The Last Princess of Latura Book 1
by Darren Simon
Genre: Middle-Grade/New Adult Fantasy
Charlee Smelton is an average thirteen-year-old girl struggling to adapt after her family moves to San Francisco. She thinks her biggest obstacle is facing the bullies who brand her a nerd and a dweeb. She’s wrong. Her life is about to change—for the worse. First, she receives a gift of the ugliest, most old fashioned bike she has ever seen. Try as she might to ditch it in the city, she just can’t seem to escape that very mysterious two-wheeler. Then come the visions of a world across a dimensional divide, a princess in fear for her life and a dark knight pursuing her. Are they just dreams or something more? For Charlee, everything she ever thought she knew about herself soon crumbles as she starts down a path to discover her true self, and she will need that hunk-of-junk bike more than she could ever imagine. Without it, she might not be able to find the hero in herself—the hero she must become to save her friends, family, her city—the world—from an evil only she can defeat. An evil she allows into this world.
Darren Simon resides in Southern California where he works as a college English teacher after a career as a newspaper journalist. His love for writing began with a love for reading when his grandmother gave him a wonderful gift—a brown paper bag filled with comic books from the 1960s and ’70s. From there, he moved on to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Eventually he discovered the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, which solidified his interest in writing epic fantasy and science fiction tales.
So far, he has focused his writing on middle grade and young adult fiction to inspire young readers just as he was inspired to read and write at a young age.
He self-published his first novel though iUniverse and immediately went on to write the second book in the series. Upon completing the second book, he decided to seek more traditional publishing. After countless rejection letters, a small independent publisher—Divertir Publishing—decided to pick up the series, a fantasy about a teen-aged girl who learns her family is actually from an alternate dimension, and only she has the power to protect Earth from a sorceress from her world—who just happens to be her great aunt. Divertir republished the first book, titled, Guardian’s Nightmare, in 2015. The second book in the series, Guardian’s Return, was released in April.
Darren has also written another series—a young adult historical pirate fantasy set in the golden age of piracy, mixing historical pirates and pirate hunters with his fictional characters in a time-traveling, swashbuckling tale. The first book in that series, The Dangerous Legacy, was published in 2016 by Tell-Tale Publishing. The second book in the series, The Deadly Waters, is due out later this year.
All his books are available at Amazon.com and Barnes&noble.com.
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From Guardian’s Nightmare
Theodora nodded. “As you wish.” The sorceress drew back her hand and slung Charlee and the bike clear across the city.
They hurtled uncontrollably through the night. But this time, Theodora was not going to stop their fall. The bike spun out of control, its wings flailing uselessly. It seemed…unconscious. Have to…wake it…up…or we…die!
Charlee reached out for the bike. She had to snag a handlebar, a pedal, a wing—anything to make contact. Come on! Reach. Reach! Reach!
The city rushed by beneath her. She flew by one rooftop, then another. She craned her neck to glance ahead. Oh my God! A skyscraper stood directly in their path. They would smash into the glass exterior in seconds.
Try…again! Reach for the bike! Reach! The fingers of her right hand touched the handlebars. Then she got a full grip and pulled herself onto the banana seat, but the bike did not respond to her presence.
“Bike, wake up!” No response. “Bike, we’re going to die!” Nothing. She steadied herself. This time, instead of shouting, she used thought to communicate.
She willed it to regain consciousness. Bike, please! Wake up!
From Guardian’s Nightmare
Backing away, Charlee rubbed her throbbing hands together. “Theodora, what have you done?”
“Nothing worse than I shall do to you, guardian.”
“Do it! I’m ready for you this time.”
Theodora raised her hands over her head and uttered an incantation. A smoldering ball grew from her fingertips, its red glow consuming her face, twisting her appearance.
This was it.
The battle for Sandra, for her family, the city, even the world, was upon her. If what Tribon had said was true, she was a guardian, which meant that perhaps her whole life had been leading to this moment and ready or not she had to face it. It was just her and Theodora, her great-aunt.
One would not survive the night.
Charlee willed strength into her muscles. She pushed fear aside. If she was to make a stand, it had to be now.
Theodora’s arm shot forward, hurtling the deadly energy.
“Now,” Charlee shouted.