We’re celebrating fathers all month long on the blog. Well, father figures anyway. As I mentioned in my post at the beginning of the month, a lot of times in YA and MG novels the father is absent in the book, but there is still a fatherly figure. In my YA novella Passing Notes, Mark has a dad, but he doesn’t play a prominent role. So, I’m going to share a scene between Mark and the ghost that seems to be more than willing to give him some fatherly advice. I promise if you read the book, you’ll understand why the ghost is a good fit for this theme, but I don’t want to give too much away here.
If you’d like to learn more about Passing Notes, skip on over to my page dedicated to it here, or click on one of the buy links posted below. And feel free to scroll back and enjoy the other excerpts from guest authors posted before and/or leave a comment.
Mark has been finding notes giving him advice as to how to write the perfect love letter to impress the girl he loves. He has decided that the notes are coming from a ghost, because they magically appear and are clearly written just for him.
My work schedule started an hour later that day, so I hung out in the locker room after 5th period to work on the letter some more. I finally got out some words that I thought seemed earnest, and then I pulled out a sheet of Jill’s art paper and copied it, trying hard to be neat. Nothing about that letter was attractive by the time I was done. I had written with a ballpoint pen, in print, with no lines to guide me, using the bench of the locker room as a writing surface. The whole thing slanted to the right. It looked terrible. I wadded it up and threw it out. I tried again, but it wasn’t any better. Neither were the next three tries.
Now I’d wasted all of my good paper, and any moment the bell chime would signal the release the poor saps that had a 6th period. Bethany would go to her locker for the last time of the day, and my note wouldn’t be there. Gritting my teeth, I considered sending the last note anyway. Who said it had to be perfect? Instead of tearing that one up, I folded it neatly in thirds. I put my pen to the back and drew a heart. But when I began to write Bethany’s name inside it, the letters refused to cooperate. My B showed up as an S. My e became a t. This continued until the word Stop appeared inside the heart.
“Leave me alone!” I said out loud, glad the locker room was empty.
“What do you want from me?”
Nothing. I want you to be happy.
My shoulders fell and the anger fled. “I’ve been in love with her since 7th grade. I never thought she’d give me a chance.”
And now she has.
She’s going to college. You’re going to war.
“That’s true,” I said. I guess I knew that was in our future, but I hadn’t really allowed myself to think about it yet.
She knows. She will pull away. You have to win her with a deep, true love if you want her to be yours when the years have passed and you can be together again.
“I don’t think she cares for me that way,” I said. “We’ve only had one real date.”
She will care for you if you do this right. “Okay,” I sighed.
“A good letter with the right words, on stationery, in the real mail…”
Written in cursive.
Really. But not now. Go to work. Care for your grandmother. Write it when you are ready to do it with all the love your heart can bear to share with her.
As the words reached the end of that sentence they began to fade, as though the invisible marker was running out of ink.
“Are you there?”
Fading. Not much time left.
Passing Notes is a novella and is sold as an ebook only. But you can find it for whatever ebook device you use at these places:
All Romance ebooks
Continuing with the “Scenes with Fathers” theme of the month, today I have a special author guest visiting. She’s one of my favorite YA novelists. I love everything she writes, and you will too. Her name is Dax Varley, and she is sharing a scene from her novella Second Sight that features a father. Enjoy the scene and read the blurb about the book below. You’ll also see links to find her book if it captures your interest. And please, feel free to leave a comment for Dax or me.
Gena Richmond is a collector of shades…sunglasses, that is. Every size, shape, color and style. So when she finds an unusual pair at a secondhand shop, it’s love at first sight. But these glasses are more than simple sun-blockers. They show her visions of what’s to come…and what’s coming is heart-stopping horrific.
“Dad?” I pushed open his door a sliver. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, his head in his hands. “How are you feeling?”
“Like my insides have been shrink-wrapped.” He slowly lay back down. “You better stay out. I don’t want you to catch this.”
“Hang on.” I went to the other bathroom, grabbed the Lysol, then sprayed choking mists in front of me as I went back. I painted his doorjamb with it, peeked into his room again, and shot a cloud so thick it looked like fireworks raining down. “Seriously, Dad, I’m here if you need anything. Water…Imodium…a pen to sign your will.”
“I’m good,” he mumbled.
“Okay.” I sprayed a ton more Lysol everywhere and started back to my room. I was just steps away from it when, Zzzzuh—flash! I was hovering next to Anne in a darkened room. Her eyes were black and doll-like, and she whimpered, “I can’t see.” Zzzzuh—flash! I was back in my Lysol-enameled hallway.
I leaned against the wall, a tad woozy. My heart revved. Anne? Blind? After a breath or two, I rushed for my phone and texted her. Hey, can you see this? Then I waited. A full minute passed. Anne, whose cell is surgically attached to her hand, didn’t answer. This is so not good. I hiked my sunnies up and paced. I did a back and forth for another minute, then called. It rang for an eternity before the robot lady said, You’ve reached the voice mailbox--I hung up. This was insane.
I went back to pacing. Think, Gena, think. Why would you see Anne with her eyes clawed out? Clawed out? I was only there a split second. I didn’t remember seeing blood. Maybe they were burned out with a hot poker. Gah! Anne, please text me back!
I let another five minutes pass, then grabbed my purse and the Lysol. I spray-bombed the hallway back to Dad’s room and creaked open his door. He was in the fetal position, hands on his belly. I shot another Lysol spritz. “Dad?”
He groaned. “Huh?”
“Remember a few minutes ago when I said I’m here if you need anything?”
“Gena, if you need go somewhere, that’s fine.” He pointed to his nightstand. Half of the local pharmacy was crowded on top. No wonder he’d insisted Rachel use his credit card.
“I’m just going over to Anne’s house. I’ll try not to be long. Text me if you need me, okay? And try not to overdose.”
“Don’t worry about me,” he winced. “Go hang out. Live germ-free.”
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
He actually smiled. Phew! That lightened the guilt.
You can get this wonderful story at Amazon.
Dax Varley writes the kind of young adult novels she wishes were around when she was a teen. She’s a lover of humor, horror and all things paranormal.
When Dax isn’t writing, she’s collecting odd photos online, reading recaps of her favorite shows or kicked back with a good book. She lives in Richmond, Texas with her husband, a shelf full of action figures and about a dozen imaginary friends.
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 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.