One of my favorite characters in the TRAVELER series is Jessa’s older brother, Danny, a person with autism. As an autism parent, it was hugely important to me that he be given a voice, and as authentic a portrayal as was possible.
This particular scene was lifted directly from a dream I once had about my own son. In my dream, I was with him at school, experiencing his day with him through his eyes. It was fascinating. Its been years and I still remember every detail of that dream.
In this scene from DREAMER, Jessa has been pulled into her brother Danny’s dream by her dream guide, Mario so that they can look for clues as to the whereabouts of their villain. Jessa finds herself dreaming with Danny at his volunteer job at the local public library.
“This is cool,” I say, looking around.
“Reality is defined by the dreamer in the dreamscape,” Mario says. “In this case, Danny. This is how Danny perceives the world around him. We’re looking through his filter, so to speak.”
My eyes widen as the sound of the tractor cuts off. I can now hear the rumble of the heating system, the shuffle of books and papers, the clack of fingers on computer keyboards, and I’m drawn into the rhythm of it. Continue reading
In this scene from DREAMER, Jessa is sorting through her latest reality shift, and juggling the thoughts and memories left by her alternate self.
“You hungry, St. Clair?”
Ben’s voice startles me and I look away from my reflection in the window of the bus. It’s field trip day for the Spanish Club, and Ben is sitting next to me as we pull out of the school parking lot.
“Nah,” I tell him. “I’ll eat later.”
“You sure? I’ve got food in my bag.”
“I have Twix in there,” he says.
“Seriously. I’m not hungry.”
“Who are you? And what have you done with Jessa St. Clair?” he quips. “It’s Twix. Twiiiiiix.” He’s waggling his brows and bug-eyed and it makes me laugh.
“It’s seven o’clock in the morning,” I point out.
“So? Twix is the breakfast of champions. Along with a fresh can of Monster.” He holds the can to his lips, draining it with a loud, gusty sigh of refreshment.
I raise my brows and look at him like the crazy person he is. “You do realize you’re going to be ? With no bathroom?”
“Sitting next to you,” he reminds me, with an overemphasized “Ha!” for punctuation. Continue reading
In DREAMER, Jessa gets direction about her multi-dimensional travel from Mario – who is more than a little put-out that she botched her lasr assignment. Jessa is pretty pissed herself, having encountered a version of someone she never though she’d have to see again. It’s time for Mario to illustrate just how important her work can be . . .
I lean back against his desk. “I’m tired, Mario. I’m traveling too much, my mom is getting really suspicious, and now you pull this on me. This was supposed to be a routine job.”
“You mean the job you didn’t complete? Again?” he asks pointedly.
“Don’t start with me.” My eyes flash a warning that he completely ignores as he studies me for a moment, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
“Come on,” he finally says. “I’ve got something to show you.” Continue reading
In this excerpt from DREAMER, Finn and Jessa have a little heart-to-heart . . .
“Penny for your thoughts,” he says, rolling onto his side to face me. I roll as well, and we’re just about nose-to-nose.
“You owe me a fortune by now,” I say.
“I’d pay it, and gladly. I can see the play of thoughts across your face, but in many ways you’re still such a mystery. What’s funny?” he asks as he sees my lips twitch into a smile.
“You think I’m a mystery, and I feel like I’ve known you forever. Like we’re two old shoes sitting side by side in the same closet.”
“I’m an old shoe?” He makes an exaggerated face. “Well, that’s not very romantic, is it?”
“It’s romantic,” I defend myself. “It’s wildly romantic. Not everyone gets the luxury of growing old together.”
He bites his lip. “No, I suppose they don’t.”
They have a lot more to say to each other, but you’ll just have to wait. DREAMER will be on the shelves April 10th, but you can pre-order your copy now!
Just another little snippet from DREAMER . . .
In this tidbit from DREAMER, we see Jessa fine-tuning a story she’s written for a scholarship contest, and second-guessing herself, as usual. Finn’s having none of that, of course . . .
“What are you working on now?” he asks, taking off his headphones and moving the DVD player off his lap.
“It’s another story,” I say. “I’m thinking about entering it in a Flash Fiction scholarship contest.”
I can already see the question forming so I answer it before he can ask. “Flash Fiction is a short story that’s usually 500 words or less. You have to tell a lot in very few words.”
“And you could win a scholarship with that?”
“Yeah. It’s for Connecticut College. They’re a private school, and not very big, but their writing program is one of the best around. If I win the scholarship, it’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be offered admission, as long as I keep my grades up.”
“That sounds like a fine idea,” he says. “May I?” He gestures down to my journal and my hand covers it reflexively.
“It’s not very good yet…” Continue reading
One of the admittedly fair criticisms I’ve sometimes heard about TRAVELER is the complete lack of female friends for Jessa. That’s actually by design in the first book – Jessa is an incredible introvert, choosing to live in her stories until Ben becomes a steady buddy and a potential love rival for Finn. I won’t apologize for my love triangle. I love love triangles and mine is not your usual sort of love triangle.
Anyway, I seeded a female friend for Jessa into book one, but she really blooms in DREAMER. So here’s your re-introduction to Olivia, in one of Jessa’s many alternate realities. . .
Olivia finally releases her death grip on my hand and gives me an enormous shove from behind, as an older guy hands me a microphone. A spotlight hits me right in the face and I squint as my eyes adjust. I finally notice the crowd, and they’re all staring at me.
The pieces begin to fall into place.
Oh my God. I’m singing karaoke. In front of people. A lot of people.
I don’t sing.
I mean, I really, really don’t sing. Continue reading
In TRAVELER, we meet many versions of Jessa and Finn as we slide in and out of alternate realities. In this scene, Finn is newly arrived at Jessa’s school, and her Creative Writing teacher has set an assignment – make up a story about the new guy.
She puts the marker to the whiteboard and writes Finn’s Story.
“So,” she says. “Finn’s story. Begin!”
I look over at him conspiratorially, wondering just which Finn he’s going to pick to be. He gives me a sly look, and then so I can’t see what he’s doing. I shoot him a mean look in return, and I write. Continue reading
I got a whole slew of recent reviews, so rather than shout them out daily and look like I’m totally full of myself, I’ll link them all here.
Thanks so all these great bloggers for reading! And reviewing!
Adventures in Writing’s Review of TRAVELER
Betwixt These Pages’ Review of TRAVELER
The Lit Buzz’s Review of TRAVELER
And an excerpt featuring the real star of the book: Glitter Mousse!!
Loves Great Reads Features An Excerpt From TRAVELER