Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway: Coral & Bone by Tiffany Daune


Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame.Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past, and can’t help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.

You know when someone reads you a story as a child and it sticks with you forever? Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid was that story for me. I love the original and I adore the Disney version. But, it wasn't until I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides did I find my mermaid muse for Coral & Bone. 

I love mermaids and magick, so I thought why not bring them together. Of course I couldn't leave out shape shifters and sirens. I love fantasy realms and worlds. Heck my husband says I live in one, so why not write about one. Coral & Bone is set in the Earth realm and the underwater realm of Elosia. Coral & Bone is a meld of all my years of watching Disney movies and thrillers.


The lake flattened against the horizon. Halen couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began—the two were one. It was hard to imagine a whirling vortex springing from the center of the lake. She wondered if she jumped in, would she be able to find a seam that would lead her back to Elosia, or if that world was sealed off from her forever. She would like to apologize to Dax for kissing him. She would like to tell Catch and Pepper she was sorry for stealing the elixir. They had been nice to her without even knowing her. Maybe it was because of Natalie; maybe Catch and Pepper thought twins were inherently the same. They made Natalie sound brave, rescuing Catch from the fisherman’s nets. That’s why they believed Natalie was alive, because she wouldn’t give up on them. 

Flipping open her sketchbook, she saw Dax’s eyes flashing back at her. “What have I got myself in to?” She longed to hear him answer her back. She traced the rim of his lips with her finger and her breath caught. “It was simpler when you were just a sketch.”

“You miss him.” Tage’s voice was at her back.

Halen spun around. “I don’t miss anyone.” She slapped the sketchbook shut.

Tage crouched beside her. “Sorry, but I can read your feelings. I know you miss him.”

“Is that a guardian thing—you can feel what I’m feeling?”

“I’m an Empath. I can feel one’s emotions as if they were my own. Especially the ones expressed in paintings or drawings. A gift from my mom.”

Halen thought of the silver records chamber filled with books and scrolls. “Could your mom read pictures?”

“She could feel the emotions of the painter, whatever they were going through while they painted the memory. That was her position in Elosia.”

“I’ve seen where she worked.”

Tage stared out to the lake. “She told me she would sit in this grand chair, made entirely of translucent quartz, and interpret the emotions from the scrolls. The tribe’s entire history is felt in those scrolls. I imagine her there, like an angel, reading from her throne.”

“I saw the chair. It is just like a throne—it’s beautiful.” Halen didn’t mention destroying the room, or the salt water waves she hurled. Instead she told Tage about the scroll with the two sirens, joined, floating over the water. She told her about the spheres and the lapis river, the underground rock spires reaching up to the rainbow-dusted ceiling, and the copper room and pink water bath. She recalled every bit of Elosia, except for the boy with the crooked smile.

Tage smiled. “It’s just how my mom described it. I miss her. I can talk to her sometimes. She’s out there somewhere.”

“In heaven?”

“I don’t know. When I hear her voice she’s surrounded by white as if she were lost in a cloud. I always imagined heaven would be busier, with souls rushing about. Like here.”

“Well, look at us. Other than the crew of crazies, there aren’t any people around. Even though there’s a whole city beyond the trees. So maybe heaven is more like this—or whatever you want it to be.”

Halen smiled. “Maybe your mom just finds a quiet place in heaven to talk to you.”

Tage smiled. “You’re not so bad, you know.” She nudged her side.

“Neither are you.” Halen nudged her back. It felt good to be on Tage’s good side. Until now, she hadn’t even realized she had one. When Daspar first introduced Tage as part of the family, Halen had been hesitant. Oh, she tried to find something to like about Tage. She knew Tage had lost both her parents, but she also heard through closed doors that she had ended up in a hospital for doing drugs, so she didn’t know what to expect from her.

She wondered now how Tage got along with Natalie. Did they share secrets? “You were Natalie’s guardian right? What was she like?”

Tage got the same faraway look Halen had seen in Dax’s eyes when he spoke of Natalie.

“Can we talk about her later?”

“Sure,” Halen said, though she had a million questions.

“So, do you want to tell me about this guy you have feelings for?” Tage asked.

“What? I don’t have feelings for any guy.” She tucked the sketchbook under the log.

“Empath-remember? You can’t hide.”

Halen blushed. “I met him in Elosia.”

“I know.” Tage dug her boot in the sand. “I have to tell you something.”


“I used your sketchbook to find you.”

“What—how could you?” Why was she even asking? This was typical, sneaky Tage. She should have known better. Her face flushed as she wedged the book farther under the log with the heel of her

boot. “So you’ve seen all the drawings—of him—of Dax?”

“Yeah, I’m really sorry.” Tage wrung her hands together. “I know it’s private and all, but I had to find you. Really—there was no other way.”

Apology or not, Halen was fuming and embarrassed. Tage probably thought she was some obsessive stalker freak. Yet in a way, it was good thing she had found the sketchbook. Otherwise Halen might still be with the mermaids.

“Thanks,” Halen finally said.

Tage’s face washed with surprise. “You’re not ticked off with me?”

“Please don’t tell anyone about him—about all the sketches.”

Tage smiled. “So you do like him?”

Halen didn’t know how she felt about Dax. It was silly to miss someone you barely knew. But she did, and when she glanced through her sketchbook, she yearned for more than just a drawing of him. She wanted to feel the pulsing charge of his lips on hers once more and grow dizzy with touch of his hands on her waist, as he pulled her hips against his. In his arms she had wings and she could have flow straight up to the Elosian sky, but in that moment she didn’t wish to escape, had he not ran away, she might have stayed in his arms forever. She shook these ridiculous thoughts away. She couldn’t believe she had been so stupid. How could something so idiotic feel so right?


“You should wash your face off.” She motioned to Halen’s cheek.

Halen glanced at her reflection. Blood was smeared across her nose, along her cheek and down her neck. She looked down, the front of her hoodie was just as gross and her jeans where she had wiped her hands from Tasar’s blood had finger-long stains running up her thigh.

“Not a good look for you, Mother Nature.” Tage laughed.

Halen cringed. Dax had seen her like this was her first thought, and it embarrassed her to think that after everything that had happened, she was concerned with how she looked. The thought of him sitting on the other side of the door scared the hell out of her. When she had seen him in the forest she had wanted to strike him, but now that she had learned he had been marked by the hunter because he was trying to protect her, she wanted to… Her hand trembled as she turned on the faucet.

“You’re thinking of him, aren’t you?” Tage smiled behind her shoulder, and Halen averted her eyes. “Hey, don’t forget I know what you’re feeling.” Tage’s long brows arched over her dark eyes, which were lined with a thick layer of black eyeliner like a racoon’s mask.

Halen shot her a hot glare from the mirror.

“Oh yeah, it’s definitely him.” Tage grinned.

Halen spun on her heel. “I don’t have,” she hooked her fingers in air quotation marks, “feelings for Dax.”

“He’s hot—I mean if you like that kind of guy.”

“And what kind of guy it that?”

“Big eyes, rocking bod, perfect teeth, wavy hair—hero extraordinaire. Not my type.”

“No, you like scrawny punked-out sarcastic guys. The kind you could share your eyeliner with,” Halen said.

Tage just laughed. “And this is why I like you now, Mother Nature. Unleashing your powers has given you some attitude. You’re way cooler to hang out with.”

“Well, I’m here to please.” Halen flipped her hair back over her shoulders and removed her stained hoodie. The mirror reflected her birthmark, and she ran her hand along the swirls and dots. Three

new dots joined together to form a starburst. When her fingertips brushed the new symbol they sparked. Six rays the size a pine needles spread from the starburst. Fate had found her. She knew the meaning. She could feel her destiny deep inside her like she had swallowed a stone. One by one the faces of Tasar and Lina, Catch and Pepper, Nelia and Dax, Tage and Ezra, Daspar and finally her mom flashed before her. They were hers to protect. She mussed her bloodied hair. The dark strands fell past her shoulders covering the new marks. She had worn her hair long since she was a little girl—a little girl who willingly accepted her fate without first asking if it was poison. She gathered her hair up, so she could see her birthmark once more. It was time to stop hiding. It was time for the little girl to grow up.

“Tage? Can you pass me those scissors?” She nodded toward Tage’s backpack.

“Sure,” Tage grabbed the long steel blades. “What do you need them for?”

Halen smiled. “Can you cut hair?”

About the author:

Tiffany Daune doesn’t get why people want to grow up, or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand, and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic.

She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, though she hasn’t caught them, yet.

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