Happy Book Birthday, Laurel Houck!!
Edits, querying and more edits. All of those are things that occur before you become an author. Cover art is selected and you establish your brand. Whew, are you tired yet? Becoming a published author isn't for the faint of heart...but today we have another new member to the club! Laurel Houck...
Some say you never forget your first kiss... but really, you never forget your first book!
The Girl with Chameleon Eyes
It’s an abrupt, uncomfortable incarnation for Summer, the ghostly girl with chameleon eyes. Exotic hues roil in her gaze as she seeks to recall what awful sin in her past has doomed her to roam the earth. And to discover what—or who—will bring her to eternal rest.
Kota, brunt of bad jokes because he’s different, feels an instant connection to Summer. She recoils at the mere sight of him. Yet they are drawn together in a dance of mutual need, choreographed by the ages.
As Summer grows more attached to both her young foster brother and to Kota’s friend, Preston, she struggles against complacency. Until discovering that if she doesn’t expiate the guilt on her soul by her seventeenth birthday, she will roam forever.
For her, it’s hate at first sight. For him, it’s instant attraction. When the pieces of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, will love be enough to save them both? Or will evil decide their future?
My vapor solidifies with no warning whatsoever. Abrupt. Compact. Unexpected.
I’m near a dumpster that squats behind a floodlit Sheetz gas station, the stench of hot dog grease and burnt coffee strong in my nostrils. My feet are last to materialize, so that for a moment when I look down, I’m floating about five inches above the pavement, white mist above black asphalt.
With the physical transformation comes the rest of it. Light and cool converts to heavy and hot. Yearning and searching morphs to fear and uncertainty. Naked and misty transforms to flesh-bound and clothed. I’m grateful for the garments that cover my skin, even if how that happens is a mystery to me.
The nausea and dizziness are stronger than the last time I can recall. I lean against the dumpster and slide to the ground, knees up, head in my hands. It will pass soon. I hope.
“Miss, are you okay?” A deep voice rumbles above the traffic noise. The tall, ruddy-faced cop is standing over me, wearing a black uniform and a hat with a band of navy and gold squares. “I’m Officer Sullivan. Did someone hurt you?”
“I’m fine.” I scramble to my feet, glad it’s dim in the shadow of the dumpster. I’m still shaky and have no clue what color has risen in my eyes. Between the lights and my startling arrival, anything is possible.
I keep my head down. What can I tell him? I know that I used to be alive, that now I’m a ghost, and that I’m searching for something to expiate my guilt over...what? Beyond that, fuzzy at best.
Laurel has been writing since the age of six, when Crawls the Caterpillar inched across her lined notebook paper propelled by a fat yellow pencil. She has published magazine and newspaper articles as well as blog posts with All The Way YA, SEAPC.org, and on her website. Her portfolio includes multiple children’s stories in a variety of genres. She has two Young Adult novels—both paranormal romances—with Inkspell Publishing.
In addition to writing, her passion is for travel to exotic locations around the globe. The people she meets, the places she visits, and the quirky way she looks at life all inspire her work. She loves complex characters and intricate plots that mesh into multifaceted books, melding romance, mystery, adventure, and history.
Laurel was a chosen participant at Better Books, a craft-based workshop near San Francisco. She is active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and has been a presenter at their Fall SCBWI Conference In Pittsburgh.
When she’s not deep into a writing project, Laurel is a medical missions’ nurse, traveling for Southeast Asia Prayer Center, Hope in Haiti, Caring Hearts, and Convoy of Hope. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, with her husband and their fur baby, Mabel. All of that, plus she’s the world’s biggest fan of chocolate milkshakes and hugs.
Facebook: Laurel Houck