Have you ever been gifted with a book dedication? You know what I mean. The small blurb at the beginning of every book that the author has decided to dedicate their entire book to? Trust me, it’s no small feat to choose the reader, friend or family member to immortalize on the pages of an author’s novel. In fact, it’s tough. Don’t mention you-know-who and his or hers nose gets out of joint. The hackles go up and it is fodder for every family holiday or get-together around the dinner table. Ugh. It takes a lot of thought and soul searching to pick the right person (or people—hey even pets) to share the author’s ink. Where am I going with this? Keep reading…
Imagine my surprise—no my shock—when my publisher dropped by to deliver her latest book, Uncommon at my doorstep. Back story: I adore Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred’s Ismera fantasy romance series, and when the third installment of their series hit the shelves this fall, I told them to snag me a signed copy. So they did. When I opened the book, my jaw dropped, and I blinked over and over again, as I read…
‘For Sharon, Because you love this world almost as much as we do, even when we are sometimes cruel to your favourite character’.
I promptly closed my mouth, and stared at Justine. “Really?” I asked her point blank. “This is the best gift!” She blushed of course, as authors do, then smiled and nodded. I rushed in for the huge hug. Doing something as thoughtful as dedicating your book to someone special raises your vibration so high, it’s hard to get grounded. I finally did fall back to earth, and thanked Justine profusely. When she left to go do other publishing duties, I checked the acknowledgements, and for the second time that day, my jaw dropped. I was also mentioned in the book’s acknowledgement section too. Wow. Just wow. Up went my vibration again, as I tingled all over. My day had been made all that sweeter.
I know many of you may find this article lackluster, but it’s anything but dull. A book dedication is a BIG deal to a reader. So authors, in the future when you’re ready to figure out who to dedicate your book to or write up the acknowledgements, give it some serious thought. You may bring a wallop of sunshine into someone’s life in an unexpected way. And that’s not nothing.
Speaking of unexpected, I’ve been diligently working on the third installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. I’m not sure if I’m going to have it ready for publication in 2023 or 2024, but I thought I’d whet your appetite and share an excerpt with you. Hope it piques your interest!
Excerpt from Sticks and Stones:
“This isn’t fair! Life sucks!”
“If you think life sucks now, wait until you start shaving.”
Thane Berg knitted his fair brows and looked up at his so-calledfather; a man who had been a stranger to him for so long it was hard to tell whether they were from the same gene pool. Thane’s eyes were light blue. His father’s were dark brown. His skin was fair and freckled. His father’s was tan and rough. His hair was strawberry and straight. His father’s was curly and brown. Thane sighed. Nope. No resemblance, no mirror, no match. In Thane’s mind, this man was not his father.
Even Philip Berg’s attire couldn’t be more opposite. His plumber’s overalls—stained with the day’s work—clung to Phil like used toilet paper. Thane cringed and tugged at his red and white striped polo-style shirt, hoping Phil had at least washed his hands before preparing tonight’s supper. His nose wrinkled. He looked down at his bowl of mystery meat stew, and mashed what looked like potatoes and peas with his spoon, hoping to bring out some flavor.
“I started shaving last year,” Thane mumbled.
“Last year?” Phil laughed. “Didn’t you just turn fourteen in June?”
Thane banged the table with the palm of his hand. “Well maybe if you’d stayed straight instead of turning gay like you decided to five years ago, you’d know a hell of a lot more about what was going on in my life!”
Phil Berg winced as if he’d been stung by a swarm of wasps. He dropped his coffee cup, and it shattered across the hardwood flooring, sending ceramic bits rolling every-which-way.
A dog howled from outside the kitchen door. Thane jerked.
Phil rubbed his stubbly face and raked his curly hair. He slowly moved toward the side door, skirting around the bits of broken cup, and opened it. Even from his seat at the table, Thane could see the dog’s tail whipping wildly back and forth, back and forth, as if he had downed four tall energy drinks. The husky mix had been recently adopted from the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter as a present for him. Thane snorted. That was another thing his father didn’t know about him. He hated dogs. All dogs, but especially big dogs.
“Come here, Nobel, good boy.” Phil reached out to unlatch the dog’s rope from his collar, then stroked his big head.
Nobel whined, yipped, and ran straight to his food bowl. He wolfed it down as if it were his last meal.
“I want to go home, Phil,” Thane demanded, mashing his stew.
“You are home. And I’m Dad to you, not Phil.”
His voice was hard, unmoving, like he meant it.
Thane slouched. “Fairy Falls isn’t my home, it’s yours! Windsor is where I belong! If…if mom didn’t go on that stupid trip—”
“Your mother deserves that job promotion,” Phil cut in. “Writing is her passion, and when this opportunity from the newspaper came up for her, I advised her to take it. I told her it would give you and I some much needed time together.”
“Time together? I’m stuck here for a freaking year because of you! Did you even think of asking me?”
“Since I am your father, and I am still responsible for you, I didn’t see the point.”
Then, as Phil knelt down to pick up the fragments of his white mug, a sudden rage ambushed Thane. An electric jolt pierced through his body, and as he stared at this wanna-be dad, this out-of-the-closet, out-of-his-life misfit of a man, a stab of anger overrode his senses and infected his mind. Startled from this alien feeling, Thane inhaled fiercely, and as he did, a piece of porcelain flew up and punctured Phil’s right thumb.
“Oww! Son-of-a—” Phil started to curse, then stopped. Wincing, he dug the shard out and tossed it into the trash bin underneath the sink.
Shaken, Thane reached over and grabbed his can of orange pop. He guzzled it down in one gulp. Did what just happen, actually happen? Did I do that to Phil? Did I make that piece of cup move? Thane let out a loud, laborious belch. Hot gas bubbles burst in his nostrils and he cringed at the sensation.
His father scowled at him. “Don’t you have something to say?”
Thane pursed his lips. “I don’t see the point.”
Phil’s dark eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?”
Thane belched again. This one was slightly longer. “There. Excuse me.”
Phil shook his head. “I guess me and you are related after all.”
Thane’s face fell. “Huh?”
Phil grinned, turned around, and let thunder rip out of his back end. He waved his hand in the air. “Whew! That’s one that’ll make your eyes water!”
Thane smirked. “Don’t you have something to say?”
“How about, ‘I’ve missed you?’” a man blurted from behind Thane.
Thane jumped. He twisted in his seat to find a tall man leaning against the pine door frame. He was bulkier than his father, but just as tanned. His head was clean shaven, and his eyes were a shade of leafy green. He wore a uniform of a sort—a sky blue shirt with a company name stitched on it, and a pair of dark jeans. Thane squinted to read what was embroidered on his shirt. Cormack’s Crappers and Sanitation Service, he read. Thane rolled his eyes. Nice. Classy. Fairy Falls is looking better and better.
“Carter!” Phil opened his arms. “Of course I’ve missed you!”
Carter grinned and strode toward Thane’s father. Nobel barked, then growled. His ears went back, his hackles rose, his tail dropped. He looked like he was ready for a fight.
Carter backed off. “Whoa, where’d you get the mutt?”
“Nobel’s from the Animal Shelter. Meagan, a girl who works there, says he’s loyal and loves kids, so I figured he’d be a good match for Thane.”
“Nobel, eh? With a name like that you’d think he’d be pure bred. What is he? Husky? Doberman? Shepherd?”
Phil laughed. “All of the above I suppose, and maybe more. Whatever he is, he seems okay with it.”
Thane stared at Nobel for a few moments. His mix of brown, grey, and black fur had relaxed somewhat and his ears moved forward. He sniffed, whined, then looked directly at him. The dog’s light blue gaze struck Thane, penetrated him as if he were sitting on the chair completely naked. He shuddered as Nobel let out a yip and sauntered slowly over to him. His wet, cool nose poked Thane under the arm. He licked his elbow. Thane shuddered again. Maybe if I ignore the dog he’ll go lay down.
“Well, at least the dog seems to like Thane,” Carter said. He held out his hand and walked toward the kitchen table. “Hey, Thane, I’m Carter Cormack, your father’s—”
“Whatever,” Thane cut in, attempting to suppress his feelings, his voice, his emotions. “Don’t care. Don’t want to know the details.”
Nobel growled again. Carter withdrew his hand and backed off.
“Thane, that’s rude!” Phil shouted, wagging his finger.
Thane shrugged. “At least I didn’t growl at him.”
Nobel wagged his tail. He nudged Thane again, but he pushed the dog away.
“It’s okay, it’s no big deal, Phil. Thane just needs to get used to the idea of us, that’s all,” Carter said, winking at Thane’s father.
Intense heat flushed through Thane’s body. “Fine. Get used to this!” He hurled his bowl of stew at Cormack.
Splat! The stew hit the front of Carter’s uniform and rolled down the length of his pants to land on a pair of polished cowboy boots. The bowl, however, hit his prominent chin and rolled into the next room. Nobel barked. He bolted for the stew casualties strewn across the length of the floor.
“Thane!” Phil’s face reddened. “How dare you!”
Carter held up a hand. “Don’t, Phil! I’m fine. Your son needs time. It’s a big adjustment for him. I’ll let myself out. Call me later.”
Thane frowned, as Carter Cormack wiped any remnants of stew stuck to his shirt before he slowly backed out of the kitchen, with one eye on Nobel, and the other on Thane. He heard his father mutter something obscene before he went off after the man who—in Thane’s mind— was public enemy number one.
Thane strangled the spoon still in his hand. Thoughts of his father and Cormack embracing out of his sight, making up like couples do, entered his mind. His mother was supposed to be in his father’s arms, not this other man, this stranger, this home-wrecker. But no. The fantasy was gone. This was Thane’s reality. A broken reality.
Suddenly, that odd sensation returned inside him. Engulfing him, enraging him. Sweat blistered through his skin and ran down his face. What only could be described as an electric shot flowed through him again, making his hand shake and teeth rattle. Nobel whined and Thane glanced down at his hand. The spoon he was still holding bent backward in front of his eyes, almost melting in his grasp. Freaked, he threw it down on the table and pushed away. He stood, wiped his face roughly with the cloth napkin, and then dropped it on the floor. He knew he hadn’t imagined it. He couldn’t have. The evidence was laying on the table—bent, distorted, out of shape.
His stomach churned. What’s happening to me?
“I’ll call you tomorrow, Carter!” Thane heard his dad yell from outside.
Panicking, Thane lunged for the spoon and stared at it. As heavy footsteps entered the kitchen, Thane twirled around and hid the twisted spoon behind his back. His breathing steadied as his dad leaned into the door frame much as Cormack had earlier. He crossed his muscled arms over his big chest and stared at Thane. His face was stone, his jaw set. It was the perfect poker face if they’d been playing cards. But this was far from a card game, and Thane badly needed an ace up his sleeve.
Phil raised a dark brow. “What are you hiding behind your back?”
“Nothing,” Thane lied.
“If it’s nothing then show me.”
Thane twisted his lips. “No. I’m good.”
Phil sighed. “Well, I’m not. Look, Thane, at some point this year, you’re going to have to learn to trust me. I’m your father, and I love you despite what your opinion of my lifestyle is, which by the way is not a choice. I am who I am. I stand in my truth. My only hope is that someday you’ll come to understand this, and stand in your own truth.”
Thane bit down on his bottom lip. His father didn’t sound as mad as Thane thought he would be. In fact, he appeared quite calm despite what had occurred. A sudden jolt ran through him. The feeling wasn’t as intense as the last two times. It seemed different. Peaceful. Serene. True.
Roused from his thoughts, Thane stared at his father. “Well what?”
“What are you hiding behind your back?”
Thane shrugged. If he wasn’t going to get into trouble throwing stew at Cormack, then it was a sure bet he wouldn’t get into trouble for a bent spoon. He would just have to come up with a good fib on how he bent it.
Ideas rolled around in his head. Maybe I can somehow blame Nobel?
Jolted, Thane jumped, and swung his hand around to reveal the spoon.
“You were hiding…a spoon?”
Thane stared at the spoon too, his eyes wide.
It was straight. Back to normal. Perfect.
If you’ve never read my teen psychic mystery series, below are the books and links that are available for purchase so far:
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:
Thanks for stopping by to celebrate the first post of 2023! Authors, do you give a lot of thought when choosing who to dedicate your book to? Readers, have you ever had an author dedicate one of their books to you? If so, how did you respond? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you!