I love this story (well, sure I'm a bit biased....) because for one, it's my first baby. The idea came to me 13 years ago (gee, am I showing my age?) and I've been developing it and honing my craft, not getting serious until 2008. It was during this time I dedicated myself to writing and found my voice.
I was blessed to become a part of an amazing group of writers online like Michelle Sinclair, Gretchen McNeil, Cindy Pon, Colby Marshall, Lisa Brackmann, Alice Loweecey, K. Latham, Elizabeth Loupas, Michael Landweber, LynDee Walker, Maer Wilson, and SO many more of my purgie friends! You guys have been a great support system, and still are.
I was also fortunate to discover a local writing workshop organization that I've witnessed blossom and grow into something quite impressive! DFW Writers' Workshop, introduced to me by the charming Candace Havens, has made another major impact in my writing career. I learned so many things (and hope to be able to return once my schedule ceases to be so insane) from these talented writers who taught me to grow some thick skin when it comes to taking criticism! Authors like Tracy A. Ward, Mary Malcolm, A. Lee Martinez, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Jenny Martin , Kristen Lamb, and again, so many other more fantastic writers!
I had to take a hiatus from writing when my son was born and daughter diagnosed with leukemia the day after (perhaps my journey through THAT chaos should be my next book....) and then decided, as Kristen Lamb puts it in her recent blog about her book Rise of the Machines--Human Authors in a Digital World, to break free from tradition and go independent. Times are changing...people are now taking Kindles and Nooks to the beach with them to read. It's scary, putting your stuff out there for all to see, but something spoke to me last week. It came completely out of the blue. I had NOT been planning this, but it all seemed to fall into place, and it feels right.
Two years ago, I was bent on following the "writer's dream". Find an agent, land a publisher, work with a fantastic editor. While I would still love that opportunity, a movement happened in the writing industry during my hiatus....for some reason, this past week I started thinking about this book and wondered if self-publishing was a reality...a feasible, more secure reality than it was a few years ago. Lo and behold, Kindle Direct Publishing greeted me on my Google screen. So, here I am, offering my debut young adult novel for the world to see, love, criticize, and everything in between.
I will share a short excerpt from the book. If you want the full story, check it out on Amazon, only $6.99! I will be looking into doing a blog tour at some point (with prizes and interviews and other fun stuff), but I have some college classes I've been putting off, due to this random epiphany, that I must attend to first.
For your enjoyment. Shine On!
An excerpt from Chapter 9:
Thunder rolled in the distance. Storm clouds gathered above them like a herd of starving sheep. Lusa’s muscles ached and she feared if she dismounted the horse, she’d end up a tangle of body and limbs sprawled over the sooty earth. It wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. Shooting pains stabbed at her stomach, and it wasn’t from hunger, even if it seemed the most logical reason. No, she knew what it was from. The brooding of her Magics being contained made her sick. Weak. It had been awhile since keeping them under this much control for a lengthy amount of time. Though her head felt on the verge of splitting in half and her insides threatened to fold in on themselves, she kept at it, knowing deep down her true reasons for sacrificing her physical comfort. She wasn’t about to admit to herself what they were though. At least her shoulder felt better. The pain was like a healing bruise now and the nick in her side a scab.
“How ya feelin’?”
Lusa’s heart sprang out of her chest at his voice. She let a few uneven heartbeats pass to catch her breath. “Does it matter?” Her voice came out bitter, venomous. The Dark Magics were finding ways to escape.
Kaden swung off his horse and held out his hands to help her down. She glared at the black mane. Three claps of thunder shook the air before he seemed to grow a brain and realized she wasn’t going to accept his help. On her own, she dismounted. Her legs gave out on her. Kaden’s muscular arms braced her against him, steadying her from becoming the entangled mess she’d imagined. She wasn’t sure which she’d preferred most, being a heap of ungracefullness on the ground, or dealing with the amazing comfort that paralyzed her when his body pressed that close to hers.
He must have picked up on something. He stepped away to give them distance, but remained near enough to grab her if she toppled over. “You ain’t lookin’ too good.”
He was good at stating the obvious. She hadn’t found her true voice yet. She could still feel the Magics squeezing her vocal cords, taunting her for having kept them locked up. Her strength over them was fading. “I don’t feel too good.” There we go. Normal voice.
“Maybe some food’ll get your color back.”
Lusa went to laugh, but the sound seemed to scratch her throat like fingernails over stone. “I never had much color to begin with.”
He chuckled low in his throat. It was a pleasant sound. His scruffiness made him appear a little older and the greasy hair that framed his face worked for him. He leaned in, cautiously, and removed the rope around her wrist. The skin was sore and raw.
She wanted to know why he was keeping her alive. She didn’t deserve to live. The horror of her murderous ways at the temple had played over and over again in her head their entire journey. Pieces fit together like stonework, events making more sense, but faces and voices were still distorted and unclear. Why was he being nice to her? Why had he defended her to Tryston? She ruled out any sort of affection. No one could like a monster.