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The Whimsical Life of Tati Morrow

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After weeks of not being able to write I finally came up with an idea that I love. It was inspired by one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies, Howl's Moving Castle and my love affair with the stars. For the cover design, I decided to keep it simple because I am not the best when it comes to design and I do prefer a simpler cover. 

Target Audience

This is a young adult fantasy for ages 14-17. My perfect audience would be those who love light fantasy, adventure, magic, and romance. A big part of this book was inspired by Howl's Moving Castle. I hope to bring a similar feeling of whimsy to the book, while also balancing it with heavier themes.

The Blurb

Tati Morrow longs for a life filled with magic and adventure. Sick of being poor, she takes fate into her own hands the night she swallows a fallen star, thinking it’s the miracle she’s been waiting for. But like with all gifts, a price must be paid, and Tati loses her heart. For its price, she gains extraordinary magical powers, attracting the interest of Bane Brydel, a wizard who would do anything to wield her magic to regain his, including pretend to love her. Captured by his magnitude, and his promise of the life she’s always wanted, Tati falls for him, not knowing that every word he’s spoken has been a lie. What he seeks might kill Tati. She must get back her heart before it’s too late.

Sample Pages

Chapter One

Last night I burned with a fever like I never had before.

I could almost feel my blood boiling beneath my skin and steam seemed to issue from my lips in great puffs. My room reeked of old sweat.

“Oh, Tati,” Mother said, pressing a cold pack against my forehead. She was a blur in my vision. I thought for sure I would die, leaving her all alone in this world. She bent over, covered her face, and wept. She, too, thought I would die. We both assumed that I had fallen ill with something incurable, some sort of parasite or new plague.

“Never in my life have I seen someone burn so hot,” the doctor had said. He did what he could for me, told Mother to let me soak in an ice bath, and left.

Mother wouldn’t dare use any of her potions on me, so instead she wept. And as she wept, I shut my eyes. I couldn’t bear to see her so. If I were to die, I didn’t want her to see it happen. Before long, her crying became sniffles. She took my limp hand and held it in her lap. “I have faith my sweet girl,” she said. She patted my hand. Hers felt too cold against mine. “You will make it through. You must fight it with all your strength.”

I reached for the cold pack. “It isn’t helping,” I said, almost in a whisper.

So she took it from me. The bed groaned as she stood. “I’ll make you some soup,” she said, leaning over to kiss my forehead. “A nice broth and this thing will be out of you for good.”

The thought of food made me want to vomit, but I nodded. “Thanks, Mama.” I hadn’t called her mama since I was a young girl.

She went to the door and smiled at me over her shoulder, a weak smile. The tears in her eyes were on the brink of falling, but once she blinked they were gone. We would have faith. We always had faith. I turned my gaze up to the ceiling and said a quick prayer to the Father.

Let it consume me or let it leave me. And bless my mother. Bless this house.

In the morning, by a miracle, my fever had passed. Mother, who’d stayed with me through the night, took my face in her hands and turned it left then right to inspect me.

I laughed. “Truly, I am well.”

Her lips were pursed, but I could see the smile in her eyes. Last night she hadn’t slept. She’d stayed up all night praying. This morning she looked more withered than ever, but still the brightness of her smile lit the room. She pulled me against her. “Thank you,” she said. “Oh Father, thank you so much.”

By the time she pulled away, wiping more tears from her eyes, I had already whispered my own thanks. Mother tucked my hair behind my ears. I smiled at her. “What am I going to do with you?” she asked. “You’ve grown so much, almost a woman.”

A flush crept to my cheeks. “I am not a woman yet,” I said, kicking away my sweat stained sheets.

Mother laughed. “You don’t see what I see.”

I got out of bed and went to the mirror. After my fever, I should have been weak but I felt strong, as strong as a fisherman with a full net of fish slung over his shoulder. Although I couldn’t admit it to Mother, I’d noticed a change in me, too. More than the curves she spoke of. I put a hand on my chest, a new habit of mine.

“What is it?” Mother asked.

“Nothing.” I let my hand fall, shaking my head.

She came to me and put her arm around me. “We have work to do,” she said. “So you get dressed and don’t worry about what I said. You are still my baby girl.”

We couldn’t afford to miss more than a day’s work. I nodded, but when she left I lifted my hand to my chest again. There was nothing. No beat. No warmth, just a hollowness where my heart had been. I’d heard stories of women who sold their souls for beauty, men, babies, even riches. What would my missing heart get me? I sighed at my reflection. Only a gift from the Father would allow me breath without a heart. Only a god could command such things.

A god or a demon, my mind said, but I shook the thought away. I hadn’t wanted beauty or men. All I’d wanted was a better life for me and Mother. All I’d wanted was to add some color to our dull lives. Was it too much to ask for?

“Tati.” Mother’s voice rang through the house.

I fixed myself up in the bathroom and met her in the kitchen preparing breakfast. “I’m making your favorite,” she said. “Eggs with sardine.”

“Great,” I said, but again I lifted my hand to my chest. Not only did it feel empty, but every part of me did. I was not hungry for Mother’s sardine and eggs. I found I was not hungry for anything at all. Before, I’d hungered for everything. Mother may not have seen the difference in me, but I felt it in my blood, the magic of a star.

I was a different Tati now.

***

This was my secret, which I could not tell.

One night a star fell. It came hurtling from the sky and I took it, warm and fluttering, like the heart of a bird, in my hands.

I gasped and watched it, puzzled. It grew bright then dim again with every pulse. No one I knew had ever caught a star. This was a thing of stories. But there I was, in our garden, with one held before me. I lifted it close to my eyes and despite its brightness it didn’t hurt to look. “What are you?” I asked it, as if it could answer, as if I didn’t already know. It was the answer to my prayers. A miracle. A gift from the Father.

A sudden urge came over me, as if the star had commanded it, a pull at my heart, telling me to drink, to take in my miracle. I didn't stop to think. I didn't ponder my actions. I lifted the star to my mouth, letting it slip through my lips, and gulped. It tasted of nectar. Pure, like honey. So sweet. It went down with ease and for a while I assumed nothing had happened, but like a torch, a glow lit my chest. It grew brighter and brighter and I feared it might consume me or worse someone might see. Maybe Mother. Soon, it faded, but there was a new lightness in my breast. I pressed my hand to my chest, expecting to feel the familiar thrash of my heart, but there was nothing but the warmth of the star.

“Thank you,” I said, eyes cast upward. And then I twirled, laughing, happy for my miracle.

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