Sunday, 19 April 2015

Myles and the Monster Outside, Chapter 1

Available Sept 2015; E/ARC available now
All ARC copies of my new book, Myles and the Monster Outside, are being sent across the airwaves and through the mail to middle grade book reviewers and bloggers this week! This book is a spooky psychological road-trip thriller for kids 9-12, accompanied by 6 fabulous illustrations by the wonderful Shawna Daigle.

Seems only fair to share what I can with you, too. So here, for your reading pleasure and without further ado, is chapter one, Monster Island:

"Myles leaned against the ship’s railing. There was nothing to see but grey water, grey sky, and grey, misty islands. Or rocks that passed as islands.
All the empty grey worried Myles. Where was land? A huge, icy wave splashed up into his face. Myles spluttered.

It was windy and cold, too.

No one else was on the ferry because most normal people — tourists — only traveled on it in the summer. No one in their right mind would do it now, in the middle of April. It was freezing cold, raining, and there was nothing to see.

Plus the water was very choppy. On top of being worried, Myles was also starting to feel a little seasick.

The man who sold French fries (seasick!) at the snack bar inside the ship told Myles that in the summer, the ferry was a nice ride. The islands were covered with green bushes and wild blueberries. One island was called “Flower Pot Island” because of the towering limestone rocks with wildflowers on top. But right now, in April, the islands all looked the same: grey, dead, and covered in foggy mist.
Tumble Chicken! 1 of 6 illustrations by Shawna Daigle

The churning water and the misty islands also looked a little … spooky. Anything could be out there, waiting, in the misty grey.

Which was upsetting. But not nearly as upsetting as his next thought.

“I wish I was back at my old home with my friends. I’m going to hate Nobleville, and I haven’t even been there yet,” Myles whispered to the grey, misty air.

There, he’d said it. Saying it didn’t help untie the knot in his stomach, though.

He turned and looked through the cabin window. He could see his older sister Bea and his little brother Norman leaning on either side of their mother inside the ferry.

They looked warm. And dry.

But it was better to be outside in the cold, grey mist than inside with his family. Four days stuck inside a smelly, garbage-filled car together was enough to drive anyone crazy.

And one family member wasn’t even with them. Their dad. He was already in their new town, in their new house, working at his new job so the family could enjoy a “better life.” Myles wasn’t sure what that meant, exactly, but he hoped it included a room of his own and a dog. Although it probably didn’t.

It DID mean a new school for Myles, though.

Suddenly his stomach felt even worse.

Thanks a lot, Dad, for making us move across the country.

Another huge wave hit the side of the ship, and Myles got soaked. He turned around and saw Norman staring at him through the window. Myles made a face at his little brother.
He was SO sick of Norman.

“I want to go home,” Myles whispered once more into the mist.

He stared over the water and worried, because there was plenty to worry about. He sank deeper into his gloom.

Suddenly, an island loomed out of the fog. It was closer than the others, and Myles could see black, dripping trees and swirling mist. The island rose from the dark water like a strange ship or a house. But there was something different about this island. He could see it quite clearly, it was so close to him. He could almost reach out and touch the nearest trees. Myles looked closer.

Something moved on the shore!

Myles blinked and looked again. The island was quickly disappearing into the fog, but there was definitely something standing on the rocks.

And it was looking right at him.

Myles gasped.

The thing looked like a man. It couldn’t be a man, though, because it was huge. No man could be that big. Plus, it was … misty. There was no other word for it. It swirled in the grey like fog, slowly forming into the shape of a man. The misty man-shape moved across the rocks.

The word monster whispered in Myles’s head. He backed up across the ferry deck.

He blinked again.

No denying it this time.

Something huge and grey skulked across the shore. It moved fast toward the water, like a cloud. The grey, misty form turned and looked at him.

Myles held his breath.

It was an enormous man made of fog and mist, with huge, wispy legs, a swirling grey chest, and long, floating arms. Misty fingers reached toward the water. In the centre of the face swirled two bright RED EYES.

Like fire.

Myles tried not to scream. He bit his tongue and his heart hammered painfully in his chest.
The monster stood at the water’s edge and looked at him. It raised its grey head and sniffed the air. Then it slipped below the waves.

A trail of bubbles started toward the ferry."

To request an ARC of Myles and the Monster Outside, please contact Dundurn Press
To request an E/ARC please check availability on Netgalley

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Spring made me write this music

Pete and Courage walking into the Spring Sunset, from Myles & the Monster Outside
Courtesy Shawna Daigle, www;jademade.ca

Certain times of year make me produce creative things at quite a clip. For me, winter is the time when I spend a lot of time reading and I think probably refueling the creativity cells, but as soon the light changes and I start to hear birds in the trees and see the tip of branches change from black to red ... well you get the picture.

Here is a guitar piece I finally recorded yesterday, called Spring, (You can download it free if you like.) It's the first of a four piece guitar instrumental called Wheel, about seasons and change and such. There will be one song for each turn of the seasonal wheel.

The beguiling illustration shows two of my characters walking into the spring sunset. It's from my forthcoming book, Myles and the Monster Outside (Dundurn, Sept 2015), and is graciously provided by the very talented illustrator for that book, Shawna Daigle.

Spring is here!