My big trip to Wales loomed. I still awaited the final cover art for Spell Struck, Book 2: The Teen Wytche Saga, which was scheduled to release five days after my return. For weeks I had traded emails with artist Amanda Matthews and Astraea Press founder, Stephanie Taylor. At issue had been how to portray Aidan, the kidnapped teen hero. He needed to be a little scruffy and street worn, but not so much that you’d cross the road to avoid him. Turned out that image was more challenging to portray than any of us had expected. I had visualized Aidan as sort of a young Johnny Depp. Unfortunately, the only one who looked like that was…Johnny Depp. Sigh.
At last, a compromise was reached and all the elements coalesced. With a portrait of Aidan finally agreed upon, I zipped up my suitcase, jetted to London, and then took the train to Cardiff Central. My plan was to research a new middle grade trilogy. But my mind remained on the Teen Wytche Saga. The Spell Struck cover was done, but Stephanie had promised me a revamp for Spell Check. The new cover would release the same day Spell Struck debuted. Amanda hadn’t completed the concept cover before I left. So, while taking a taxi from the train station to Miskin Manor, the first stop in my research and spiritual pilgrimage, the thought highest on my mind was, will they have WiFi? Amazingly, the magnificent country house hotel did have Wi-Fi in its smoky downstairs parlor. Alas, a quick email check revealed no word from Amanda.
Thus began a ten-day, nail-biting whirl through Wales. By day, I hiked fairy forests, visited holy wells, and explored castle ruins. I climbed Dinas Emrys, the ancient hill fort where it is said the white and red dragons were released and Merlin prophesized. By night, I joined other members of the tour in the common room of whatever manor house or retreat we were staying in. We congregated on plush sofas or hard plastic chairs, seeking the strongest Internet signal. Checking emails, twitter, and Facebook became a group activity. Each night, I searched my email account. Sometimes I heard from Amanda. Sometimes I didn’t. The time difference between the United Kingdom and the United States stymied quick communication. My book launch inched closer.
On the final night of my journey, with a two-day slog home ahead of me that included eighteen hours holed up in three different airplanes, Amanda emailed me. Pulse zigzagging; I downloaded the final, Stephanie-approved, Spell Check cover. I loved it! In the sitting room of the Caer Beris Hotel, the tour group released a collective breath.
One week to my book launch. We had made it!
Goth outcast, Salem Miller, believes her love spell failed until Aidan Cooper arrives at Jefferson High. When he chooses her over the popular girls, Salem knows magic brought him. But can she summon enough wizardry to save her sister? Salem fears Amy’s next suicide attempt will succeed. Magic brought Aidan. Maybe it can cure Amy. Salem’s last hope lies hidden within a damaged grimoire, nearly destroyed by a wrongful love spell. Was her rightful love spell enough to restore it?
Newest Jefferson High transplant, Aidan Cooper, doesn't expect to be attracted to a goth. Then he realizes Salem is throwing a glamour—pretending to be something she’s not. Guess it takes one to know one, since his whole life has been a lie. But if his kidnappers discover he's broken their No Attachments rule, he'll never see Salem again. Worse, he’s
terrified they’ll harm her when they discover she possesses the ancient grimoire. To protect Salem, Aidan must destroy the grimoire, and escape his captors.
While Salem races to unlock the Get Well Spell, Aidan scrambles to overcome his past. With their star-crossed paths at odds, will time run out for both of them?
Aidan lowered his hand. His finger pressed against my skin, shooting a delicious tingle up my arm. When I didn’t move away, he hooked his finger over mine. My breath caught. We stayed, frozen, hyper-focused, for what seemed like three lifetimes. Then Aidan trailed his fingertips across the back of my hand. The soundtrack, popcorn smells, and theater audience melted into the background. The world narrowed down to the unspoken grief and need entangled in Aidan’s touch.
I rotated my hand so my palm faced upward. Aidan hesitated. Our gazes locked in the flickering light. The spell link humming between us lit up like blue lightning. At least I think it was the spell link. Aidan plunged his fingers between mine. Our palms pressed together, igniting a current. Air shuddered from my lungs. Magic rippled from us in successive waves.
My heart stuttered. My breath ceased. Every cell within me vibrated. Troops of fairies or dragonflies took flight in my lower abdomen. It’s possible blue lightning shot from my boots.
Good thing I wasn’t holding the popcorn.
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Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, and love in Spell Check and Spell Struck, Books One & Two in The Teen Wytche Saga from Astraea Press. After a childhood spent searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia, Ariella grew up to become an author and shaman. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.
Where to Find Ariella Moon
My Website: http://www.ariellamoon.com/
My Blog: http://ariellamoon.blogspot.com/