Book one, of my YA fantasy trilogy, “The Sound of the Stones” is out (high five). I’m working on the manuscript and illustrations for book two (higher five). The writing is raw and subject to change because I’m human and only my eyes have been on this. *sings “I’m only human”* Here’s a glimpse. This is Frankie and Taren:
“It’s the railroad tracks,” Frankie said as if Taren needed informed of where he’d brought her. Gravel crunched under her feet as she stepped from the car. It was actually the old abandoned train station with tracks long since retired.
“It is.” Taren grinned. “Come on.”
He held out a hand. She took it and followed enjoying the way her hand felt in his. They meandered a ways, the tracks curving into a thick overgrowth. It grew darker the further they went and branches snagged on her shirt, hair, any and all surface areas really. The sensations was more than a little unsettling as she imagined tiny alien hands reaching to pull her into oblivion. Just as freakout mode was about to surface the tree line thinned and they stopped at the edge of a train bridge. Nasper Fray River ran below, the rocky outcrops along the bank reflecting the sunset into colored shapes on the water’s surface. The river was high with the wet fall weather and as such hid the bank, usually littered with dead sticks and debris. The water lapped at the rocks leaving dark satins and changing the colors to rich browns, greens and grays.
They stood, the two, hand in hand watching, waiting, silently listening to the earth. It told secrets if you listened. You could hear it on the wind, feel it from the rocks as they seemed to shift in the light. Taren broke hold of her hand and sat on the edge of the abandoned bridge just far enough out to see forever but not so far as to fear falling. He patted the place beside him.
“Come here.” It was a gentle suggestion and he looked so genuinely happy about brining her here she forgot to feel empty. They sat for a moment taking in the tattered bridge. Its rusting metal and rotted wood seemed a sad attempt at mimicking the aged beauty of the carved lines in the rocks. Nature versus man made, one grows majestic; the other just withers.
“I’ve always loved train tracks.” Taren laughed. It was a soft laugh, like he was embarrassed. “I used to follow them when I was younger. I was convinced they would lead me to where I came from.”
Frankie tore her eyes from a pattern of lights down below to look at him. Something in the way he said “where I came from” elicited a slow chill up her arms.
“That’s why I didn’t stay in any one home very long. They couldn’t keep me. I always ran off.”
Frankie fiddled with the hem of her shirt, grappling with the question on her mind and the choice of words to ask it.
“Do you know how you ended up in the system?” Her words hung there between them, bold, unfettered. No amount of buffering would make the question less blunt. But Taren didn’t flinch. His shoulder remained at ease and his gaze thoughtful as he looked out over the water.
“No, actually I was found. I was about four I guess. I don’t remember anything though. My caseworker likes to tell me I was a trouble maker.” He looked sideways at Frankie and smiled. “I didn’t mean to be. I just thought I knew where I was going.” He looked back out toward the setting sun. Frankie studied his profile. The lines of his jaw, the almost too long hair lifting in wind. She hugged her arms around herself feeling cold all of a sudden.
Taren looked over when she shifted. ”Are you hungry? We can go eat.”
“I am but I like it here.” Frankie unfolded her arms in an attempt to look not cold.
He assessed her for half a second and then stood.
“Hold this for me.” He unzipped his Jacket and draped it around her shoulders. “I’ll be right back.” He bounded into the thicket in the direction they’d come.
The jacket was warm and she pulled it closer. It smelled inviting and she absently brought the edge of the collar to her face and closed her eyes. Something about the scent triggered a feeling, like a memory on the verge of resurfacing.
“Ha ha!.” Taren declared as he burst from the underbrush with a bag tucked under his arm. Frankie quickly dropped the edge of the jacket from her face and pretended she had not been sniffing his coat, because that would be weird. Taren didn’t seem to notice and instead ceremonially pulled Slim Jims, Cheezits, and juice boxes from the bag and presented them like a gourmet meal.
Frankie took one of the gnarled, dry meat logs and clutched it to her chest as if it were a fine cut of sirloin. “Why thank you kind sir.”
Taren tipped a non existent hat. “M’lady”
They sat comfortably eating junk food, sipping apple juice, and talking of nothing though it felt like everything for a good long while.
Book one is available now and just recently won an honorable mention award from The Great Midwest Book Festival. Here’s the synopsis and links for purchase.
The ancient book about the past holds the future. Frankie is the key.
She doesn’t remember stopping at the used bookstore, but there she stands as if drawn by an unseen force. Anticipation wraps around her like a cocoon. When she opens the door, the wind nudges her through, and expectancy turns to purpose. The man inside, and the book he offers, changes everything. Unusual things happen when she begins to read:
In a time long forgotten, people are held captive by half human creatures. Ashra holds a secret close to her heart, and must discover the purpose of her gift before the oppressed human race is destroyed. An unlikely ally comes to her aid. Strangers bring her a message from a far off land. Ashra and her band of misfits set off in search of answers. Together, they find love, uncover mysteries from the past, face ever present danger, and hone powers they never knew they had.
Frankie and Ashra are separated by millennia, by fiction and reality, but in the end the barrier shatters.
If you’ve made it this far bless your heart. Keep checking back as I update my progress. Happy reading fellow book nerds!