Hullo I’m Back! What Have You Been Up To?

Why hello friends! Look who’s still alive over here! Due to the craziness of school, the last few months I’ve definitely slacked on this blog. So now I return for the summer (and hopefully the rest of the year, too)! I thought I’d update you guys on a few happenings and what to expect soon.

First, I have a stash of short stories from a class I took this semester, so I should be posting those soon. Some of them are outside of my normal genre (superhero), like historical fiction and aliens, but I hope you’ll still enjoy them!

Second, I’ve been making some (slow) progress on IDIA #3, but I’m not sure when that will be released. I have another big novella-novel writing project that I’m super excited about, and that will probably be taking precedence since it’s for school. I’m definitely still working on book 3, though!

Finally, voting for the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards is still open, and Twinepathy is on the list! If you haven’t voted yet, you can read more about how to do so here.

Most importantly: I want to know what you’ve been up to! I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so let me know in the comments below about any awesome books you’ve been reading. I love talking with you guys!

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The Mermaid and The Shell – A Fairy Tale Fable

Hullo, friends! So I’ve been trying to figure out some things to post recently, and I realized that I have stories saved up from my creative writing and fiction classes that I can post! So today I’m sharing the first story I wrote this year for my fiction class. It’s a cross between a fairytale and a fable, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Hope you enjoy!

The Mermaid and the Shell

In a far-off land, or sea, I should say, there lived a young mermaid named Nahla. She loved living with her family and playing among the coral reef. Her people were a joyful group, and she couldn’t imagine life without them. The king of the merfolk was a good merman at that time, and under his rule, the merpeople lived in harmony.

For every mermaid’s sixteenth birthday, they were required to decorate a shell to bring before the king. This symbolized their loyalty to the throne and made them a part of the tribe forever. The only requirement was that they make the shells themselves.

“I can’t wait, Mom!” Nahla exclaimed, spinning in a circle next to her mother. “Tomorrow I get to decorate my shell! It’s going to be the most beautiful shell anyone’s ever made.”

Her mother smiled at her. “I know it will, darling. I think you should paint it the colors of the ocean. That’s what I did for my shell, and everyone loved it.”

Nahla tilted her head sideways. “I hadn’t thought of that.” Secretly, she had imagined a swirl of colors, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, the colors of the coral.

Her mother nodded. “I think it would be beautiful. And it would match your eyes.”

Nahla smiled, shifting the picture in her mind. She could put some ocean colors on the shell, she was sure.

Her mother sent her off to find her younger brother, and she found him at the edge of the reef, watching the sharks swimming through the cool blue waters. His eyes lit up as she approached. “Nahla! You need to put a shark on your shell! That would the coolest thing ever.”

Nahla frowned. “Why would I do that?”

Her brother’s face melted into sadness. “For me. I won’t get to make a shell since I’m a merman. If I could make one, I would want a shark on it.”

Nahla put an arm around her brother’s shoulders. “Don’t worry. I’ll definitely find room for a shark on there.”

A little while later, Nahla ran into her best friend, Ara. “I can’t believe you get to decorate your shell tomorrow!” Ara exclaimed, twirling around. “You’re going to put a starfish on there for me, aren’t you?”

Nahla looked sideways at her friend. “A starfish?”

Ara nodded. “It’s our favorite animal, that’s why I put one on mine. It’ll be like a piece of me with you.”

“Of course!” Nahla hugged her friend. “I wouldn’t forget to do that.”

The next day, Nahla was released to find a shell and decorate it. She looked for hours, seeking the perfect shell, and finally, she found it. She struggled as she made it, trying to tie in all of the ideas she had been given. Before long, she finished, a sinking feeling in her stomach. It was nothing like she had imagined, and she couldn’t help but think about how ugly the shell was.

Eventually, the water grew darker, and she knew the day was nearly over. It was time to present her shell to the king, beautiful or not. She entered his throne room, knowing her family and friends would be there watching. Head hanging, she placed the shell before the king.

“What is this, Nahla?” The king asked, his voice stern.

Her mother approached and peered at the shell. “Those aren’t ocean colors, darling. Why are they smeared with yellow?”

“Where’s the shark?” Nahla’s brother asked. “I thought you were going to put a shark on it.”

“That doesn’t look like a starfish,” Ara added, tilting her head.

Nahla felt disappointment welling up inside of her. The king gazed at her. “What do you have to say, Nahla?”

She bowed her head, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I wanted to make my shell coral colors, but everyone kept asking me to add something else. I didn’t want to disappoint my mom by not doing what she wanted, and since my brother doesn’t get to make a shell I wanted to put a shark on it for him. And since Ara put a starfish on hers for me, I wanted to put one on mine for her, too. I tried to include everything, but it turned into a big mess.”

The king nodded. “I will give you a chance to redo your shell, Nahla. Don’t try to please anyone, just yourself. Remember, the one who tries to please everyone pleases no one.”

And there you go! What did you think? I hope you enjoyed the story! Comment below if you have any thoughts or any ideas for future short stories you think I should write. And don’t forget to vote for Twinepathy in the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards!

A New Year: Bookish Goals for 2019!

Wow, I can hardly believe that 2018 is over already. It seems like it just started! So for 2019, I came up with a few writing and reading related goals. I thought I’d share them with all of you, and, hopefully, you can help keep me accountable!

  1. Finish Forcefield. I’m super excited to be working on IDIA #3, and this is my biggest writing goal. I’ve been working on plot ideas, and while I started the book during NaNoWriMo… I didn’t make much progress (and I definitely didn’t win NaNo). I’m hoping to work a lot more on it this year!
  2. Create a regular writing habit. Right now my goal is around 250 words a day, but in general, I just want to try and write more. Even if that means 100 or 10 words, I want to work on sitting down to write something every day, even with a crazy college schedule.
  3. Post at least once a month. I’ve been really bad about posting during the school semester, which is understandable due to the amount of work college entails. But it doesn’t take much to whip up a quick blog post at least once a month! This is one I really plan on working on this year.
  4. Read more! Reading also slips through the cracks when it comes to college. My goal is to read 24 books this year, which is about 2 a month. Even if I can’t read during the semester, I should be able to make that up this summer. We’ll see…

And that’s it! Here’s to a year of (hopefully) more regular blog posts. What are your goals or resolutions for 2019, reading or otherwise? I’d love to hear what they are! 

A Christmas Short Story and Release Tour Sign-Ups!

Hello, everyone! I apologize once again for disappearing for so long. It seems like just yesterday that the school semester started, and now it’s pretty much over. Where did the time go???

But in spite of the craziness of this semester, I’ve still been able to get some things done… like getting my Christmas short story, The Villain Who Saved Christmas, ready for publishing! There’s still a lot left to do, but I’ve set an official release date: December 24th. That’s only 10 days away, but I can’t wait for it to be out!

I posted about this story when I did the 777 Challenge, and I’m very excited to finally be sharing this with all of you. So here are the cover and the blurb!

This may be Becca’s last Christmas, and all she wants is a white Christmas. But with no snow in the forecast, her brother and sister know that might not happen… until they get the idea to track down supervillain Hypothermia for help. With his ice powers, he could create a white Christmas for their sister. There’s only one problem—they have to find him first. Can they discover where Hypothermia is hiding and convince him to make it snow?

So here’s where I need your help…

I’m not planning on doing official dates for a release tour, because I know how crazy this time of year is for everyone, and how last minute this is! Instead, if you want to help out, you can post whenever you want. The book will be releasing on December 24th, and I’m looking to have as many reviews then as I can, so feel free to share this post or the form below with anyone who may be interested!

Also, for the release, Twinepathy will be free on Kindle from December 24th-28th! If you haven’t gotten a copy of Twinepathy yet, that’s the perfect time to get a copy on Kindle.

I’m so excited to be sharing this book with all of you! Are you excited? Share any thoughts, comments, and questions you have below!

The 777 Challenge | The Villain Who Saved Christmas

Well, look who’s posting two weeks in a row! Earlier this week, Claire posted her snippets for the 777 Challenge, and today, Deborah tagged me for the challenge! Unfortunately, IDIA book 3 is still in the brainstorming stage… but I just got over 7 pages on my Christmas superhero short story, which also now has a title: The Villain Who Saved Christmas! I’m very excited about this story, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. For now, you can add it on Goodreads. First, the rules:

Rules

  1. Open your WIP to the seventh page
  2. Scroll past the seventh line
  3. Copy the next seven paragraphs and paste them on your blog for THE WORLD to read
  4. Tag seven people

And here’s my snippet! (For reference, Scott is a supervillain with ice powers named Hypothermia, and Reflex is a superhero, Scott’s archnemesis.)

Continue reading

Fan Art Contest Update And Some Author Interviews

Hullo, everyone! So technically Saturday was the deadline for the fan art contest… but I definitely forgot to post reminders! So I’m moving the deadline for the fan art/fiction contest to July 31st! So if you still want to submit something, you have more time, and don’t forget to submit it using this form. I’ve already had a few submissions (which I’m super excited about!), but I wanted to allow more time since I didn’t post reminders.

And in other news, I got to do a few author interviews for a recent blog tour with three other authors! It was a lot of fun to answer the questions! You can find one of the interviews here. It was mostly a small blog tour, but still fun.

I plan to post again soon, but let me know in the comments below what posts you would like to see me write. Movie reviews? Book reviews? More guest posts? Book updates? Posts about writing? Comment below with your thoughts!

 

 

Lightporter Release Day (Eeep!!!) And New Project Reveal

TODAY IS THE DAY, EVERYONE!!!! After almost two years, Lightporter is finally up for sale! The paperback copy should be up soon, and I may send out an update when that happens. I’m so excited to finally be able to share this book with you! I’m also really excited to be able to tell you about my next project. But first, here are all of the posts from the wonderful people who helped with the blog tour! If you haven’t read their posts, you should definitely go check them out.

Monday, June 11th

Writefury – Character Interview and Lightporter Review

Dreams and Dragons – Twinepathy and Lightporter Reviews

Light and Shadows – Book Spotlight and Author Interview

Tuesday, June 12th

Reading Anyone – Lightporter Review

Jemma – Author Interview

Wednesday, June 13th

Home With Hummingbirds – Character Interview and Book Spotlight

Thursday, June 14th

Ashley Bogner – Author Interview

Faith Blum – Book Spotlight

The Page Dreamer (Deborah O’Carroll) – Lightporter Review

Friday, June 15th

Lights And Shadows – Friday 5s: IDIA Edition

Purely By Faith Reviews – Lightporter Review and Book Spotlight

Saturday, June 16th (Release day!)

Marlene Simonette – Lightporter Review and Book Spotlight

Dreams and Dragons – Character Interview (This one’s really fun!)

Elven Padawan – Lightporter Review

These people were so awesome for helping with the tour! I also posted on here on my blog about the fan art and fan fiction contest, so you should definitely check that out as well! And, of course, don’t forget to check out Lightporter on Amazon.

So because of the release, I thought I would share a little bit about my current writing project on here. Yes, I will be starting on IDIA book 3 soon (I can’t wait!), although I may save that for NaNoWriMo this year, we’ll see. But currently I’m working on a non-IDIA superhero story–Christmas themed! I’m planning to release it in early December of this year if everything goes as planned, and it will either be a short story or a novella. I’m really excited about this new project, and hopefully I’ll have a title reveal coming soon! For now, you can find it on Goodreads.

I want to thank all of you so much for all of your support! You guys are amazing, and I couldn’t have done this without you! I’m working on coming up with a regular blogging schedule so that I can try to keep posting during the school semesters, so if you have any blog posts you’d like to see me write, let me know those ideas in the comments down below! I love to talk to you guys!

IDIA Fan Art And Fan Fiction Contest 2018!

Hullo, everyone! Welcome to day three of the release tour for Lightporter! I’m so excited to be able to do another fan art and fan fiction contest for you guys! The last one was so much fun, and I was so excited to hear that you’re interested in another one. I’ve already heard that some people are work on ideas, so I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Here’s the information for the contest!

  • This contest is open to any IDIA-themed creation! Fan fiction, drawings, digital art (that includes quote pictures), costumes, pictures of the book, fanmade covers or book trailers… pretty much anything! If you want to know if something counts, just comment below and ask me.
  • All works must be submitted by June 30th, and the results will be announced on Twinepathy‘s second birthday, July 4th!
  • Please, nothing obscene or inappropriate. Such entries will be immediately disqualified, so please don’t spend your time working on something that would just be disqualified. (If you have questions about this, just ask!)
  • You can submit as many works as you like.
  • Depending on the number of submissions, different categories may or may not be added, and the prizes adjusted accordingly.
  • Speaking of prizes, first place will win a set of IDIA-themed bookmarks! Depending on the number of submissions, I may adjust the prize, but this is my current plan. 😀
  • If you have any questions or concerns, just let me know!

If you want to see some examples, you can check out last year’s contest and the fan art page. Here are some quotes that Sara designed based off of the first chapter of Lightporter!

Aren’t they wonderful?? I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. So bookmark this page and come up with some IDIAs to submit. 🙂 In the meantime, check out the schedule to read some of the awesome posts that have gone up so far this week!

Click here to submit your fanart, or fill out the form below.

Are you excited for the contest? I know I am! Comment below with your thoughts and ideas, and don’t forget to check out the posts from this week!

Lightporter Release Countdown: Chapter Three And The Tour Starts!

Hullo, everyone! I’m so excited that the tour is finally starting! It’s less than a week until the release of Lightporter, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you! It’s also up for pre-order now, so go check it out! I’ll have a post up soon with details about the fan art and fan fiction contest, but first, the third (and final!) sneak peek chapter! Enjoy!

Check out the bottom for the tour schedule!

The hotel looms before us, not the tallest skyscraper in a place like Chicago, but tall enough. The sky is overcast, causing a foreboding air to rest on the city… or maybe that’s just my imagination. We’re in the shadows close to the hotel.

“Ready?” Blaze whispers. We all nod silently, and he motions for Push to lead. The streets aren’t as busy as they would be in New York or someplace like that, but we have to make sure to follow Push closely and watch out for other pedestrians.

Getting through the doors of the hotel is a little difficult—we don’t want it to look like the door is holding itself open—but Push pretends to drop something in the doorway, which gives us a chance to slip through. The lobby is large, but it doesn’t wow me. Not many things do, architecture-wise, ever since I saw IDIA headquarters for the first time. The floor is shiny, brown wood, or maybe fake wood, and the whole lobby is colored honey and brown. I do my best to walk quietly, without my shoes squeaking, but Push seems to be purposefully squeaking, just to cover up our sounds. I don’t know her very well, but I’m sure glad she’s on this mission with us.

Blaze, Maddie, and I separate from Push as she approaches the front desk with the pictures of Com and the FOE guy. Blaze leads us through an employee door, and we manage to slip in behind a worker. We follow Blaze down a narrow hallway until we find the right door. We wait a while for the hallway to empty in our area, and when the coast is clear, Blaze and I slip into the room, leaving Maddie on guard. It’s a lot smaller than I was expecting. Old file cabinets line one wall, and a desk with three computers on it is on the other wall. The wall opposite is empty, except for a small security camera in the corner. Blaze approaches it, studies the angle, and then walks back. “All clear,” he says softly and motions to the computer.

“Did you set up an illusion for the camera?”

“Yes,” he hisses under his breath. “Get started!”

I wince and slide into one of the chairs. Computers are not my friends, so I’m hoping this’ll be simple. It mostly is. I find the records, thanks to Jen’s tips on where they might be, and I begin to search. My mind’s only half on my task, though, because I’m also trying to think of a way to get Blaze to talk. The computer gives me an error message, and I growl at it. “I wish Jen was here. She could just read the computer and get all the information.”

“She wouldn’t,” Blaze replies. “She won’t touch computers. The information overloads her brain.”

I frown. “What?”

Blaze sighs impatiently and flops down in one of the other desk chairs. “Jen can absorb information from touching any object, right? Same goes for a computer. If she touches it, she gets all of the information on it… but, just like when she touched Brooklyn and found you, if she touches a computer for more than a few seconds, she would get all of the information on the internet, and she’d have access to every computer on the planet that’s connected to the internet. I saw her brush up against a computer once, not enough to fully read it, and she nearly passed out. That’s why she wears gloves whenever she uses a computer.”

“Wow,” I whisper in awe. “That’s nuts.”

Blaze nods. “I know. Now get back to work.”

My chance. I spin around to face him. “What is up with you today? You’ve been snappish, and you’re ‘not in the mood’ for joking around! Since when do you say that? You’ve been acting like a jerk!”

Blaze glares at me, more ferocious than I’ve ever seen him, and I sink back into my chair. But a second later, his expression changes to cool indifference. “I’m under a lot of stress at home, okay? Now’s not a good time for me. Can you handle that for a little while?” The sarcasm on the last sentence stings.

I don’t reply, just turning back to the computer. Behind me, Blaze sighs. “Look, Albany, I want to talk to you about this, but I just can’t. I’m really confused, and I don’t know what I should do, but I need you to trust me, okay?”

I turn around and see him running a hand through his hair, clearly frustrated. “Okay,” I say quietly, turning back to the computer again. I complete the search, and little dots circle in the center of the screen while the results load. I tap my foot impatiently on the ground. A moment later, the listing pops up, and I lean forward, reading out loud for Blaze’s benefit. “Our FOE guy was in room 311.” I stop, staring at the screen with wide eyes.

“When did he leave?” Blaze asks, his tone tired.

I turn and look at him. “He hasn’t yet.”

Blaze straightens and comes over to the computer, gazing at the screen. “That’s so weird,” he mutters. “He checked out two weeks ago but checked back in a few days later.”

“And he’s still here,” I say, still trying to wrap my brain around that part. “Why do you think he came back?”

Blaze shrugs. “A change of plans, I guess. Or maybe this means we need to investigate the room.”

“I’m not staying here,” I say immediately.

He gives me a sideways grin. “I didn’t think you would. Let’s get Maddie and go. Tell Brooklyn what’s up.”

I shoot off a telepathic message to Brooklyn as we slip back into the hallway. Absolute silence is required right now, but that doesn’t include Brooklyn’s questions in my brain. I try to keep my answers as clear and concise as possible, knowing Brooklyn is relaying everything to Jen and asking me Jen’s questions. Jen gives us the go-ahead for checking out the room. But Brooklyn affirms that we need to stay invisible and undetected, if possible.

Blaze teleports the three of us outside the hotel room our mystery man is in. He motions towards the door with a nod to me, and then he and Maddie disappear without any explanation at all.

I very much hope he has a plan, because that motion was not enough to explain to me what to do. Burst into the room like a cop? I can’t tell if I’m invisible or not, and either way, it’ll catch the person off guard. But before I can do anything, Blaze reappears, slips a plastic room key card into my hand and disappears again.

“Thanks,” I grumble under my breath. I slip the key into the door, and the click sounds loud to me. I slowly push the door open, then burst into the room like the idiot I am. I open my mouth to yell something threatening, but before I can say anything, I’m looking down the barrel of a gun. So… I freeze instead of yelling freeze.

“What are you…” The ferocious growl dies. “Jazz?” The gun quivers and moves away from my face, but still points in my direction. “What are you doing here?”

My dazed eyes focus on the straight red hair pulled into a firm ponytail. “Keller? You’re…”

“What are you doing here?” Keller asks through gritted teeth.

“Um…” I stumble over my words. “I-I’m… what are… huh?” Keller, Maddie’s much older sister, is in the room that our FOE guy is supposed to be in. And she’s also pointing a gun at me.

She growls, clearly frustrated with me. “You’re here on IDIA business, correct?”

I should probably deny it, but she’s a full telepath. She could easily just peek inside my brain and see the truth. Plus, I’m wearing my mask, so that kind of gives it away. Keller may not be an IDIA agent, but she’s been to IDIA, and she knows at least a bit about the mask stuff. So I just nod. “But… what are you doing here?”

“I’m on personal business,” she replies with narrowed eyes. “And it’s definitely not any of your business. Were you coming after me?”

“I don’t think so….” I say slowly. Most likely she’s not the FOE guy. Unless she manipulated Com’s memories so that Jen would think the person was a guy. But that wouldn’t make any sense at all. Com would have recognized her when she was at IDIA headquarters. And I don’t even know if she can do that.

All of a sudden, Keller’s gun flies out of her hand and across the room. “Dang it, Maddie,” Blaze growls, turning himself and Maddie visible in the corner. Keller whirls around to face them as Blaze picks up the gun and flips something. I don’t know much about guns, but I’m guessing it’s the safety.

Keller calms slightly, now that she sees her sister. “Why are you here?”

Blaze steps forward. “The better question is why are you here?”

She crosses her arms. “I asked first.”

“Don’t mess with him,” I interrupt coolly. “He’s being grumpy today.”

Blaze sends me a glare, then turns back to Keller. “Look, can you just cooperate? This is sort of related to Maddie’s amnesia.”

Keller’s eyebrow arches. “Jen said we wouldn’t be able to get the memories back.”

“We can’t,” Blaze agrees. “Not that I know of. But don’t you want to get at the people who hired Com to steal the memories?”

Keller’s expression darkens, and she looks at Blaze. “I know you’re using that to manipulate me, but I’ll play along.”

“Good.” Blaze crosses his arms, mimicking Keller’s stiff posture. “Why are you here?”

“I noticed something strange going on in this area,” she replies. I can tell she’s not happy about complying, but at least she hasn’t hurt any of us or anything. “There’s a weird, very big mindprint. I thought I’d come check it out.”

“Did you think it had anything to do with FOE?” Blaze asks.

Keller shrugs. “I didn’t have any clue. I just wanted to investigate. It just seemed dangerously large. I know you think I’m heartless, but I don’t want innocent people getting hurt.”

I personally don’t think of her as heartless—I’ve seen how much she cares about Maddie. Dangerous, yes. Heartless, no. “And why did you use the exact same information as the guy in this room before you?” I jump in.

Keller frowns. “I pulled information out of the brain of the guy who was checking me in. I didn’t know who it was. Is that why he said he’d put me in the same room?”

Blaze frowns and glances in my direction. “Maybe this hotel has more to do with this FOE stuff than we thought.”

I shrug. “Who knows? We just have to tell Data.”

“What do we do about Keller?” Maddie pipes up from her sheltered spot in the corner of the hotel room. “Data wouldn’t want us to just leave her here.”

“Good point,” Blaze says. “Keller, would you mind coming with us?”

Keller opens her mouth to reply, but a shudder shakes her. She puts a hand to her forehead and stumbles to the window, gazing out, and her jaw drops in surprise. “Oh my—”

I hesitate, glancing over at Blaze, but confusion covers his face, too. I feel the familiar itch of my curiosity. I’ve gotten a lot better at restraining myself lately, but my curiosity will never fully go away. I wouldn’t want it to. I wait until Blaze makes his way towards the window and follow him, mentally patting myself on the back. So much self control.

I peer out the window over Maddie’s head. At first, I don’t see anything, but then Keller points to our right. My jaw drops as I take in a huge monster crashing through buildings a few blocks away. Its face looks like a giant mosquito head, the long nose thing prying through buildings. The creature’s body looks kind of like a troll’s, with the scaly skin of a dragon, and it’s taller than most of the buildings around us.

“What is that?” Blaze asks.

Keller shakes her head grimly. “I have no clue. But it’s definitely not good.”

And that’s the end of the sneak peek! You’ll have to wait until the 16th, or you can preorder Lightporter now and you’ll be sure to get it on release day. For now, though, check out the schedule below, and hang around for some fun release tour announcements!

Release Tour Schedule

There will also be posts on The World of the Writer.

Monday, June 11th

Writefury – Character Interview and Lightporter Review

Dreams and Dragons – Twinepathy and Lightporter Reviews

Light and Shadows – Book Spotlight and Author Interview

Tuesday, June 12th

Reading Anyone – Lightporter Review

Jemma – Author Interview

Wednesday, June 13th

Home With Hummingbirds – Character Interview and Book Spotlight

Thursday, June 14th

Ashley Bogner – Author Interview

Faith Blum – Book Spotlight

The Page Dreamer (Deborah O’Carroll) – Lightporter Review

Friday, June 15th

Lights And Shadows – Friday 5s: IDIA Edition

Purely By Faith Reviews – Lightporter Review and Book Spotlight

Saturday, June 16th (Release day!)

Marlene Simonette – Lightporter Review and Book Spotlight

Dreams and Dragons – Character Interview

Elven Padawan – Lightporter Review

Lightporter Release Countdown: Chapter Two

Hullo, everyone! Today I bring you the second chapter of Lightporter, which means we only have one week left until the release tour starts! I can’t wait! If you’re new, you should definitely read Twinepathy first, or you can just try out the second book. Click here to read the first chapter of Lightporter. Hope you enjoy this chapter, and don’t forget to comment your theories and ideas below!

The alley fades away and we appear in IDIA headquarters, in one of the big black circles that I learned are teleporting rings—places for teleporters to safely teleport to without worrying about people. No one’s supposed to walk in them, and no one does. After dropping us off, Blaze immediately disappears, leaving us there with barely a nod.

“This is so weird,” I say, frowning at the spot where Blaze was. “Let’s get to Data’s office so we can figure out what’s going on.”

The teleportation rings are on the opposite side of the huge lobby of IDIA from Jen’s office, so it would be a long trek—that is, if we had to walk. But Maddie’s here, so we don’t have to. She’s been working on her powers with another telekinetic, Push, and her powers have strengthened a lot. She just learned how to fly recently, and while I’m still nervous, I trust her. Mostly. I do wish I had some way to hold onto the ground, just in case. Flying still feels unnatural.

Maddie uses her telekinesis powers to push herself off the ground, then pulls us up behind her. A moment later, we’re hurtling across the lobby, near the high ceiling—which Jen told me was made specifically for flying to be possible. It doesn’t take us long to reach the other side, and I’m very glad to be back on the ground. I barely wait for Brooklyn and Maddie before heading over to Jen’s office door.

The desk outside the office where Com used to sit before he betrayed us is empty. Jen said she might look for a replacement, but it’s been three months since the end of that whole fiasco, and she still hasn’t gotten one. My guess is she doesn’t want to go through that whole thing again, but who knows. If there’s one person I’ll never be able to understand, it’s Jen.

And apparently Blaze.

I knock on Jen’s office door and hear her call for us to come in. She looks up as we enter and smiles. “Good, I’m glad you made it.” She motions to three chairs in front of her desk. “Have a seat, please. This’ll be quick.”

“And clear, I hope,” I comment, sitting down in one of the chairs. “What’s wrong with Blaze?”

Jen’s expression turns solemn, and she nods. “You noticed, then.”

“It was kind of hard not to,” Brooklyn admits. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” Jen says. “That’s why I wanted you three to come here. Blaze has been acting very odd for the past three days. He’s been quiet, snappish, and the opposite of his usual cheerful self. I’ve known him for years, and he’s only been like this twice. But he also won’t open up to me at all, so I know he’s hiding something.”

“And you want us to figure out what that something is?” I ask with a frown.

“Yes and no.” Jen leans forward. “I don’t want to endanger any of you, and I don’t want to make Blaze suspicious, either. I just want all of you to keep your eyes and ears open, and if you hear even a hint as to what’s bugging him, let me know.”

“Can I ask him what’s going on?” I ask.

Jen nods. “Just don’t mention me or make him suspicious.”

“Okay.” I frown. “You said there were two other times when Blaze acted like this. What were they?”

Jen studies me with a frown of her own. “One is classified, the other involves Blaze’s own personal life, and I’m not at liberty to share about that. I can tell you that in both of those situations, Blaze was willing to talk to me. Only one of them was a serious situation, and it was one I already knew about. So I can only conclude that his unwillingness to talk means it’s something I wouldn’t like.”

I’m thoroughly confused, but I’ve come to expect vagueness from Jen. “Okay…”

Jen glances at her watch. “We need to get to the meeting. Be careful, all of you, especially Albany.” She gives me a warning look. “I don’t know what Blaze is up to, and I don’t like to think that he’d harm any of you, but I still want you to be careful.” With that final warning, she stands up and motions to the door. “We’re in room four.”

The three of us follow Jen down the hallway, more solemn than we were before. Whatever’s going on with Blaze is not good, with a capital everything. I can’t help musing over it in my mind. What if Blaze has started working for FOE, the mysterious villainous agency that Com was working for? Not likely, but possible. I don’t know anything about his history or his family, not even his real name, so who knows what could be going on. Maybe his family has worked for them for years or something. But even then, I can’t imagine Blaze working for the bad guys. Maybe something’s wrong in his non-superhero life.

We reach the meeting room and go inside. No one else is in it when we enter, but Jen motions for us to sit. “Blaze is bringing Push,” she tells us.

We don’t have to wait long. Blaze and Push come in only a minute or two after we get settled. They take their places at the table quickly, and Jen begins to debrief us.

“As most of you know, Com betrayed us because he was working for an organization—or maybe an agency—named FOE. He told us he was hired by someone, and that was the only person from the agency he ever met. After his capture, I read him.” She flexes her hands absentmindedly and her expression darkens a little. “I know what his contact looks like. Unfortunately, there’s a very great possibility that his appearance was a disguise. But through their conversation, I was able to pick up a few clues as to where he was holed up—a hotel in Chicago.”

“You think he’s still there?” I ask doubtfully.

Jen shakes her head. “Most likely not. But this hotel keeps a backlog of guests, so we can figure out how long the man was staying there. If he’s still there, in the hotel, I want all of you to carefully investigate. If he’s not, see if there’s any way you can check the room he was staying in. He might have left something behind that could give us a clue. Either way, Blaze, I want you to keep everyone invisible the entire time. Pop, you will be here at headquarters, keeping in contact with Jazz through your connection.”

Brooklyn sighs in relief, and so do I. That means I get to go on this mission, at least. I can’t wait. I don’t know how Brooklyn can actually like staying here at headquarters. Just goes to show how different we are.

“Jazz, Maddie, Push, and Blaze, you four will be investigating, looking through the records. I have their location at the hotel for you, and I also have the exact date he checked into the hotel.”

“How?” Push asks, frowning.

Jen smiles slightly. “Com was the one who picked him up and checked him in.”

“Wouldn’t that give us his name, too?” I ask.

“No. Unless his name really is John Smith,” Jen replies. “Which is highly unlikely.”

“The cheesiest of all cheesy fake names,” I say with a grin in Blaze’s direction. My smile falters when he ignores me. Of course.

Jen gives us more details, like the location of the records room and small details that might help us. She also gives us a picture of Com and a picture of what she says is the FOE guy. He looks normal enough… too normal, come to think of it. “This is what his appearance was for the most part when he met with Com. You can use this to ask some of the hotel staff about him. Push, I’m putting you on that. Maddie, I’d prefer for you to stay on lookout. Blaze and Albany, you two will go through the registers for information. Understood?”

We all agree, and Jen looks us over. “You can do this. Blaze.” She nods at him, and he teleports the four of us away.

A mission! I can’t wait to find out what happens next… 🙂 Come back next Monday for the third chapter and the start of the release tour! Also, don’t forget that the sign-ups for Lightporter‘s release tour are still open, so you can still sign up if you would like to participate!

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