Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 16
- Grade: 7 to 11
Elizabeth Coderre solves mysteries. Magic, wizards, and killer kittens didn't stop her last semester. Now someone is trying to kill her in absurdly complicated ways, she's hearing voices, her best friends are constantly fighting despite being madly in love, and the desires of Baker City's residents are becoming reality. Can she find out who's trying to kill her and discover the source of everyone's luck, while navigating dating, concerts, school, and competing in the science Olympics? She can only wish... and you know what they say about wishes!
About the author
Éric has had an eclectic career which ranges from casino dealer to canal boat captain to radio station DJ. Since 2009, he's worked as a layout artist and desktop publisher for the federal government. During his off time he works as a freelance layout artist for various Canadian-based authors and publishers, roasts gourmet flavoured coffee, runs several pen-and-paper role-playing games, writes, and helps run JenEric-Designs.ca (Home of the TravellingTARDIS.com).
He lives in Ottawa, Ontario with his wife, daughter, and son. Visit him at www.EricDesmarais.ca./p
- Nominated, Prix Aurora Award
Excerpt: Sign of Faust, The (by (author) Éric Desmarais)
The day had warmed up significantly and he wanted some shade. As he ate his sandwich that Silvia had made the night before, he started wondering what had happened. He had never played that well or been able to influence the people listening. He lay in the grass and could feel the music all around him. It felt like he had been living his life in black and white and suddenly he could see everything in technicolour.
Deciding to see if he could do it again, he went back to his morning spot and started playing. He wrote four songs that afternoon, one of which was for his mother who had died giving birth to his twin siblings. Those who heard it cried and wanted to rush home to their own families. The other three were about feeling small, family, and fear of losing his father. When he finished the fourth song, he started shaking from the effort of his music. He decided to try to play the song from that morning one more time. To his surprise, he remembered every note, every syllable, and every emotion. As he played, he fixed errors from the first time and improved the lyrics. He made sure not to flood it with too much emotion.
When he finished the song, he looked up into the chestnut eyes that had inspired him. Her face showed a war of emotion. She looked horrified yet happy. Simon took it as a sign that she had hated his song and he quickly packed up his money and his guitar. He picked up the case and started running away. He ran through alleys, up and down roads, and finally found himself at a trolley stop. He climbed into the trolley, paid, and sat in the back corner, staring miserably out the window. He didn't realize someone was next to him until he felt a warm hand on his shoulder.
Turning to look at who was touching him, he saw her. She melted his heart with a smile and asked, "Was that song about me?" He only nodded. "It was beautiful. What's your name?"
"S-simon," he stuttered.
"Well Simon. I'm Vivian. Vivian Myddfai." Her blonde curls bounced as she spoke. He held out his hand and she shook it. She tentatively leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. His heart beat too fast and he felt a shiver of anticipation. Before he could recover, she leaned in again and kissed him passionately.
His mind swam with a million thoughts and no thoughts at all. The world slipped away from him. When she pulled away, she winked at him, got up, and walked out of the trolley. He sighed deeply and reached for the familiar weight of his guitar that should have been leaning against his leg. It was gone.
Running to the door, he looked out to see Vivian and her friends standing and waving at him. Her boyfriend held his guitar case. When the trolley stopped, he jumped out and ran towards the four; his anger clouded his judgment.
The boyfriend held the case over the side of an overpass. The overpass had a busy street underneath. If the height didn't destroy the guitar, then an oncoming car would. He stopped running and in a winded voice he pleaded, "Stop, please don't! I'll give you the money that's inside the case. Don't drop it, it was my mom's."
Vivian looked guilty. "Okay, we got him good. Now give him back the guitar." When he didn't move, she added, "That's enough Robert. Stop it."
When he took a step towards Simon, the boyfriend said, "He should have thought about that before he wrote you a love song. You're my girl, Viv, not his." He dropped the guitar into traffic. He and the other two laughed. Vivian looked angry.
Vivian's angry words were drowned out by a large crash and bang. There were horns, skidding sounds, and then a few more booms. The three Squirrels ran away. Vivian gave Simon a sympathetic look and ran. He didn't care, anger flowed through him and he shrieked. It was a perfect heavy metal shriek, only a few years too early.
Simon ran down to the road to see if he could salvage his guitar or at least the money. On the road were several cars twisted and broken. A transport had flattened a small blue car against the wall of the underpass.
The money and pieces of the guitar were strewn everywhere. Something pulled at the back of his mind; he was missing something but what was it? His head snapped back to the small blue car: his brother's car.
He could hear sirens at a distance as he ran towards the car. He saw Silvia and he wondered why she had a new uniform and why it was red. His shock wore off and he fell to his knees as his sandwich from lunch fought its way out.
Shaking with pain and anger, he screamed. His scream echoed and amplified. Everyone within a two-kilometre radius spontaneously started to cry.
After a few moments, a man in a long dark coat and a feathered hat walked over to Simon. "I can change it. I can bring them back. But there will be a cost. Choose quickly, before they're too dead for me to do anything."
Simon tried to understand the man's words. His face was all sharp angles, making him look almost alien, like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. When Simon understood, he asked, "You can bring them back? I can never lose them again."
The man smiled showing sharp teeth. "I promise you Simon, you'll never lose any of your siblings again. I'll even throw in Michelle and the twins for free. But I have to warn you that there will be a cost and you won't like it."
Simon shook his head. "I don't care," he whispered. "I don't care! Just bring them back!"
"Thrice I warn thee, Simon Barrett. There is a cost and it is dire."
The grief and pain that Simon felt reverberated over him again and he begged, "Please! Please, just bring them back."
The man smiled...