Category Archives: Teenager

The Summoning

She ran the stone one last time along the edge of her sword, restoring its former sharpened perfection. It’d been a single year’s passing since it had been used.  From such a distance it was of little use to her, hence the blade had become blunted.  In the mountains that she left, there had been intrusions, events that had come to pass that were far from her control.  The will that she could not bend darkened the forest even more than she thought possible.  Her sons, who stayed behind, had seen a side of human nature that no child should ever see.  It was time to stop the madness.  Her youngest son, in particular, needed protection that she could not provide from that distance.

She stood, testing the strength in her arm. That, too, had become soft, but the memory of how to rule her kingdom was etched in her fibers, ready to be summoned at will.  And now that time had come.  He was coming home.

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Image by alphacoders.com

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Had it only been one year?  He scrubbed his hand over his face.  So much had happened in that time, most of which he’d rather forget.  They’d be safe, she told them, until she prepared the way and summoned them, but no sooner had she left, than the shadow awoke.  Without his mother’s protective energy, the darkness filled the crevices of the forest, threatening to steal his soul.  The landscape had changed in a few short weeks after she had left.  No longer were there stable paths lined with hope and promises of a beautiful tomorrow.  The footing had become unpredictable, with no clear vision of what the next moment might hold.

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Image by alphacoders.com

If it were not for the quiet hum of her lingering energy pulsating beneath his feet, he would have fallen many moons ago.  Oftentimes he would press his cheek to the ground and weep, struggling to drink in the light that she had left behind.

The shadow had raised its head time and time again, lashing out at him, crying out for her.  Their savior, their strength.  So far away.

The villagers converged and surrounded him, took him away, and offered protection when she could not.  Though kind and generous, ‘twas not enough. He missed the connection, however frayed and blackened the threads were, for it was all he knew.  Little by little he found his way back to the forest edge.  But nothing had changed.  The never-ending pulsating force still beat strong. Too many nights he sat, watching from afar as the shadow sat alone, tipping his head back, letting loose a soul-crushing howl, so full of sorrow, pain, and loneliness.

“It is not what we once knew,” his older brother said one night.

He clung to his brother, his only ally in the unrecognizable terrain. Though not much older, he still exuded stability and comfort.

“The forest is deceiving,” he continued to say. “The shadow hides well within the darkness.  No, little brother.  It is beyond repair now, and I would have you stay with me.”

So his brother led him away that very night.

“I miss her,” he said, blinking back the pain in his heart.

“As do I, but we will be as one, until we unite with her again.”

Displaced from the home they knew, they ventured out, and took to honing their skills of survival.  Left to fend for themselves, their minds and shoulders broadened with seeking the truth and wielding their swords.  No longer thin and timid, together they became a force to behold.

At long last, the summoning arrived.  Settled now into his routine, he looked around.  Could he truly leave everything and everyone behind?  It had become a place he so desperately wished to escape, yet so desperately wanted to remain.  He was strong now.  He had proved that to himself.  He could stay.  But there was no choice.  She had made that decision for him.

With heavy feet and saddened hearts, they walked together to the portal that would take him home.

“You’ve always been there for me,” he said.

“And will always be there for you.”

They clasped forearms and stood awkwardly for a few moments before pulling each other into an embrace.

“You behave yourself, little brother.  Do not give her trouble.”

He swiped his sleeve across his eyes.  “When will you join us?”

“As soon as I can,” his brother said, ruffling his hair. “I promise.”

He nodded.  A shuddering breath and quivering lip betrayed his confidence.

“Go.  She is waiting.”

Grasping the hilt of his sword, he was ready to face the adventure before him.  There he would learn of different clans, different languages, a new way of life, completely leaving behind all that he has known.

The portal shimmered before him.  His mother, the pillar in his life, stood on the other side, her image steadfast through the wavering fabric of worlds.  A smile that promised a different path for him encouraged him onward.  A smile that reminded him of her comfort, her strength, and that he would not be fighting battles alone.

Her arms extended into a welcoming gesture, beckoning him to join her.  His shoulders squared in response, for though he was eager to see her, he was too old, too changed for such emotional release.  Taking one step forward, he stoically reined in the feelings that unexpectedly bubbled to the surface.  A sense of urgency swirled in his legs and feet and the corners of his mouth lifted against his will.  The burden of the past, the nights of burning tears melted away into a lightness he had not known since he was a child.

He turned to his brother and removed his scabbard from his waist.  “I won’t need this anymore,” he said, handing his sword to his brother.  “I’m going home.”

He stepped through the portal and quickened his footsteps until he found himself surrounded by his mother’s arms.

She looked to the portal and held out her hand, a question forming on her lips.

Her oldest smiled through simmering eyes and shook his head.

“Soon, Mama.  Soon.”

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Image by alphacoders.com

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wake Up Call, The Kick in the Ass, and The Silver Lining

I never thought it would happen to me, but there it was. I had known about it for six months, but assumed I could right the sails and keep the boat afloat.  I got caught up in what many families are facing:  The end to a well-paying, long-term job.  During those six months, like a cornered animal, I got a tad cranky.  I felt threatened.  After 18 years of working in my bunny slippers, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in hand, I had a wake up call. One I didn’t want to answer.

I was about to be thrown out of my comfort zone and into the world of *gulp* job hunting.

Which wasn’t easy. Especially in this small town where professional jobs are at a minimum and the lines are long for the rest of the jobs that open up. Small towns are awesome.  Small towns create a sense of belonging. I love knowing everyone at the bank or the grocery store. I love the fact that one of our busiest streets really isn’t so busy after all.

But none of that matters when the well runs dry, when I’m faced with decisions, when I feel like a failure.  A new plan was needed fast.  The more I thought about it, the more I looked at the circumstances, the choice was clear.  I needed to look outside of this town.

If I were to be honest, I’d been feeling as if my wheels were spinning and that I forgot who I was – still.  I’d been talking about a finding new direction for awhile, but since I was swimming in my comfort zone, I had no reason to get out of the pool.  Well, guess what.  Losing my job was the kick in the ass that I needed to move forward.

What I hadn’t counted on, though, was that I would be going at this alone. The boys and I had been a tight unit and I assumed we’d move together. But ‘twas not to be.  They wanted to stay with their father in Idaho for their own reasons. Reasons I understood, but still I felt I failed on many levels. Was I that bad of a mother that they didn’t want to be with me? Shouldn’t I sacrifice a few more years and stay here just in case they needed me? How much would this hurt them in the long run?

Infused with guilt, I spoke with my uncle who reminded me that, in the face of knowing we would miss each other, would miss the routine we’ve developed over the years, both boys made a very deliberate decision.  Sure, they could have taken the easy way out and followed me, looking to me to handle things, but I’ve taught them to be free thinkers and to make choices based on what they felt was best for them.  It had always been my intention to pass at least one morsal of something to them, and here I had my proof.

Feeling somewhat better, I chose to practice what I preach:  Do something that is best for me.  After putting my needs on hold for 25 years, now is my chance to follow opportunities that will further my choice of career. Opportunities I cannot find here in North Idaho.

I want to show my boys a side of me they haven’t yet seen before – the woman who waited patiently behind the mother.  I want my sons to see me as a healthy and successful person, not the overbearing, overprotective mama bear who pushed them to realize heights I knew they were capable of, all while I was feeling frustrated because I wasn’t reaching my own potential.  I want to be the best person I can be, to show them that my happiness is as important as theirs. My reasons for doing this, as painful as the process might be, will serve them as well as me.

And the timing is right.  My job had allowed me to work from home for the last 18 years and over those almost two decades I’ve seen my oldest through to graduation and my youngest get through middle school.  I’ve taught them as many life lessons as I have experienced myself, taught them social graces, and how to be kind to others.  Now the rest is up to them.

Yes, I’ll definitely miss the little things, the daily routine, the chance to hug them when they’re feeling sad or happy, but through Skype, texting, phone calls, and Facebook, I’ll still be able to nag – I mean, guide – them through the trials and successes and celebrations big and small. The moments we share will be sweeter, the visits will be anticipated events.

The silver lining to all of this is that I will have the opportunity to discover who I am and what I need to feel whole, because when we become mothers and wives, so many of us lose sight of ourselves.  It’s a continuous process, one I started two years ago. I have a very specific plan A, with no plan B, so there won’t be any falling back.  Only forward movement. By expanding my horizons outside of this town, I will be able to bring more of the world to the boys.  It’s the put-on-the-oxygen-mask-first-before-putting-it-on-the-children mentality.

My uncle also told me, “Go ahead and feel guilty if you must, but it would be a mistake not to try.”

So try, I will.

This song, The Reason, by Hoobastank, is for you, boys. You are my reason.  I love you.

SOULSTICE – Cover Reveal

Photo session with Wrenee for the cover of Soulstice

Photo session with Wrenee for the cover of Soulstice

I’ve been busy, busy, busy putting the final touches on my latest project, Soulstice, the companion novella to Souled.  This novella puts a spotlight on Alyx,  who, in Alyx’s own words, is the “dark, totally misunderstood, totally underestimated, misfit” of Sandpoint High School.

I adore Alyx – her strength, courage, and her mysterious background.  What makes her qualified to stand up to Seth in his dark hours?  What was her path that brought her to be who she is?

Although she will have floor time in the upcoming sequel, I wanted to satisfy the curiosity of many of the readers who’ve asked me, “Who exactly is Alyx?”

I’m fortunate and eternally grateful that my friend, and outstanding author, Fabio Bueno (his novel Wicked Sense is definitely one of my favorite reads), has taken it upon himself to give me a shout out on his blog and share with you the cover of Soulstice.

In continuing the theme of “keeping it local,” the beauty on the cover is Wrenee, a student here in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Once again, Sandpoint produces a teen professional enough to step up and handle something as important as the cover of a book.  Add to that the makeup expertise of Kimberlee Langford, creative cover design by Crystalyn Abercrombie (my tattoo artist), and photographer, Victoria Melendez.

Curious yet???

Then please head on over to Fabio’s site to check out the cover and to learn a bit more about what the story is all about!

Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

With so much information out there on the internet, with so many websites to sift through, anyone wishing to get information to a targeted market is up against a lot of competition.

As writers, we look to our friends and family to spread the word and, of course, they always come through.  And within our online community, we are fortunate enough to have other writers and readers who open their blogs freely to lend a hand as well.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those bloggers who helped me reveal my new cover of Souled this past week.  Please support them by visiting their blogs.  They really are awesome peeps!

Angela Peart, Author  

From Sarah with Joy

Crazy Four Books

A Dream Within a Dream

I Like These Books

Lizzy’s Dark Fiction

What’s on the Bookshelf

Tracy James Jones 

The Readiacs 

Cherie Reich, Author

An Avid Reader’s Musings 

Reading in Paradise 

Fangirlish 

Book Lover’s Hideaway

And a huge thank you to everyone who shared on Facebook and Twitter!

Cover Reveal – Souled Gets a Makeover

Change is good.  Change is positive.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to let something go…

As much as I adored the original cover of Souled, I felt a change was needed to encompass more of the essence of the novel, which, in addition to ancient sorcery, was a story of love so absolute, so pure, it could transcend ordinary reason.

And because the location of the story took place in North Idaho, I wanted to include the community of Sandpoint in the Souled experience.

I was fortunate that Scott and Elaina, “regular” teens in Sandpoint, agreed to be the models for this cover.  Although neither of them are professional models, they handled themselves like pros and gave the photographer, Victoria McCune, 100% effort.  And in my opinion, it shows.

Also helping to put a professional touch to the make-up part of the session, I was thrilled to have Kimberlee Langford, make-up specialist, on board.

The tattoo design from the original cover, designed by Crystalyn Abercrombie, was definitely kept as part of this cover as that is a constant symbol in the story (as well as tattooed firmly onto my own body).   Steve McCune pulled together all of the pieces to create the final cover.

It’s been incredible working with the people in the community on something such as this project, because after all, it’s their town, their turf, and their support of the novel is very important.

I’ve had a lot of fun so far and I hope you enjoy this cover as much as I do.

Souled is available on Amazon in ebook and print format.

Slenderman Sighting in North Idaho?

This weekend past was a busy and incredibly productive one.  Not only did I have the chance to hang out with my cousin and her husband, but they helped me do a total and complete makeover of the cover to my Young Adult Paranormal novel, Souled, which will be revealed on Friday.  It’s totally unique in the fact that I was able to use local teens for the photo shoot.  They stepped up and did such an incredible job!  I can’t wait to show you all!  So stay tuned for Friday’s post when I give you the low down on the new cover.

This post is going to deviate a little from my norm as I fulfill a promise I made to my #slenderman Twitter peeps for pictures.

This weekend, I took my cousin and her husband to a house I own in North Idaho (which I no longer live in) to show them around.  It’s the home I referred to in a previous post.  The home sits on a beautiful and heavily-wooded 5 acres with lots of places to roam and hide.  There are places that are really magical alongside of  some creepy pockets of slash created by previous loggers.  We walked around the property and got some really interesting pictures.  With all of the interest in Slenderman, and my son’s insistence that I don’t even think about it (which of course I did after that), I’m wondering.  Did I draw him to me?  And where the heck does he really live?

You’ll have to click on the pictures to see what I’m talking about…

My cousin’s husband and I checking out the neglected garden. Look closely on the right of the photo…

I was showing them the faery glen but – fortunately I was looking the other way – we had a close encounter of another kind…

So what do you think?  More than one Slenderman?  Fact?  Fiction? Our overactive imagination?  You tell me.  Should we start a new hashtag of #slenderheads?

Come back Friday to check out the new cover for Souled.  It’s got a whole new feel to it.  I think you’ll agree.

If You Let Them Go, They’ll Stick Around

I had no idea that the gap that launched me into single status could possibly get any wider. I can see now, though, how inevitable it would be, for as I kept taking steps backward, slowly turning away from the disaster my life had become, and finally running like hell, my scenery changed, my viewpoint cleared, and my vision sharpened.  I found myself standing in a place my ex would never understand.  The rules regarding school work, curfew, healthy eating – the rules that united, albeit loosely, the ex and I together – soon became the mother of all disagreements.

Seventeen years ago, as part of my efforts to be the “perfect” mom, I adopted other women’s examples of what raising children “should be,” even if it didn’t resonate with me.  Man, was that exhausting.  I had rules up the wazoo and fought to keep them in place.  And the boys fought back.

But eight months ago the blinders dropped to my feet and I found that I had forgotten to preach what I practiced.  The solution was so simple.

Let them be.

Which is exactly how I prefer to be treated.  I don’t want anyone telling me what to do or telling me what path to choose, so why should I do that to my boys?  Sure, my body may be older, but my children’s souls are just as experienced as mine.   These boys aren’t mine in the possession sense.  From a spiritual point of view, I don’t have the right to put borders around their spirits and make them the exact image that society or even I believe to be true.   I’m here to guide them, not mold them.  They know who they need to be.  Besides, what a waste of time when quite possibly after 18 years, they’re going to do and be what they want anyway.  I know I did.

It is my belief that we come into this existence knowing what our life path is.  The road map has already been printed up, although our free will sometimes overrides that map and takes us on some wild side trips.   When we truly deviate off that path,though, it doesn’t go unnoticed.  Don’t we feel the discord when we want to go one direction and someone tries to convince us otherwise? Especially if the only source of righteousness is in their own mind?  Or what about compromising on something we truly believe in?

My mother pushed me to go to college because it was what I “should” do, yet all I did was spin my wheels, lost a lot of brain cells, and ran up a student loan that never should have been.  Besides, halfway through the first year I realized I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  This is one area I won’t push my boys on.  No amount of lecturing is going to make this the right choice for them.  True motivation must come from them.  Otherwise it becomes my job to keep them going, a burden that will have us both resentful.

In the months past, I’ve gotten a clearer view of who my boys really are.  Without the shoulds masking their true source, I’ve been able to appreciate their way of thinking.  I’m beginning to understand what makes them tick and why they don’t fit into the boxes I’ve been trying to put them in.

Sex, drinking, drugs, school, safety, curfew – those are issues I will never compromise on.  Honestly, though, I have no control over their ultimate decisions on those topics, but I’ve made damn sure they know what the consequences are if they deviate from my “recommendations.”  So, armed with that information, it’s their decision as to what outcome they desire.

Some may think this is the wrong approach or the lazy way to parent, but it is actually very difficult at times.  To stand back and watch their actions put in motion a set of reactions (whether they be mine or someone else’s) makes me want to peek out from behind splayed fingers.  It’s nothing short of a challenge to stay back and let them do damage control.  On the flip side, when they are really thinking it out and the outcome is in their favor?  It’s awesome.

It felt good to finally release the ties, because forcing the boys to do what they clearly do not want to do didn’t resonate with what I was all about – freedom of choice and independence. I’ve let my boys make choices of when to go to sleep (though the connection between late nights and being tired the next day still hasn’t sunk in), meals, what school classes to take, and friends.  As long as safety isn’t an issue and they’re not hurting others, I’m good.

Which might explain why they gravitate to me and not to the “other.”  That “coolness” factor I seem to have with the boys and their friends is, I believe, actually the elation they experience when they connect with who they are.

Think about the people we tend to gravitate toward – those who speak to and understand our souls.  Not those who contradict or repress our fires, but those who stoke it, feed it, and encourage it to rise.

My boys’ path is their own.  I’ll be there to dust off their knees, put a band-aid on a broken heart, give them advice on hangover cures, and I’ll give them room to fly, because they’ll need it to get over the Grand Canyon-size crevasse of thought that yawns between “the other half” and me.

Would You Buy a Soul for $2000?

I was going to blog about something totally different today.  In fact, I have my thoughts scribbled out and ready to be organized into something legible.

Then I got side-tracked by a link sent to me by my friend in Arizona, an interesting and timely story of a woman in New Mexico who listed her soul for sale on eBay.  Click here to see one of the stories circulating he internet.

Want to see who would actually do this and why?

According to one story, eBay has a strict policy about selling human body parts and remains on their site, but they may need to redefine their policy to include souls.  One newscaster actually brought up the point of the logistics of this auction – How is it to be delivered?   How do you know if what you bought has been delivered?

If one were to actually purchase a soul, I would imagine there would be either total elation or total conflicting vibrations that would swirl around inside  our body, leading us to know if it had been “delivered.”  Typically, as like attracts like, an outside entity is attracted to a host body that has the same vibration that it has, such as a happy person, a sad person, an adrenaline junkie – which in turn would heighten whatever is our prominent vibration.  On the flip side, I could see a soul latching onto a host for the sole purpose of draining the host’s energy, while the host soul fights the intruder for control.  That would be where the Jekyll and Hyde thing would play out.

In the case of this New Mexico woman, though, it’s neither of these.  As proof of delivery, the woman offers of a piece of paper – a $2000 piece of paper.  A bill of sale of sorts.  Huh.  Kind of a let-down if you ask me.

But, for Seth Thompson, the high school student who bought a soul on eSouled.com (a site still under contruction – but check it out just for kicks), what he received was quite different than a piece of paper and was a hell of a lot cheaper.  Here is an excerpt from Souled:

My palm began throbbing—not like thorns or needle pricks—more like claws had sunken in and raked down the skin. But my palm was the least of my worries. Because, though I didn’t want to believe it, I felt it. Something was inside me. Something… other. Very other.

A second pulse inside me beat steady, strong, and disturbingly close to mine.

And then the truth hit me. Hard. I knew.

The soul had been delivered.

So, yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stuff out there for sale as people try and unload and make a quick buck.  What about you?  What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen for sale?  Were you  tempted to buy it?

Speaking of crazy things for sale, check out Natalie Hartford’s blog where she posts the best of the craziest and unusual items on the internet.

Going Once, Going Twice…SOULED!!!

So, hey!  Amazing that a week has gone by since I released Souled.  Seems like just yesterday I clicked on the publish button.  The days are flying by for me.  I really wanted to take a few weeks off, but already the opening chapter for the sequel is pounding against my door, demanding to be let in.  I’ll see how long I can hold off.

What I would like to do, though, is give you another peek at a section of Souled.  The first passage was revealed when I got tagged in the Lucky 7 game.  So here’s another part of the story:

“Hey.” I pulled Dani against me again and rested my forehead against hers. “Thanks for going with me tonight.”

“I don’t know why you thought I wouldn’t.” Dani leaned back and searched my face. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, definitely.” This night was going to be great. “I love you,” I said.

“Me, too.”

I cupped her face, pulling her close enough to brush my lips against hers, closing my eyes to shut out everything that could possibly distract me from this moment. The dark behind my eyes became darker before it flared, and stopped me mid-kiss. Something didn’t feel right.

“What’s wrong?” Dani frowned.

“Your mom’s coming.” Perfect timing, because I couldn’t explain what was wrong, just that something felt off, as if something bad was about to happen.

Janice appeared in the doorway. “Sorry I took so long. I had to replace the batteries. This darn thing uses them up so quickly. Okay. Get closer,” she said, sweeping her hand through the air, motioning us to get closer.

I draped my arm around Dani and pressed my cheek against her hair, smiling at the lens.

In the split second after the flash went off, I blinked and in that split second of darkness, I saw it.

What the HELL?! Maksim?!

I focused on Dani, squeezing her shoulder and pulling her closer still. I wasn’t feeling so good anymore. “Thanks, Mrs. Parsons,” I managed to say. “I think we’d better go, Dani. Justin is probably waiting for us.” But there was nowhere I could run to hide from what I had seen. And it was more than seeing; it was suddenly knowing the truth. Knowing I had been duped.

I took a deep breath, causing a tremor in my chest.

The voice had a face. Freakin’ A. He had a face.

And that face told me that Maksim was no angel.

~ ~ ~

Slightly curious about what that was all about?  You can download Souled on your Kindle via Amazon, or pick up the print version, which is available through Createspace or Amazon.

As for the winner of the giveaway, I had my youngest draw a name out of the hat, and the winner is Debra Kristi!  Debra, you need to let me know if you’d like the eBook or print version.

As for the rest of you awesome peeps, I appreciate all of you stopping by and leaving me a comment and supporting the book’s release.  I’d like to show my gratitude by offering you an e-version of Souled.    Thank you so much!!

Time To Soul-e-brate!

Soul attachment, as common as a cold, and just as easy to be rid of… sometimes.  Would you know if another entity had hijacked your body?  If you did, what would you do?

Lose yourself in the story of Maksim and Seth, old versus young, good versus badass.  Available on Amazon in ebook format now, with the print version  available within a few weeks.

What 17-year-old boy wouldn’t be tempted by the promise of power and control – no matter what form that promise came in?

Seth knew exactly what he would do with power and control. He’d be well on his way to a wrestling scholarship, his dad could stop working so hard to make ends meet, and he’d forever have the heart of his girlfriend, Sandpoint High’s most beautiful girl.

For Seth, the temptation was much too strong to resist. And why should he? The way he saw it, he had everything to gain.

But when he unknowingly invites another soul to share his body, Seth discovers that not all power is good – especially when it was never his to wield. And when the soul reveals its true intentions, will Seth have the strength to fight it or would death be less painful?

And just for kicks… Check out location pictures and the story behind the making of the cover.

In honor of Souled’s release, I’m giving away a copy, either ebook format or print.  Just leave a comment and I’ll put your name in hat and draw the winner’s name next Tuesday!

Until then… be careful what you buy online!