A Skye Full of Stars is, as I type this, in the most capable hands of my beta readers. They are helping me dot all my i's, cross all my t's...and generally making sure I didn't make a mess out of anything. I'm hoping to have it back, polished and perfected and ready for release by the end of this month.
There's a lot about the UK in this book, specifically a two night air raid in a little town called Clydebank not far from Glasgow during World War II. Readers get a better look at who Finlay was, and Noah plays a big part in this sequel. Thank you to all the readers who urged me to write this second book. Alabama Skye, in my head, was always meant to be a stand alone novel. Now, it's become the beginning of a trilogy. For anyone who is wondering...there is another book of the Gannon Family Series coming. Perhaps this time next summer, I will be posting the first chapter of Under a Southern Skye.
So, without any further delay, here is the first chapter of A Skye Full of Stars. The book has two story lines running through it. This is how Noah's begins.
Life was a funny thing. Noah hadn’t spent
much time with either one of her parents in the past ten years. Now they were
both on their way back to Kelby, and one of them was about to die.
Noah, of course, didn’t know this. She
didn’t know that soon she would be seeing both of the people who had brought
her into this world, and she certainly had no idea that she would be there when
one of them left it.
She ran down Main Street, her sneaker clad
feet thudding along the sidewalk and the early morning sun reaching warm
fingers of light to dazzle the blonde strands of her pony tail. At the corner
she turned left and caught sight of the gray blue waters of the Gulf. She was
too busy to think about death, and if someone were to ask her when it was that
she last thought of her mom, she would have been hard pressed to come up with
“Good mornin’,” a rounded man garbed all
in white greeted Noah with a friendly dip of his double chin. He wore an apron
wrapped around his considerable girth and a smudge of flour across his sweaty
cheek. He stood on the sidewalk just outside his shop squinting into the sun
with a cigarette pinched between two beefy fingers just as he did every day at
this time. Noah nodded back and offered him a smile as she jogged around him.
“How’s the day been treating you?” she
asked as she ran past, her blue eyes hidden behind a pair of Maui Jim
“Oh, I can’t complain, but it’s early
yet.” Noah almost mouthed the words as the man said them. She’d known what his
response would be before she posed the question.
The road stretched out for another block
in front of her before it turned into sand and she picked up her pace. None of
the souvenir shops were open yet, although there were bright signs in many of
the windows advertising discount prices on colorful trinkets, beach towels and refrigerator
magnets. Three t-shirts for ten dollars! Genuine abalone shell necklaces!
Sunscreen, buy one get one free! Unwieldy plastic shapes stared out at her from
behind big plate glass windows; floats and water toys painted to resemble round
eyed dolphins and big polka dotted doughnuts. There were coolers and umbrellas
in all the colors of the rainbow, and swim trunks with garish palm trees and
other loud tropical prints splashed over them. The bikinis were over-priced
considering how little fabric was used to make them. Noah smirked as she ran by.
She’d spent quite a bit of hard earned cash on a handful of similar suits over
the years. It was true what some people said; sometimes less is more.
She brought a bottle to her lips and
filled her mouth with cool water. The sun was a brilliant shade of gold without
a single cloud in sight. Her feet carried her closer to Pelican Square, and the
sun glinted off of the chrome that shaped a number of the boats bobbing in the marina.
From the window of a parked car floated enough of a discernable weather
forecast to assure Noah that the perfect early morning would give way to a
perfect afternoon and evening. Another day in paradise.
Noah swallowed more water before forcing
her body even harder. It would be in the mid-sixties by noon. The temp now was
a bit cooler than that, and the air was moist with humidity that made errant
wisps of hair curl coyly around her flushed face.
Foil ribbons danced from a doorway of a novelty
shop up ahead, the long tendrils of shiny purple, green and gold fluttered in
the sea breeze as she ran past. Fat Tuesday, not even a week gone, was still
evident on the streets in the heart of the business district. Kelby, a small
town on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, was just a little more than fifty miles
southeast of Mobile, the original home of Mardi Gras. The Big Easy liked to
claim the world’s largest Carnival celebration, but true Alabamians knew the
French had brought the tradition with them to their great state fifteen years
before New Orleans was even a spot on the map.
Noah glimpsed more proof of the weeks’
long celebration in the remnants of crepe paper streamers bunched up in the
boughs of the redbud trees that lined the oceanfront street. The branches were
still bare except for the gaily colored paper they wore like gaudy rings on
their finger like limbs. The trees looked as if they’d had a few wild nights
and Noah’s mouth quirked in silent empathy. She’d done her own fair share of
partying from the third weekend of February straight into the first dozen days
of the new month. There was never a shortage of places to visit packed full of
enthusiastic revelers, both tourists and those native to the area. Most people
who came to the beach were looking for a good time. Throw Mardi Gras into the
mix and things could get downright wild.
Her mind drifted as she ran, thinking
about Hurricane drinks the shade of passion flowers mixed with rum, fruit juice
and grenadine garnished with sweet cherries. Of course nothing compared to the
Bushwackers her best friend Greer liked to make. She’d gotten the recipe from
her grandmother, Sarah, who everyone knew in the town of Kelby, and in the city
of Mobile where she’d been born, to be a true Bay Lady. Bay Ladies, along with
their many other talents, were capable of throwing memorable get-togethers
complete with tables weighted down with plates of barbecued pork and beef,
dirty rice, potato salad and fruit filled pies topped off with an abundance of
sweet southern hospitality. Sarah had been famous for her Bushwackers, and
always mixed them in the blender with ice cream and Kahlúa. Later in life, Sarah came to the conclusion that she could
still be a respected lady even if she chose not to string her pearls around her
neck everywhere she went. In her opinion, it was more advantageous knowing how
to mix a good stiff drink than it was remembering to show up at a tea party
with clean, white gloves. After all, there isn’t a single soul alive who
doesn’t appreciate a well-mixed drink, and handling a tumbler full of bourbon
was a heck of a lot easier with bare hands.
Greer definitely had a talent for mixing
drinks, but she was also one hell of a good cook, and every delectable little
thing she created always threatened to add inches to Noah’s svelte frame. It
never failed. No matter what other thoughts filled Noah’s head, and she thought
about a great many things, she eventually came back to food. All the pies,
cakes and cookies Greer baked and brought to fill the case in the store next to
Noah’s were hard not to overindulge in on a normal day. When the calendar
brought about any sort of holiday, the temptation to eat was tenfold. As if the
king cakes, with their iced dough braided and baked with cinnamon and sprinkled
with colored sugar weren’t enough during Carnival, there was the chicken and
sausage gumbo, the oyster po’boys and the hush puppies. Oh, Lord, the hush
“Damn it,” she cursed Greer, although her
friend wasn’t there to hear her. As she set her sights for the marina her stomach
growled and she felt a spring of hunger pop up beneath the tank top she wore. Just
like yesterday, she’d run an extra mile this morning so she could treat herself
to whatever fattening collection of desserts Greer would deliver in another couple
of hours. She’d have to if she still had any hope of fastening the top button
of her jeans. She would scold Greer for making it difficult to keep the body
she’d been proud of since puberty hit fifteen years prior, right before she ate
whatever confection taunted her from behind the glass display. Greer would
smile at her, say nothing, and the two of them would then do the exact same
thing tomorrow. Some things never changed.
Noah took a deep breath as the scenery around
her bounced in time to her plodding feet. Life was good, she thought. Actually,
she corrected herself with a bob of her pony tail, life was better than good.
It was fantastic. As amazing as it all was, though, Noah found herself
wondering when it had gotten to be so predictable.
The trapped air rushed out of her lungs
and she could feel the burn start in the muscles of her quads. Sometimes in the
midst of all the wonderful she found herself wishing for something more. She’d
never been good at listening to those who told her she should be careful about
what she wished for. This time, as she ran down the street with the ocean
rushing up over the sand on her left, and the shop keepers opening their doors
for another day of business on her right, she silently gave herself this oft
spoken piece of advice. Predictably, however, she didn’t listen to it this
I love to read and review books. I do this a lot for self-published authors because, being an indie author myself, I know how important reviews are...and how hard they are to get. I haven't really posted reviews on my blog before, but I've decided it might not be a bad practice to start. Any publicity helps, and I've learned in the last few years what an awesome thing it is to help out another author. It always comes back, in one way or another...and it's a really fun thing to do.
So, here is my first posted book review. This book comes from a series written by author G.J. Griffiths. I've read all three books that make up this series. (Will there be more? I hope so.) I've enjoyed them all, but this third one, So What Do I Do? is my favorite.
The third book in the So What series starts off with Gil
Hodgson, whom readers were introduced to in Griffiths’ previous novel. This
time, we are offered a closer peek at his personal life when we are introduced
to his wife, Jean. It’s been five years since Hodgson’s Hide was built, and as
the story opens, it is here we find the couple as they take part in a bit of
bird watching. They aren’t alone, however. They are unknowingly in the company
of some troublemakers, and Griffiths has shown a bright spark of storytelling
brilliance with this introduction. He starts the story off with more than a
little intrigue, and succeeds in keeping the pages turning from the beginning
all the way through to the end.
Hodgson’s Hide, a once beloved
nature corner, and Birch Green High School, which is interested in becoming an
academy school, both seem to be in danger at the hands of some rather
unscrupulous partners; half of which are interested in exacting personal
revenge, and the other looking for financial gain. The plan goes awry, setting
off a domino effect of one crime committed after another.
Griffiths uses some of the most
entertaining phrases such as; “In contrast to his brother-in-law Sherwin’s lack
of tallness had more of the Dumpty about it. But this “egg” was of the
hard-boiled type, with a shell that cracked easily, having no time for fools.”
These creative gems are sprinkled throughout his engaging prose, delighting the
reader while giving an already imaginative story even more color.
This tale holds a bit more
mystery than those before it, and shows Griffiths’ talent for intrigue. It’s an
interesting puzzle, one that is not so much a ‘whodunnit’, but ‘how’dtheydoit’.
The pieces are created incredibly well and fall into place nicely. This story
rolls along at a very pleasant pace with many surprises along the way…including
possibly one of the best bad guy confessions ever written, and a very
Here's a little bit about G.J. Griffiths:
G J Griffiths is a UK baby-boomer who worked for quite a while in the photographic industry. Then he became a science teacher for about twenty years. He likes reading (lots!) walking in the countryside and birdwatching - Oh! and being a Grandad! Having retired he thought he would like to write a novel.
Learn more about him, or connect with him via the following links: