I am really excited to welcome YA fantasy author Christy Dorrity to the blog today as part of EuphorYA — a speculative fiction scavenger hunt chock full of giveaways at each stop plus a grand prize giveaway for those who put together the three secret phrases “hidden” throughout the posts. Christy is bringing us a double feature today–a discussion of how she developed the setting for her series (The Geis) as well as a sneak peek at Book 2, Displaced. We’ll both also be at the Facebook event tomorrow, so come out and say hello!
I hope you are having a great time participating in the EuphorYA scavenger hunt. Make sure you check out the schedule for all of the blog stops and enter the grand prize giveaway, and my giveaway for two super-cute beaded bookmarks at the bottom of this post. And don’t forget to hop over to the Facebook event going on: https://www.facebook.com/events/627730590650828/
If there’s one thing that I love, it’s to escape to another world. And where else can you do so from your own bed, and on just a few bucks? A book is a fantastic escape.
When I began writing, I wanted to give others that escape–to let them leave their problems behind them and enter a world that exists safely in their imagination.
It doesn’t really matter where the setting of the book is that I’m reading, as long as it takes me somewhere new. Somewhere that the culture and sights are different from the ones I am used to.
I considered writing AWAKENING in an exotic location, but I couldn’t get away from my hometown, Star Valley, Wyoming. And why not? Star Valley may be exotic to someone who has never been there.
And so I set about creating a sense of place in my book, one that could be envisioned, and experienced, without ever having to set foot in the valley.
The Intermittent Spring became a gateway to another world. The Red Baron drive-in from my high school days became a date night for my character. A trip to the star on the mountain provides insight, and a spooky night begins with the Old Rock Church that was built over a century ago.
In every chapter I tried to infuse the book with Star Valley–my goal to make the setting so real that it becomes a character itself.
Those who read the sequel to AWAKENING will get to travel to Tir na nOg, the mystical land of youth, where I hope they will be whisked away on a romantic, suspenseful ride.
Here’s an exclusive sneak peak of DISPLACED: Book Two of The Geis (coming Fall 2014).
McKayla would come for me. I shivered on the ledge, the wind whipping through my hair. My tennis shoes were filling with snow and I had left my coat in the car. A small pine tree struggled to grow through the rock. I clung to it and closed my eyes against the dizzying height.
I wanted McKayla here with me. But I was afraid that the banshee would hurt her.
A freezing wind whistled down the mountain, stirring up the snow and blowing it in my face. The whistle changed into a shriek and my heart pounded faster. I put both hands over my chest to still the throbbing.
From below me the snow swirled faster in a whirlwind that formed into a white, billowing figure. McKayla reached for me, her pale face morphing until her blue eyes bore into me. Her hair whipped around her gathering form, until she barely resembled my sister. The banshee’s mouth opened as she came for me. The shrieking filled my ears and throbbed in my head.
I panicked, backing against the mountain, hands over my ears. The snow closed in on me. There was nowhere to go. The banshee had come for me.
I jolted upright. For one terrifying moment, I thought the dream was real. I scrambled backward until I rammed into the headboard of my bed. I grabbed at my bedding with shaking hands and pulled it up to my chin. It was just a dream, I told myself. The banshee wasn’t here.
My heart pounded twice its normal rate. I took a deep breath and let it out, slowly counting to five, but it didn’t slow the pounding in my ears.
It had been over a year since I had that recurring dream. When McKayla first disappeared, I had them every night. And when Aunt Avril died, I had watched as the banshee slipped away down the mountainside. Beaten, but not gone. I just knew she would come back from me. We had never seen any sign that Cliona, the banshee who could take any form, had stayed in Star Valley, but the dreams plagued me. Unlike other nightmarish creatures, I knew that the banshee was real.
I got up to use the bathroom and when I came back to bed, my heart still hadn’t slowed to its normal rate. My body’s reaction to the dream refused to slow, and I didn’t want to take more medicine, so I tiptoed downstairs to get some warm milk.
Christa was asleep on the couch, one leg stretched straight out and the other pointed at her knee. Even in her sleep Christa was a ballerina. I smiled.
It only took a minute to warm the milk in the microwave. I put a drop of hazelnut in the milk from mom’s candy flavorings and stirred it with a spoon. The moon was streaming in through the front window near the door. I walked over and looked into the front yard. A row of houses lined the street across from ours.
My old house had faced an empty field and I remember looking out the front door at the mountains that climbed, one after the other into the distance. But that house had burned to the ground from a fire that the banshee had started. I shivered, rubbing at the scar that spiraled from my wrist to my elbow. That was the first time I ever saw the hate in the banshee’s eyes. The moment that I knew my life would never be the same.
I wrapped my hands around the mug of warm milk and took a sip, turning from the window. A movement in the kitchen caught my eye and I froze, letting my eyes focus. A man sat on one of the kitchen stools, watching me. His cowboy hat bobbed up and down as he swung his legs back and forth.
I screamed. Warm milk spilled from my mug and ran down my arm. I wiped it on my fleece pajama pants. The man jumped off of his chair and looked around. He pressed his back against the wall near the living room door. Behind him, Christa stirred on the couch and went back to sleep.
A fresh surge of adrenaline shot through my veins. The last time a stranger had been in my house, it had burned to the ground. A wave of heat washed over me, a signal that I was rapidly loosing control of my emotional state. I reached for the doorknob, eyeing the distance between the intruder and me. Would I be able to get out the door before he caught me?
“Wait!” The man lunged forward. I backed into the windowsill. “You can see me?”
My breathing started coming in gasps. I was having a full-on panic attack. I nodded.
The man held his hands in front of him as he crept soundlessly toward me. I shook my head back and forth, hoping that he would just take whatever he had come to steal and leave. He stopped when he saw my expression. “It’s all right. There’s no need to be afraid.” Reason screamed that I had every reason to be scared of a man in my house in the middle of the night, but something in his voice calmed me.
I breathed in through my nose and forced myself to hold it for five seconds before forcing the air out between my lips, all the while keeping an eye on the intruder.
“That’s good,” the man said. He stirred the air with his hands and pushed it toward me. Oxygen filled my lungs and my breathing slowed. My knees wobbled and I leaned against the doorframe. I reached down with a trembling hand and set my mug of milk down on the windowsill.
“Who are you? Why are you in my house?” I stood straight and faced the man with as much courage as I could muster.
“My dear child, I am your Uncle Theron.” He held out his arms as if I would run and embrace him. Instead I folded my arms tight against me. I knew that Aunt Avril had been married, but her husband had died in a car accident before I was born. How could he be here, in my kitchen? Theron’s eyes crinkled at the edges. “I’ve been with you for years, but this is the first time I’ve been able to communicate with you, other than helping calm you from time to time.”
“Is that what you were doing?” My voice came out in a whisper. “With your arms, I mean?”
“Yes, whenever your anxiety becomes too much for you to handle on your own, I often give you a little nudge and help you on your way.”
Was it possible that I could be communicating with my dead uncle? Aunt Avril always claimed to speak with him. I had learned not to doubt what others couldn’t see.
Theron sat back on the stool and I realized that my heart had slowed to its normal pace.
“I wonder. How is it that after all this time, you know that I am here?” His blue plaid work shirt and jeans faded and came back in focus. I squinted to see him in the dark.
“I don’t know. Aunt Avril told me that I can see what others can’t. Maybe that’s why I can see you.” Theron’s form wavered around the edges until I could only make out the outline of his cowboy hat in the dark.
“Ah, you are a discerner. Only those who are in possession of this rare gift are able to see the potential hidden in others.”
I had never thought of it that way. “How come I’ve never been able to see you before?”
“I have so much to tell you.” Theron started toward me and then he was gone. It was like he had evaporated right in front of me. I stepped forward and his image came back. “Maybe together we can make things right—”
Before I could ask Theron what he meant, he disappeared altogether, leaving me alone again in the kitchen.
About the Book
A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery’s family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn’t think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.
When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities.
After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened. When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy.
A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery. Find it on…
About the Author
EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt Blog Stops
Here’s the schedule for the EuphorYA Scavenger Hunt. Each blog stop features exclusive content from one of our authors as well as a giveaway. Collect the blue / red / pink colored words to make the daily secret phrases. Then enter for your chance to win the Grand Prize Giveaway–$75 Amazon / Nook gift card (first prize only), books and swag (first, second and third prizes).
Day One Stops, Friday ,June 20 – Blue Phrase
Day Two Stops, Saturday, June 21 – Red Phrase
Day Three Stops, Sunday, June 22 – Pink Phrase