Dawn's Acapella Preview (LGS book one)
Meet the 16-year-old Rose Channing, author of “The Mansion’s Twins,” before her authoring days. Before she knew for sure that magic existed. Before she even knew her own middle name. Before any of that, there was an annoying freshman girl following her around. A girl who talked too much and sang too loud. A girl with a silly but sweet idea to turn ordinary high school students into heroes.
Before Rose became Rose, there was Dawn.
She was writing in a notebook, hurrying to finish a project her friends had dared her to attempt.
As much as I love them, my stupid friends have presented me with the stupidest writing challenge ever. Just because Lucy and Nick can write anything doesn’t mean I can. “Write something outside your usual stuff,” they said. “No Crossworlds allowed!” Ugh. Fine. I’ll do what you do, Lucy, and write about my friends. And I’ll do what you do, Nick, and write it as a poem:
Let’s go on an adventure, because these three oddities belong in fantasy books
A beautiful, tall curvy woman with thick flowing brown hair, and eyes like the ocean
A young skinny man, with tight dark curls, freckled skin and eyes full of wonder
And then there’s the third one, whatever.
The first would have gifts of healing, and a voice made of magic
She can shift anyone and anything into its brighter, better version
The second, a seer, aside from his own life
He knows the world, its truths and lies
The third, well, she can’t even write a poem properly
This is more like a love letter to my friends
Very stupid and cheesy, and I hate you both for making me do this
But hey, we’re all still legends, including me, I guess
My name is Rose, and someday I will be
“You’re late for school!” her mom called.
…allowed to finish my damn sentences.
Reviews of Dawn's Acapella
This is a very well written short story and I appreciated how the author got into the conflict right away and followed up with obstacles and a satisfying solution." --Amazon reviewer
"I really enjoyed this book. In fact at one point, I came close to crying as I was touched by part of the story. The theme of kindness in this book makes it a story that should be part of anti-bullying programs of schools." --Amazon reviewer
"A wonderful story by a young author, that not only shows the enthusiasm of our young, but in the end touches on a very difficult and far too common problem for our youth today.
I found this uplifting, imaginative, and a must for any teen, especially those having a hard time finding their place in this expansive and sometimes tough world." --Amazon reviewer
"This story is about a group of misfits who decide to do something to make their school a better place. A very short, sweet and inspirational story about how one kind gesture could change a person's life. Very well written and hope to see more from this author." --Amazon reviewer
"I found this short story to be a charming chronicle of the high school experience. When young Rose meets bubbly freshman Dawn, the entire world of the school is turned upside down. Quirky and kind, she develops an instant rapport with Rose; one that really melted my heart. The story was well written, with unique characters and an uplifting life lesson. To paraphrase, 'Simple gestures should never be overlooked. Even the smallest spark can be seen, and that's all it takes.' A wonderful tale of friendship and trying to raise others' spirits. Dawn's Acapella is not to be missed." --Amazon reviewer
Acapella Angels Preview (LGS book two)
After a disaster at her old school, Rose and her parents are forced to move away. While her classmates look forward to bright futures, Rose is haunted by a dark past.
She doesn’t dare befriend anyone new at her next school, for fear of another incident. Instead, she finds friends inside the pages of her own stories.
Dedicated to Dawn, Rose writes “Acapella Angels” the story or Ellie and Savannah’s parents when they were young.
He was a wanderer, searching for his gift. She was a dreamer, who hoped someday to fly.
The days before the storm were dark and dangerous. Cassandra, hoping to make her home safe again, joins the warriors Summer’s Angels with her friends, Brooke and Nathaniel. Her childhood friend Travis is there to catch her each time she falls, when others have let her down. Travis shows her what it is she’s truly fighting for. On one side of Cassandra’s life is violence, darkness, and death. On the other side, love, light, and new life.
These characters send Rose on her own journey of hope and healing. She begins to learn through them how to cope with loss, and how to find joy once again.
“Cassandra! Look at me, baby, please…”
Through blurred vision, she saw two women above her. Her mother, and Jennifer Cadence, the mansion’s healer.
“Is she okay?”
“She always is, it’s just a broken arm this time,” Jennifer said. “I think we should put a cast on it and let it heal naturally. Are you okay with that? If we keep using magic she’s not going to learn.”
Cassandra tried to move, but every part of her hurt. She struggled to focus enough to form words, to convince Jennifer to heal her.
“Whatever you think is best, Jenny,” her mother said.
“Wait!” Cassandra said. “Please, Jennifer? It hurts.”
“Well, maybe you should stop jumping off the balcony, silly girl.”
“But I’m going to fly!”
“Cassandra, I know discovering your gift is exciting, and we are proud of our little levitator, but your magic just isn’t strong enough! Nobody’s is. Not yet, anyway. So for now, you’re just going to have to stop scaring me to death.”
Jenny picked her up and carried her away to tend to her arm. Cassandra fought back tears. She was six years old and had just discovered her gift a few days ago, a moment every child awaits with impatience and excitement. Levitation was one of the simplest of the twelve gifts, but Cassandra didn’t care. She knew she could do extraordinary things with whatever she had. She just didn’t want to be ungifted.
The moment came when she was playing with her older sister Danielle in the Child’s World, the mansion’s preschool. They were having a snack, and playfully tossing crackers across the table at each other. Suddenly magic light up her entire being, and the thought occurred to her that she should try floating the cracker in the air, and landing it right on top of Danielle’s head. Doing so was easy, and she burst into a fit of giggles. She sprang out of her chair and scampered around the room, lifting everything she could think of by magic.
Someone knocked down a boy’s tower of blocks, and he was just about to cry when Cassandra lifted them by magic again and stacked them back up just like they were. He froze, his expression returned to normal, and he stared at her with wide, deep green eyes.
“There you go!” she said.
“Wow, thank you!” he said. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Cassandra Senka,” she said proudly. “I just discovered my gift, and I’m a levitator, see?” She lifted more of the blocks and created a tower of her own.
“I’m Travis,” he said. “I haven’t discovered my gift yet. Wanna be friends? You can help me find out what it is.”
“Yeah! Let’s do it!”
Her sister’s voice came from behind her. “That’s stupid, Cassandra, you can’t force someone to discover their gift. It happens naturally, he just has to wait for it.”
“No! We’re gonna do it!”
* * *
Travis was new to the mansion. The Child’s World was the safest preschool his parents could find. The town of Kherrington his parents grew up in was no longer as safe as it had been. Something was stirring in the forest. Dark magic was growing. It all felt like a scary story to Travis, unreal and far away, but his parents were frightened. They had considered dropping everything and moving to the mansion, but instead decided to test the waters, and send Travis to school there first.
It wasn’t easy on him. He was almost seven years old and still hadn’t discovered his gift. The other children would talk about theirs, about how excited and proud they were to have discovered them, and he had nothing to say in return. He’d never been this shy before. He’d heard over and over that the mansion was a warm and welcoming place, where the lonely found home and family again. But he hadn’t.
Until this small, bright-eyed blonde girl rebuilt his tower. She lived in the mansion, he could tell by her confidence that she felt at home here. Plus, she wore the colors of Summer’s Angels: a bright yellow top and blue pants. It was common for the grown-ups in the mansion to dress their kids this way. Summer’s Angels were the queen’s warriors, as well as a choir that sang in town. The choir wore blue and yellow, and the colors had come to symbolize hope for all the people of the East.
Travis saw that hope in Cassandra’s eyes. Her wavy hair hung loosely around her shoulders, and her eyes were a pretty light green. Her older sister had the same eyes, and darker hair with tighter curls. Though she was only two years older, Danielle seemed far more mature, far more together, than wild little Cassandra.
Travis had asked for friendship before, and for someone to help him find his gift, but most people responded the way Cassandra’s sister had, telling him he was stupid to think he could force it.
Cassandra Senka believed in him. It was one of the first things he learned about her: She believed very strongly in what most people considered impossible.
* * *
After Jenny had tended to her arm, Cassandra found Travis on the balcony. “Wanna sign my cast, Travis?” She held out her arm, wrapped in a bright yellow cast up to her elbow. All the signatures decorating it were blue. He saw the marker in her pocket. Of course she would insist on only having blue and yellow on her cast, that was no surprise. But he still didn’t like the sight of the thing.
“Why do you have a cast?”
She rolled her eyes. “Jennifer wouldn’t heal me.”
“Why? How’d you get hurt?”
“I jumped off the balcony again.”
“Yeah. I do it all the time.”
“Be careful,” he said.
“I am. I just wanna fly so bad. And now my arm is too heavy, so I have to wait! It’s okay though. Hey, maybe you’ll be a healer! Try it!”
“Cassandra, people are usually born with that gift. I’m not a healer.”
“Just try it!”
Cassandra nodded encouragement as he put his hand on her cast and closed his eyes, focusing in. She felt a warm, comforting current of magic flow into her arm, but it was too weak to mend the damage. He sighed. “I’m never gonna discover my gift!”
“Hey, it’s okay!” she said. “That felt really nice. And you’ll get there, I promise. Some kids have to wait till their seven or eight.”
“I don’t wanna wait!”
“Well, I don’t wanna wait either! I wanna fly now!”
A voice from below distracted them both. Cassandra’s parents were downstairs. “Cassandra! Travis! Come here, hurry!”
The children scampered down the stairs.
“To the basement, now!” Cassandra’s mother said.
“Someone’s trying to break in. We’ve got to get to safety.”
Cassandra turned away from her parents as the doors behind the stairways opened, and Summer’s Angels emerged: strong, fierce women dressed in green. At the top of the balcony stood the mansion’s queen. At first glance she looked like nothing more than a child, only a few years older than Cassandra. Just a girl in a white dress, with short black hair framing her face. But everyone felt the power she carried with her. She radiated light and strength. Cassandra waved at her. “Hi, June,” she whispered.
“Get the children downstairs,” June said.
Her mother pulled her along. She looked back at June and her warriors, Summer’s Angels, ready for battle. They marched out of the mansion to meet the enemy, unsheathing swords, or lighting up their hands with magic. Who was attacking the mansion? It had to be someone from the forest, where June’s enemies dwelt: The Ambrosi family. Jerome was the only one left, or at least, that was what everyone thought. Cassandra still pictured many of them. Strong warriors with every kind of gift. Healers whose magic had been twisted to inflict pain. Creatures Jerome made himself, infused with evil magic. Perhaps he’d even kidnapped a model maker. Cassandra’s imagination ran wild as her parents dragged her into the basement. She heard shouting from outside, and what sounded like gunfire.
Down in the dark, some were scared, others worried, others just bored. Some of the grown-ups looked like they’d experienced this many times before. They spoke to each other in soft but casual voices. Travis’s parents, however, were downright terrified.
“The mansion isn’t as safe as we thought.”
“Yes it is,” Cassandra said. “We’re still okay, aren’t we?”
“Sh!” Travis said.
“Come on.” She couldn’t help rolling her eyes. This was nothing to be scared about. This was exciting. She only wished she could see the battle. The only thing that worried her was the whispered conversation between Travis’s parents. Travis hadn’t been in the mansion for long, but Cassandra was already good friends with him. She was usually content to play by herself, and had few close friends. Only Danielle, Amber, and now Travis. But with those friends, she had made promises she meant to keep. Amber was a gifted singer, and when they were old enough, they were both going to join the choir, Summer’s Angels. She hadn’t helped Travis discover his gift yet, and she’d promised she would. Promises to Danielle were easy to keep. They would be best friends forever because they had to be. Plus, Danielle’s gift was inner-vision. Cassandra couldn’t keep secrets from her if she wanted to.
If Travis’s parents took him away, she would follow him. She was getting too old for preschool anyway. She was ready for real school. She was ready to learn to use all her magic to the best of her ability, so someday she could fight for June just like those brave heroes above her right now…
And she would learn to fly. She would learn to fly, and then she could do anything.