I’ve never written fiction. Never ever. But guess what I keep getting asked to do. You’ve got it. Especially where teens and young adults are concerned, fiction is often the best way to “get around” anxiety about being different….well, even MORE different (because who ISN’T anxiety-ridden and different-feeling at that age?!)…
Tell me a story, and I may recognize parts of myself in many places. You’ll never have to point them out, you’ll never have to point a finger. I’ll just know….and see what I should not accept, what I can laugh about, what I allow, and even what may be possible for tomorrow. All, without anyone lecturing me. It’s escapist learning. And it can be a powerful, wonderful thing.
So, I’m happy to say that there is “official” interest in publishing my first running leap into the world of fiction. If you like what you read, if you would buy a copy of the first book in the “Unravel the Moon” series for yourself or your “YA” — LEAVE A COMMENT, post to FB, send us messages. Let your voice be heard.
Your support may be what takes our gifts and struggles out of the sidelines, and into the mainstream spotlight.
Included below are the Overview and an excerpt. I look so forward to your replies!
Unravel the Moon is a lush, fantastic journey that is authentically ancient and perfectly modern. Through magic, folklore, and high school, rich, multilayered characters cross time and blur borders between imagination and reality, weaving together the universal journeys of self-discovery, connectedness, and emerging identity. The results are more than real. They’re magical.
Two distinct stories, “Unravel the Moon” is bound together through metaphor: the three-step, physical process of weaving. First, individual threads (story lines and characters) pull apart. Second, as in the yarn, patterns emerge from journeys and struggles. Last, the woven strands — disconnected people and plot lines — are pushed together, creating beauty and lasting strength.
Tara is a modern American teen, happens to have Asperger Syndrome, and is living abroad in Ireland with her family. But being different is never easy. Or, as she says, “Happily, I’ve found you cannot actually die of embarrassment. I would know. I am the lab rat.” She has no idea how to “be herself,” and everyday social disasters seem to prove that being Tara is the most cringeworthy choice of all. That’s true, anyway, until she finds a surprising friend in Aisling, a rockabilly Irish misfit whose thorns protect deep secrets and scars. In ways small and great, each girl teaches the other to see what she cannot see in herself — the value of “otherness” and the potency of combined perspectives. And in stumbling upon their friendship, Tara and Aisling also stumble upon an impossible mystery…the magical secrets of “Unravel’s” second story, woven from ancient faerie lore.
Amidst black lightning and dueling courts, not fluttering wings or pots of gold, the youngest generation of Irish mythology’s “fae folk” face very different circumstances than Tara and Aisling. But, at the core, the struggles are timeless, and exactly the same. Titania, Oberon, Brighid, and their courts of Light and of Dark must learn to stand up without pushing another down…to discover hope where it’s least expected. They must redefine themselves to save their People — and find some way to reach across time to friends yet unborn.
In reality and in fantasy, life’s greatest adventures — of love, of friendship, of loss — can weave together the most unlikely people in the most unexpected ways. It takes courage to see your own reflection clearly. To peel away perceptions, labels, fear, and hurt and get to the authentic. There is boundless magic within every heart; there is exclusive wonder. And no matter when, no matter what — even if the moon should unravel — truth is true forever.
Excerpts from “Unravel the Moon”
From the Days Before Time: Brighid’s Story
To Brighid, the air was alive with words – stories – ideas. All she had to do was stop, be silent, and catch them. Then, she would weave them together on paper or speak them aloud to her people…and amazing things happened.
When others saw no hope, Brighid saw wonder and potential. When spirits grew weary, Brighid grew energized. When her people were seized by fear, Brighid felt the fear…and moved anyway. Brighid could sway a kingdom’s heart. She could inspire tears of relief and safety.
In close quarters, Brighid knew that she managed to misunderstand motives, to seem self-absorbed or bossy when she meant to fit in. But put her in front of a crowd, and everything changed. Suddenly, her ginger hair captivated eyes. The rhythm of her ideas captured minds. The very way she moved and laughed and spoke drew her people close, instead of pushing them away. Brighid knew Wordcraft was her power.
She also knew that something dangerous was brewing in the Land. There had been reports of black lightning streaking across blue skies. Strange drums – that sounded uncomfortably Formorian – were echoing off the craggy cliffs near Erie’s Glen.
The most unnerving “something,” though, was the way Brighid’s parents were behaving. Her father’s easy smile now seemed too intentional. Her mother’s beautiful music suddenly felt too loud. Too contrived. Brighid had no details, of course. But she knew there were details to uncover.
Yesterday, though, Grandmother had given her something more: the confidence to trust her instincts. D’ana had been strolling in the grove behind the Palace when she’d come upon her “Ginger Girl,” stopping at the look of concern on Brighid’s face. The old woman smiled slowly, looking her granddaughter straight in the eyes. “Not yet, Love. But soon, yes. Trust what ya feel. Is leor noddon eolach.” Brighid twisted her hands. She understood the words, but was completely unsure of their real meaning.
The gardens were busy that time of day. Wood Tenders and Flower Bloomers diligently whispered secret words, changing blossom shapes and colors, pointing the way vines ought to twist and grow. In short, privacy was an impossible commodity. Then again, nothing was impossible for Grandmother. She took Brighid’s smooth hands in her own time-worn fingers, lifted their arms, and began to twirl. Softly, carelessly, she sang:
“Black ribbons and rhythms,
they cast through the sky.
And glances and chances
will fade, by and by.
But if one will know
and another will speak,
if one rebels and another will seek
to win peace for the Land,
choose dominion o’er size…
A hint is sufficient for those who are wise.”
Her coded wisdom shared, Grandmother winked, twirled once more, and then was on her way. Brighid’s heart swelled as D’ana skipped on like a little girl. The princess would have a lot of deciphering to do if she was to grasp what she’d been told, but the final message was clear: she had a hint that something was coming. And Grandmother was saying that this was enough. She must act. She must speak. Best of all, she figured, if she could empower her people, she could protect her Land and herself. If she could be loved as the their Vision, rather than having to be liked as a real person, maybe everything might be fine.
Modern Day: Tara’s Story:
Tara kept walking straight past the army of teenage paparazzi — acting as though nothing were the slightest bit off. Eyes straight ahead, mouth dry as cotton, she marched on, ignoring the wall of laughter and continued on to the infirmary. There was no point in trying to tough it out that way through the entire Black Rock trip — freezing, humiliated….and orange.
She felt nauseous, Tara said to Nurse Browning. Certain she was going to be sick. And though she wasn’t actually ill, Tara wasn’t lying about how she felt. She just wanted to go home. Not just to the rental house here — but really and truly home. An ocean away. The only thing she was learning here, she would tell Mom, was how obviously unlikeable she was. And that was a lesson she’d already mastered a long time ago….after some back and forth, Mr. McGovern decided to send Tara to Study Hall, a small, back room in the library, tucked behind the official checkout desk.
As she walked past the elderly librarians, clutching her books to her chest, Tara couldn’t help but feel – maybe – a little bit lifted just by getting to see the “other” side of the files and book stamps and, well, the systems that organized books…stories…worlds. If this was supposed to be some form of punishment, then, Tara shook her head, they really didn’t get her. It wasn’t her forest, but this hidden room was as close as she would find inside. A little gift of books, privacy, quiet…
A few more steps, and suddenly, Tara found herself alone in a room with Aisling Mannion.
Aisling. The personification of the “dare” in truth-or-dare. Unafraid. Challenging. In-your-face. And literally now, in hers. Tara had practically walked into Aisling who was sharpening her eyeliner over the trash bin by the door. Pulling up short, the familiar nervous babble began, “Oh! Aisling! I – um – didn’t realize you’d be in here, too. How…how nice…well, I don’t mean….if you’re in trouble or anything, that’s not very nice, of course…not that you’d be in trouble for any particular reason…I just…Sorry. I tend to go on a bit.” Tara looked up at the ceiling, thoroughly fed up with herself.
“Just don’t mind me,” she waved dismissively. “Just pretend I don’t exist.” And she sidled over to a desk by the windows, fogged from the stale heat of the furnace.
She turned to look outside, aware that Aisling was still watching her though not saying a word. Was that….Tara squinted – well darn it all, if that danged crow from the forest wasn’t sitting in a nearby tree, staring. “Well that does it,” she thought. “I finally have an admirer. And it’s a bird.” Although, odds are it wasn’t the same actual bird, of course. That’d be too weird even for her.
OK, then. Plan B for the day. Read, as originally hoped. Simply ignore Aisling, bird, and any other as-of-yet-undiscovered audience. Right. Tara sighed, pulled out book and started in.
Tara’s attention darted to the girl in black. “Excuse me?”
Aisling leaned against the wall and repeated herself. “I said, ‘Nevermore.’ Only that,” she pointed at the window, “is a crow. Not a raven.”
“I thought so, too — but — you know Poe?” Tara wondered, lifting the book of poetry she’d just been reading.
“Mmm-hmm,” Aisling replied with a half-grin. “Edgar Allen Poe was a perfectly tormented guy. Haunted by a lost love, I think. Feel like I heard that somewhere.” She thought for a moment, the end of her tongue peeping out of violet-blue lips as she concentrated. Then, a quick shrug. And Aisling walked back to her desk, putting away the sharpened liner.
Tara sat silent. This, Mom would say, was an “opening.” An unexpected connection. This girl knew poetry — by an American! — well enough to quote it casually…here was a chance to talk with someone who, apparently, had more to offer than maybe Tara had first realized. Yet there wasn’t a thing she could think of to say.
Now it was her turn to stare. Only she didn’t realize she was doing it until Aisling broke the silence. “Did ya want something, Yank?” she asked without looking up from her own book.
Was that sarcasm? Friendliness? Ugh. Tara drummed her fingers on the desk’s unnaturally smooth surface, then flicked them a few times against her thumb. She turned to the window. Unbelievable.
The bird was still there, blinking its shining black eyes at her.
“Your turn,” it seemed to be saying, flapping, and staring impatiently. “It’s your turn.”
WANT MORE? Please say so by commenting below and on FB. THANK YOU!