The Shadow Lilies Book 1
by Lee Ann Ward
Genre: YA Mystery
Sixteen-year-old Julia Reynolds struggles with her parents’ gypsy lifestyle and the urgent need to find out what happened to her missing cousin, Aubree. Soon Julia stumbles upon the mystery surrounding the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans, its banned third floor, and the blessed nails that seal its windows shut.
Solving the mystery of the Ursuline and blogging the story to the entire free world could gain more interest in the disappearance of Aubree. But there’s just one catch: the others who have explored this mystery have one thing in common…they’re all dead.
Things get even more complicated when Julia falls for Ryan Grandle, the hottest guy in her school, and he falls right back. Will she really risk her life and new love to explore an unsolved mystery for the story that could save her cousin? Turns out, staring death straight in the face is just the beginning.
Lee Ann Ward is an award-winning fiction author with a background in journalism and mass communications. She is also the former Senior Editor of Champagne Books. Her love of books started at the age of three, and she's been addicted ever since. She's published six novels with her seventh and eighth on the way (SEE a YA paranormal by Evernight Teen in June 2017 and GLIMPSES OF WILDERNESS a YA romance by Inkspell Publishing in December 2017) and has written several more. When she's not writing, she's reading, singing, baking designer cakes, bowling and dreaming. She's married to Joe (who also happens to be her publicist) and they have 4 sons whom they adore, and a granddaughter who is the love of their life. They make their home in the small fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
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When someone tells you the worst news in your life, it’s not with screams. No, the screams are what cut through your house like scissors through paper. Ripping. Tearing. Creating torn pieces that will never be whole again. The actual words are calm, quiet—so quiet you can still hear her voice, smell her hair, visualize the wilted flower still tucked behind her ear like the last time you saw her.
“But where is she?” I’d repeated over and over. Repetition never bothered me when I was twelve.
“We don’t know,” Mom had explained for the hundredth time. “Aubree is just…missing.”
“Is she dead?”
“Don’t say that, Julia!”
It was rare for Mom to yell, but the day my 16-year-old cousin disappeared, so did normalcy…if you can call how we live normal.
“Well?” I’d urged again.
“I don’t think she’s dead, Julia. Can’t think it.” Mom never looked me in the eyes that day. “Maybe she just found a better future, more than your Aunt Beth could offer her…”
I decided that day never to ask my mom about Aubree again. My cousin wouldn’t just disappear…wouldn’t up and leave us. Leave me. Maybe my family had stopped searching just to move on with life.
But not me. No matter what, I’m finding Aubree.
Is the Color of a Character's Eyes Really THAT Important?
Characterization. It can make or break a novel. Truly. If a reader can't see into a character's soul from practically page one, then what is their motivation to keep those pages turning? Well, nothing. So, here's my two cents on characterization that should resonate with fellow authors, and let readers know what to expect from my novels. **Hint: I fully flesh-out my characters, and it has nothing at all to do with their physical characteristics.
"He was a handsome man, blond hair and deep blue eyes that melted my insid--" Blah blah blah... Honestly, who cares? Even though it is nice knowing that our leading man has blue eyes, I am more concerned with what I feel when I look into those eyes. And, so are my readers. In every novel, the readers must see the souls of the characters. No one is going to fall in love with looks alone. Okay, I know, I know... Yes, I have seen Jamie Fraser (shout-out to my fellow OUTLANDER fans), and he is a gorgeous piece of man-flesh, no doubt. But, if he were not also devoted to Claire, and his family, and his beloved Scotland--if he were not the man who never compromised his principles of love and country, well, we wouldn't love him nearly as much. Show me a gorgeous character and I will say, "Okay, he/she is gorgeous," and leave it at that. But show me the beauty of his/her soul--make me fall in love with the true person--and I will follow them into the devil's hell and back until the last page is read (or red, depending on the amount of carnage).
With all the Feels...