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Thanks so much, Strong Novels for hosting me today. I'm excited to announce that I have a new YA book coming out this winter! It's a stand alone YA contemporary entitled, A Zebra Like Me. It's my first stab at contemporary and the subject matter hits close to home so I am more than a little nervous about it.
The cover art is by Kelsey Keeton of KKeeton Designs and it is gorgeous but you don't have to take my word for it, see for yourself!
Here's the blurb on the back of the cover.
Maybelle Dawson longs for normalcy and belonging. Often misunderstood, she struggles with a rare disorder, labeling her a Medical Zebra.
Maybelle’s happiness and well-being threaten to slip through her fingers as she battles to take control of her life. She faces a never-ending battle on her journey to find love, courage and friendship in a world lacking acceptance.
With the guidance of her guardian angel, Maybelle finds her way out of emotional and physical isolation to discover lasting love and amazing friendships.
A Zebra Like Me is the story of one teenager’s battle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder affecting one in five thousand people.
Sneak Peak - Here's a glimpse into Maybelle's world in pre-edited form. Please forgive my typos. It will be edited professionally prior to publication.
I sat on the soft, green grass staring out at the lake behind my house. The breeze was cool and soothing against my sun kissed skin. Tomorrow is the first day of school. A sour feeling invades my stomach. I barely passed last year. The pressure of my reality is consuming. Now, in the waning heat of August, after a summer filled with rest and relaxation, it’s easy to pretend this year will be better, but I know the truth. Soon, a daily routine of torture will overwhelm me. Pain-filled days spent trudging up and down concrete floors and flights of stares. Agonizing hours of stillness trapped in the unforgiving frames of wooden desks. Neck-breaking, never ending minutes straining to see what my teacher wrote on the board and overhead projector. And, the paralyzing stress of knowing it’s getting worse and I can’t handle it. I feel helpless and defeated and have yet to step through the school’s front doors.
“I’m a zebra. No one understands me.” I whisper to myself.
I take a deep breath as the air stirs. My focus is distracted by a shimmering glint of light. A silvery, white slip of paper floats down from the clear, blue sky. I stretch out my open palm and clasp my fingers around it. It’s folded neatly into quadrants. I unfold the square of paper to find out what is written inside.
You’re not alone, Maybelle.
I search the empty space around me and find nothing out of place. Everything is the same. My grandmother’s ferns dangle from their baskets on the back porch. The heavy, faded wooden rocking chairs are still, immune to the feeble breeze. The vegetable garden and the locked shed beyond it are undisturbed. An occasional boater drifts by on the lake but otherwise all is quiet. I am alone.
I reach for my backpack and retrieve my make-shift diary, a simple spiral-bound notebook. I tear out a piece of paper.
“Prove it.” I say the words as I scrawl them onto the slip of paper, fold it into a square, and toss it toward the heavens.
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