Where are the Dads in YA and MG Books?
Fathers play a pivotal role in a child’s life. They are typically considered the providers, the supporters, the fixers, the thinkers, the tinkers, and the doers. They are the ones who plan and prepare the family for both the family vacation and the impending tornado season. They teach sons to shave and girls to drive a car. Not to say mothers don’t do these things, but in fiction, definitely, this role belongs to dads.
As I mentioned in my post last month about mothers in children’s fiction, kids in books need to be left alone to make their own decisions and figure their way through the problems set before them in the plot of the story. To make this happen, the parents are often dead, die during the book, or are forced to separate from their children. That said, when it comes to moms and dads, if there is going to be a father present in a YA or MG book, you are more likely to see a dad (or father figure) than a mother. It seems much more tragic to remove the nurturing female adult than the struggling male one.
When it comes to stories about girls, father figures often seem to be left alone with their hormone-driven daughters and don’t know how to handle them. This leads to frustration and awkwardness, but it also lead to some wonderfully, touching scenes. A lot of times these widowed or divorced dads are trying to make it work out the best way they know how, and that leads to some great storytelling. I think of the fathers from Inkheart, Because of Winn-Dixie, and especially To Kill a Mockingbird as good examples.
When it comes to stories with boy protagonists, the father is often absent but replaced. Harry Potter’s parents are dead, but Dumbledore serves as a father figure (as does Sirius Black). Percy Jackson’s father, Poseidon, stays away and unreachable, but Chiron is readily available to guide the young hero. The father in Helene Dunbar’s These Gentle Wounds is removed from Gordie’s life, but his half-brother’s father, Jim, steps in bravely to take over the role.
Then (something that happens far more with fathers than mothers in fiction) there are always the evil parents. There are a number of stories where the father is revealed to have been harboring deep secrets or leading a double life. I think of the father in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, when the boy finally realizes that his father is in charge of the Nazi death camp as an example. There are stories where the main character discovers his father is really a villain, or vice versa that the villain of the story turns out to be the main character’s father. Malcom Merlin from the TV show Arrow comes to mind, or, of course, Darth Vader from Star Wars is the ultimate example.
June is the month to celebrate fathers, so I’ve invited authors to visit the blog and share scenes from their books that feature fathers (or father figures). Apparently, this idea was a big draw, because I have twelve authors stopping by, double any amount of authors visiting before, and I had to turn a handful of people away. As it is, I’ll have to change the blog every other day this month to keep up. Good thing my latest writing project is finished.
So, drop back by on the even dates of the month and see new posts from all the guests. And share your thoughts about dads in kid books below. I’d love to know about a book you’ve read with a good father scene, whether he be a good guy or bad guy.
An Excerpt from the Sequel-in-Progress
For the past year I have been working on a sequel for Cry of the Sea. A few months back I did a guest post about why I was having a hard time with it. You can read about that here if you like. Well, at long last it’s finished. I’m almost done reading through to look for those little misplaced commas and every time I typed jacked instead of jacket. By Saturday afternoon it will be whizzing through cyberspace to the inbox at Fire and Ice Young Adult Books, where I hope Caroline Andrus will say “This is awesome!” instead of “Oh, this wasn’t at all what I wanted you to write.” Then she will give me a projected release date, and I can share that with you.
At any rate, I promised at the end of my Mother’s Day theme for this month I would post an excerpt from the new book Whisper of the Woods – a scene between Juniper and her mother. This scene is pretty early on in the book. Juniper’s parents are protesting to keep Old Growth trees from being chopped down. On New Year’s Even Juniper is at the protest site. In the morning she finds herself 30 feet up on the branch of a giant red cedar tree and has no idea how she got there. She gets down (this time), and this is a scene that follows. Oh, and please leave a comment. I'd love to know what you think.
Mom opened the car door, and I saw my purse waiting for me in the passenger seat, my cell phone next to it. “Now, go call your boyfriend and patch things up. I’m sure he’s left dozens of messages on your phone. I’ll see you at home tonight.”
“Don’t you think I should stay here? I mean, Uncle Nathan was going at the tree with an axe. Don’t you need me to help?”
“I need you to be home where it’s safe. Plus, you go back to school day after tomorrow. You need to get some rest.” She put a hand on my shoulder and spoke like she was doing me some big favor. “I know you don’t want to be here. I’m relieving you of your duties.”
Only, the weird thing was, for the first time, I really did want to be there. I hadn’t cared much for the tree protest before, but now I did. It all seemed personal to me now. Dad seeing his sister for the last time on that tree. Uncle Nathan’s hatred for that tree. Carter and I fighting for the first time in front of that tree. Waking up on a branch of that tree. That tree seemed a part of my life now. It was very important to me that it wasn’t damaged.
“I want to stay.” Mom began to walk away from the car towards the camp, disregarding me. I followed her. “Do you hear me? I want to help with the protest.”
Mom kept walking. “There’s nothing for you to do here but get in the way. Go home. Watch TV. Hang out with Haley.”
“Are you possessed or something? When have you ever not wanted me to help?”
She stopped then and raised her hand to her forehead like she had a headache. After a moment she turned to face me. I saw tears in her usually hard eyes. “It stopped being safe here. I don’t want you getting hurt. Do you understand?”
“I’m not going to get hurt.”
“How do you know that? We found you in a tree, and you don’t know how you got there. Maybe one of your uncle’s men put you up there. Maybe it was a plan to frighten us away? Maybe they thought you’d fall out…” She sucked in a breath at the thought of it.
I rushed to her and wrapped my arms around her. “Mom, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize what you’ve been through.”
She nodded slowly, stilling her emotions. “I’m not even sure your dad’s okay in there with his brother. Nathan had that axe…”
“He’s fine. We would have heard by now if he wasn’t.”
“Nathan hasn’t come out yet.”
“He might have gone another direction.” I let go of her then. “Look, if I stay with you the whole time, promise not to go off on my own, can I stay?”
“No.” Mom never was one for bargaining. She smiled at me then, one of her best courtroom grins. “Besides, what kind of teenager are you that doesn’t want to test out her new wheels? Don’t you want to see how it rides?”
“I do, but…”
That was weird. I’d been dying to get a car. Mad that I didn’t get one for Christmas when I’d hinted so hard and for so long. Now that I had one, the last thing I wanted to do was go drive it. I didn’t want to leave. What was going on with me?
She physically turned my body toward the car and gave me a nudge toward it. I looked back at her, but her expression made it clear what she wanted from me.
Don’t know what Cry of the Sea is about yet? Want to read it before this new book comes out? Click here to learn more.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope you’ve been enjoying the Mother’s Day theme on the blog this month. I’ve loved all the different takes the guest authors have done on the “If Mom Told the Story” theme.
Today is the last post to that theme. I’ve done a rewrite of the Cry of the Sea back cover blurb from June’s mother’s POV. Natalie Sawfeather is a bit bossy and controlling and not quite June’s favorite person. I think you’ll see why. But she’s got a mission, and it’s not a bad one. Cry of the Sea focuses a lot more on June’s relationship with her dad, but the sequel (which I’m frantically cleaning up for submission) deals a lot more with Mom. On Wednesday I’ll post a sneak-peek scene between June and Natalie from the new book.
As always, if you like what you see, leave a comment. And definitely scroll back and see the posts from my wonderful guest authors this month.
When I was on summer break from college I decided to do head to the west coast. I’d heard there was a rescue mission going on in California to save Pelicans from some jerk or band of jerks that were catching them and cutting off parts of their beaks to prevent them from being able to feed. While there, I met this handsome, young American Indian man. His skin was extra tan from being out in the sun all the time, and he had a mane of long, flowing black hair. He wore it up in a braid most of the time, but I loved it when he wore it down and I could run my fingers through it. His name was Peter Sawfeather. We fell in love, and we had a wonderful summer together.
That fall, I headed back to school in Washington State, and he followed me up there. He said he originally hailed from that part of the country and still had family on a reservation by the shore. We were married soon after I got my Bachelors, and he stuck with me while I went through law school. He started his own business called Emergency Environmental Alerts, or EEAlerts, and was constantly organizing protests and conservation movements. I chose to focus my law practice on helping the environment too. It’s not great money. Sometimes I don’t get paid at all. But we’re both passionate about what we do and each other.
We had a baby. One was all I could handle with my busy schedule and our finances. Juniper is the spitting image of her dad. I’ll admit I might not have been the best mom for her. I’ve pushed her really hard to be more than the average kid – to care more about the world around her. She’s a vegetarian in a meat-eating world, and she never had the nicer things some of her friends had. All of our family vacations have also been business-related – a protest, a movement, a rescue… She has grown up tough, resilient, and bright. I have been confident that she would follow in my footsteps. I expect her to go to my alma mater, get her law degree, and continue the fight with me and after I have to retire.
But suddenly it’s all changed. I’m in Alaska right now, dealing with Affron Oil executives who are stubbornly and stupidly refusing to comply with federal laws that state that they have to retrofit their oil tankers so that they will stop leaking oil. It’s been a hard fight, and I had to do it in person. So, I missed College Night at June’s high school. When I called to see how it went, her father told me that June said she didn’t want to go to my college and that she doesn’t want to be in Environmental Studies. She wants to work at Sea World or something inane like that.
I was furious and refused to talk to her about it until I got home. Then, in the middle of the night, I got word that the Affron Oil tanker had left Alaska. I knew there would be a spill or at least some heavy leaking. I called Peter and told him to get to a beach and keep an eye out for early damage. Next thing I know, he’s calling me later in the morning and telling me that he and June discovered mermaids in the oil. He sent me a video he took of them. June said that one of the mermaids acted like it could understand her. This is incredible! Sentient creatures in the ocean that look like humans? If the public found out about this we could get more people on our side to fight the oil company.
I’ve got to get back home and take control of this situation. They’ve involved this teenage boy named Carter that I’ve never met, which I’m not excited about. Peter will be busy with the oil spill clean-up all week, and June is too young to handle this big of an ordeal herself. I’m certain she’ll screw it up. I hope they don’t do anything rash before I get there.
Here is the real back cover blurb for Cry of the Sea and some handy links for both paperback and ebook versions. You can read a little excerpt and review clips on the Cry of the Sea page of this website too.
Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average 17 year old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so out there? Everything changes when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she realizes these aren't human at all. They're mermaids!Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.
Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (read 2 chapters free)
Barnes and Noble
Books a Million
All Romance ebooks
To celebrate Mother’s Day all month long, I challenged authors to rethink the summaries of their novels and do them from one of the main character’s POV. The last guests visiting the blog this month to take on the “If Moms Told the Story” challenge are the husband-and-wife team Ann Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks. These two have a thriller with Melange books (the mother company of imprint Fire and Ice which publishes my books), but they had an idea for a fun fantasy middle grade story and came up with Things Are Not What They Seem. It was released by MuseItUp Publishers in April. The Hicks did their mom retelling of the story in diary form. Take a look, and if you like what you see please leave a comment and scroll back to enjoy the other posts.
Dear Diary, Wednesday, July 10
Parenting is just the hardest job ever!
I hope I don’t sound like a complainer. I have two great kids. Jenny is 13 years old, going on thirty, if you know what I mean. So smart, so kind, so … I don’t know, wise beyond her years as the saying goes. And then there’s James, my little wiseacre, who has a funny comment about everything. Let anyone just try to get him to be serious! And both children are full of love for their father and me. That’s one of the best things of all. Even when they fight as brothers and sisters do sometimes, I know they care deeply about each other.
But, Oh my God, Dear Diary, when they brought home that pigeon the other day, I just couldn’t stand it! A pigeon from Central Park in my apartment? Plus, he had a little white splotch on his head. The children said it was just white feathers like those of a Bald Eagle, but it made him look sort of diseased to me. I almost demanded that they take him right to the nearest window and let him fly away. However, something in the way they looked at each other and at that confounded pigeon made me think that the bald-looking bird was important to them – more important than my fear that he might have fleas, or lice … or bed bugs!
Dear Diary, Thursday, July 11
Well the bird didn’t have any of those problems, but something strange is definitely going on, I just know it! Yes, I’ve read all the parenting books, and I realize that children have to have their secrets, and I also know that Jenny and James would not do anything very bad, and yet I have this strong sense that they are in the midst of some sort of project and that it involves that pigeon. I find it hard to stop thinking about them making friends with this creature and it is affecting my ability to sleep and even my thoughts when I’m awake. What in the world can they be up to? Just today I was in the living room and the children came in, and then, while we were talking, in marches the pigeon, strolling along as if he owned the place … and something else, Dear Diary. I could have sworn he talked! Unbelievable.
Dear Diary, Thursday, midnight, July 11
I’m feeling guilty, Dear Diary. I see in my daughter a quality that I have tried to hide for so many years. You see I sometimes have this feeling that my dreams are more than mere dreams and that someone is attempting to communicate with me. I have the feeling that the same is true of Jenny. I recognize it on her face sometimes in the morning or even during the day when she seems to fall into a reverie and suddenly snaps back. I need to share this with her, but how? I’ve always thought I was a little crazy because of it. What if she thinks so too when I confide in her? Maybe her spacy-ness is coming from another cause entirely.
Perhaps I should be getting a bit more sleep? Whoever heard of a pigeon that talked? I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up and have everything back to normal.
Dear Diary, Friday, July 12.
I guess the sleep helped to an extent. I’m feeling so much better today. Jenny and James both kissed and hugged me at breakfast for no reason! I feel like a trial period of parental tolerance has passed. Curious, isn’t it? Maybe I am crazy after all. But I’ll never look at a pigeon the same way again!
This sounds like a funny and unique book to me. If it has your attention, read the actual book blurb below and find the link to get your own copy today.
What would you do if you were sitting on a park bench, minding your own business, and one of those annoying pigeons suddenly started to talk to you? And what if the pigeon didn’t just talk to you – in a meticulous British accent, no less – but pleaded with you to help untangle a piece of string that had accidentally attached his leg to a wrought iron fence surrounding the playground? And what if, while you are still convinced that this is all a big nasty trick, a hawk swoops down out of the sky and starts cursing at you, also in the King’s English, for getting in his way when he wanted to execute the pigeon?
That is the quandary in which Jennifer (almost 13 years old and probably a bit too smart for her own good) finds herself one sweltering July morning while babysitting her 11-year-old (very precocious) brother James and his mopey, allergy-prone friend Sleepy. She soon learns that the bird is actually a man named Arthur Whitehair, a 19th-century Englishman who had been turned into an eternally-lived pigeon by misreading an ancient spell that was supposed to give him eternal life as a human. Likewise, an unscrupulous colleague of his, named Malman, had been turned into a hawk by Whitehair’s blunder. After years of searching, Whitehair claims (half-truthfully) that Malman has found him hiding in Central Park and is now out for revenge. On top of all this strange business, Jennifer has recently begun having weird dreams in which a crazy-looking man with curly red hair speaks cryptic phrases in Latin. Are they random phrases, or messages? And why would some sketchy guy be sending her messages in her dreams?
Muse it Up Publishing
If Mom Told About Strike Three...
Here’s another YA science fiction novel! Author Joy V. Smith visits today to take on the “If Moms Told the Story” challenge. She has rewritten her book summary for Strike Three from the main character’s mom’s POV. If wars, bunkers and evil government regimes sound exciting to you, scroll on down and read the real book blurb and find the link to get yourself a copy. And please, if you enjoy these posts, leave a comment.
Lea's mother, Francine Blake, must entrust her daughter, Lea Zane, to her father's care because she will be joining her husband and Lea's stepfather, Duncan Blake, in the government bunker, and space is limited. Hard decisions are made by everyone! It's not easy for a mother to stay safely underground while wondering how and if her daughter will survive the devastation of World War III.
She'd rather be with Lea caring for her and supporting her. Maybe later they'd find each other, and she could be a mother again--and advise and protect her. In the meantime she would focus on Duncan and staying sane in a shelter that's well-supplied--mostly--and safe.
Safe and reunited a long time later (because of the timelock), the situation is complicated by the fact that the old government wants to supplant the new government, which Lea and her father are part of. What's a mother to do now?
Here is the real book blurb for Strike Three
Because of the "hot virus," the devastation of WWIII is more horrible than the worse case scenario, and missiles fired in retaliation gave new meaning to "Scorched Earth".
There were scattered warnings, which only a few heeded in time. No one ever imagined they would have to start from scratch--and bare dirt.
What to save--and where?
Could we start over?
Can a new world grow/move beyond the losses, mistakes and regrets?
Get it at Amazon
Joy V. Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid and made her own little books. Her stories and articles have been published in print magazines and anthologies; and her SF has been published in two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. Her books include Strike Three and Detour Trail. She lives in Florida with Blizzard the Snow Princess and Bryn the Flying Corgi.
If Mom Told About Being Starstruck...
The next author guest for May’s “If Mom Told the Story” Mother’s Day theme is Brenda Hiatt. I always get excited when she visits, because she has so much fun with the writing challenges. Today she shares a little prequel to her hit YA science fiction novel Starstruck where we get to know a little of what was going on in Rigel’s mom’s head before the whole story begins. If you haven’t started her series yet, you definitely should. These books are great fun, and super romantic. The first novel is free for Amazon Kindle too! Links below. Also below is a place to leave comments, and you can scroll back and see some of the other fun posts.
Rigel’s mother, Dr. Ariel Stuart, keeps a secret holographic diary, genetically coded so that only she can access it. This diary is normally disguised as an innocuous but pretty hair clip – which she even wears occasionally! What follows is an important entry she made almost a year before the beginning of STARSTRUCK:
What an exciting evening! Certainly far more exciting than any of us expected. Van and I drove up to Jewel, just an hour north of Indianapolis, to watch Rigel’s very first away game since joining the high school football squad last month. He warned us that he probably wouldn’t play as a freshman, but we wanted to be supportive. Then, as it turned out, Rigel got to play after all! He was sent in to replace the starting quarterback early in the second half, after the other boy hurt his shoulder – and Rigel played so well! So well, in fact, that we worried a bit that he might be giving himself away – his origins, I mean.
Van and I had agreed to speak to him about that on the way home, but before we could, he told us he felt sure he’d received a “boost” from something else – someone in the stands. In other words, the very person we’ve been searching for these past few years, the person who might be the answer to all of our hopes. To think that she might actually be a student at Rigel’s school! Or, I suppose, she might possibly be a student at Jewel High, though that seems less likely as Rigel was much closer to the visitor bleachers.
First thing tomorrow, we’ll call Shim and let him know. Then he and the Council can decide what our next step should be. I do hope they’ll agree to let Rigel finish out his freshman year at Center North High School. We’ve uprooted him so many times already in recent years in pursuit of the Princess. I'd especially hate to do it again mid-year, and just when he has impressed his football coach with tonight’s performance. Even if the girl should turn out NOT to be a student there, surely next fall will be soon enough for Rigel to attempt locating her in Jewel? Given the current political climate on Mars, I can’t imagine a year will really make much difference… but that will be for the council to decide. I simply want what’s best for my son as well as for our people.
Here’s the actual book blurb for Starstruck, the first of a four-part series.
Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict "aunt," she's not even sure who she is. M's dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly--literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of.
Get your copy today at:
Barnes and Noble
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nineteen novels to date, primarily Regencies and historicals from Harlequin and HarperCollins, Brenda Hiatt is now indie publishing her historical backlist and continuing to write and publish new books, to include her first mystery, OUT OF HER DEPTH, from Bell Bridge Books. STARSTRUCK, the first novel in her new teen science fiction romance series and her first completely indie project, launched in September 2013. For the past dozen years, Brenda has collected data on writers’ earnings, which she shares at her website, http://brendahiatt.com
If Mom Told About D.N.A....
Mother’s Day has come and gone, but our mom theme continues to run all month long. Today’s guest author is Ey Wade. She has written a Young Adult novel full of mystery and drama. It’s called D.N.A. – Nothing Would Ever be the Same, and it sounds very intriguing. What’s also intriguing is the way Wade handled the “If Mom Told the Story” summary rewrite challenge. She did a brief summary of her novel from the perspective of three different mothers from the novel. I have to admit, my curiosity is piqued. You’ll find links to where you can find the novel below. If you enjoy what you read, leave a comment and scroll back to the other Mom summaries.
Debney Nichole Armstrong: I'm not a mom yet, but I have watched over this fellow as he's grown, *rubs protruding belly* well, almost outgrown my body. I think of all of the things we have gone through together, a trip to Italy, the horrible bullying and insults from the kids at school, the death of my family, and worse, my friends abandoning me.
Everyone makes mistakes, me, I see this baby as a blessing. He has saved me and I intend to do everything in my power to pay him back. I will be an outstanding mother, not one who stands out not bothering to come in and be a part of life.
There have been times throughout the story where I have wanted to quit, just give up, but then I think of Nicole. I can't even think of her as "mom," If I did I may follow her path and disregard the life I am carrying as valuable.
Until he arrives, I will continue doing what I am, eating the right foods, defending his right for existence to everyone giving me a hard time, planning for his birth at home, and trying not to miss Giantè too much.
Nicole Armstrong (Debney’s mother): I know people may see my actions in Debney's story as wrong and the facsimile of heartless and dysfunctional. I'm not even going to justify anything I have done. I lived for me, my joy in life, my satisfaction. After all, she wasn't supposed to be in the picture, anyway.
Mrs. De Vrie (Giantè's mother): Dont judge me. Sure, I give Debney a hard time in the story, what would you expect? What kind of mother would I be if I sat around and let a smart mouth little rich girl, destroy my baby's life? I practically raised Debney, took her on our family vacations. Let her hang around my house- for days at a time. This is how she replays us, by getting knocked up by God only knows? Well, she won't be blaming my child, Debney better think again.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this book. What is it all about? Here’s a summary and some places where you can find it.
-- As she approached her 18th birthday, Debney Nichole Armstrong was preparing for the beautiful future until her plans were torn to shreds. During the chaos of a romantic dinner turned teen party, Debney learned of the death of her family, slept with a few guys, and topped it all off by ending up pregnant. In one horrible night she learned her past was a fabric of lies and none of her friends were true. Yes, sometimes relationships in families end tragically. People leave; parents die, bullies come around, and lives change. But does it all have to bring out the skeletons in the closet?
What she really needed to know was:
Ey Wade is a prolific author of several books in various genres, most importantly - Beads on a String-America's Racially Intertwined Biographical History. Visit http://wade-inpublishing.com to view samples.
If Mom Told the Story of Gethyon...
Continuing on with this month’s Mother’s Day theme, author Pippa Jay is visiting to give us a look at her action-packed science fiction novel Gethyon from his mom’s point of view. The actual book blurb has mom abandoning the young hero, so her take on his story should be pretty interesting. If you enjoy this please leave a comment below.
I'm not a good mother. To be honest, I never expected to be one. It was a shock. And to lose their father before I even knew I was pregnant...it almost broke me. So maybe one day they'll be able to understand why I abandoned them. I honestly thought it was for the best. And me being me and their father being who and what he was - this was their one chance for a normal life, far away from me. Shame it didn't work out.
Because I never expected Gethyon to be talented, or for him to be so strong or so soon. Staying out of his life isn't going to protect him now. I'm going to have to make sure his powers are limited until he's old enough to deal with them, and although he'll hate me for leaving again I'll have to go. I can't let them find him. I'll have to lead them away again, and keep on doing it. Maybe one day he'll understand what I was trying to do and he'll be able to accept it. I can't ask him to forgive me. In the meantime, I need to do whatever I can to make sure he lives that long.
- Tarquin Secker
Here is the real blurb for this exciting book and where you can find a copy for yourself:
His father died. His mother abandoned him. In the depths of space, darkness seeks him.
Abandoned by his mother after his father’s death, Gethyon Rees feels at odds with his world and longs to travel the stars. But discovering he has the power to do so leaves him scarred for life. Worse, it alerts the Siah-dhu – a dark entity that seeks his kind for the their special abilities – to his existence, and sets a bounty hunger on his trail.
When those same alien powers lead Gethyon to commit a terrible act, they also aid his escape. Marooned on the sea-world of Ulto Marinos, Gethyon and his twin sister must work off their debt to the Seagrafter captain who rescued them while Gethyon puzzles over their transportation. How has he done this? And what more is he capable of?
Before he can learn any answers, the Wardens arrive to arrest him for his crime. Can his powers save him now? And where will he end up next?
A 2013 SFR Galaxy Award winner
BURST (publisher’s website)
Barnes and Noble
After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without a doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen
If Mom told about Passing Notes...
For the month of May I’m having a Mother’s Day theme on the blog. I’ve invited different authors to rewrite their descriptions of their books from the mom’s point of view. I’m starting out with my own book Passing Notes. Mark’s mother plays a pretty minor role in the story, but that doesn’t mean she’s not paying attention to what he’s going through. Here’s her take on what’s happening in my Young Adult romance novella. I’d love to know what you think about it, so please leave comments below.
My son Mark is a senior in high school. He’s a good kid, and I’m proud of him. He started doing poorly in school a few years back, and that was frustrating at first. I tried not to get too upset, though, because things were hard around the house. My mother started having trouble with Dementia and her health, so we had her move in with us. That took up a lot of our extra income and time. We had to pull him out of hockey, and I’m afraid we weren’t focusing too much on things like making sure he could spell. Mark has been great, though. He got himself a job at the local Sonic, and he’s active with R.O.T.C. at school. He’s planning to join the Army once he graduates, like his grandfather did before I was born. He’s also been very helpful with his grandmother.
Lately, he’s been acting a little strange and scattered. He came home one afternoon with a name in a heart written on the back of his hand in black permanent marker. He’s been spending long hours on the computer, and because I’m nosy I took a look and saw that he’d been spending time looking up Shakespeare sonnets. There were a bunch of drafts of a love letter to a girl named Bethany wadded up in the trash. I think he’s in love. From what I’ve read, he’s trying really hard to impress her with this letter he’s writing. He was even writing it in cursive. I’ve never seen him write so legibly before. I can’t even imagine how he’s learned to write a lovely letter like that. It’s like someone has been teaching him or guiding him.
This morning he was hovering around the mailbox. After he left for school, I went out there to see what he was trying to mail. It looks like he’s finished the letter and is finally brave enough to send it to this girl he likes. I truly do hope it works out for him.
Did that make you curious? I hope so.
Passing Notes is a 60 page novella, a nice, short, sweet read for your Kindle, Nook, computer or tablet. You can find a copy at:
Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
Barnes and Noble
Where are the Moms in YA?
As Mother’s Day approaches and I work on revisions for my Cry of the Sea sequel, which features a strained relationship between my main character, Juniper, and her mother, I find myself thinking about the role mothers play in novels for kids and young adults. A lot of the time Moms are absent from these stories altogether. She is often dead at the beginning of the story or dies early on. Sometimes she has divorced the father and disappeared. Sometimes, like in The Lightning Thief, she is kidnapped.
Why have the authors done this? Well, children in books have to have their own adventures. Real moms tend to be protective of their children. They wouldn’t let their kids wander off on their own to solve mysteries, have dangerous adventures, or deal with personal crises. There might be moms like that, but I’m not one nor do I know any moms like that. We want to help our kids, almost to the point of preventing them from learning how to be independent enough. A child who is orphaned or only being raised by father with his own troubles makes for a child who will perhaps be more capable of handling the crazy things that happen to kids in middle grade and young adult books. It’s more believable that these lonely kids, who’ve taken on more responsibility than is normal, will be able to fight monsters, bullies, or their own inner demons.
There are moms that exist in some books that are not wonderful but are necessary for the plot. The mother in That Time I Joined the Circus is a horrible woman who abandoned her daughter and simply can’t redeem herself. The mother from Out of the Easy is too concerned with her own welfare to care about her daughter. There is no redemption for her. The mom in Faking Normal frustrated me by not being aware of the trauma through which her daughter was suffering. As a mom who reads YA, I wanted to shake these women back to their senses and show them what wonderful daughters they had.
That said, every now and then, we encounter an amazing mother in MG, YA or NA books. Hazel’s mom in The Fault in Our Stars is full of love and support as her daughter suffers with cancer and first love. Mia’s mother in If I Stay is also loving and understanding when she chooses to play cello instead of being a rocker like her parents. Tris’s mom in Divergent winds up being so much more than Tris ever knew, fierce and sacrificial.
So, for fun this month, I’ve decided to alter my revision theme to being about mothers. I’ve invited some authors to come visit, and all of us are going to write new summaries of our books from the moms’ point of view. It should be fun. Authors that will be visiting are, Pippa Jay, Ey Wade, Ann Rothman and Kenneth Hicks, and Brenda Hiatt. Please come back and check out what we’ve done. At the end of the month I will also post a preview scene of Juniper and her mom from Whisper of the Woods (my Cry of the Sea sequel).
What are you favorite or least favorite moms from MG or YA books? Please leave a comment.
D. G. Driver
Award-winning author of books for teen and tween readers. Learn more about her and her writing at www.dgdriver.com
Author D. G. Driver's
Write and Rewrite Blog
“There are no bad stories, just ones that haven’t found their right words yet.”
A blog mostly about the process of revision with occasional guest posts, book reviews, and posts related to my books.