YA Author Series - Author Spotlight: M. Wednesday

M. Wednesday

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Three Things About Me and Why I Write:

I’m 25, and as a housewife, I’ve been pursuing my career as a full-time writer for the past three years.

When I’m not writing, I’m drawing, playing guitar, skateboarding, entertaining my dogs, or taking care of my plants, or fish tanks. (I have a lot of plants – they’re all tropical and they hate Connecticut winters.)

I’ve always been a writer.  

My dream since second grade was to be an author, and my husband has helped me pursue that dream to the highest degree. I always felt like words and books were just my element. Since very little, I’d find happiness in daydreams and bringing them to life through spiraled bound notebooks. Simply, I write because the people living in my head need their story told.

The Story . . .

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Moon Reign is my first real book – a full length novel where I’ve thrown my whole soul into it. It revolves around nineteen-year-old Drystan and his dragon, Soren, and how they witness what is said to be known as The Birth of a Unicorn the night prior to Soren’s unwilling farewell. For hundreds of years, unicorns, their magic, and their origins have been condemned to legend throughout the galaxy. Though Drystan has his doubts of this phenomenon, his urgent need to reestablish his father’s depleting health drives his faith towards the healing powers of star magic, the most dynamic force in the universe embedded in unicorns. However, they were not the only ones to have witnessed The Birth. Drystan determinedly leaves home in pursuit of it, and Soren, a kingdom away, endeavors to stop the new people in his life to abandon their obstinate desires in capturing the unicorn for themselves. 

Three Things to Know as You’re Reading…

  1. Drystan's father, Hamond, a wealthy landowner and owner of a dragon breeding business in Hardinggate, is battling failing health.

  2. All the while, Drystan is battling with Hamond's decision of selling four-year-old Soren for an extremely lavish price. Come morning, the Prince of Aledonia, the Elvish kingdom to the North, will have a dragon of his own…

  3. This is their final flight, their last moments together before daybreak disbands true friendship. But, it’s blessed with the light of a phenomenon, one that triggers Drystan to leave home in search of something that could cure his ailing father. 

Where Can You Find Me. . .  

There’s this coffee shop in Middletown, CT called Perkatory. I’m usually there with a turmeric latte… No, I’m playing. I’m active on Instagram @m.wednesday’s_inkwell. Once Moon Reign is published, which all my stars are aligned to hopefully be published by the end of spring/early summer 2019, my debut will be available on all indie author platforms. I’m aiming to have Moon Reign in a few local bookstores in my town that support indie authors, as well.

From . . . Moon Reign . . .

The sun had diminished to a bright orange streak, inky clouds crowning the sky. The cliffs called to them, as they always did. A place of silence and solitude. A place where flight broke free. 

Thundering waves attacked the rocks on a lulling metronome. Drystan’s attention folded to the looming castle behind… Nothing. No signs of movement. No wings rounding elegant towers. A sigh hopped him onto Soren’s back.  

Claws gripped the edge of the land, particles crumbling to hissing whitewash. This is it… this is… our last flight. He gulped down the impaling thought. But, you’re right beside me. And nothing in this moment could separate that. He inhaled the ocean breeze and all the scents carried within. Breathe. All he had to do was breathe and his wings would carry them away into the patient sky. Eyes fluttered open to clustered stars. The sky always understood, always waited. And, with a small confident leap… 

He dove.

Dove them into a time-stopping fall. Dove to abandon all despondent thoughts. The air, the rush, revived and renewed with fleeting euphoria. Oh, how he wished their fall could plummet them out of tomorrow’s sight. 

Parachute wings braced their fall, angling them with the land. Hardinggate’s dimly lit seafront came into view. Piers and ships along a cluttered boardwalk. The curve of lights along the coast. Up… Up, and over the city, wide easy arches combed velvety moonlight. Wings pivoted towards the black sea. There, still miles from the harbor, a triad of ships sailed towards land. 

Playful circles rounded above, swooping closer. 

With each.

Large. 

Bend. 

Coasting alongside their decks, wingtips smacked the waves between paralleled glides. Spray from the bowsprit blew with salty kisses. If anyone on board observed the dragon’s ballet at their port side, he didn’t know. And, if they hadn’t, they were too late. Soren surged upwards in a leisure spiral.  

He leveled on an air current, somewhere between planet and stratosphere. All was quiet, save for the occasional drum of his wings. Beyond, ocean and oxygen melted into abysmal darkness. Above, stars and distant galaxies seemed wet enough to smear, watercolor on canvas. Sceaobyss sliced through the masterpiece with its neon blue rings, Arigae’s tropical neighboring planet. Thin gridlines of starships, strung high past the moon, laced between the two planets. 

Their bond, fastened under the network of stars above, grounded deeper than the ocean below, could not be swayed even with approaching dread. Neither spoke. Words would not express the grief, the fear, that lay just beneath the surface of their bliss. And a satisfying silence capped their flight.  

Drystan released his grip, unbinding his hands from the leather straps, and sat upright. He kicked his shoes from the short stirrups, letting his legs hang casually. Heights inflicted no fear. Gaze meandered to the heavens. 

But, expectation was thwarted. 

He strained his eyes. Refocusing. Blinking. No, it was there. It was definitely there. Parting stars and atmosphere, a wispy pattern of dusty rose in its wake… “Soren, look.” He tapped the dragon’s neck… “Look up there. You see that?” …And Soren craned his eyes. Blackness was seared with a captivating streak of magenta light. A curious head-tilt angled Soren’s wings. “…What is it?” He tightly flattened into Soren’s ascent.   

 “I don’t know.” Hushed interest hooked in his rasp. “It looks like… a comet.” 

 “A comet? No, that’s too fast to be a comet.” Arigae welcomed it, magenta igniting to neon pink as it punctured another layer of sky. 

“Maybe a shooting star? I didn’t think there was such a thing as pink stars, though.”

 Reply came distantly. “… Neither did I.” 

And Soren’s giggle-snort came with delight. “It’s the Birth of a Unicorn.” 

Drystan shook his head at Soren’s reference to the fabricated children’s tales. “Right, that’s exactly what it is.” Pink gaseous trail smudged in its wake. But, the bedtime stories he’d heard growing up… The stories of legend and magic and brave hunters who fought the most powerful unicorns into extinction… They watched neon-rose slowly dissolve into space, following until the East swallowed it up. “Who’s to say they even existed in the first place?”  

 “Well, I think they were real,” Soren muttered. 

 “Horned space horses. Known as the only creatures to possess star magic, whose one desire was to bring love and peace to the galaxy, devoured under man’s blade and never to be seen again. Right.” 

 “Oh, c’mon. Remember Hamond telling us those stories that one winter? We were little, but –”

 “You were little. He was telling you those stories.”          

 “How did it go? Something that they were all stars…?” 

“That unicorns were mere stardust. And, when they died here in our world they would return to the stars, to be reborn in another. Yeah. Something like that. You know how it goes. I’m sure every kid grew up hearing the same stories.” Recalling young nights by the fire with his father, a quilt and socks, a hot mug in chilled hands… “Even if they were real,” he huffed, thwarting memories, “They haven’t existed for hundreds of years. Hunters slaughtered ‘em all. Because, supposedly, they had the most powerful magic in all of creation. S’pose to be more mind-blowing than any magic. Even the Elves’ magic. Or, dragon magic.”   

“I don’t have any magic,” Soren answered flatly. 

“Well,” came a shrugged eye-roll, “Alright, wild dragon magic.”

 Soren pondered over denying words and old fables, all the while admiring where plunging magenta had scored the night. “I think it’s a legend,” he decided, a glimmer in his eye, “And, legends stemmed from truth at one point in time. Don’t you think?” 

A chuckling smile pushed dark hair from the wind. “Whatever you want to believe, Soren. That’s fine with me.” The last wisp of pink dust faded, blurred, and the night claimed its unknown destination.  

 

YA Author Series - Author Spotlight: Alison Aldridge

Alison Aldridge

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Tell us three things about who you are and why you write . . .

I am a natural redhead.  I drink a lot of tea and feel it can solve most problems.  I am a mum to a son, daughter and two pussy cats.

I write because when I don’t write I feel stressed. It is a release for me.  My imagination never switches off so if I don’t let it go somewhere it gets crowded in my head.  Sometimes, to sleep, I have to jot down ideas otherwise they keep me up all night.

Tell us about the story…

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Mariah has a magic-meddling mum, and about to discover she’s a storm summoning mermaid that needs to gain control of her emotion-connected powers ready for the impending battle with the powerful, unstoppable death crows!

What are three things you want us to know as we read?

You most likely think you are an ordinary human being but what if one day your ordinary life was turned upside down.  Everything is changing, you feel vulnerable and start crushing on your best friend. Do you peruse that romance knowing it could destroy your friendship or watch in agony as they get closer to someone else.  To make matters worse, imagine your emotions give life to your dormant supernatural abilities and you have no idea how to control them. This is what is starting to happen to Mariah.

Where can we find this story? Where can we find you?

Link Tree:  https://linktr.ee/redfae

Website:  https://allyaldridge.wordpress.com/

Wattpad: @redfae  https://www.wattpad.com/user/redfae

IG:  @redfae https://www.instagram.com/redfae/

Twitter:  @Fae7 https://twitter.com/Fae7

Goodreads:  Alison Aldridge https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8108229.Alison_Aldridge



From… Jewel of the Sea…

Splinters threatened my skin as my hands grasped the wood and pulled at the panel of cheap fencing to open a triangle at the foot. Once wide enough to fit through, I flattened myself to the ground. Using my elbows and hips I pushed my way past the rich scent of soil that warmed my heart and made me think of my best friend Jace.

Once through on the other side, I dusted the dirt off my knees. Jace's garden looked empty. My shoulder stung.  As I glanced to my left I saw where I'd caught myself on the fence. The scratch left a bright red line and blood smudged across onto my blue vest top. Mum would be mad. I licked my thumb and tried to rub it off.

"Aghhh!" I screamed as my body was shocked in an icy cold shower. I turned around to find Jace standing there with the garden hose in his hand, laughing his head off.

"Jace!" I yelled. We'd spent all summer hanging out, like always.

With a naughty glint in his eye, he lifted the hose and soaked me again.

"Cut that out!" I ran at him to pull the hose out of his hand. He dodged out of my way and ran past me. As I chased after him, round his garden, he kept spraying me over his shoulder. In the beautiful heat of the summer sun, I welcomed the refreshing relief.

Finally, trapping him by the shed, I grabbed the hose. He still wouldn't let go and as we wrestled over it, he kept managing to squirt my face. Using my fingers, I changed the direction of the water and got him back. He made a funny gurgling noise and laughed, shaking the water from his blonde mop of hair.

"That doesn't sound like my plants are getting watered!" Denny yelled from the kitchen window. His mum was younger than mine. She had delicate features and high cheekbones framed by her dark pixie cut.

"Sorry, mum," Jace yelled back. His lip curled on one side as he tried in earnest to appear sincere, "You need to let go so I can continue with my chores."

"No way," I giggled, knowing as soon as I let go, he'd spray me, "We'll just have to do it together."

We then started watering the plants together, both refusing to let go of the hose.

"This is stupid Mariah," His blue eyes twinkled. "It would be much quicker if you just let me do it."

"I know you too well, Jace." I grinned as I argued back. "Why don't you just let me do it?"

"I couldn't shirk my responsibilities like that." Jace countered.

"I really don't mind."  I felt him try to tip the hose up towards me. The water ran up the fence but I managed to stop him. "Cut it out, Jace?"

"Oops!" He said with humour, his eyes alive with merriment.

The afternoon continued with the same upbeat light-heartedness. We sat out in the sun, enjoying ice creams and chilled drinks. Little did I know that it would be one of the last days of carefree fun and games next-door.  It started with Denny arriving at our house without Jace. We always found excuses to hang out together, so it made me feel unsettled that he hadn't come over with her.

She'd come to see mum, but I hovered around the kitchen. Her eyes stared down into a mug of tea, slowly stirring her sugar spoon, her gaze lost in a deep spin of thought.

"Are you going to drink that or spit out what's on your mind?" Mum asked.

Denny sighed, "I was hoping you already knew."

Mum isn't like ordinary mums. She is that woman with dark flowing hair who tells fortunes at spiritual fairs.

I stood up on my tiptoes to reach the cake tin and helped myself to one of the buttercream cupcakes; a product of mum and Denny's Sparkle Cake home bakery business.

"Don't make me dig out my crystal ball..." Mum threatened Denny. Her tone made me think I'd been caught with my sugary delight. For a moment I paused, wincing as I waited for 'don't spoil your dinner' or 'stop eating our profits' but she was too focussed on Denny to notice me.

Denny took a deep breath like she was conjuring up the courage to speak. With an awkward smile on her face, she said, "Dave and I have found somewhere to live together, a home of our own." But her blue eyes shone, brimming with tears.

"That's great news." Mum cheered.

"But..."

"What is it, Denny?"

"We’ll no longer be neighbors and it's all the way over on the other side of town. I feel so conflicted. It's perfect but I'm gonna miss you guys."

Her words were like the icy shower from the hose but without the warm relief of the sun or uplifting sound of Jace's laughter.

"You can't!" I snapped. Jace was my life! I needed him close! I needed him next door! I no longer wanted the bun, it was too sweet and I cast it aside on the counter.

"The cakes?" Denny gasped realizing what I'd done.

Mum threw me a disapproving look, "Mariah, go get the washing off the line!"

I stormed out the kitchen through the back door of our small terrace house, slamming it shut behind me. Without bothering to unpeg the clothes from the line, I began pulling them free and dumping them into the laundry basket. This haphazard manner completed the task too fast and I wasn't ready to go back inside.

I snuck over to the fence looking for the loose panel and pulled... but it wouldn't move. Then, I saw the evil glint of a new nail, hammered in to keep the plank in place; Keeping me out. I kicked at it, hurting my foot.

I sank onto the grass, my back pressed against the fence.  As I gazed up towards Jace's bedroom window my heart felt like a rock, unpleasant and heavy in my chest. I was consumed by a sinking feeling as I realised he really was going and there was nothing I could do about it.  

Then, to make matters worse, the sky beautiful blue sky darkened.  Heavy rapid rain soaked through my t-shirt as I raced inside. I didn't stop in the kitchen with mum and Gwyn, I carried on up to my room.  I dropped onto my bed, laying on my back, staring out the window at the raging storm that felt as if it spoke to my soul, mirroring my anger.



#momlife, #writerslife

Humor me with a flashback: When I was thirteen I was positive I was going to be the next Emily Dickinson with the romantic idealism of wasting away in our farmhouse attic and writing poetry that would one day be famous.  The purpose of this flashback is to offer an anecdote to show I’ve been writing and have wanted to be a writer for a long time. I wrote my first story when I was eight, so writing is a formative experience on my timeline from then to the present. But this reflection isn’t so much about the past as it is about how it informs the present.

I was twenty-seven when I had my first child. A girl. Looking back, I’d only just slipped on my adult shoes: I’d been out of college for three years and just started my professional life as an educator. When she was born, remembering life before her was difficult because it felt like life had just begun.

My Baby Girl: she had attitude from the moment she was born.

My Baby Girl: she had attitude from the moment she was born.

I took a year off to be a stay-at-home mom. During that year, I got to know my daughter, and in between being exhausted and enamored, I wrote my first novel. It was a historical romance novel with an amnesia twist. (I know. I know. We all have to begin somewhere. It is in a drawer where it belongs). This milestone provided me the experience that I COULD be a mom, and I COULD write a book.

At twenty-seven, I was pretty sure I had it all together. I don’t remember thinking: I’m changed, but looking back, I see now I began to redefine myself. Maybe some mothers would say the redefinition begins during pregnancy, but in my experience, my shift toward motherhood was relegated to healthy choices and weight gain. I still felt like myself - only, slightly better. It was after Baby Girl was born motherhood began to reshape my identity. It shaved down my edges into a smoother more pliable version of myself. It challenged my perceptions and pushed me to learn and seek new understandings about previously held opinions. I began to understand what it means to be selfless.

As a writer, I am a self-centered person. Let me clarify: I don’t mean SELFISH. That’s different. I mean my focus is centered around whatever is happening in my head. I think most creatives and artists can relate. Becoming a parent insisted I reorient. My time was no longer my time alone.

My daughter took this of me - I was sitting at the computer attempting to write. This was about the fifth time she’d interrupted me.

My daughter took this of me - I was sitting at the computer attempting to write. This was about the fifth time she’d interrupted me.

I continued to write, but it was between things like breastfeeding, working, commuting to and from work, feeding the family, playtime, bath time, book time, and bedtime. And Baby Girl was a strong willed child, so nothing ever went as planned. Thank goodness there were two of us. There wasn’t much time left.

Baby number two arrived four years later. I had my Baby Boy. And I returned to being a Stay-at-Home mom with him. I got to know my little guy, who is so different than his big sister, the epitome of happy and content. I began to write again. This time I completed two romantic suspense novels set in Hawaii. Queried and was rejected.

He was only a week old when I took this picture. He hasn’t stopped smiling.

He was only a week old when I took this picture. He hasn’t stopped smiling.

Then I went back to work, but this time, I worked at the school where my now school-aged children began. My identity hovered around my children, my family, and my work. Writing took a back seat - as usual - but not because I couldn’t. It was because that was my choice. I still wrote, but sustaining any writing was difficult. So, in between new ideas that I’d list in a notebook, I spent ten years writing and rewriting a YA novel, a paranormal romance. Queried and rejected multiple times over and over. I put it away, sure I was never meant to be a writer.

Life twists and turns. I changed jobs and focused on my career as a teacher. It hosted my identity and made me feel validated because it is something at which I excel while my writing faced rejection after rejection. Writing - my writing - was given only the time I provided to my journaling students but somewhere in the mix, I rewrote that YA again, removing all of the paranormal elements. I don’t know why. An exercise perhaps.


Where does the time go? We blink and the distance between events expands.


Suddenly, I have a daughter moving away to college and a son starting high school. Time devoted to them and our family stretches out before me. I’ve heard many mother’s lament the loss of their babies. I feel it. I see pictures of my babies, my children as toddlers, each stage a beautiful dance all the way through. I feel joy and poignant loss. And then I see pictures of myself and think: I don’t recognize you. But I don’t feel lost. In a way, I feel reborn.

I took a leave of absence from teaching this year. As my I transition from a mom of independent children, I’ve had the opportunity to look more closely at myself. The mom duties have changed now, have reoriented from all my time to some of it. I’ve had the opportunity to help my son transition to high school, be available for college freshman woes, but the need for mom has waned significantly other than to be a nag about homework, a taxi and a hug.


And there it was - time. Stretched out like a ribbon wrapped around a gift. I could write again.


So I have. I’ve dug in. I rewrote that YA. It’s independently published. I wrote the second book in the series. It’s Independently published too. I’m revising the third book in the series, and it will be independently published later this year. I completed Nanowrimo this year with 70,000 on a new book and a host of ideas in that notebook. I still have time for my family, they just don’t need as much of it.


What I would tell myself as a young mother now that I’ve lived her reality: Don’t worry about your time. You will get it back. Enjoy every moment of these children - even the difficult parts. It goes so very quickly.

Now, I look in the mirror and think: I know you. I knew you when you were thirteen and thought you’d be Emily Dickinson. I laugh at my reflection and think: There’s time. There’s time.

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