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My Contemporary Young Adult novel BENEATH WANDERING STARS will be published by Merit Press in 2016!
Gabriela Santiago remembers the moment her childhood changed forever: September 11, 2001. Since that day over a decade ago, she’s lived on more Army posts than she cares to count, her soldier father has deployed five times, and now her eighteen-year-old brother, Lucas, is off at war too. Some people would love to spend their senior year living in Europe on the U.S. government’s dime, but not Gabi. With her boyfriend back in the States and her brother in Afghanistan, Gabi doesn’t want to be stuck on a U.S. base in Germany. She wants to go home—too bad Uncle Sam never assigned her one.
Gabi’s already unstable world is turned upside down when she learns that her brother has been wounded in action and has fallen into a coma. Right before he was injured, Lucas sent Gabi a cryptic message in the form of a Homeric epic and a strange request: if anything should happen to him, Lucas wants Gabi to fulfill his dream of conquering the Camino de Santiago, the ancient route of their family namesake that crosses northern Spain. The only catch? Gabi must make the journey with Lucas’ best friend, Seth Russo, a young soldier Gabi despises, and one who harbors dark secrets about what happened to Lucas in Afghanistan. In order to honor her brother’s wish while he fights for his life, Gabi embarks on a journey that will put all of her beliefs and relationships to the test. What transpires on the road is a transformative journey filled with quirky characters and an unlikely romance between two people united by their loyalty to Lucas…and to Gabi’s surprise, a great deal more. Seth may be the last person Gabi would have chosen to walk to the ends of the earth with, but he may become the one person she can’t walk without.
OUT OF NOWHERE: a Young Adult mystery with dual Contemporary & Historical story lines (this project is still in the revision phase!)
Two girls a century apart are brought together by a mystery of family identity, where the past meets the present and the future depends on memory.
June 2012: Taylor Romano is the girl from nowhere, haunted by memories she can’t escape. The sharp sting of her father’s death has faded after ten years, but the pain comes rushing back when Taylor uncovers a photograph that threatens to destroy everything she thought she knew about the man. Taylor hopes she’s leaving her troubles behind when her winning entry in a high school essay contest earns her a summer trip to Oxford, but once she arrives in England, Mae Knight, a strange old woman from the nearby estate of Meadowbrook who has connections to the ill-fated Titanic—and to Taylor’s father—seeks Taylor out. With the help of Nathaniel, Mae’s charming chauffer, Taylor explores the Victorian parlors and Gothic peaks of Meadowbrook Manor, where she discovers a diary written by a girl who not only witnessed the Titanic’s demise, but uncovered the prophetic spark that ignited World War I a few years later. At first Taylor can’t see what this history has to do with her dad, but the more she reads, the more convinced she is that the mysterious Knights of Meadowbrook are the key to unlocking her past, redeeming her family, and restoring her faith in love.
April 1912: Lady Ava Knight, the seventeen-year-old heiress of Meadowbrook Manor, boards Titanic for two reasons: to escape the shadow of her laudanum-addicted mother, and to fulfill her dream of becoming an artist in New York. After capturing the affections of a young Irish sailor named Caleb Donohue, Ava is approached by a less alluring man—a Serbian soldier part of a secret organization known as the Black Hand. The soldier makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he will arrange a meeting between Ava’s ill mother and the famous psychologist Carl Jung, so long as Ava promises to keep her eye on the most bizarre passenger onboard Titanic. A strange gypsy woman rumored to possess prophetic abilities has seized the fascination of the first-class passengers, but Ava is more concerned by the attention this gold-digger is lavishing on her father—a married man!—than with her warnings of ice. When the woman’s premonitions come to pass, Ava becomes entangled in a mission to deliver another prophetic message that must survive the sinking, lest it fall into the wrong hands. As her family’s secrets are exposed, Ava finds herself responsible for preventing a world war…a war that promises to end all wars.
Will Taylor be able to uncover the link between Ava’s past and her own before it’s too late?