“A phenomenal modern-day fairytale that’s clever, uplifting and fun.” – Swoon Reader
That’s how one swoon Reader sums up my story #FairyTaleDad in one sentence.
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my little baby on Swoon Reads. Since I uploaded #FairyTaleDad on Swoon Reads, it’s been an incredible journey so far. The feedback that this book has received from the Swoon Reads Community has been fantastic and I’ve been absolutely blown away.
When I started writing this story, I had no idea where I was going with it. I just wanted to try a different genre and see how well I’d do with it. Switching from fantasy to contemporary was a challenge, and at times I’d find myself just staring at my pc out of words. Looking back now, it was so worth it. Thanks very much to everyone who’s read, rated or commented on this book so far. Your comments have warmed my heart and encouraged me to continue writing.
I’m hoping to get #FairyTaleDad published and I really would appreciate any feedback or ratings on Swoon Reads! You only have to make an account on the site, but then you can read it for #free!
For anyone who’s still considering whether this book is for you, please check out the first chapter below. If you like it, please make a FREE account on Swoon Reads and read the rest of the story.
I’ve cracked it. Must see you. Jake’s text message flashed on my phone. I grabbed my gown and rushed down the stairs. What is he up to now? I slid my phone into my pocket with a silent promise to respond to my best friend as soon as Mum had left for work.
The soft humming of the television greeted me as I entered the kitchen. Seven thirty a.m. and Mum, on autopilot, had already returned from her morning run, showered, and dressed in her favourite white pencil dress and yellow heels, ready for a client meeting in London. She flipped through the channels when I saw something suddenly pique her interest. She set the remote on the counter, transfixed, a steaming cup of coffee in one hand. On the screen, a bold headline popped up: From Ally’s Scandal to Ally’s Haven. A proposed Billionaire Acquisition.
“Mum, really?” I frowned. “Financial news so early and on a Saturday?” I dragged my feet across the marble floor. After spending half the night studying for my penultimate A-Level exam, today’s trending hashtag was simply #HAoF (half asleep on feet).
A light chuckle escaped her lips. “Being an accountant is not just numbers, Summer. A good consultant keeps in touch with all the latest happenings.” She pressed pause, turning to look at me.
“You’re working on a billionaire acquisition?” My eyes widened.
“My firm is doing well, but not that well.” Mum sighed. “Tony and I have been trying to get on Appleton Holdings Inc’s list of consultants for five years. If we’d landed it, you’d know about it—the whole street would know about it, and I’d be retiring to Mauritius before I turned forty.”
“And taking me with you, I hope?”
“I’ll have to think about that one,” she joked. “I might just do a runner.”
“But I thought you loved your job?”
“I do, but I love the sun, sea, and sand more.” She took a swallow of her coffee.
“And watching that morning humdrum,” I said, nodding at the television, “gets you none of the above.”
“Well, one never knows when an opportunity might present itself,” she countered. “This real estate company is one of the most prestigious in London. Last month, we finally made the shortlist to work on an acquisition proposal for one of its subsidiaries. If we win, maybe next time we’ll nab the top spot.”
“Hmm. Still kind-of boring.” I feigned a yawn, stretching my hand over the marble counter and grabbing the remote. I quickly pressed record and switched to the music channel.
“Now that’s better.” I gave her a cheeky grin.
Her brown eyes gleamed. “Happy birthday, darling!” She rose, strode to my side, and curved her arms tightly around me. I soaked in her embrace, inhaling the scent of her peach and berry infused perfume. The soft glow of sunshine from the kitchen skylight bathed us in its warmth.
“You took your time wishing me a happy birthday,” I teased. “I thought you might have forgotten what today was.”
She chuckled. “No chance. That would be like forgetting to breathe.”
Mum and I lived in St Albans, a small city in Hertfordshire nineteen miles northwest of Central London and we were close. Between running her own accountancy firm, working long hours, and raising me, she didn’t have much time for friends. I was all she had.
“I need to breathe, Mum.” I cleared my throat and wiggled.
“Oh! Sorry.” She loosened her embrace, snatched the remote from my hands, and switched the TV back to the news. Then she beamed at me. “Now that’s better.”
“But it’s my birthday,” I whined.
“And watching the news for five minutes won’t kill you. Lose the frown and eat something.” She gestured to the left side of our spacious kitchen, and I turned to see the breakfast bar brimming with home-baked muffins, cookies, cupcakes, and a gigantic ice-cream cake—enough food for a huge party. But there wouldn’t be a party. Just the usual me, Mum, Uncle Tony (who was actually my mum’s business partner, but also my godfather and as close as any real uncle), and Aunt Crezelda—Mum’s step-sister—the only family Mum and I had. My Aunt and Uncle Tony would turn up eventually. They never missed my birthday.
“How did you manage such an exquisite banquet overnight?” I approached the buffet.
“Mums can be fairy godmother’s, too.” She swung back toward the TV, the sun silhouetting the figure Aunt Crezelda was so jealous of. Mum was slim, five-foot-four, and curved in all the right places. Supposedly, I’d inherited her looks, but I didn’t see it. All I saw were the features of a father I would never know. My skin tone was lighter than Mum’s. My brown, curly hair was a tad longer. My eyes were the only thing that mirrored hers.
“I would rather eat sugary birthday food than watch fake news.” I grabbed a cupcake.
“Since when are you savvy enough to tell fake news from real news?” Mum waved a cookie in the air.
“Since the informative journalism retreat you kindly sent me on last summer, and even more so, since I turned seventeen.” I strode to the fridge.
“Technically, you’re not seventeen yet. You turn seventeen at 10:17 pm tonight.”
“I can still smell a hoax from a mile away. Just check out the headline. They’ve used bold font over the already ‘in your face’ text. The choice of words is truly genius.” Just then a thought struck me. “Hey, in just thirteen days, I’ll be on summer break, and I could intern for The BBC or Sky News as a promoter for the truth.”
“You’d get fired on your first day,” she teased.
“Possibly, but only after they’d seen the light and moved toward more ethical journalism. This has been Summer Dawn Le-Winton.” I grabbed the milk jug from the fridge door, using it as a microphone. “Advocate for the truth, Sky News, coming to you live from St Albans.”
Mum burst into laughter as I poured myself some milk.
“Now, the dashing and scandalous gentleman on our TV is staring back at us blankly,” I continued my commentary.
“Dashing?” Mum straightened and glanced at the screen. “Agreed. He’s quite the catch. But scandalous? Not quite. He’s not the scandal. He’s simply entangled in one,” she said playfully.
My phone buzzed from my gown pocket, and I slid my hand in, angling the screen so I could see it.
“Birthday messages?” Mum asked, running a hand through her shoulder-length hair, flicking it back in agitation. She hated social media. She thought it was an intrusion of privacy and a time waster. Seriously, sometimes I thought she was from another planet.
I responded to the birthday wishes with a blanket thank you and turned back to my mum. “I don’t want my online family to think I’ve deserted them.”
“Online family? And yet, I gave birth to you. What is this world coming to?”
“Doomsday or death by social media,” I mumbled. I knew I was winding her up. “Listen, stop worrying. I’m using Jake’s Summertime feed now. There are no stalkers, bullies, or lurkers on Summertime.” Jake Alden was my neighbour, best friend, and also a computer genius.
She smiled. “Named after you, no doubt?”
“I’m an inspiration.” I grinned. “And a guinea pig. He’s still working on the programme. It’ll hit social media like a storm—Jake’s words. I’m supposed to voice record and post an update and a hashtag every day without fail. I have no idea what he plans to do with the data.”
“He’s a good kid. You both are,” she said, her happy mood instantly restored. She was such a positive person. “Don’t let life pass you by,” she always said. I wondered why she’d never married. She could have had any man in the world, and yet her world was only me.
Of course, I’d asked—asked her why she’d gone through a fertility agent, a sperm bank, then a fertility clinic, and had me on her own. And she always told me the same old story. Her mother had died when she was young, and she had been raised in several foster homes, which she hated. Family was important to her, and determination ran through her blood. She was bold and independent, and as soon as she came of age, she had me, so she could be a mother…the mother she never had. Surely, the most logical step would have been to find a man, get married, and then have a child. A family of three would have been perfect. A girl could wish.
“Since you won’t let me throw you a party,” she said, interrupting my reverie. “At least make a wish before I go to work.”
“Mum, I’m seventeen, not four.” I pulled up the leather breakfast barstool and plopped onto it, staring down at the ice-cream cake she’d made. It matched the white and red colour theme in our kitchen.
“You’re never too old to make a wish.” She gently curved a warm arm around my shoulders. “Seventeen years ago, I wished for a daughter and—”
“I came true,” I finished, looking up to meet her gaze. “I was your summer at the end of a long and dispiriting winter,” I repeated the words I’d heard from her more times than I could count. I sighed, biting my lip.
“Summer Dawn Le-Winton, you are a beauty.” She lowered her voice, “Now quick, make a wish before the cake melts.”
“There are no candles.”
“It’s an ice-cream cake.” She winked.
I stared down at the beautiful confection I was supposed to wish on. There was a reason I never had a party. For me, my birthday was a bittersweet event. On the one hand, everyone wanted to celebrate that I’d been born, which was nice. But that always reminded me I’d been born without a father, which sucked. All I knew was that my dad had to be white, because my mum was black, and I was biracial. Sadly, that wasn’t much to go by in a country where more than eighty percent of the population was white. Every white man over the age of thirty-five in London—stop—in England, rather in Great Britain, could be my dad.
“I don’t want to wish. There’s no point.” My stomach knotted as I turned away from the cake, then decided to just make the same wish I had for as long as I could remember. “There. I wished,” I said gloomily, turning back to the cake.
Mum surveyed me and swallowed hard. “For a dad?”
I nodded. We had this chat every year. And I hated it. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate you, Mum,” I whispered. “I love you. It’s just that I want a dad, too.”
“I’m sorry.” She took my face in her hands and waited for me to glance up. “If I knew who he was, I would tell you.” Regret tinged her tone. “The records are sealed. You know that. Everything was handled by an agent. The law that waved donor anonymity only came into force in 2005. Before then sperm donors were guaranteed anonymity, and I don’t even know which sperm bank it was.”
“So, I was conceived six years too early then,” I murmured. Of course, I didn’t want to push. There was really no point. But some things didn’t quite add up. First, her determination to have a family on her own was very bold. Second, I had no idea how sperm banks worked, but I’d heard in those days there were rules about heritage and ethnicity when choosing a donor. Some sperm banks didn’t even allow one to choose a donor from a different race.
And I’d asked Mum—asked her why she chose sperm X instead of sperm Y or sperm Z. Surely, she must have had some criteria to choose from?
“I chose the sperm that was available to me, and didn’t have to worry about race or the donor,” she’d said. “I wanted a child that was mine—you.”
Still, I wasn’t entirely convinced. Choosing to be a single parent was not something people just did on a whim. There must have been a reason why she made that choice—one she hadn’t shared with me. I looked up. “If we could find the agent, that would be a start.”
“Tony and I have both tried looking, darling.”
Uncle Tony was great. But having a godfather who adored me still didn’t extinguish my yearning for a real dad. It was surreal. I had an almost perfect life full of people who loved me. But there was always this dad-sized void in my heart that no one else could fill. I wanted to trace my genetic origins. Surely, it wasn’t too much to ask.
And I knew how much that upset my mum, how every time I brought it up it hurt her, and she seemed to age before my eyes. Yet, I still couldn’t let it go.
“I know.” I rubbed the top of my arms. “It’s just—every year of not knowing gets harder.” I swallowed a thick lump in my throat. “Which is really silly because I don’t even know the guy.” I shrugged. “Is he dead or alive? Does he know I exist? Would he want to know? If he knew would he care? Would he accept me? Would he not?” I babbled on. “I feel so stupid longing for someone I’ve never met.”
“It’s not stupid,” she insisted. “If I’d thought through my actions at the time, I’d have done things differently. But I wouldn’t trade you for anything. You know that. You have a right to know your real father, where you come from, and I wish I could—”
“Mum.” I laid a comforting hand on hers and gripped it tightly. “Let’s have cake.”
She fell silent, eyes misty. “I’m sorry, Summer.”
I cut two slices and placed them on two plates. Then we dug into the cake in silence. No matter how difficult things got, Mum and I always had each other.
“You’re working late tonight?” I slid her a second plate of cake.
She nodded without looking up, and I knew she was still upset.
A pang of guilt went through me. “Working on a Saturday sucks, huh?”
“Working on your birthday sucks even more.” A shadow crossed her face. “But this client had to meet today. I tried to push back, but he’s flying to Australia tomorrow.”
“It’s fine, Mum. Don’t worry.”
“I’ll make it up to you.” She smiled warmly. “We can drive to Paris for shopping once you’ve finished your exams.”
“Yeah, that would be nice.” I took a swallow of my milk, then pushed the conversation in another direction. “So, where’s my present?”
She didn’t answer, but she looked at me slyly.
“Come on. I promise I won’t open it until you say so.”
Mum had a thing about my birth time. Every year she gave me my present at precisely 10:17 pm without fail. “I’m not telling you until it’s time,” she said.
I was about to argue like I always did, but the doorbell chimed. Before either of us could answer it, the front door swung open and a deep voice rumbled from the landing. “Sum, did you get my text? I’ve cracked it!”
Jake, my best friend, hurried into the kitchen, then halted when he saw Mum. At six-feet tall, with dark hair, blue eyes, and a nice chin, Jake looked nothing like the typical computer nerd. “Morning, Ms Le.” He gripped his iPad tightly against his chest and swallowed hard. I had no idea why he bothered to ring the doorbell when he always just waltzed in anyway. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise you were home.” He brushed his dark curly hair away from his face with his free arm, then swung me a troubled gaze. Why was he acting so edgy—like he’d just been caught with his hand in a cookie jar?
“I live here, Jake,” Mum teased.
I looked past Jake out toward the driveway. Mum’s Audi was parked in its usual spot. Surely, he’d seen it. “What have you cracked?” Mum’s eyebrows rose.
Jake frowned, tucking his iPad under his arm. “Nothing important, Ms Le.”
“Nothing important to me, you mean.” Mum gave me a warm look, checked her watch, and hopped to her feet. “If I leave now, I might beat the London traffic. Don’t forget to put the cake in the fridge, Summer.” She strode to the utility room and grabbed her coat from the side hook. “My keys.” She swept her gaze around and spied them on the far counter. “Don’t get into any trouble, now.” She reached for her keys and patted Jake’s shoulder. Then she turned to me, leaned over and placed a light kiss on my brow. “I’m on my mobile if you need me.”
“We’ll be as good as gold, Ms Le,” Jake reassured.
Mum hesitated, her gaze lingering on Jake’s iPad. “You promise?” Worry clouded her eyes. Jake and information technology were a lethal fusion. Three years ago, he’d been expelled from school for hacking into the headteacher’s email, and not only that but for hacking into the Exams Board database and downloading an exam paper he wasn’t even sitting for. It was one of the strangest and stupidest things he’d ever done. After that, he had to be home-schooled, just like me, but mine wasn’t mandatory. My mum just wanted me to learn to think outside the box. So, now we were both sitting for our A-Levels, and he was darn lucky to have a best friend like me.
“Go to work, Mum. It’s all good here,” I said, my tone reassuring. But I’d known Jake long enough to know he was up to something, and that something was probably not mum-approved. Then again, my mum hated social media and Jake had practically re-invented it, so they were never really going to see eye to eye. Speaking of eyes, the sparkle in Jakes’ was shining with excitement. Whatever he had to tell me, it was big.
“Okay,” Mum said, sounding unconvinced, but torn because she had to get to work. “I’ll be home as soon as I can, and Crezelda will pop in later.” She headed for the door.
I didn’t moan or complain, even though I knew my Aunt Crezelda, who was a hairdresser, was going to harass me to do my hair. Again. But I just wanted to get Mum going so Jake could spill the beans. As soon as I heard her car door slam and the wheels crunching out of the drive, I turned to Jake. “What are you up to, my sneaky little friend?”
“Hey, I’m not little anymore,” Jake protested. “You might have noticed, I’m way bigger than you.” He had a point. Better yet, he had no idea how good-looking he was.
“But I am sneaky,” he clarified, his eyes glinting.
“What did you do?” I demanded.
“No big deal,” he shrugged, holding out his iPad. “Just got you a little present.”
“More online tickets to an Alien Science Fair with you?”
“You’re never going to let me forget that, are you?” He feigned hurt. “And no, this is way more epic.” He held the iPad out to me again, an intensity on his face I’d rarely seen. His lips were actually twitching with anticipation.
My pulse sped. “Jake, what have you done this time?” I took the iPad from his hand, afraid to look down at the screen.
He shrugged. “Just a little code I’ve been working on for about two years. I call it Sum’s Code, and a few months ago I finally finished it.”
“A hacking code?” I asked, fear and anger welling up in me. Fear for Jake. Anger that he’d do this again after all he’d gone through last time. “You named it after me?”
“Sum, don’t worry,” he said, taking my trembling hand in his so I didn’t drop his iPad. “It’s untraceable. I made sure of it. And this was for a worthy cause.”
“There’s no cause worth breaking the law.”
“Not even finding your dad?” he asked softly.
My heart missed a beat. “What?” Blood rushed through me at supersonic speed.
“I found him, Sum.” His smile widened as he squeezed my hand. “Right here in London. I found him.”
I hope you enjoyed this first chapter. If you did, you can read the rest of the story here —
Are you ready to meet Estelle? She’s the girl who didn’t believe vampires, witches or monsters were real. But that’s about to change…
As announced in my newsletter, I’m super thrilled to confirm that the YA Paranormal Romance I’ve been writing for the past year now has a title (squee). As you already know, titles can change at any stage of the writing, but for now, this title is perfect for the story. And here’s a sneak peek of the first couple of pages…
“So, you’re saying there’s no cure?” I flicked a glance between my mum and the world-renowned expert on blood disorders who now sat on my living room couch. I stared at his wizened face, feeling the shreds of hope I’d been clinging to slip between my fingers.
“Your blood is unique, Estelle, but it’s not an ailment.” Dr Townsend perused my file. He was a tall, black man, clean-shaven, with thick eyebrows and a jutting chin. Having the Director of Haematology in our home was a dream. But his words and attitude frustrated me. He saw me as a curiosity—a puzzle to solve. But my life was no game.
I had been born with an extremely rare blood type known as RH-Null, which meant I had zero antigens in my blood. To top it, I suffered from a sporadic blood disorder, extreme anaemia, that knocked me out for days at a time. I had learnt to live with it. For now.
But I needed a cure.
I looked at mum, and she squeezed my hand gently. A warm smile shone across her face highlighting some of her strongest attributes, endurance, independence and strength. Yet there was a delicacy about her that resonated from within. My dad had left when my mum was pregnant with me and she had never remarried. Apart from my bad blood and our age difference, Mum and I pretty much mirrored each other. We were the same height at five-foot-four, light brown skin, big brown eyes and even wore the same dress and shoe size.
Only she truly knew what finding a cure meant to me. Mum was a nurse, and I was an aspiring haematologist, for obvious reasons. Together we’d vowed to find a cure. Gaining access to Dr Phillipe Townsend was at the apex of that plan.
And now he was saying I wasn’t sick.
“You don’t think I’m sick?” I finally choked out, anger blazing. “When my blood gets bad, I drift into a dreamless sleep. I basically fall into a coma. Sometimes, an iron transfusion will get me back on my feet in two or three days. Mum has to take time off work that entire time to tend my lifeless body. But on really bad days, iron doesn’t work, and I need a complete blood transfusion. Except there are less than one hundred people on Earth that have my blood type. So, it’s basically a gamble every time I fall asleep from bad blood. Will I wake up again? Who knows? And I’m extremely sensitive to smells, I’m plagued by allergies—cats, dogs, fur, dust, everything. Soon it would be the world! You don’t think that’s an ailment that needs a cure? What kind of doctor are you?”
“I understand your frustration,” Dr Townsend said calmly.
No, he didn’t.
“Allergies are one thing, your sight is quite another but there is certainly something distinct in your blood pattern that we’ve never seen before.”
“I’m just not sure your life is in danger from it.”
He wasn’t sure? Had he not heard what I’d just described to him?
“But what about the dreams?” My mum asked, grasping at straws.
I turned and glared at her. We had agreed not to mention my nightmares the very first meeting. The last thing I needed was another doctor telling me it was all in my head. But I could see the desperation in her eyes. We’d both really hoped Dr Townsend would have a cure—or even an inkling of an idea of a cure.
“I’m sorry.” Dr Townsend scanned my file again. “What dreams?” He wouldn’t find anything about dreams there, because I hadn’t disclosed them.
“I have nightmares,” I murmured reluctantly, “and I think they’re linked to my blood disorder.” They had to be. “I’ve had them since I was five.”
Dr Townsend’s brow creased, and he gave me a dubious glance. But we’d already crossed the bridge. Might as well burn it while we were at it.
“Whenever I have a blood transfusion, that’s when I’m at my strongest, I have trouble sleeping,” I explained. “When I finally do, I have dreams of creatures chasing me. Monsters who want my blood.”
“Monsters?” He wiped his brow.
“Strange people, vampires, and witches,” I said. “The dreams just keep getting worse.” We had chosen Dr Townsend because he was not only a haematologist, he was also a psychiatrist. So, he might conclude I was crazy, but at least he’d be obligated to do something about it. That had been our hope.
“Mythical beings.” Dr Townsend was silent for a long time. “Can you share with me one of these dreams, please.”
“Now?” I asked, surprised that he hadn’t fallen off his chair in disbelief. I had mentioned my nightmares to my best friend, Lina Lee, in year six. That had been the end of our friendship.
“If you don’t mind,” he said. “I’m a licensed psychologist as well as—”
“I know,” I interrupted, staring at him pointedly. “It’s one of the reasons we chose you.”
* I hope you enjoyed this little snippet*
Please do let me know what you think of it.
Blurb and more details coming soon.
I TOOK A CHANCE…
It’s 3 weeks today since I uploaded #FairyTaleDad to Swoon Reads. After spending the best part of two years writing and rewriting this story, it took a lot of courage to bring it out into the open. There’s always that nervous feeling that never goes away when you finally bring to light something you’ve been working on for so long. Of course, I had been dipping in and out of this story whilst working on other projects, but it still feels like a long time. Since I made the decision to upload to Swoon Reads, many questions have been reeling inside my head.
What if everyone hates this story?
What if it’s utterly rubbish?
What if everyone just ignores it?
What if I’m not cut out for this?
Even when you try to stay positive, it’s hard.
But I have been absolutely blown away with the incredible feedback #FairyTaleDad has received from the Swoon Reads Community! And I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s given Summer’s story a chance. Thank you for taking the time to read, rate or comment on the story.
It takes a lot of commitment to read an unpublished story, especially when there are thousands of amazing stories out there. Regardless of which route Summer’s story takes, I’ll always appreciate all the feedback I’ve received and will forever be grateful.
Loved this! The characters are well written, including the secondary characters. I loved Summer – a strong character but with insecurities which were portrayed well. Henry is wonderful as is Summer’s Mum, Uncle Tony and the other adults who are in Summer’s life and I adored the IT-savvy neighbour too! Kept me turning the pages right up to the end. Great job!Swoon Reader
FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, AVAILABLE TO READ FOR FREE ON SWOON READS –>click here
Summer’s wish is to have a dad. But the odds of ever finding her biological father are one in a million. She’s the product of an anonymous sperm donor, an unscrupulous fertility agent and a closed fertility clinic.
When Summer’s best friend, Jake, performs an illegal hack for her seventeenth birthday, she’s in for a shocking surprise. All the evidence indicates that her father is Lord Henry Appleton, an English Lord, billionaire and CEO of the most esteemed real estate companies in London. Who could ask for a better father figure?
But getting close to him isn’t easy. Even if Summer lands the prestigious internship as his personal assistant, she must contend with Lord Henry’s conniving ex-girlfriend the relentless paparazzi, and the growing attraction between him and her mum–all while carrying a secret that only she and Jake know.
WHAT SWOON READERS ARE SAYING:
✫♥´* “A phenomenal modern-day fairytale that’s clever, uplifting and fun.” ✫♥´*
✫♥´* “Very interesting story that kept me intrigued and engaged in the book.”✫♥´*
✫♥´* “Fantastic. How much family really means. Family has unconditional love and faith. No one can replace anyone. Love holds and heals us.”
✫♥´* “This book instantly tugs at the strings of your heart and you want to see the whole thing through. It’s hard to put down. Once you start its mesmerizing. Love it!” ✫♥´*
✫♥´* “I realized a while back that most of the stories I’ve been reading, none of the main characters looks like me. This story is a first of its kind. Just beautiful 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾” ✫♥´*
To START READING please click here
Sunday Surprise Cover Reveal!
I’m super thrilled to reveal the cover of my new Young Adult Contemporary Romance Novel, #FairyTaleDad. Before today I didn’t even think I’d reveal the cover, but I’ve decided to go for it. Why? Because 2019 is the year of stepping out of my comfort zone and being bold. Tomorrow I’ll be sending out the newsletter so no one misses out.
I have more announcements coming your way this week, so if you don’t want to miss out, please make sure you check my FB page for live updates.
P.S #FairyTaleDad is ready to read!
More details to come soon.
No one ever said finding her Dad would be easy. But sometimes a girl’s got to make the magic happen.#FairyTaleDad
I’m beyond thrilled that the penultimate book in the Heart of the Ocean Series is out today. There’s one more book left to go and my debut series will be complete. I want to thank all my readers who have read the series so far. It’s one thing writing a book I love to read, but when others love to read it too, it makes it more special.
Here’s a sneak peek of the prologue.
Through the eyes of a fisherman
The Blue Sea of Sequence, serene and silent, sprawled all around me. Dawn was just breaking, the sky softening to a placid blue. The waves were mild, enshrouded by the silvery morning mist. I repositioned my fishing nets, praying to the moons for a good catch. Any catch. This was my life, and the sea was my livelihood. It had been three moon-days, and I had caught nothing. Today was Moon-day one of the Harvest Moon celebrations, and as of yet, I had nothing to offer.
In the quiet of dawn, a high-pitched howl bounced over the sea. I snapped my head back, gripping my nets tightly. A dull and thick mist spread over the waters. Perhaps I shouldn’t have ventured too far into the sea. A chill went through me. The roaring wind lashed over the ocean, spraying water into my boat.
The howling resembled a calling. One I’d never heard before. The strange sound pierced through my ears. Through squinted eyes, I gazed upon the foamy waves rising high. As the sea pulsated, the waves grew powerful. My boat pitched and took in some water. I slipped and tumbled to the floor. As my net dropped, I raced to grip the rope, my knuckles turning white.
Frantically, I tried to pull up the nets, whispering through choppy breaths, “My moons. My gods. My stars. This is my livelihood. The Blue Sea of Sequence gives. It never takes…it never takes…never.”
The sea swallowed my chants. The net became heavy—the heaviest it had ever been. In the rising mist, I peered through the crystal clear waters and I gaped, questioning my sight.
There she was. A creature of the waters trapped in my net.
A mermaid! Impossible.
In distress she waved her hands, screaming. I shook, too shocked to act. As her scream penetrated the surface of the water, her voice echoed inside my head. Within the scream, she sang—a song so melodic, it caused the waves of the sea to undulate.
Mesmerised, I was rendered motionless, taken by the beautiful sound of her voice. It was enchanting serenade—a calling to my soul. Inevitably, I lost my grip and toppled backwards into my boat. My heart beat in my neck and ears, and knowing death was near, I scrambled up. Ahead was a sight like no other. She was not alone.
A dozen—no, hundreds of mermaids—rose above the waves, their long fish tails of various shades scintillating in the morning rays. Blinded and frozen to the core, my life flashed in front of me. The sound of their voices bounced over the sea. They moved so fast, causing the ocean to ripple around them. I gazed at the one caught in my net. Now, she was watching me, an expression of concentration on her face. Her eyes locked onto mine. No blink. No flutter. No flap. But her pupils were rolling like they were engaged in a continuous hypnotic motion.
Transfixed, I listened to her melodic voice ringing in my ears, knowing death was here, but there was nothing I could do about it. When she stopped singing, I found myself again and dove into the water. And I swam hard and fast towards the shore. I couldn’t allow death to catch me. I had a daughter. I was a father. I was a survivor. And I would tell the Larize what I had seen.
The merfolk were real and they were here.
I hope you enjoyed this small sample. Beta readers are saying Unbound is the best book in the series and I can’t wait to hear your views.
A Game of Sequence is a long game. It is a game of centuries, multiples, and players that transcends realms. It can have a dozen players or a thousand. But what good is a game if all players are visible at first sight. Supposing there is one hidden under a cloud of fog, veiled inside the Heart of the Ocean, and protected from the gamers of Sequence. She’s the one who holds all the sequences in the palm of her hands. She is the jewel of the ocean, and the living Sequence to Life, Love, and Death.
Once she’s unbound, the playing field is even.
My heart is thumping so hard, I can barely breathe. I see them from a distance before anyone else. The Sleepers are coming, and they’re coming for me. My hearing is heightened. My sight is enhanced. My sense of smell is otherworldly, and a simple touch electrifies me. A whisper echoes on the wind, my heart pounds in my chest, energy crackling like lightning all around. My cravings have multiplied. Even my voice is stronger, my hair thicker, my skin tougher, and my mind sturdier. It’s just as well I am not afraid because what’s coming next is not for the faint-of-heart. I must prevail.Alessia
A mother’s delight…
Today my daughter and I were going through our photos and we came across a photo from March 2018. This was one of the highlights of my writing journey this year…
It was that moment when my daughter decided to dress up as Summer Le-Winton, a character from my yet to be published novel… and my son dressed as the phenomenal Harry Potter.
Here are some of the events leading up to this epic moment. Every year World Book Day is celebrated across the world. And in 2018 festivities in the UK were rearranged and rescheduled due to the Beast from the East. So my daughter’s school postponed the dressing up day to the 8th of March.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into Sainsbury’s with my daughter expecting to buy her something from the stock of well-known book day costumes, and she turned around and said, “Mummy, I would like to dress up as a character from one of your books please.”
That gave me pause. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she answered, eyes glinting.
“But no one will know who you’re dressed as.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll know,” she said. “What does Summer or Alessia wear?”
My mouth fell open. “Alessia might be a bit tricky, but Summer wears anything on that aisle.”
“I’m dressing up as Summer then,” she said, looking through the clothing rail. Then she picked an outfit she liked. “Does Summer wear this?”
“Yes,” I answered, close to tears. I really had to hold back here. I was that emotional.
Of all the costumes in the shop. Of all the books on the shelves. Of all the authors in the world, she chose to dress as a character from her mum’s book that’s not even published yet.
Sometimes it’s difficult to notice that the things we do can impact children in different and special ways. As I walked across the shop, I was struck by an intense realisation. In the shopping trolley was a beautiful Harry Potter outfit that my daughter and I had chosen for my son. And next to it was a simple outfit, of a simple girl from a book that’s yet to even hit the shelves.
JK Rowling touched millions of hearts in so many special ways through her words. But not everyone can do the same. And there I was, touching just one girl’s—my daughter’s heart through words she hasn’t even read yet.
All she sees is me toiling day and night, writing.
At that moment, I felt as though I had accomplished everything I had ever set out to achieve. And I wanted to share my story with everyone who’s ever had a dream.
Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop believing. Don’t be afraid to change the world for the greater good.
Even if you end up just changing one person’s life for the better—you’ve done your bit, and the world will thank you for it.
Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop believing. Don’t be afraid to change the world for the greater good. Even if you end up just changing one person’s life for the better—you’ve done your bit, and the world will thank you for it.Lorraine M.L.M
So I watched the Greatest Showman again for the umpteenth time a few weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about this movie.
It’s amazing how a movie that was purely made for entertainment can have such a strong and beautiful message of hope, dreams, faith, belonging, what it means to be human (I could go on). So it made me think about the books I write, the things I say and the stories I tell. And I can only hope that somewhere within there’s a positive message that will inspire others for the greater good. And on that note, I dug out some of the quotes I love.
“The future belongs to those with the desire to drive it forward, the hearts to make a positive difference, and the faith to imagine it.”
I absolutely love this quote and there’s nothing I can add to it that hasn’t already been said.
“I was born a thorn. You were born a flower. A thorn may wholeheartedly love a flower but how can it possibly protect her from its sting?”
This quote speaks to me in so many ways. It’s from one of the heart-wrenching scenes from Book 3 of my fantasy series and every time I read it, my heart hurts because I know that somewhere out there, someone is having a similar dilemma. Whilst I can solve this issue through fiction, in real life, it’s not as easy.
I’ll be sharing more soon.
“You were born a rare and exceptional flower, yet the world is inundated with thorns and spikes, and they all have one goal—you. You were born for greatness, and there’s an immortal light in you, and for that, darkness will constantly tag along.”Zaira
“Take a flower with a heart, and a light with a soul, and fuse them together, as you are darling, there’s only one result—Alessia of house Serenius. You will not shrivel. You will not wilt. You’ll rise above the Game of Sequence. You’ll hold that game in the palm of your hands until all the kingdoms bow their heads down in surrender.”Zaira
Or shall I say, NEW WIPs ALERT
They say a writer’s job is never done and it’s so true.
Whilst I’m waiting to receive the edits back for SeQuence Unbound, I started writing two new books today. They’re both High School YA Contemporary novels with a dash of mystery and romance. One of them is set in a boarding school and it sits very well with me because it takes me back to my six years at my all-girls boarding school. From the dormitories to the matrons, to the prefects, to the discipline, it was a different kind of world and one that I’ll always cherish (so says the girl who cried on her first day of school because she wanted to go home). Yeah, that was me, and the Friday after, my dad came to pick me up so I could go home for the weekend. And he continued to do so every weekend for almost an entire year.
And of course, things are so different now, (we didn’t have mobile phones in my time, secret letters were hand-delivered) so even though technology has moved on, teenagers will always be teenagers. And all those memories are just flashing back.
I’m really excited about these books because they’re fresh, modern and everything in between and hopefully I should be able to give you more information soon.
I’m super excited to confirm that SeQuence Unbound’s Pre-order is now live. The penultimate book in the Heart of the Ocean Series will be released on Thursday, November 8th, 2018!
Looking back at how this story started, it’s been an amazing journey. Through Alessia’s story, I’ve formed incredible friendships with fellow authors, readers, editors, designers etc — it’s been a journey worth taking in every possible way.
Naturally, I’m feeling a bit emotional because I can now see the end of the Heart of the Ocean series and it seems like yesterday when I simply scribbled, a world under the sea.
And just like that, Alessia’s story began.
This 4th book makes me excited and nervous and giddy and ‘you name it’ because there are huge twists and turns, and I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
To pre-order: Click Here
You reached the deepest depths of the ocean for me, and I will cross worlds for you.Sequence Unbound
Want to pre-order?