Myxini School for Children specializes in training young men and women who have powerful sparks. Strikers are taught to manipulate fire. Trackers learn to find animals in the most formidable terrains. Handlers are instructed in communication with large predators. But forty years have passed since the last time they had a Reader – a student with the ability to read minds.
When Lark Davies enrolls at Myxini, he knows there aren’t many like him, but he doesn’t realize just how rare his abilities really are. He thinks nothing of being asked to keep his spark a secret; after all, he can barely control it. Thoughts and emotions flood unbidden into his mind until he can scarcely walk or hold a conversation. But just when he needs it most, his ability fails him.
Larks meets Khea, a small frightened girl who mysteriously insights his protective nature. He has no explanation for the curious strength of their relationship, and it doesn’t help that she is one of the few people in the world whose thoughts can’t be read. As he struggles to get to the root of their unique bond, Lark begins to unravel more power than even his mentor expected, but in the process makes himself a target to political leaders eager to take control.
Guest Post ~ Coming Clean: How to Tell Others That You Write
For many of us independent authors, we started out in the moonlight hours. By day we are accountants, firemen, teachers and telemarketers, but at night, WHAM! We throw on our fancy capes and live the glorious lives of characters that exist only in our minds.
At some point, we are ready to emerge from the darkness and present our baby to the world. We may attempt the traditional publishing route at first, or go directly to the less formidable self-publishing. Either way, our blood, sweat and tears will see the light of day.
Whether or not you decide to quit your day job, we will all have to tell the world that we are writers. It might be that we need to be present for our marketing strategy, or maybe we need to contact independent bookstores and beg for mercy. No matter what, the truth has to come out.
Why don’t we just tell everyone from the get go? Why is there such a stigma for new or independent authors? For some of us, the content of our novels may not jive with our daily lives. Accountant by day, erotica novelist by night; perhaps not a great conversation starter at lunch.
Or maybe there is some mildly inappropriate component to our novel that we don’t necessarily want to reflect on ourselves or our family. Just imagine: “Hey Grams, I just wrote this book! Kids are dropping F-bombs and making out in the back seat like you wouldn’t believe! Can you pass it around to all your friends?”
Perhaps we’re just nervous of being judged. Writing has a tendency to be intensely personal, even if the content is fictional. What if someone reads our book and doesn’t like it? We could go down in writing infamy, to lie for all eternity somewhere next to Rebecca Black and William Hung.
So who should you tell and where should you start? First, consider whether or not the content of your work could have negative repercussions for your job. Do you teach elementary school? Then it’s probably great if your students, parents, and coworkers are in the know about a children’s book you just published. On the other hand, if you wrote a book about sex crimes, you might just want to keep that to yourself between nine and five.
Second, could your friends and family be negatively represented by your novel? If you wrote a young adult novel about time travel, you’re probably safe. If you wrote a book on the misery of your childhood and all the therapy you had to pay for, then perhaps you shouldn’t mention your book at Thanksgiving. It’s just not polite.
Then, consider if your friends and family could represent a network connection for your genre. My mom happens to host a monthly book club for some wine enthusiasts. I offered them an early copy of my manuscript and was grateful for the feedback. I know when the editing is complete, those lovely ladies will be my biggest backers.
Most importantly, do you love writing? Has writing become a part of who you are? If there isn’t a reason to keep it to yourself, then by all means share it with the world! Shout it from the proverbial mountain top. Tell your barista at Starbucks, the girls who bags your groceries, and anyone else you can get to listen.
In fact, it may be easier to start with strangers. For all you know, you’ll never see them again. A guy on the corner asks for your spare change? Lean out your window and shout “I wrote a book and it’s damn good!” Sweet little lady in the elevator wants to swap life stories? Feel free to drop in a “I’ve been writing in my basement for three years” between breaths.
It’s time to embrace it. Be proud of who you are. You are a writer. Someday you will be published. Go forth and tell the world!
Sparks Chapter Four Excerpt
I ran over to her as soon as I saw her, but the blank expression she wore made it clear she wasn’t all that pleased to see me. It had been months, and I'd almost thought she'd gone home, or hadn't had a bright enough spark after all. I could have jumped and yelled from excitement to see her.
“Lark, have you met my mentor Mathias?” She turned to look at a middle aged man who stood behind her. I couldn’t get a read on either one, though it was hard to tell in the commotion of the training area. He wore the gray coverings that all mentors wore, and despite the age on his face, his golden hair matched the yellow pendant about his neck; which itself was inlaid with a black stone spider.
“Where have you been all this time?”
“Training, of course. Haven’t you?”
“Well, yes, but-. Why haven’t I seen you?”
“Mathias is responsible for all my lessons.” She was cold and dismissive, almost as if I bothered her. I couldn’t believe it. Why is she being so weird? I only wanted to make sure she was safe, that she was taken care of. What happened?
With a wave of dismissal she walked past me to challenge Parvani and I was sure my mouth dropped to the ground. Does she have any idea what she’s doing?
“Is she crazy?” Micha asked. He seemed more worried for her mental faculties than her general well-being, though I couldn’t disagree.
They stood and faced each other as Sinha commenced the fight. Khea was at least a full foot shorter than Parvani and looked like she could be her toy. I didn’t imagine Parvani was going to let her down easy.
In a moment of what must have been suicidal desire, Khea lunged, blocked a punch, and landed her fist square on Parvani’s cheek before the larger girl dropped onto her back on the ground. It was the most impressive display I had ever seen. Once she knew what she was up against, Parvani put in real effort to fight, and for a while, it seemed as if they were evenly matched. The final blow came when Khea grabbed Parvani's wrist, spun around her, and forced her to the ground. “Yield,” Parvani let out, defeated.
Without a word to me or Micha, Khea walked back to Mathias and he led her away. It was all I could think about the rest of the day, and into the next morning. What happened to Khea? Where has she been all this time and why is she so distant now? And since when was she some sort of combat master?
The next day Khea returned alone and challenged Shaz, a move that made me feel that Micha might have been right. Unlike Parvani, Shaz only lasted a measly few minutes before the pain in his leg prompted a yield. That time I was able to catch her before she left.
“Hey, Khea. What’s going on? Why won’t you talk to me?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to.”
“You’re not allowed to? Says who? That Mathias guy?” It seemed outlandish that anyone should be prevented from seeing me, particularly Khea.
She nodded before she replied, “I’m not supposed to talk to you. Please leave me alone.” Right then a boulder fell from the sky and crushed me. I just wanted to make sure she was alright. Why would someone prevent that? What made it worse was that she went along with it. She hadn’t fought against it or refused to follow his rules. My insides ached in a new kind of pain.
She began to walk away, but she turned around suddenly and leaned in close. “Meet me at the gardens after dinner,” she whispered. A wide smile pressed into my cheeks; my friend was in there somewhere. Mathias may have convinced her to follow him publicly, but somewhere and in some small part, she was still my friend.About the Author
RS McCoy didn’t ever plan on being a writer. With a career teaching high school science, writing is the last thing she expected. But life never goes the way you think it will. While battling cancer, she picked up her laptop and let the words flow out. One year later, her first published fantasy novel will be released on Amazon soon and her second novel is in the works. She is a wife, mother of one with another on the way, a scientist, baker, gardener, and life-long science fiction and fantasy addict.