Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Outcast by Lauren Hillman

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lauren Hillman will be awarding a $30 BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Merissa is a faerie with no magic, no memory... and no friends. Until a hummingbird arrives with an ominous message: The Queen wants her dead.

With the help of the hummingbird Chippen, Merissa sets out on a dangerous journey to find the one faerie who may know the truth about her past. But they only find more questions when they meet Griff, a gypsy boy with pale grey eyes and one heart-melting dimple and Merissa discovers a strange connection between them. But soon her past will endanger them all.

But she is a faerie. And faeries are protectors. So if anything will help Merissa regain her lost powers it will be to save her friends.

The next day Merissa walked into the home of Ming-Li, a Juniper Faerie. She was the oldest faerie in the village and an herbalist. Wherever she touched plants would grow. She understood the power these plants had to heal and would break them down and make teas with them, giving them as medicines to anyone who asked. On rainy days faeries would gather in her home to gossip over hot tea.

Before Merissa entered there was plenty of loud chattering, occasionally broken up with the tinkling laughter of a chorus of faeries. The doorbell jingled overhead as Merissa entered and the laughter abruptly stopped. All eyes turned to stare. One young faerie, newer to the village than even Merissa, choked on the tea he was drinking and began to cough. The woman next to him had to slap his back until he stopped. Asha was seated at the centre table but when Merissa entered she quickly excused herself and slipped into the back room.

Ming-Li was the first to break the silence. “You’re not welcome here anymore, girl. Go home. I don’t want no speak about evil magic in my teahouse. Asha’s told us what you been talkin’ about and we don’t want any of that in here, you hear?”

Once Ming-Li spoke up a half-dozen others found their voices too and shouted angry words at her until Merissa found herself near tears, searching the room for a friendly face. She saw a brief glimpse of Asha’s eyes peeking out from the crack in the doorway but she ducked from view as soon as Merissa spotted her.

Andella, one of the older faeries who used to kindly help Merissa with her magic experiments chimed in, “Well I don’t know why you’re so surprised we feel this way. You’re talking about changelings! And if anything you say is true, it means one of us from this village must have been involved in some way. You don’t want to go down this road, Merissa. It won’t be long before some traveler gets wind of what you been saying and a regent of the Queen is sent here to make inquiries into all of us. You want to get us all killed? Now go and don’t let us be seeing you more often than absolutely necessary. In fact, if I was you, I’d consider leaving Reya for good and finding yourself a nice place in the Citadel where you can live a quiet, anonymous life.”

Merissa continued standing there, confused at the sudden turn against her.

“Go,” Andella yelled and Merissa could see the fire in her eyes and hear the flames in her voice. The level of hate scared her into action and she rushed out the tiny door into the drizzly sky outside.

This was the first time since her beginning she returned to that open field. She had no idea what compelled her to return to that spot but that’s where she found herself standing as the drops of rain began to fall more heavily. Merissa quickly searched the ground for any fallen leaves she could shelter under. But it was spring and the forest’s edge was too far so she made do with a daisy standing nearby. It wasn’t perfect and she still got wet, but her wings and hair stayed mostly dry which was some consolation anyway.

She slumped against the stem of the daisy and started to cry.

Lauren Hillman is an actor, teacher and writer living in Vancouver, BC. Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario she moved west after university to pursue a career in acting. For the last ten years she has primarily been working as an acting teacher in elementary and middle schools, occasionally writing scripts to be performed on stage. The transition to novelist wasn’t easy but was aided by the knowledge and love of storytelling that the theatre gave her. Her first novel, Outcast, was largely inspired by her students.

Twitter: @LaurenJHillman
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