly after business hours.
Reid’s voice was little more than a low rumble through the closed door was she toweled off. Minutes later, she opened the door and he was still talking. He faced the balcony window with his back to her so engrossed in his conversation he’d no idea she’d entered the room.
“Roger, she’ll never understand that,” Reid said.
What was he talking about?
“Impossible. I can’t make it tomorrow. I’m already going to have a hard enough time explaining things now. See if you can put them off a day or so. Until after the race. Skytech works great. I know they’ll give us a contract if they see the performance notes, but I can’t be there tomorrow.”
Reid listened.
“No, I’ve not told her.”
Roger said something on the other end.
“I know, I know. I’ll be in touch.” Reid flipped the phone closed.
He turned sharply. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to know we need to talk.”
He looked at her for a long moment before he said, “Yeah, we do.”
Emily sat in one of the cushioned chairs. Pulling her housecoat close, she put her hands together in a prayerful manner, and slid them between her thighs. “What is going on, Reid?”
He moved to the chair opposite her. With legs wide, he leaned towards her and placed his elbows on his knees. His voice took on a pleading note. “Em,- -”
“I’ve asked you not to call me that.”
He cleared his throat. “Emily, you remember when you asked me to sponsor you?”
“Yes. Get to the point?”
Taking a deep breath he said, “Roger and I’ve developed a new material called Skytech and we needed to test it in everyday use. To see how it works in the practical world. When you asked me to sponsor you it was an answer to our problem. The envelopes you’ve been using during the race have all been made out of Skytech.”
Emily jumped up. Her arms iron rod straight and her hands fisted at her sides. “You could have killed me. You didn’t even know if the material would w—“
“Yes we did. It was tested in house. You were in no danger.”
“But even if I wasn’t in any physical danger, what about me winning the race. You know that means everything to me.”
He stood and reached for her. Emily back away, and wrapped her arms tight around her waist trying to squeeze out his betrayal.
“I didn’t know how important the race was to you in the beginning. But even when I did, I knew Skytech was a great material. You were in no danger of being hurt or of it affecting your ballooning ability. In fact, Skytech has probably helped you.”
“My ability is what has gotten me this far.”
“You’re a good pilot –“
“Look, I don’t have any another choice but to use your help to get the balloon inflated tomorrow, but after that I never want to have anything to do with you again.”

Do you have any fireworks moments you would like to share?


Amanda said...

I enjoyed your story and your post.

Marilyn Baron

Debbie Kaufman said...

Talk about a conflict. What a snake to have done that without her knowledge!

Maxine Davis said...


Enjoyed your post!

Fireworks moment? How about momentS. Sure we have them. Our rule since the beginning--No calling each other names, and that is important - you can't 'unhear' something. But thankgoodness, one of us usually ends up laughing and then it's practically over. He says I carry a grudge, but no, HE carries a grudge - well, you see how it goes.

The excerpt from your book? Now that would not be a laughing matter. - I'd like to hear how it
turns out. I'm on her side!

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Great post, Susan. Not only did I enjoy the conflict, but I love the premise. I can already see the cover with the beautiful balloons. This was awesome.


Anna Steffl said...

Terrific conflict. I enjoyed your excerpt. Especially good handling of a telephone conversation. Thanks for sharing, Susan. This sounds like a terrific book.

Susan May said...

I posted this so long ago I'd forgotten it was my day. I've been to the Southern Living house in Lumkin county. Thanks for the kind words. I love my ballooning book just wished I could find a editor that would also.

Linsey Lanier said...


Your excerpt was fun to read. I liked the heroine. Good luck with that book.

I could really identify with the story about arguing with your husband about how to get there and where to park. Apparently, I'm not the meek and mild type, either. :)


Carol Burnside said...

Great excerpt, Susan. I enjoyed it. I wish someone would buy that manuscript so we could all read it to the end. :)

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Susan,

Sorry I'm chiming in so late. I was the first one, but didn't have time to leave a message at the time, then life happened all day.

Loved the excerpt. I want to read the rest!!!

Thanks for working hard to put this post up.


Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Susan,

Just getting back to checking out all the posts I missed while I worked this summer.

Great excerpt! Where is the story set? I'm from Albuquerque, and we have LOTS of hot air balloons in the sky in October!


Mary Marvella said...

Susan, that was a good post. Since my EX is my ex, I won't share our fireworks moments. I let him get by with so much self-centered behavior he didn't get the reasons I was annoyed with him.

I have one character who is as clueless in a woman's fiction book.