Welcome to what was supposed to be the December 11th guest post stop on the blog tour for StarDust by Nicole Wells, but copy & paste failed me and I had another title in this spot on my schedule (which is why you’re seeing a duplicate of the Call Me Dragon post today as well.) Oops! Very sorry to all involved. This tour was organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for excerpt spotlights, guest posts, reviews, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
The Gift of Writing
So there I was with a newborn in my lap, sleep-deprived and awake between nursings. Writing. There was a story I was gifted with that suddenly wanted to be told, and whether I cobbled it together during the day on my cell phone or wrote in the wee hours of the morning while my little one slept, I managed to get it all down in three weeks.
For almost a year prior, I had seriously dallied with the idea of writing, and since high school I had fancied the idea of one day becoming an author. While I was pregnant, however, the starts and stops on the world I’d honed since I was a sophomore never tugged the full idea out of me. Instead, I found myself with a complete, and completely unexpected, novel. It was a gift, and my welcome to the world of pantsing.
You see, I am a planner. A we-need-to-turn-this-car-around-because-I-forgot-the-kitchen-sink type of planner. I am not accustomed to waiting to see what my characters had planned, or discovering them as they slowly choose to reveal themselves. With UpSpark, I had only the first scene and the last scene, and it was a full-tilt ride filling in everything in-between. What an exhilarating experience to let go of control! I had no idea I was capable of indulging this creative muscle, following it down whatever dark alleys it lead me, to come out the other end into euphoric sunshine.
And now the floodgates are open. I have so many ideas. More so, I have an addiction now. There is no comparable meter stick in my life to this whirlwind of simultaneous wonder, creation, and pride when I strap myself into the sofa, fire up my laptop “control panel”, and dive in to explore new stories, no holds barred.
Well, I guess you could say my kids are wondrous creations I’m proud of, and that’s certainly true, but my stories don’t make dirty dishes or laundry, and when they talk back, it only makes me laugh.
Speaking of, don’t tell my kids, okay? This is just between you and me. They have no idea I can let my hair down and go with the flow. And as much as I love and enjoy the community and friends that I’ve found with this endeavor, the stories that I have been so blessed to be able to share, and the opportunity to touch people with my words, it’s this discovery of these new pieces of me, at the ripe old age of forty-something, that I truly treasure. What value would you put on loosing the binds that held you back all your life? I didn’t realize what constriction was, but I’ve gotten a glimpse of who I’ve been and who I am. For a little bit longer, just to be between you and me, this is my precious secret gift from writing, a new superpower of possibility: Mommy can do anything.
The Five Elements Book Two
by Nicole Wells
Publishing 15 December 2020
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 312
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
So you’ve got psychic powers, now what?
When superstar Aurora manifests telekinesis, her beliefs about everything are put to the test, even the ones about herself. Can she heal enough to let love in?
Brayden is an easygoing guy, until an Australian beauty steals his heart and turns his world upside down. The stakes get even higher when she threatens to expose a secret that’s been kept by his people for millennia.
Can they recognize their precious love for what it is, and save the world in the process?
Enter the world of the Five Elements with Aurora and Braydens story.
This book contains some topics that may be triggering.
The Five Elements Book One
by Nicole Wells
Published 28 June 2020
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy Romance
Page Count: 294
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Get ready for an award winning story that reached Amazon’s top 500 for all e-books (over 2 million), now fully revised!
Can they find themselves and each other before time runs out?
Enya’s dreams of making a difference in the world are devastated the summer after high school when she finds out she has a fatal disease.
A cross country road trip to Native American reservations helps her find meaning. But Jacob, her best friend and traveling companion, has longed for them to become something more.
Their expedition is just the start of an amazing love and spiritual journey, but a one-in-a-million phenomenon changes everything.
“I get the feeling like I’m reading Fault In Our Stars Part 2.”
Winner of the Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Award
… In the captivating novel, UpSpark, written by Nicole Wells, many essential themes – such as acceptance, forgiveness, trust, and love – are fully explored.
This story has many exceptional aspects … The author’s ability to interweave these various themes into one engaging, fascinating story is truly amazing. She develops the main characters in likable and relatable ways, and each one imparts important lessons. The last chapters are unexpected and memorable. Author Nicole Wells notes the novel, UpSpark, is Book One of the Five Elements Series. Everyone who reads this gem of a book will certainly anticipate the second one! – Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite
Let me start by taking a moment to revel in the beauty of the name of this story, you won’t get it right away, I didn’t either, but reading this story, a story of absolutely everything. I’m at a loss for words.
The story follows Enya (another incredibly beautiful name) and her life, a life marked by everything extraordinary. What starts out as heartbreaking news to an experience of a lifetime (literally), this story covers it all. The author Nicole Wells has portrayed a picture almost too good and too pure to be true, and she is right, such hope, that too, set in a post-quarantine world is all you could wish for.
As unrealistic as it seems for an 18 year old Jacob to have such deep understanding of life and of love, Ms. Wells’ writing makes it very believable and very desirable too. It is a love story of the dreams and stars.
The story in itself is complex, and that is expected, nothing of this caliber could be any less; but the very understanding the author has put into the life of her characters brings them to you in a very real sense. […]
Read this book, it is intense. But you need to, it will give you pain, and it will give you hope. – Oviya Nila Muralidharan, Book Blogger
Enya is 18 when she discovers she has Huntingtons, the same disease that devastated her father. Grieving the diagnosis, she impulsively goes on a road trip with her friends, and during the trip, she begins to have striking visions. These visions lead her on a journey she could never anticipate.
I was surprised to love this book like I did. Firstly, the representation of often overlooked characters was excellent. … the author wrote extensively about Native American communities and beliefs with such tenderness and beauty.
I resonated with the spirituality of this book and was inspired by it as well … Enya works through these and many other spiritual components without the writing becoming boring or heavy.
I always surrender to books, without trying to jump ahead or analyze them, but still, many books are written with a much-used formula you can see a mile away. In “Upspark” the author made several (big) unpredictable choices, which surprised me.
… She clearly knew Enya inside and out, and loved her characters, which made it a compelling read. I would highly recommend this book! – Bookstagram.reviews
UpSpark is a new inspirational fiction novel geared toward young adults or anyone looking to develop a sunnier outlook. … The story spans years of her unique life and details her lows and her highs. The inspiration comes as Enya comes to terms with the hand she’s been dealt. With the help of some supportive friends, she gains perspective. With that perspective, she also gains an extraordinary gift. This gift, as much as the Huntington’s, dramatically changes the course of Enya’s life.Enya is not your typical superhero. Her ability to see visions is pretty low-key. She doesn’t want a flashy life or fame, and her modesty is charming. … This highly introspective novel will cause you to take a step back and look at what’s really important. Via some complex characters with their own unique set of obstacles, Nicole Wells has crafted an inclusive novel that deals with some hard-hitting issues. The sensitivity is obvious, exploring the raw emotions surrounding coming out in a religiously devout family, and in dealing with the process of Native Americans being adopted into non-Native families. UpSpark is an elegant character-driven drama that will make you sob and smile, but mostly it will instill a sense of gratitude for whatever time we have. – Amanda Murello for Indies Today
Private Medical Practice
Silver Spring, Maryland
I’M WAITING IN THE EXAMINATION ROOM. I’ve moved from the exam table to the plastic chair at its side. I feel like I have more fortitude here. It’s a little more familiar and less lonely than being elevated and exposed on the exam table. My mom is still in the waiting room. I didn’t really think it would best for her to be here. I mean, Jesus, dad only died a year and a half ago. But what if it’s positive? I wouldn’t be able to drive myself home after that. And I couldn’t ask a friend. It’s just … too much. Too personal.
I also moved to the chair because every time I moved on the table, every fidget, every deep breath, caused that damn paper to crinkle, like a mocking echo of my nervousness. A refrain to my thoughts. I decided I could do without the added exclamation of the too-loud crinkle in the too-quiet room.
My thoughts circle around and around, only pausing when I wonder how much time has passed. I refuse the temptation to check my phone, but then lose the fight to keep my eyes off the clock on the wall. It’s been three minutes. Goddamn, but the brain can think a helluva lot of thoughts in three minutes.
Happy birthday to me.
My name is Enya. I’m 18. Newly minted. Just a couple weeks ago, actually. To most kids, that means another degree of freedom. Moving out of the house, entering official adulthood, starting the rest of their lives, maybe beginning the independence of college. To me, it means I get to take a test.
A genetic test.
I’ve been waiting my entire life for this test. No, I’ve been waiting my entire life for the results of this test. And I can wait a little longer. I think of not looking at the clock and end up looking at the clock. Another minute has passed.
Are these my last minutes of freedom or the beginning of freedom? The shadow of a death sentence will either become real or dissipate.
My eyes drift to the clock again. Thirty-two seconds have ticked by.
I focus on benign facts. Did you know that about 300 million cells die every minute in our bodies?
And that we replace about 48 million cells a minute?
Or that every few years most of our body has recreated itself?
Or that most of our body is made up of stardust? Everything in our bodies originates from stardust, which is still falling and still recreating us. There’s something beautiful in the impermanence of us from the eternity of stars. I wish that thought could bring me the reassurance it usually does.
Did you know that I want to be a doctor? I know exactly the kind, too. I want to do Integrative Medicine. Yeah, all that kooky stuff. I love it. I really believe I’ve got my head screwed on a little tighter than my mom does since my dad died last year. I credit my getting acupuncture and homeopathy. People know it works, too. That’s why it’s so popular. I’m gonna be part of the movement that brings it to the forefront.
Despite waiting for it, the double rap on the door startles me, and Dr. Yee strides in before I can recover. I could have chosen a different doctor to tell me my fate. A genetic expert in a comfy conference room. But Dr. Yee is my family doctor who’s a special combination of straightforward and kind, and I trust her. She grabs the black wheeled stool and sits, leaning onto the examination table, facing me. There is a computer screen hiding my medical records beside us, but she doesn’t log in. I want her to. In my mind — I’ve prepared by imagining this playing out, and I used our prior visits as fodder for my fantasy — she logs in. She shows me what it says. Sometimes it’s printed out; in my fantasy that usually doesn’t bode well.
She is staring at me now and I desperately, unreasonably, want her to show me the computer screen. I don’t want her to tell me directly. Give me a buffer, let the windows to my soul have some privacy. But the only shutters to my eyes are my eyelids, and my face feels frozen, eyes wide.
I observe a part of my brain that is having its own conversation, that’s analyzing all her mannerisms, like a poker fiend making bets. Is that normal? I’ve had this doctor for as long as I can remember, and she knows me. And I know her. And she seems extra doctor-y today. I cannot marshal my thoughts, and a group of them tangent off, ping-ponging into a future of preordained death. Other thoughts perseverate on the computer screen, while the background conversation of Dr-Yee-is-wearing-sunshine-yellow-today-what-does-that-mean distracts me from her words.
She leans even closer and paper crinkles. “Enya, I know you are prepared for any answer. You’ve had extensive counseling.”
I’ve had, and I’m not. My dad had Huntington’s disease. It’s a fatal disease that’s passed on to your kids. His mother had it and he had a fifty percent chance of having it, just like I have a fifty percent chance. My dad decided not to get tested, but I want to know. So I had to go through a lot of counseling to get tested. Since there’s no cure. It’s not a pretty way to go, but I’d like to prepare if I can. But I’m not prepared for this like I thought I would be.
It’s like when my mom gets her mammogram and then freaks out until the test results come. If there’s cancer, it’s been there. It didn’t magically appear on the day of the mammogram. The test just brought the possibility front and center and she’s out of her mind with worry until she gets the results. There’s something in the knowing that makes fear manifest. Ignorance is bliss.
So I’m here, willingly giving up my bliss, and freaking out.
Because my dad started having symptoms on top of a midlife crisis and ended up killing himself.
Because the knowledge catches up to you. It would be better to prepare. Dr. Yee said I’m prepared.
“You are prepared for this,” she repeats. The exam table paper crinkles sound their exclamation point, now like a cheerleading section, but I don’t need an audience. She’s staring, and I think she expects me to nod. I’m still frozen.
“Enya, it’s positive.”
THE BOTTOM DROPS OUT and there’s a roaring in my ears. I think I’m going to throw up and I don’t care. I couldn’t move if my life depended on it. What life? Oh my God. Oh my God.
She reaches out and grasps my hand, a tether keeping me from falling further into the abyss. She’s modeling deep breaths and gently squeezing my hand and her eyes are trying to catch mine.
“This isn’t the death sentence it used to be. We have great treatments for the symptoms.”
OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod. She’s got to be wrong. Every test has its false positives, right? OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!
“Enya, look at me.” My body registers her words and follows her command without the compliance of my mind. Her kind brown eyes hold me steady. She hasn’t moved, hasn’t changed except to clasp my hand, since she first sat down. “Enya, take a deep breath in. And let it out.” I siphon in air through stiff lips. I feel like a scarecrow, a mishmash of ill-fitting parts about to topple down. I’m shaking. My eyes are leaking. Deep breath, she is saying. My breath is a ragged and staccato in and out, like I’m learning how for the first time. I feel if I stop this breathing I will fall apart. I realize I am squeezing her hand when wetness plops on our grip. Deep breath. The echo of her words is resonating in my mind, like sounds heard under the ocean, registered but not received. Breath, breath, -athhh, -thhhhHH.
Eventually, in the quiet of this rhythmic space, I see her again. Her image blurs, I blink a tear free, and I see her again. She squeezes my hand once more.
“Enya, you are the same person you were when you walked in that door.”
We’ve talked about this. She’s repeating things we’ve talked about. Like my wooden body, a wooden automaton mind numbly clasps onto the concept and holds it close. I nod. The ocean spills from my eyes, a river down my face. But I’m granite now, my face, my limbs, heavy, frozen, immobile. Cold and detached. Only a small section of my mind is whirring, not enough to run this body, but enough to grasp onto each lifeline of thought she feeds me.
“There is no one hundred percent in medicine. We have best guesses. And our best guess is that you will be able to have a full and complete life. You can have a career and a family if you want.” Yes, we have talked about this. I thought I was prepared. I thought I had taken it all to heart. But somewhere, some dark unconscious passage along the way, I skirted away from letting the possibility fully sink in, like thinking about it would tempt fate. I thought I was prepared, but this… this is riding out a hurricane on the makeshift raft of a door that is all that’s left of the house you knew.
She goes on, but trivial thoughts of my college applications occupy my stupid mind. It’s deteriorated into a hamster on a wheel, scurrying round and round. What a waste of application fees. What a waste of time editing all the application essays. What a waste…
My brain sounds an alarm as it hears the word “anticipation.” This is medicalese for “it could get worse with each generation”. Such an ill-fitting, stupid word to take the place of “poor prognosis.” I remember talking about this too. It’s because it was my father that had it, not my mother, that I might have it worse and symptoms might start earlier.
Wow, the measure of good now is like a ruler through bug eyeglasses, some fractured thing repeating and magnified in its power over me, mocking what I used to know and how things used to be.
She mentions my mother and I surface from the abyss of my thoughts. Do I want her to come in the room with me now? There is an appointment with the counselor to go to. We earmarked the time, but I’d hoped we wouldn’t use it. It’s strongly recommended I have a loved one with me. I fought it before, with all the hallmark independence of youth, but I see the sense now. I force my wooden head to nod.
Dr. Yee cracks the door open and talks to someone in the hall. She doesn’t leave me, she doesn’t let go of my hand. I feel like an invalid with her concerned vigilance. I will never know what it’s like to be old, but maybe I am getting a glimpse now. What weird thoughts. I think I am losing my mind. Maybe this is like being old too. I guess I’ll never know.
Nicole Wells had been guiding people spiritually for over 10 years. In UpSpark, she weaves in everything she’s learned in an emotional heartwarming journey, with a psychic paranormal fantasy twist. An observer of people and life, she crafts inspirational romance stories that make you laugh and cry, reflecting our human condition with tenderness and hope. This New Adult contemporary romance is her debut novel.
One lucky follower of the tour will win a $25 Amazon gift card! Remember to visit other stops on the tour for more chances to win. Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.