Author: Stacey Rourke
Publisher: Anchor Group
Whether she likes it or not, eighteen year old Celeste Garrett has come to terms with being the Chosen One. She knew having a “normal life” would be tricky, between intense training sessions and epic demonic battles, but she didn’t know at what cost it would come. That is, until a dear friend is harmed by the malicious forces hunting her.
Now, she’d like nothing more than to retreat into a hermit lifestyle to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. But startling revelations, amazing new abilities, and mortifying moments in front of insanely hot guys won’t allow time for that. Soon, Celeste finds herself surrounded by darkness and wondering who she can trust—if anyone.
“So,” I interrupted, before things got too nauseating. “The plan is for us to pretend all is right in the world, and basically be bait, while you guys snoop around for info on what’s going on?”
They all nodded without taking their eyes off Kendall.
“Consider us the Rebel Alliance.” Eddie snort laughed. When he caught my quizzical expression, he clarified. “It’s a Star Wars joke. ‘Cause your lion is wearing Millennium Falcon boxer shorts.”
“My lion’s wearing what?” All eyes turned to my brother. Even Gabe glanced over his shoulder. Our big, intimidating predatory cat still had on his underwear.
Gabe huffed, and changed back to human. The Glee Club members grimaced, cringed and gagged at the sensory extravagance that is my brother’s morphing process.
“Changed in a hurry,” Gabe nonchalantly explained.
“Just so you know,” Eddie replied with a wavering voice. “A lion in underpants doesn’t evoke quite the same amount of fear into the hearts of your enemies. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still scary as all get out. But it does take away your edge a bit.”
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” Gabe said tightly, and folded his arms across his massive chest.
“Hey, are you the only bad guys out tonight?” Kendall interjected. “’Cause I’m missing America’s Next Top Model.”
“Far as we know, we’re it.” Shrugged Boil Face, as he gazed at my sister with stars in his eyes.
“Awesome! I’m outtee!” Kendall bubbled. She retracted her wings, spun on her heel and started down the mountain. In her wake she left a crestfallen Glee Club.
Gabe followed her lead. “Me too. I’m beat. Going home to crash.”
Red hiccup-laughed. “The lion’s tired.”
“What’s funny about that demon?” Gabe scowled. His chest shook with a low growl.
Kendall and I went on high alert. Keni stopped walking and waited for a signal from me to intervene. I stepped closer to Gabe, anticipating having to pull a cranky lion off a harmless demon that would most likely wet himself at the sight of Gabe’s exposed fangs.
The Glee Club diffused the situation by harmonizing their answer. “Ah-wee-ma-way, ah-wee-ma-way, ah-wee-ma-way…”
Gabe swore under his breath and stomped off. Kendall and I giggled at his misery.
“You have to admit, they’re good!” I yelled after him.
The Glee Club sang him off. “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. Weeeeeee-eeeee-wee-amum-awayy.”
Writing is something I have always done. I can remember in elementary school creating stories that I would stand up and read aloud to my classmates…whether they liked it or not. As I grew older I didn’t flaunt my writing as freely. It became something I did just for me to vent my teenage angst, or chronicle my journey to adulthood. I never thought about becoming a writer because that title prompted the visual of a grey-haired man in a tweed smoking jacket with suede elbow patches, slaving over an old fashion typewriter while puffing away on a pipe. No way was that stuffy kind of life for me. (Plus tweed is itchy.) Instead I wanted to be in the spotlight! I wanted to be–pause for dramatic effect–an actress! I gave it my best shot, too. Got about as far as any aspiring actress can get in Flint, Michigan. Which is exactly no where. But I did get two great things out of my time delving into the theatrical world; I gained the ability to act out the scenes I write to make sure they’re believable (yes, I really do that and no, you can’t watch) and I met my amazing husband.
My theater ambitions behind me, I decided to do the “mature,” “grown up” thing and went back to college. As I worked toward my Bachelor’s degree in marketing I did a lot of writing. Essays, research papers, PowerPoint presentations. All of it mandatory, none of it what I would ever call fun. Even then, becoming a writer never entered my mind. No, then I was going to be a business tycoon…or somethin’.
Truth be told, I never picked writing. It picked me. During my time as a stay at home mom I needed an outlet to give me a mental break from diapers, formula and midnight feedings. That’s when my hands found their way back to the keyboard. Story ideas began coming at such an incessant rate that my rapidly clicking fingers couldn’t keep up. Post-It notes and scrapes of paper with story ideas decorated every inch of our house. In mid-conversation with my husband I would dart off to jot down things that would come to me. Sweet guy my hubby is, he would just shake his head at my obvious rudeness and hold my place in the conversation.
My first book was completed for an entire year before I told anyone about it. I outed myself as an author and then sent out my first round of query letters to literary agents. Surely, it would be picked up immediately and become an overnight success! Yeah, not so much. For two years I got rejection, after rejection, after rejection, after rejection…you get the idea. Thankfully with the ever increasing pile of rejections came feedback. I digested all the suggestions and applied the usable ones to my manuscript. Little by little, the rough edges were chipped away and the diamond shone through. The work paid off when I received an email from a publisher offering me a contract on The Conduit.
It’s been a long road, and it ain’t over yet. But now, at thirty-mumble, mumble years old I finally know what I wanna be when I grow up–-a writer.