The Seers’ Table July 2023
Kate Maruyama, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community
We’re deep into summer reading, so we’re bringing you three flavors of novels to add to your TBR pile! A ghost story, a space opera, and a harrowing horror tale.
You can see any of “The Seers’ Table” posts since inception (March 2016) by going to the HWA main page and selecting menu item “Our Blogs/Diverse Works.”
Linda Addison recommends:
India Hill Brown is an author with a passion for writing, reading, and all things literary.
Her debut novel, The Forgotten Girl, has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Youth/Teens and a 2020 ALSC Notable Children’s Book.
She graduated from Claflin University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and with a Concentration in Print Journalism.
In her spare time, she can be found curling up with a good book, a hot drink, and a snack. A self-proclaimed southern belle, she lives in the Carolinas with her husband and two sons.
Her latest novel, The Girl in the Lake, a chilling (and historically inspired) ghost story, is coming out in August 2023.
Recommended Reading: About The Girl in the Lake (Scholastic Press, August 1, 2023):
Celeste knows she should be excited to spend two weeks at her grandparents’ lake house with her brother, Owen, and their cousins Capri and Daisy, but she’s not.
Bugs, bad cell reception, and the dark waters of the lake … no thanks. On top of that, she just failed her swim test and hates being in the water—it’s terrifying. But her grandparents are strong believers in their family knowing how to swim, especially having grown up during a time of segregation at public pools.
And soon strange things start happening—the sound of footsteps overhead late at night. A flickering light in the attic window. And Celeste’s cousins start accusing her of pranking them when she’s been nowhere near them!
Things at the old house only get spookier until one evening when Celeste looks in the steamy mirror after a shower and sees her face, but twisted, different …
Who is the girl in the mirror? And what does she want?
Follow the author at https://indiahillbrown.com/; Twitter @booksandbighair.
Rob Costello recommends:
Kate Alice Marshall started writing before she could hold a pen properly, and never stopped. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a chaotic menagerie of pets and family members, and ventures out in the summer to kayak and camp along Puget Sound. She is the author of the young adult horror novels I Am Still Alive, Rules for Vanishing, Our Last Echoes, and These Fleeting Shadows, as well as the spooky Secrets of Eden Eld series for middle grade readers, which includes: Thirteens, Brackenbeast, and Glassheart. Her adult dark thriller debut, What Lies in the Woods, received stars from both Booklist and Kirkus.
Kate’s newest books are the YA horror novel, The Narrow, and the middle grade horror novel, Extra Normal, both scheduled for release in August of 2023 by Viking Books for Young Readers.
Recommended Reading: These Fleeting Shadows, pages 86-87:
“Listen close for Harrow’s bell.
Blood will bind, and blood will tell.”
Bryony stood among the trees, not far from the edge of the woods, her lantern resting on the ground at her side. She watched the house with expectant hopefulness.
“Is it you?” she asked.
I tried to speak, but I didn’t have a mouth. Tried to reach for her, but I didn’t have hands.
“Talk to me,” she said, a pleading edge in her voice. “Tell me what I’m supposed to do.”
There was something I had to find. Something I had to find, and then I could do what she wanted. Be what she wanted. It was close. I could feel it. But the spiral was there, too, drawing me under. And I was so, so cold.
And then—then the cold was real, biting deep, and I stood in the woods, awake and barefoot in my pajama pants, shivering as Harrow’s bell rang to signal the morning. Mist coiled among the trees and a bird called in the dark predawn, and I was alone.
My fingers ached. Dirt packed the creases of my hands. My fingertips were red, my nails broken. “No no no no,” I whispered, as if denying what was happening could make it less true. I curled my fingers under and jammed my half-frozen hands under my arms to try to warm them. My teeth chattered.
The Harrow dream had come twice, and twice I’d woken out here, dirty and cold. What was happening to me? What was doing this?
Find out more about Kate at http://katemarshallbooks.com, and follow her on Instagram @kmarshallarts.
Kate Maruyama recommends:
Alex White was born in Mississippi and has lived most of their life in the American South. Alex is the author of the Starmetal Symphony Trilogy (starting with August Kitko and the Mechas from Space) and The Salvagers Trilogy (starting with A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe); as well as official novels for ALIEN (The Cold Forge, Into Charybdis) and STAR TREK (DS9 Revenant). From Space Opera to body horror, White’s work covers all realms wondrous and dark. They enjoy music composition, calligraphy, and challenging, subversive fiction.
Recommended Reading: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space (The Starmetal Symphony Book 1)
Gus blinks at the waves. The fall is going to kill him either way, but for some reason, he’d rather hit the water than the rocks. It mostly comes down to a choice of who gets to eat him—the seagulls or the marine life.
And seagulls are assholes.
Gus needs to wrap things up; he doesn’t want to be here when they arrive. He’d once been a bit more single-minded in his suicidal ideation, and he finds this last-minute attachment to survival annoying.
It seems unfair that life could get so fun right before the end. He’d forgotten the taste of good times, and a dram of happiness has made him too exhausted to complete his morbid task.
If only Gus can make himself climb onto the railing, he knows he can take the next step.
Other “bon” vivants cavort nearby, drinks in hand, some clumsily pawing all over each other. Gus straightens up and stares wistfully at the sea. He can’t be seen moping like he’s about to jump. They might try to stop him and then they’d all waste their last few minutes of life trying to calm him down.
Or maybe they’d actually let him do it.
Then he’d spend his final second offended with them.
Perhaps instead, Gus could go to his rock star lover, apologize to them, and pull them in close for the literal kiss to end all kisses—except Ardent Violet is on the veranda, holding court for their adoring public. People and holograms no doubt sit rapt before them, listening to some captivating speech. Ardent isn’t about to even talk to Gus, much less peel themselves away from a scintillating evening of compliments and basking.
Not after Gus screwed everything up.
You can learn more about Alex at: http://www.alexrwhite.com/ or follow them on Instagram @the_alex_white.