If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I am super-glad I started a blog, just so I could enter Rebecca Enzor's Pony Fest. haha. Fair warning before you read any further. My daughter, Kassidy, and I had a ton of fun with this contest, but it's possible we got a wee bit carried away. We worked on our pony for a couple days. I must give Kassi the credit for drawing Pony Cacee,  but I helped paint everything.

Although everyone on my blog knows about my book, "AGAINST THE FALLING MOONS" I actually entered a pony from my original manuscript, "SKIPPING TIME."

Book description:

When Cacee and her best friend, Jess,  somehow fall through a painting that skips them from the mountains of North Carolina to the bowels of New York City—and sixteen years into the past—Cacee discovers that Jess is far from the “straight A Eagle Scout” he’s pretended to be. Instead, he’s a street-smart delinquent who picks pockets and wins knife fights with equal aplomb. As Cacee and Jess struggle to stay alive long enough to return to their own time, she must decide if a thief and a liar can be trusted with the biggest thing he’s ever stolen—her heart.

Throughout Skipping Time, Jess and Cacee  continuously encounter a painting called, "The Hollow." It's a picture of a enchanted glade with a Magnolia tree. Because of this, we decided Pony Cacee should be in "The Hollow."

We painted her pearly white, because Cacee in my book has pale skin and long, dark hair she usually hides behind. Her eyes are a purplish blue.

In this close-up, you can  see the clock on Cacee. The numbers are backwards, symbolizing the fact that her and Jess travel back in time. She's wearing Jess's necklace.  She also has a slingshot on her front leg, because she's awesome with her slingshot. Her wings symbolize her "flight" through time.

One more pic here, cause I couldn't resist how her wings were shining in it. 

There is actually a scene in my book, that fit  perfectly.  If you're still reading at this point, I hope you like it. :)

This time Jess felt no pain, just the surge of his power, rising. The petals coating the ground floated upwards as the blossoms from the tree floated down. In seconds the air was thick with flowers that dipped and twirled like exotic butterflies.
 Cacee's eyes shone--twilight-blue against the ivory of her skin.  Her lips were the same shade as the Magnolia blossoms that lit in clusters throughout her dark hair. She looked like one of those old black and white photos that’s been tinted with color.
 When she smiled at him, Jess felt his heart swell.  The tree responded by shaking off another gentle snowfall of pink that landed on Cacee's shoulders and in her lap, her hair and her hands.  Sitting in the enchanted glade , clothed in flowers, she was so beautiful it hurt.
Despite all that had happened, Jess found he could still smile. “There. Now you can’t say I’ve never given you flowers.”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy News and Fall Into Reading

So, today was a very good day. First of all, I made it over one-hundred followers. Woo-hoo!! My blog has been up less than a month, so this feels like a big accomplishment. I will be having some kind of 100 follower giveaway. I promise I will post the details on soon, but I'm still thinking of some cool way to say THANK YOU GUYS!!

Also, earlier tonight, I made it into the top two final kissing scenes over at LUV YA. Next week me and other final "Kissing" entry go head to head with the "Kiss Off" entries. I'm SO excited. I can't believe I made it this far. Thanks to everyone who voted for me.

And, it was an awesome day because H (my husband) bought me the cutest golden snitch earrings along with a golden snitch necklace to match. He is awesome!!

So, now that my happy news is out of the way, I'd like to post my "Fall into Reading" list. This is a challenge hosted over at Callapidder Days. I'll let you guys head over there to read the details, since I don't want to inadvertently break blogger etiquette rules. I read about someone doing that the other day and realized I've come perilously close a couple of times now. Oops!

So, here are the books I hope to read from now through the first day of winter.  I really want to complete this challenge because I set another goal for myself in January, to read 100 books this year and I have fallen pretty behind. I think reading is truly the best path to becoming a better writer. It's easy to get caught up in blogging, tweeting, revising, critiquing etc...and forget to make time. So no more! I am going to post twenty books, so I can pick and choose. I'm challenging myself to read twelve of them by Dec. 21

The Perks of Being a Wallflower I'm the only person in the whole YA world who hasn't read this

The Shining One of the only Stephen King books I have yet to read.

The Demon Trappers Daughter This one has been on my TBR list for way too long.

A Beautiful Evil I read the first book (Darkness Becomes Her)  and really liked it. Not sure why I keep putting off the sequel. 

Girl of Nightmares I loved Anna Dressed in Blood so I'm super excited for this one. 

Torn  If I like it I will continue with the next two books in the series, Tangled and Bound.

A Need So Beautiful If I like this, I will continue with A Want So Wicked

Reached The final book in the Matched series. It's coming out Nov. 13th YAY

UnWholly I loved Unwind, so I can't wait to read this!

What's Left of Me I've been following Kat Zhang's blog since I heard about this book. The concept is amazing and I'm psyched to read it. 

Beautiful Chaos  I was waiting to read this until Beautiful Redemption came out. I didn't want to wait forever between the two books. Since Beautiful Redemption comes out Oct. 23 I can safely read this one now. :)

Days of Blood and Starlight. This is coming out of Nov. 6th and I CAN'T WAIT

Destroy Me This comes out Oct. 2nd. It's a novella set in Warner's POV--from Shatter Me. Since that was one of my favorite books,  I'm really looking forward to it. 

The Evolution of Mara Dyer I wasn't as crazy about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer book as the rest of the YA world, but I definitely liked it enough to want to read the sequel, which is coming out Oct. 23

Pushing the Limits I'm not normally too much of a contemporary reader but, for some reason, I am dying to read this book. There have been a few contemporaries that I've truly loved, (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Anna and the French Kiss come to mind, so I'm hoping I'll like this as much!)

So that's it. Phew. My whole list.  Anyone else out there plan on doing the challenge? I'm trying to do this and Nanowrimo this year, so I think I've lost my mind. ;)

As far as what I've recently read, I just got done Angelfall and it was AMAZING. Like, the most amazing book I've read since Hunger Games. I loved it. Can't wait for the next one!! Anyone looking for an action-packed thrill ride with just enough romance to keep you wanting more, pick this book up!!

Let me know if you've loved/hated anything on my challenge list. Especially if you hated it. WARN ME NOW!! haha.  And please tell me what you're reading!! Books are my number one fave thing to talk about. :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Infernal Devices Craft and fun story about the amazingness of Cassandra Clare

Hi guys!

I have a cool story I wanted to tell about one of my all time favorite writers-- Cassandra Clare. Right around this time last year, Cassie had a contest for a signed ARC of Clockwork Prince. The point of the contest was to make something (a book cover, a video, song, dance, drawing, poem etc...) literally anything creative that showed how much you love the book, "Clockwork Angel." 

My son and I both entered. (Along with a TON of other entries)  Unfortunately, something went wrong with the site that was hosting her contest, so--even though I got the entries in on time--the hosting website marked them as past the cut-off date. Cassandra Clare never even saw them.

I'd worked hard on my entry, which I'm getting ready to show you in a few minutes.  But, Chance's (my son's) was on a whole different level. He'd spent weeks filming himself with the book in places he wasn't  supposed to be--a concept only a teenage boy could come up with. haha.

 I ended up writing to Cassie Clare, explaining the situation, and asking her if she could watch Chance's video. At that point, the prizes had already been announced. I explained that I wasn't trying to be a complaining parent and I understood the mix-up wasn't her fault. I didn't want her to re-vote on the contest or something. I just wanted Chance to know that his favorite author had at least seen the contest entry he'd worked so hard on. I sent her the link.

I got this email back from her ten minutes later:

Dear Tammy,

You are absolutely right. It did look like the video came in after the cutoff date. 

And you are also right. It is a fantastic video. Chance clearly put a huge amount of effort into it and I'm glad you called my attention to it. It deserved a first prize and it should get one.

I've edited the post that states the winners and I will figure out *some way* to get him a copy of the new book if I have to print it out myself!

And don't worry, you don't sound complainy. Sometimes moms think the things their kids do are fantastic just because they are their moms. Sometimes they're right. :)


Chance was SO happy. This all happened a year ago, but I really wanted to put it on my blog now that I finally have one. 

So--without further ado--here is the  video that ended up winning first place in Cassie's ARC contest! If you take a couple minutes to watch, you should really put it on full screen, otherwise you miss a lot of the cooler details.

Below, I put a lot of pics of my contest entry. I didn't ask Cassie to look at that one (I didn't want to sound too pushy. haha) So I don't think she ever even saw it because of the mix-up with the host site. But that's cool, cause I had fun making it and now it's hanging on my wall and it inspired me to make more. I want to eventually have different book canvases all over my bedroom. So, this is my first one. 

 I don't know how much detail you can see, but it's very steampunk. It's got all the clocks around it. The writing in the middle is from a poem about the Thames River that the book started with. The entire book, I was so immersed in London I could practically feel the rain dripping off the pages. Since the Thames is such an integral part of that atmosphere, I wanted to include the poem --and also, the blue on the bottom represents the river itself. The skyline is London. Then there is Will on one side, Jem on the other. The clock has Tessa's face and the clock hands are pointing to either boy. 

This is a closer view of Jem's side. You can see a hint of the box he keeps his medicine in. I actually researched how the box was described in the book and found a picture of it online. the sliver stuff around Jem is--of course--the drugs. If you look closely, you can see that Jem is holding his violin and his hair is silver.

Below is a close up of Tessa's clockwork angel necklace and Jem's Kwan-Yin box.
Below is a  close-up of Will's side. If you look, you can see the  cup that is traditionally used in churches. The water splashing down from the cup and around Will is, of course, holy water. Anyone who's read the books will get the reference

Below is a closer shot of the ouroboros--the two headed snake eating itself. In this picture, it's surrounding a few things. One is a mirror with a question mark on it. As Tessa has her ability to transform, this felt like a fitting symbol for her. The other things are the items Tessa  used to transform with throughout the course of the story.

One: The pink hair-ribbon from the Emma

Two: Jessamine's ring

Three: Camille's necklace. You can't see it in this picture but I put the words that are engraved on Camille's ruby necklace around the necklace I made. It was nowhere near as fancy, but it got the point across.

This is just a closer shot of the clock with Tessa on it.

All the clocks, the ouroboros, the clockwork angel, the roses, the river and most of the gearwork surrounding the picture were crafted from clay, baked, painted, decoupaged and shellacked.


P.S. I'm still in the kissing scene contest over at LUV YA  If you haven't voted yet, please go over there. This is the second to final week. If I make it through this week, I go against whoever won the Kiss Off contest. I'm super excited to have made it this far so please vote. I can't tell you which one is mine, but I can hope it's good enough for you to pick it on your own!! :)

P.S.S. Also, I didn't even really make a respectable showing in the Ghostly Blog Hop. Sniff. Anyone who hasn't read BEYOND and would like to leave their vote on it, that would be awesome. The contest only goes on until the thirtieth. I don't expect to win, but I don't want to be crushed. Please help me out and vote!! haha

P.S.S.S. Lastly, I'm still offering free first page critiques for anyone who goes over to I AM ALWAYS WRITE  to congratulate my critique partner on getting signed. YAY for Karen!!! If you'd like to put a congrats post up for her on your own blog, I'll critique your first chapter. :) If you'd like to know why you want a critique from me, click HERE. on. If you go over to her blog and leave a comment there, make sure to tell me if you want a critique. You can send your first page to tamaradwalsh  "at" yahoo "." com

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Today I have a HUGE announcement!

My critique partner, the amazingly wonderful, hugely-talented and all around awesome KAREN DENISE just got signed to SHELDON FOGLEMAN AGENCY in New York!!!!

Karen has worked so hard for this!  She runs a blog, I AM ALWAYS WRITE but she got away from it for a few months so she could really focus on her writing. (We all know what that's like). The announcement that she's been signed came out on her blog today, but I don't think many people saw it.

So, here is what I'm going to do. For anyone who goes to Karen's Blog, follows it, and leave a comment offering her congratulations, I'll critique your first page. If you're wondering why you'd want a critique from me, go HERE.

So, just go to Karen's Blog, leave a comment, and then leave a comment on this blog letting me know you did it. You can email me your first page at tamaradwalsh 'at' yahoo '.' com.

For the first five people who put up a congratulations announcement for Karen on your own blog, (please link it back to hers as well) I'll do  a five-page critique. Just leave a comment below with the link to your blog. I know I can't offer anything amazing like the Shelli Larson "Bigger than A Shopping Mall" giveaway. But that's what Karen deserves. So, I'm going to do what I can to give her a small celebration.

Again, I just can't take on more than five first-five page critiques, but anyone else who wants to offer Karen congratulations on their own blog just to be nice, that would be awesome!!

 Let's get together as a community and spread the word. Karen didn't know anyone. She queried and got rejected and etc...etc...We all know the drill. She was found out of the slush pile. And if it can happen to her, it can happen to you. Or me. Or any of us. So, lets show one of our own some love!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Holy crap! I made it through the first round!! HELP!!!

I am so excited right now. I entered way too many contest this month and they must've jumbled together in my mind because I got totally confused on what was happening. I knew the Agent Pitches were going up in groups of forty, but I thought they were going up once a week on Deana's site, instead of all at once on different sites. So, I had NO idea my pitch was up HERE. Haha. I'm kind of glad I didn't know and couldn't sweat it.

Anyway, so I got the email tonight saying I'd made it through the first judging round and I was like "Whaaaaaaaaat???" So, I hunted down the website my pitch is up on and I actually got great feedback from the judges, except for that they all pretty much suggested that I don't have Luc waking up.

 Funny, because I'd already changed the beginning, but I wasn't positive about using the new one. I JUST wrote it and it hasn't been critiqued or anything. I was sort of just playing with the idea of this whole new beginning, but now I have to change it right away. Plus, I'm really worried that the new 150 words doesn't have as much voice as the old 150 did.

So, I know  I'm being a pain in the butt, but I SWEAR I will return the favor to whoever asks. :) What I need to know is this--which opening do you guys like better? I have until tomorrow night to get this back and perfect for the next round of the contest. 

The NEW 150: 

High above me, the glow of the ThriceMoon is being replaced by the glare of the rising sun. I let out a curse and push my feet faster over the worn cobblestone. I cannot believe I was witless enough to fall asleep at Sin’s. If my father discovers I stayed out all night...I shake my head. No
I will not get caught. My father will let me Test today. I will be on the Mission to Auri's world tonight. I repeat these three things again and again, my breath puffing in the cold morning air. The blue stretch of valley slowly brightens as the sun continues to labor across the horizon. I clutch the cramp in my side, scowling. I told Sin my suspension board wasn’t fast enough to triple flip. I warned him but he never listens. Now I get the joy of discovering how hard it is to run home from his lodge.

The OLD 150

Outside the window, the glow of the ThriceMoon is being replaced by the glare of the rising sun. Deep in a daydream about Auri, it takes me a few seconds to understand what's happening. The sun? Cursing, I bolt upright from the hard floor. The low rumble of Sin's snores fills the room. I scramble to my feet and punch his arm. "Sin!Blast it.Sin! Wake up!" I wave my hand, as if I can physically brush away the black-emotion trails floating around me.
On his bed, Sin jerks as his eyes fly open. "I wasn't with that girl." 
This earns him another punch. "I'm not one of your girls, dolt. We lost track of the hour. Look!" I point out the window that takes up the whole west wall of Sin's bedroom. Beyond it, the blue stretch of valley is brightening as the sun peeks over the horizon. 
So, any opinions? Did you like the new one? Old one? Any suggestions on how to make the new one better? Does it need to be better or did I get it perfect? (haha. It doesn't hurt to hope, right?) Thanks so much everyone. I know this is totally past the whole pitch-polish thing, but it's an emergency!!

Anyone looking for fresh eyes on your first chapter?

Okay. I swore  I wasn't going to blog today, so I could spend the whole day working on rewrites. I changed my mind. haha.  But, before I go into what this blog is about, if you want to read my entrance into the Ghostly Flash Fiction Blog Hop (please read and vote!!) click HERE.

If you want to enter my drawing for a critique on your first twenty-five pages, click HERE. I'll post the winner at noon on Friday.

Okay. Now that's out of the way, here is my situation. I (very responsibly I might add) spent most of the day writing. I ended up combining the first and third chapter of my book to make a new beginning. However, having done that, I have NO idea if it works. I was doing this on the awesome advice of my critique partner, so you'd think I could just ask her opinion. However, she's been reading my book. She knows my characters, their problems and the world I've created. Therefore, I'm not sure she'll be able to objectively say whether the beginning gives enough information to entice the reader--which is clearly what I'm going for. Or if it would just confuse the hell out of someone and make them put the book down. (NOT what I'm going for. haha)

So, I need a fresh set of eyes and I thought of my friends out in the blogging world. To me, beginning a book is harder than anything else. Drawing someone into your world and making them want to keep reading about it is a huge challenge. Therefore, I'm guessing I can't be the only one having this problem. If anyone else out there wants to trade first chapters with me, that would be great! (Mine is thirteen pages, so if yours is way shorter than that, feel free to send me two chapters)

I'd prefer someone who's done some critiquing but, mostly, all I really need is a fresh set of eyes. I need to know if my beginning makes sense or if it throws you into the story too abruptly. I'd like someone who could get this back to me fairly quickly (within two days or so)  and I'll do the same for you.

 I'm not looking for line edits, and I don't really have time to do that for someone else, cause I already have a few people I'm working with. I just need an overall opinion on whether the first chapter makes you want to read more or just confuses you. Also, if  it does confuse you, please don't just say, "CONFUSING!" Tell me what parts don't work. If you have a suggestion on fixing whatever is confusing, that would be great too.

So, that's it. Any takers? Also, while you are here--How do you guys handle this problem? Any easy tricks for instantly drawing someone into your story? TELL ME!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ghostly Blog Hop and Reader Appreciation

Okay, so I have a couple things to blog about today. The first is to ask my amazing followers (and anyone else who wanders by) if you could do me a giant favor and pretty please check out my flash-fiction Ghostly Blog Hop entry: BEYOND. I haven't written flash fiction before and I found it to be very challenging. I wasn't sure if the story would be confusing since I didn't have many words to fully explain stuff, so I really wanted to get some writerly opinions on it. I also really need some votes in the contest!! haha It's a blog hop, so feel free to check out the other entries. But, if you like mine, just leave the word "VOTE" in the comment section under that post. Thanks everyone!!

And, secondly, I was nominated for the Reader Appreciation Award. Not once, but twice. Yay! The first nomination came from the very sweet Mere Joyce. She's a librarian, which automatically makes her amazing. The second is from Rhiann Wynn-Nolet who runs, "A Nest of Words" and has the best quote on her site about stories being like little birds. Love it. If you haven't seen their sites, make sure to check them out!

I'd also like to say that I wish I could give an award to every single person who has stopped by this blog. I haven't had it up for long and you guys have been SO amazing and made me feel so welcome in the blogging community. Thank you!!

So, in order to participate in this award, there are some rules:

  • Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you
  • Add the reward logo to your blog
  • Tell your readers seven things about yourself
  • Nominate 5-10 of your favorite bloggers for this award.
  • Inform your nominees you nominated them.
And now that all that is done, here are some random things about me:

I have four dogs. Mouse, the American Eskimo. Elvis the Lab. Squishy the American Bulldog. Slightly the chihuahua

 I also have five cats. Chairman Meow (anyone who has read The Mortal Instruments will know why),  Frazel-Nutter-Butter-M.-Squigglytail (It's best not to even ask), Izzy Jelly Belly, Dr. Friendlypaws, and James.

 I love decoupaging things. If you stand in the same spot long enough in my house I will cover you with glue and stick pretty pictures to you.

I love Disney and Harry Potter!!!

I recently celebrated my twenty-five year wedding anniversary to the most amazing guy on the planet.

 H (for husband) and I met in  juvie when we were fifteen. Being "troubled" kids really worked out for us. hehe

Besides being a mother and a wife, the most-important thing about me is that I'm a writer.

 And that's it!! Thanks for reading guys. My nominees for this award are:

 Karen Denise at "I Am Always Write" She hasn't gotten a chance to blog as much lately, but Karen is awesome and definitely deserves an award!! 
Elizabeth Kaufman at Fairbetty's World  I started following her blog really recently but she just hit her hundred followers mark, which seemed worth an award. Congrats on your followers Elizabeth!
To Alex at "A Novel Journey" for saying the perfect thing to help fix my first 150 words
To gailcn over at Writing and Stuff for giving awesome query advice
To Johana Vera at Bookworm's Multiverse for being one of the first people nice enough to help with my query! 
And, lastly to Jazdia at A Little Thing Called Writing just because she seems super nice

ALSO: I would like Heather M. Bryant at Into the Cuckoo's Nest to know I would've definitely given her the award, but I saw that someone else beat me to it. But she's been great! 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Critique Contest for GUTGAA'ers

Hi guys,

So, I've been having so much fun with GUTGAA and met so many awesome people that I wanted to give something back. Because of that, I'm offering a first twenty-five pages critique. In case you're wondering why you'd want to be critiqued by me, I ran a website, Chimera Critiques, where critiquing was all we did. We critiqued every genre, so I have experience across the board with that.  I also taught a high-school class on critiquing skills. I've have about thirty articles published in our local paper, (The GA Harbor Sound) and have been published in Woman's World Magazine.

If you want to enter all you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment on this post!! I'll be announcing the winner on Friday.

In the meantime, if you want, you can check out my Favorite Genre Blogfest entry and my Ghostly Flash-Fiction. I know the Flash Fiction one is still accepting entries, so if you're interested, check out the link in my post.

Favorite Genre Blogfest

So two blog hops in one week. Yay! Here's my entry in the GHOSTLY FLASH FICTION blog hop. :)

But for now...

Favorite Movie Genre: 

This one actually threw me. I made a list of some of my favorite movies. Gladiator. The Little Princess. Moulin Rouge. Fight Club. Hmmmm...try to pick a genre out of there. haha. So, after much thought, I finally decided that if I like one certain genre more often than other's it would have to be...(drumroll)

(Since I couldn't find a picture of a bunch of good comedies, I just put some of my faves)

ADDENDUM: Okay, I've been hopping around on the blogfest all day and, aftger seeing some other people's choices I realized I lied. haha. I couldn't, in good conscience, choose comedies as my favorite. They are absolutely tied with animated movies, especially anything of the Disney variety. (Tangled is one of my new obsessions) There's just nothing like a good animated film! Sorry for cheating and adding two genre's of movies, but Alex gave me an impossible choice!!

Favorite Music Genre:

Easy Enough...Indie Rock 

Favorite Book Genre: 

No contest. YA all the way!!!

Favorite Guilty Pleasure in Music:

Any song by Taylor Swift

So, that's it for me! For anyone nice enough to read this far, this is the third week in the kissing scene contest over at LUV YA. I made it to the top four!! Yay!! If you could take a second to go vote for your favorite scene (and I'll just hope you pick me!) that'd be great!!

So, how about it guys? What are your favorite books, music, movies??

Ghostly Flash Fiction Blog Hop...Don't forget to vote.

So, I think blog-hops are a ton of fun, and a great way to meet new people. When I saw Jessa Russo's "Ever" Flash-Fiction Blog Hop, I entered without even thinking. First of all, you can win the book. Who doesn't want a story about a girl and a ghost falling in love, right? Especially since we're getting close to Halloween. The fact that some other awesome prizes are up for grabs just made it better.

Sadly, I never considered that I'd actually have to WRITE flash-fiction about a ghost. haha. To someone who struggles with too-long word count on a daily basis, writing a thousand word story was a huge challenge. It took me ages to get something I liked. Hopefully you guys like it too.

This is a blog hop (I may have mentioned that) and people have to vote for their favorite entries. To vote, just leave the word VOTE in the comment section. haha. Easy enough, right? The blog hop list is at the end of this post, so be sure to check out everyone's entries. Thanks guys!

Anyway, I hope you like meeting Jack and Mori as much as I did. So here it is--my first foray into flash fiction: 


My father is obsessed with where people go after death. He swears Heaven and Hell are legends of parallel worlds. He claims the energy released during death propels a soul into the world beyond this. He thinks if he traps that energy, he can travel worlds without the inconvenience of dying.  He experiments on the most vulnerable souls—ones with no shields. Ghosts.  

 “Morrigan-Persephone! I said get my voltage-amplifier!” 

I frown at my full name. Like naming me after the goddess of death wasn’t bad enough without tacking on Hades bride. Someday, when I’m free, I’ll only answer to the nickname he hates.  Mori.

At my desk in the corner of the cavernous lab, I deliberately knock my schoolwork to the floor. 

My father mutters, “Clumsy bitch.” 

I crouch, slowly gathering my things. My eyes flicker to the tiny plexiglass room in the lab’s center. White candles and salt encircle it. Ghost prison.

Behind the plexiglass walls, Jack watches me.  Contrary to beliefs, ghosts aren’t transparent. Except for radiating a soft luminescence, Jack is just a hot seventeen-year old guy.  Dark, perpetually-mussed hair and eyes the color of He’s still in the torn jean-jacket he’s been wearing since his motorcycle skidded off the bridge.

His voice fills my mind. “Get him the amp.” I shake long blond hair over my bruised cheek, hiding what happens when I don’t obey my father. Jack bangs on the glass. “It won't hurt me.It's okay.Please, Mori." He can't be sure about that, but I reluctantly stand.

All ghosts sound different. The angry ones hurt, like knives carving my mind. The sad ones are like prickly burrs. The lost--icy water. But Jack…Jack’s all summer.  

“Godamn it, Morrigan!”

I hurry to hand my father his voltage-amplifier. He snatches it, glaring. His latest experiment involves slamming electricity through Jack.

 Returning to my desk, I glance at Jack's cell. Nobody else would see him huddled in the corner. They’d see an empty room.

My father loves bragging that his experiments on my mother during her pregnancy made me into his secret weapon. He doesn’t care that my mother died from his experiments. He cares that I’m “extraordinary.”

 I see ghosts. Hear them. I sense when someone’s dying. I find my father souls. Even knowing ghosts feel pain, knowing how many disintegrate after my father’s experiments, I’m too scared to refuse. I’m as bad as him.

My father stands. Thin and balding, he appears harmless--except for he’s holding something like electrified prongs. As he approaches the glass room, Jack shuts his eyes.

With every step my father takes, I remember.

Jack in the hospital, his charcoal hair sketched across the canvas of bandages. He melted my defenses, even then.  I tried to stop my father from taking him. I woke in the lab, bloody and bruised. Jack was already behind glass. Dead-- his essence imprisoned. He still asked, “Are you alright?”

I pretended I couldn’t see him.

 Jack wouldn’t give up.  

Mid-way through the first week he was yelling in my head. “I know you hear me. I can tell!” By the end of the second-- begging. “Please? Just look at me, Mori.”

That’s what won me. Not Morrigan. Mori.

I remember Jack’s grin when I finally looked into his eyes. “There. Was that so hard?”

His dimple deepening when I answered, “You’re a pain in the ass.”

Over the months, Jack became my first friend. I finally tried stealing my father’s key to release him. It took weeks to recover from the beating. And somewhere in all that, our friendship became…more.

My father approaches Jack and something in me snaps.

Then I’m running, skidding on the linoleum. As my father steps into Jacks room, I crash into him. He stumbles as Jack yells, “Mori! No!”

But sixteen years of fury is exploding. Kicking, screaming, I grab for the glowing prongs.Everything happens so fast…

 My father jabs wildly with his weapon.

 Jack dives in front of me.

 The electrified-prongs pass through him...and slam into my heart.

Excruciating pain. Roaring pulse. Flash-grenades of memories and emotions that aren’t mine. My face hovers before me. But not the weak, bruised girl from my mirror. This girl has a bright smile, autumn-sky eyes, hair like sunlight. In Jacks eyes, this fearless girl is me.

I crumble. The pain slips into numbness. Calloused hands help me stand. Only…my body’s still on the ground. Strong arms surround me. “Don’t be scared.”

Jack’s breath is warm. He’s solid. Alive. I’m not.

He turns me. “Look.”

I gasp. An archway hangs in the air—showcasing a Technicolor world. Jewel-like birds trill in kelly-green treetops.  Puddles of rainbow flowers splash the emerald hills. Cobblestone ribbons unspool towards the horizon.  

 “We’re free, Mori.” We step towards the doorway together.

My father breathes. “It worked.”

 I turn back. He’s smiling fanatically. He doesn’t see his dead daughter--just the doorway.  In killing me, he finally opened it.

Jack and I move like one person. In some ways, we are. I feel his emotions, see his memories. When my father hit us with that current, We were hit with that current at the moment of my death. Some part of our souls…melded.  Jack loves me. It’s all I feel, all that matters.

To my father, we’re invisible. He steps towards the door. Jack and I thrust our hands towards him. The whole, “ghostly-moving objects” is crap. Ghosts don’t have enough life-energy to move dust. My father should walk right through us.

Instead, he flies backward, crashing to the floor. For a split-second, our eyes meet. Somehow, he sees me. I flip him off and slam the door. The handle melts. Maybe I am extraordinary.

My father screams.

 Jack laughs. “Nice! Now come on!”

As we step through the archway, it disappears. The grass is downy-soft. The air smells like I’d imagine starlight would. But I’m not looking around. I’m looking at Jack. He leans in. My whole world becomes his mouth, soft and hot against mine.