Aural Autumn: Her Smile

Gaaah!!! Is there anything more breathtaking than finding a song that makes you feel renewed? Like you’re seeing the Grand Canyon, the Northern Lights, and the ocean stretching out before you, all at once?

Hey there everyone. Welcome back to Aural Autumn, the series in which I explore the intersection between music, musings, and memories. For the past couple of days it’s certainly felt like late autumn already here in Texas! Funny enough, the song that I picked for tonight’s entry evokes the opposite kind of climate in my head, something breezy and more evocative of summer. It also really sparked my interest in going back and editing the second YA book I ever wrote: Summer Complex.

“Her Smile.”

When I first played this song last weekend, I got swept away in these great big waves of bliss. A-GON, a musician from none other than Houston, Texas, has a knack for creating some amazingly chill and yet uplifting music. It’s really awesome to find an artist who is just a few hours from where I live! Please check out his SoundCloud page here and see if he’s a musician whom you would be happy to support.


The reason that “Her Smile” resonates with me so much, and brought me back to Summer Complex so quickly, is simple: Summer Complex is, at its heart, a love story. Tyler Morris is on the end of his rope, having just recently graduated from Tech State University with his B.S. in mechanical engineering and no engineering job to show for it. One night, he has a chance encounter with Mia Haun, a gifted gymnast from Tech State who also feels like she’s spinning her wheels in the small West Texas town of Presidio Plains. It’s a story that helped me work through a lot of my own feelings of inferiority and disentangle my self-worth from my work life. I also see “Her Smile” as being a fitting song to describe how Tyler comes to fall for Mia: honestly, and with a greater sense of self-respect, too 🙂

If you’re interested, you can read my cover letter for Summer Complex below. I’m rather proud of this manuscript as a whole, especially for it being my only true love story thus far. If you like what you read, please share your comments below.

Dear Publisher,

No more commitments. No more dead-end jobs. Just get out of Presidio Plains.

Tyler Morris has sworn to live by these words. As a recent mechanical engineering graduate from Tech State University, Tyler knows he has more potential than the Bible Belt West Texas town of 61,000 people could ever appreciate. Resigned to working as a smalls sorter at the local UPS factory, he finds a package addressed to My Wandering Soul one night, and begins to examine his own restless soul. Ready to put the past behind him, Tyler decides to bury the memories of his glory days in cross-country and his former girlfriend, who left him for a shot at a better life in a big city.    

Others, though, won’t let him detach so easily. Rachel Steiner is juggling her relationship with Chance while working on her thesis, titled “The Interpretation of Women’s Familial Roles in the Talmud,” but she still wants to help Tyler rediscover his self-worth. In a gesture of altruism, Tyler helps Chance’s roommate, Andrew Steils, jump his car battery after work – and ultimately ends up befriending the most hopelessly romantic, computer obsessed, and hairy resident of Meadow Creek Apartments. Then there’s Mia Haun, the gifted gymnast who is relegated to the sidelines by a fractured tibia, but remains unyielding in her determination to get into med school. And perhaps the most gentle of them all is Everett, Tyler’s new roommate and a highly artistic bodybuilder. Everett has become jaded by years of abuse at the hands of his homophobic dad, but may only need a group of zany, carefree, and honest friends in order to finally embrace his bisexuality.

As their lives intersect over the next few months, Tyler recognizes that their capacities to fight and love are very much the same. Falling in love with Mia, he finds a familiar sense of belonging among his new friends, even as they clash over their differing beliefs about religion, homosexuality, and loyalty. Whether or not it’s too late to make it a memorable last summer in Presidio Plains is up to Tyler, who may not want to leave after all.

Summer Complex is complete at 85,000 words and will most likely appeal to fans of Looking for Alaska by John Green and Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen. Five of my poems have been published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, and I have another completed YA novel about the complex nuances of high school romance.

My full manuscript is available at your request. Thank you for taking the time to consider Summer Complex. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Well, time to get back to the grind of NaNoWriMo 2017! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to check out “Her Smile” and learn more about my second YA novel. Have a great night, fellow writers and bloggers.

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