Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor

Introducing author Dominika Pindor who shares an excerpt of YA fantasy novel ‘Wings and Shadows’.

“When I turned onto Welling Ave, the crowds began to disperse, and by the time I reached Scott Street, I was alone. At the intersection, I pressed the greasy button on the traffic light pole and leaned against it as I waited for the red circle to turn green.
“I don’t mean to bother you, dear, but could you assist me with these? It’ll only take a moment.”
The voice came from an old woman, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air. She was short, perhaps five feet at most, and stood wearily hunched over her walker. The overflowing bags of groceries she had been referring to were draped over the rails, making the thin pieces of metal strain underneath their weight. I recognized her as Mrs. Riley, my mother’s old college professor. We had met a few times when I was younger, but I doubted she remembered.
“Sure. How can I help?” I couldn’t bring myself to say no. Aside from the large mole on her cheek, she looked just like my grandmother.
“Carry these,” she said, pointing to the three fullest bags, each of which was filled with at least half a dozen cans. I picked them up and she grinned. “Thank you, dear.” The dear came out sounding like deah. Then she coughed, covering her mouth with one papery hand.
“Are you alright ma’am?”
Mrs. Riley chuckled. “Me? Oh no, can’t say I am.”
I raised my eyebrows, expecting her to elaborate. She didn’t. We continued walking, heading towards the assortment of worn-down, brown apartment complexes where I lived. The street was empty, except for a few vehicles parked along the sidewalk—six cars, all different shades of black, and several white trucks.
“Where are we heading?” I finally asked, curious to find out how much longer I would have to carry the bags, which were growing heavier by the minute.
“Over there, dear.” She paused to lift a wrinkled finger and pointed it towards one of the shorter buildings in a nearby alley. “Distance won’t bother you?”
There was a broken wine bottle on the sidewalk, and I had to pause to step over it. “I’m fine, ma’am. No worries.”
“You know,” the woman said, unwilling to lapse into silence, “ you look just like my Lillian.”
“Hm?”
“My granddaughter. She has red hair as well; it’s the most beautiful color, if you ask me.”
“I appreciate the compliment ma’am. I was never too fond of it myself,” I said. That was true. My hair color was one of the only things kids in middle school would laugh about. I recalled the moment—sometime in seventh grade—when I had asked out a boy I liked. His rejection still echoed through my head every time someone brought up my hair color.
We rounded the corner and walked into the alley. It wasn’t a pleasant place. A swarm of flies hovered above one of the dumpsters, which was backed up against the wall a few feet to our left. That explained the nauseous stench.
“Hope you don’t mind the smell,” Mrs. Riley apologized.
I couldn’t reply; the odor was making me dizzy. To my surprise, it seemed to have no effect on her at all. I suppose that’s what happened when you spent your entire life in such a place. The wheels of her walker rattled on the uneven ground, and a single tomato fell out of a grocery bag. I bent down to pick it up, although my own bags were threatening to spill.
“Ma’am, how much longer do we have to walk? These bags are getting awfully heavy.”
She paused for a moment before answering. “We’re almost there,” she told me. I glanced up from the ground and realized we were nearing the short brown building she had pointed out a few minutes before. Of course. I had known our destination all along. The question had been unnecessary. I smiled to myself, hoping to ease the strange feeling that was flaring inside my gut.
There were three doors on this side of the building. The one in the center was the main entrance that likely led to the upper apartments. The others were doors to the ground floor apartments—14 and 15. We stopped at 15. The woman left her walker, climbed up the single step, and began fumbling for the keys. Her hands were visibly trembling.
Arthritis, I thought, remembering one of the lessons Huma’s mother—a doctor—had taught me. The poor woman had arthritis.
“You can put the groceries down, dear. I will take them inside once- oh!” Her keys fell to the asphalt, startling a rat that had begun sneaking in our direction. I picked them up and handed them to her. “Thank you dear. Thank you so much.” She coughed again. “Leave the bags on the ground. I’ll take them inside once I open the door.”
“Got it,” I said and did as she asked. The keys jiggled in the lock, and the door finally swung open.
“Thank you,” the woman said again, a warm smile spreading across her face. “Would you like me to call a taxi cab for you? An Uber, perhaps?”
“No ma’am, I’ll be fine,” I replied, glancing at the bags. Would she be able to carry them in by herself? She would have to unless she was going to call someone to do it for her. I decided not to pry; her business wasn’t mine. I turned around to go…
And then I stopped dead in my tracks.
A large black SUV stood in the center of the road. It was positioned sideways, creating a barrier between the alley and the main road.
More importantly, cutting off my way out.”

This is an excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor which is available now. You can find Dominika on Twitter.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ by A.L. Martin

Introducing author A.L. Martin who shares an excerpt from her book ‘Dancing With a Stranger’.

“Remember to act normal.”
“That’s easy for you to say. My whole life as I knew it changed in a matter of minutes yesterday.”
“The more you act normal, the less he will become suspicious that something is wrong. Therefore, he won’t hound you about what’s bothering you.”
I didn’t want to admit it, but Wyatt was right. Gavin would never leave me alone if he knew something was troubling me. He would keep asking me to the point I would give in and tell him.
“Hey, Sunshine. How are you this morning?” Gavin smiled, wrapping his arms around me in a big hug.
“Morning, Gavin. I’m doing okay.” I smiled, glancing at Wyatt, then turning back to Gavin. “Want to come over after school today?”
“Sure. Want me to bring anything over?” Gavin asked, looking down at his phone.
“I can’t think of anything you need to bring. I will text Mom later to let her know that you will be coming over after school. Maybe I can talk her into making spaghetti and meatballs.” I winked.
Gavin went back to looking at his phone while I opened my locker. In the back of my locker, hanging up, was a necklace. It was a silver crescent moon with a circle dangling from the top of the moon. I leaned back away from my locker, peeking around my locker door at Gavin, who was still scrolling through videos on his phone.
“Did you put this in my locker?” I questioned.
“Put what in your locker?” he asked, not taking his eyes off his phone.
I reached into my locker, unhooking the necklace from a hook that wasn’t there before either. “This necklace,” I said as I closed my locker door.
“Where did that come from? I didn’t put it in there. It’s cool looking.” Gavin took the necklace from my hand to get a better look at it.
“What are you two looking at?” Wyatt asked, moving closer to me. “Where did that come from?” His eyes fixated on the necklace in Gavin’s hand.
“Londyn found it in her locker,” Gavin said, holding the necklace up.
Wyatt moved me over a couple of steps closer to Gavin, then slowly opened my locker door and stared inside. I had no idea what he was looking for, and I couldn’t ask him with Gavin standing right next to me.
“Where did you find it?” Wyatt asked, moving things around in my locker.
“It was hanging up in the back on that hanger,” I said, walking around to the other side of him. I leaned in closer to him and whispered. “What’s going on, Wyatt?”
Wyatt leaned back, glancing at Gavin to make sure he was still looking at the necklace. He put his mouth right next to my ear. “It’s a witch’s necklace.”
I leaned away from him, staring into his emotionless eyes. He backed away from the front of my locker, his eyes shifting from side to side.
“Can I see the necklace, Gavin?” Wyatt asked.
“Sure. Did you give it to Londyn?” Gavin asked, handing the necklace over to him.
“Yeah,” Wyatt said, giving me a quick nod. He unhooked the clasp, then walked behind me, lifting the necklace over my head. As he hooked the clasp, he whispered in my ear, instructing me to play along. I lifted the necklace up as I looked down to get a better look at it. I noticed that the circle had two tiny crescent moons facing the opposite direction.
“It looks good on you,” Gavin said, putting his phone in his pocket.
I lowered the necklace back down. “Thanks.”
“If Sam is here, we have to invite her too,” Gavin said, closing my locker door for me.

This is an excerpt from ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ which is part of the Londyn Carter series by A.L Martin. The next book in the series will be released very soon!

You can find more information from A.L Martin on Twitter , Instagram and Facebook.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.

‘Judd’ by J.D Toombs and Erika Schulze – Review

A ‘high school for heroes’ tale about the power of accepting who you are paired with some unique world building…

Welcome to Aries High, a school for those with unique powers but in this world they are known as Fragments. The only problem is our main character and narrator Samael Judd doesn’t appear to have any powers… That is without mentioning the many pressures he faces for someone his age from stepping out of his older brother’s shadow to even making the basketball team and while he does his best to hide a lack of powers he’s also concealing his sexuality. If both are revealed the repercussions could be disastrous, at least to him anyway. There are only a few he can fully trust and confide in – perhaps the most realistic thing about the social politics of high school, something this story captures well.

There are some unique and interesting concepts in this world of Fragment’s and that world building is something I want to see more of. Terminology and abilities like ‘technomancy’ and ‘magnekenisis’ sound cool and these concepts are only really touched upon as most of the story focuses on Judd’s journey and his high school life which is most probably just the beginning. The symbolism paired with the struggle to accept one’s self is what you’ll find at the centre of this tale and it’s bravely executed. From fighting bullies to borrowing a new girl’s magical dragon to pretend you have powers – as I said cool concepts, there are even some awesome references to video games and music.

On a few occasions there were moments where scenes felt crowded with quite a number of characters present so it was a little difficult to follow and transitions between scenes did occur rather abruptly but overall Judd is a unique story full of drama that captures coming of age, explores social issues and celebrates diversity.

4 Stars – Reviews left on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you to the Author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. Judd is released today – grab yourself a copy here!