How to Win Friends and Influence People


In writing my Actual Magic series for Young Adults, I drew upon all my favorite story characters I loved as a kid to create my own.  No one ever wanted to be around this girl, except for maybe her evil friends!

Here’s an excerpt:

Murosky watched Dayleen sashay her way through the student body as she bore down on him.  He had no idea what was on her mind, but the puckered twist of her very full lips warned him it wasn’t good.

It never was.

When she got to within shouting distance, because he knew she enjoyed shouting over people, he rose from his seat and braced himself.

“Well, hello there, Skaggs!” she yelled with a menacing smile and a careless flip of her hair.

Heads swiveled, people recognized who it was, took a step back, and returned their attention to what they were doing.

He smiled guardedly.  Waving in response, he made a place for her next to him on the bleachers, and waited until she moved close enough for him to be heard without having to shout.

“I’ve missed you,” he said finally, and realized how lame he sounded.  He moved in to give her a kiss.

She stood perfectly still and watched him come toward her.  At the very last second, she presented her cheek to him instead.  But she remained very close to him.

Whatever Dayleen had on that dangerous little mind of hers, Murosky was now certain it spelled trouble for someone.  And that someone was probably him.  Apparently, he was never getting out of the doghouse.

“Have you checked out the crop of new girls?” she said with a voice filled with both pity and condescension.  Twisting a lock of his hair tight around her finger, she smiled sweetly when he winced.  “Of course, you have.  What a stupid question!”

“Dayleen, what do you care if I’m checking out the new girls?  You broke up with me again.  Remember?  You don’t get to be jealous anymore.”  Murosky was put off by her attitude.  He just wasn’t up to the challenge.

“Of course, I broke up with you.”

He felt a surprising lump of sadness growing in the back of his throat.  “I don’t know what I did to make you mad at me.”  He struggled to disguise the desperation in his voice.

“You were bad, you stupid boy!  Don’t you know anything?”

“I’m sorry?” he mumbled pathetically.

They stood silently gazing at one another.  Despite her pleasant-enough smile, the viciousness he saw in her eyes made him shiver.

“Dayleen,” he began, not really sure what direction he wanted to take this conversation.

“Yes, Skaggs?”

His gaze wandered across the auditorium, as if pulled there against his will.  Lilly sat with the girl he’d seen talking to her on the ferryboat when it rammed the dock, and before he pitched her into the water.

Even if Farney had his suspicions about Murosky tossing Lilly overboard, he had no proof to back up his accusation, and Murosky knew it.

“Dayleen,” he said, suddenly.  His voice had a sharp, authoritative edge.  “I’m sick of you always breaking up with me.  I don’t want to be your boyfriend anymore.”

“Okay, fair enough, but you’re not a popular boy, Skaggs.  No one else wants to be with one of your kind, except me.”  She spoke each word carefully like she was explaining this to a three-year-old.  The look on her face, however, betrayed her shock at his words.


Posted by Deborah McTiernan

Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic

Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

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