And here we go! This is going to be a busy month on the blog. Several NA, YA, and MG authors are coming to visit and share a scene from their book that features a father (or father-like figure) – to celebrate Father’s Day all month long! Our first guest is Alica McKenna Johnson (yes, that’s right, it’s not Alicia, I double-checked). She has a fantasy novel out titled Phoenix Child. Read her excerpt, and below that you’ll learn more about her book and where to find a copy if it strikes your interest. And please feel free to leave a comment. The authors and I love those.
Alica: Hello everyone and Happy Father’s Day! I am thrilled to be included in Donna’s celebration of fathers. In my young adult urban fantasy novel my main character Sarah/Sapphire is an orphan living in the San Francisco foster care system when she goes through a magical change on her 15th birthday and is found by her uncle. In the scene I’m sharing today her Uncle Gavin is showing her pictures of her family, including her father. She’s never seen them before, and had no memories of what they looked like.
This scene is especially relevant to me now as my father passed away suddenly two years ago and my children and I will be looking at photos of him and sharing memories this Father’s Day.
Opening up the last album I saw my grandparents, Gavin, and my mom sitting around a Christmas tree, and joining them sat a young man with blond hair, golden eyes and pearl white skin. He leaned close to my mom, his hand clasping one of hers.
"Oh, my god," I choked out. So far I held in the tears that threatened at the very first picture, but seeing my dad with my mom was too much. A dizzy rush of déjà vu brought flashes of memories. Licking an ice cream cone with my dad. Playing with the big zipper of Grandfather’s sweater. Baking cookies with Mom and Grandma. I knew these people. I had memories, happy memories, of my family.
"The moment Keagan walked in the door, I knew they would be together forever. They loved each other so much." Gavin wrapped an arm around my shoulders. At first I sat stiffly, then gave in and leaned against my uncle while tears fell down my checks.
They held a fancy engagement party; my mom wore an ice blue evening gown and my dad a soft gray suit. Next, their wedding photos. They looked a lot like my grandparents' pictures, a fairy-tale wedding with a huge cake, lacy white dress, and so much happiness. Everyone in that room looked so happy for them.
"These are your paternal grandparents," Gavin said pointing to a lovely couple with snow-white hair. "They were older when they had Keagan, and passed away a year after you were born." They had kind smiles and I wondered what kind of grandparents they would have been. They looked like movie grandparents, all soft and cuddly. The kind of grandparents who would read you stories, bake cookies, and teach you how to fish.
After a few more pages came a photo of my mom in bed looking tired but happy, and holding a newborn baby. My father sat behind her with tears in his eyes. My hand shook as I reached out to touch the picture. I turned into Gavin's shoulder and cried.
"I miss them," Gavin said, as he held me. "They were my best friends. They loved you so much. I wish you could remember them."
I nodded. “I’m starting to remember them. Thank you.”
Children of Fire Book One
There should be a law, a Universal Rule, as to how much weirdness can happen to a person.
Fifteen-year-old Sara walks into the San Francisco Center for the Circus Arts determined to ignore the freaky things happening to her. As powers she doesn't want and can't control overwhelm her, Sara must decide if she can trust the strangers who say they are her family ... descended from a common ancestor four thousand years ago.
Sara clings to her contented and well-planned life as a group home kid, successfully working the system, as dreams, powers, and magical creatures drag her towards her destiny.
When the ancient evil that killed her parents comes to San Francisco, Sara is forced to choose between her fears and her desire to protect those she loves.
Sometimes great things are thrust upon us. Sara wishes this supposed 'greatness' didn't include a new name, unicorns, and catching on fire.
Being told she was a horrible speller and would never learn to use a comma correctly, Alica never thought to write down the stories she constantly had running through her head. Doesn’t everyone daydream about flying on a spaceship while walking to school?
Not until she was thirty did Alica dare to write down any of the people living exciting lives in her head. The relief was instantaneous. By giving them life on the page they could be released from her mind and given greater adventures.
As her books grew in size and the voices in her head learned to wait their turn, Alica found a loyal group to journey with. Women who would help her slay her commas, and use their magical gifts to traverse plot holes, transform words into their proper spelling, and release characters from any Mary Sue spells they might be under.
In-between magical adventures, Alica is mom to two personal kids, five foster kids, has one exceptional hubby, a bunny she knows is plotting her death, and some fish, aka her daughter’s minions.
To find out when the next Children of Fire book will be published, learn more about my “eccentric artistic process”, or to ask me questions, or send comments you can find me on-
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D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.