If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the cover:
It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.
Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.
None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.
Now that I have your attention, I give you, the lovely, Stephanie Lawton
First, my sincere thanks to Julie for hosting me today on her blog. I was an early fan of Crux, and I know we both love books with paranormal elements, so I’m glad I get to share a bit of my latest, Shrapnel, with you in an excerpt below.
It’s a weird mutt of a novel that also contains soft horror, historical fiction and a great ghost story. The bit below is told from Dylanie’s point of view. She and Jake are at a weekend retreat for teen psychics, but have decided to do a little investigating outside on their own. Both have just experienced some crazy, life-changing events, and here, they get into a little of a philosophical discussion. Jake speaks first.
“So …” He kicks an acorn across the sidewalk. “What do you think happens when we die?”
I go slack and tilt my head. “Really? You’re asking me now? You wanna know the meaning of life, too?”
He stares after the acorn he just assaulted. “I know, it’s just, this weekend has gotten me thinking. I mean, Ashley’s freaking about her brother, and Ethan is dead but he’s still in this house. And the whole church thing she brought up. I don’t have that much experience with actual ghosts, so … it’s a bit much.”
I ignore him and circle the tree a couple times, gazing up into its shadowy branches. A quick movement to my left catches my eye. A shape flies out of the dark and straight at my face.
Jake doubles over in laughter. “Watch out for those killer squirrels, Dylan. God’s punishing you for ignoring my question.”
I point right at his nose. “And that right there is why I don’t want to talk about it.”
“God’s army of killer squirrels?”
Jake’s doing that squinty thing people do when they want to ask a serious question but don’t want to be all heavy. “You think he punishes people?”
“I know it.”
“Want to explain?”
“Nope.” I am not having this conversation. The memories start poking their way to the surface.
“C’mon, you can’t leave me hanging like that. Does it have to do with the cross shape branded on your thigh?”
Anger. It whips through me faster than I can think, scorching my nerves and setting my scar on fire. “Just shut up, okay?”
“Easy, Dylan. You want to talk about it? Is it, like, some weird cult initiation or something? You a closet Jesus freak?”
“You think I did this to myself?” I rub my thumb over my thigh. The memory of that day makes me tremble.
Jake’s eyes widen. “You’re terrified. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I just thought—”
“What? You’d pry into my business? Make the freak talk?”
“Fine. You want to know? I was in the bathroom at school. Four girls came in. They dragged me into the handicapped stall, pinned me to the floor and pulled down my pants. One took off her cross necklace and heated it with a lighter. Then she pressed it into my leg while her friends sat on my arms and legs and laughed. Now I have a scar. Happy?”
“Exactly. God. He and I aren’t on such great terms.”
“They did that because you see spirits?”
“That’s one reason.”
He has no idea. And if I can help it, he never will.
About the author:
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
She has a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras and can sneeze 18 times in a row.
Thanks for taking over my blog today, Stephanie. Awesome having you here, as always. Your stories rock!
I’ve read this book people, and trust me, you want to, too! So good!