I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I always embark on a cross-country, family-visiting extravaganza. For the next few days, I will be back home in Ohio, followed by a trip to my Nashville to see the rest of my family. Lots of traveling always means the luxury of extra reading time.
This year, I joined with several other authors to offer collections of our books at super discount prices. For only $.99, you can receive a copy of Cerulean along with seven other science fiction novels. There are also bundles available in other genres, including paranormal, romance, and new adult fiction.
For those who would like to sample Cerulean, before deciding if my dystopian novella is for them, I wanted to share one of my very favorite scenes…
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“Keep your eyes closed.” Jesse leads me through the hotel while my hands are clasped over my eyes. He turns me to the side. “Now open them!”
A tree reaches toward the ceiling—not one of the palms that grow around the island—but a dark conical tree, wide at the bottom and pointy near the top. Instead of the wide leaves of the palm, this tree is covered in hundreds of tiny needles. Best of all, it twinkles and glows with a rainbow of little lights. The tree spins around, showing off its treasures: colorful glass fish, shiny sea stars, and green metallic turtles.
“Do you like it?” Jesse grins.
“What is it?”
“Before the Disaster, people celebrated their biggest holiday with these trees,” he says.
“How does it still live after all this time?”
Sydney laughs so hard she snorts. “The needles are plastic. Feel them.”
“Sammy got the Whaleside’s solar running a few years back. We turn it on every now and then for special occasions.” Danny wraps his arm around Sydney. We all stand, watching the tree.
“Flip the music on,” Captain orders.
Suddenly the room fills with Human-song. The music comes from all directions, beautiful voices singing with a whole background of instruments. How amazing that Human-song can be saved and played on request. Even more astounding, though, are the lyrics…
“Joy to the world…”
“… Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh…”
“Oh, come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant…”
“… While you dwell within it, you are ever happy then. Childhood’s joy-land. Mystic merry Toyland…”
“…’Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la…”
They had a season to be happy? The joy radiates from each song, and I imagine our ancestors standing around this tree as they sang in elation. So many words for happiness pour out—merry, joy, fun, jolly, happy—as song after song tells the true tale of all that we have lost.
Cold reality cuts the poignancy of these songs: our ancestors, struck down during their happiest of seasons; the children of the waters, robbed of their parents; my world, bereft of all happiness.
Worst of all, the Authority and his Committee perpetuate this joylessness with their lies and deceit.
Silent tears fall—first just a few, then a steady stream—until finally, after all these years, I allow myself to sob. There is danger in mourning, truly grieving, while under the seas. Grief can easily overcome you in the blues of the water, so I have always kept my own carefully locked—only allowing small, controlled slivers of memory to escape.
Sydney wraps her arms around me from the back. Jesse embraces me. Without words or invitation, Captain and Danny join, enclosing me in a giant group hug. Their collective heat warms me, outside and in, and slowly, the tears stop.
I look at the tree again, but view it differently this time. Rather than a sad reminder of what used to be, the majestic pine stands as an example of what could be. My resolve grows. I will not abandon my people. I will find a way to bring back joy.