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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog Tour- WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore An Excerpt

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore! I freaking adore Anna and she's a local author so that's another plus! I love supporting my local authors! I have an excerpt from the book to share with you today!

Haven't heard of WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS? Check it out!

Author: anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Pages: 288
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes& Noble | iBooks
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. 

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.s. 

Now on to the excerpt!

sea of clouds

As far as he knew, she had come from the water. But even
about that, he couldn’t be sure.

It didn’t matter how many nights they’d met on the untilled land
between their houses; the last farm didn’t rotate its crops, and
stripped the soil until nothing but wild grasses would grow. It didn’t
matter how many stories he and Miel had told each other when
they could not sleep, him passing on his mother’s fables of moon
bears that aided lost travelers, Miel making up tales about his moon
lamps falling in love with stars. Sam didn’t know any more than
anyone else about where she’d come from before he found her in
the brush fi eld. She seemed to have been made of water one minute
and the next, became a girl.

Someday, he and Miel would be nothing but a fairy tale. When
they were gone from this town, no one would remember the exact
brown of Miel’s eyes, or the way she spiced recado rojo with cloves,
or even that Sam and his mother were Pakistani. At best, they would
remember a dark- eyed girl, and a boy whose family had come from
somewhere else. They would remember only that Miel and Sam
had been called Honey and Moon, a girl and a boy woven into the
folklore of this place.

This is the story that mothers would tell their children:

There was once a very old water tower. Rust had turned its metal
such a deep orange that the whole tank looked like a pumpkin, an
enormous copy of the fruit that grew in the fi elds where it cast its
shadow. No one tended this water tower anymore, not since a few
strikes from a summer of lightning storms left it leaning to one side
as though it were tired and slouching. Years ago, they had fi lled it
from the river, but now rust and minerals choked the pipes. When
they opened the valve at the base of the tower, nothing more than a
few drops trickled out. The bolts and sheeting looked weak enough
that one autumn windstorm might crumble the whole thing.

So the town decided that they would build a new water tower,
and that the old one would come down. But the only way to drain it
would be to tip it over like a cup. They would have to be ready for
the whole tower to crash to the ground, all that rusted metal, those
thousands of gallons of dirty, rushing water spilling out over the land.
For the fall, they chose the side of the tower where a field of brush
was so dry, a single spark would catch and light it all. All that water,
they thought, might bring a little green. From that field, they dug
up wild flowers, chicory and Indian paintbrush and larkspur, replanting
them alongside the road, so they would not be drowned or
smashed. They feared that if they were not kind to the beautiful
things that grew wild, their own farms would wither and die.
Children ran through the brush fields, chasing away squirrels
and young deer so that when the water tower came down, they
would not be crushed. Among these children was a boy called
Moon because he was always painting lunar seas and shadows onto
glass and paper and anything he could make glow. Moon knew to
keep his steps and his voice gentle, so he would not startle the rabbits,
but would stir them to bound back toward their burrows.
When the animals and the wild flowers were gone from the brush
field, the men of the town took their axes and hammers and mallets
to the base of the water tower, until it fell like a tree. It arced toward
the ground, its fall slow, as though it were leaning forward to touch
its own shadow. When it hit, the rusted top broke off, and all that
water rushed out.

For a minute the water, brown as a forgotten cup of tea, hid the
brush that looked like pale wheat stubble. But when it slid and spread
out over the field, flattening the brittle stalks, soaking into the dry
ground, every one watching made out the shape of a small body.
A girl huddled in the wet brush, her hair stuck to her face, her
eyes wide and round as amber marbles. She had on a thin nightgown,
which must have once been white, now stained cream by the water.
But she covered herself with her arms, cowering like she was naked
and looking at every one like they were all baring their teeth.
At first a few of the mothers shrieked, wondering whose child had
been left in the water tower’s path. But then they realized that they
did not know this girl. She was not their daughter, or the daughter
of any of the mothers in town.

No one would come near her. The ring of those who had come
to see the tower taken down widened a little more the longer they
watched her. Each minute they put a little more space between
her and them, more afraid of this small girl than of so much falling
water and rusted metal. And she stared at them, seeming to meet all
their eyes at once, her look both vicious and frightened.
But the boy called Moon came forward and knelt in front of her.
He took off his jacket and put it on her. Talked to her in a voice soft
enough that no one else could hear it.

Every one drew back, expecting her to bite him or to slash her
fingernails across his face. But she looked at him, and listened to him,
his words stripping the feral look out of her eyes.
After that day, anyone who had not been at the water tower
thought she was the same as any other child, little different from the
boy she was always with. But if they looked closely, they could see
the hem of her skirt, always a little damp, never quite drying no
matter how much the sun warmed it.

This would be the story, a neat distillation of what had happened.
It would weed out all the things that did not fit. It would not mention
how Miel, soaking wet and smelling of rust, screamed into her
hands with every one watching. Because every one was watching, and
she wanted to soak into the ground like the spilled water and vanish.
How Sam crouched in front of her saying, “Okay, okay,” keeping
his words slow and level so she would know what he meant. You
can stop screaming; I hear you, I understand. And because she believed
him, that he heard her, and understood, she did stop.

It would leave out the part about the Bonner sisters. The four of
them, from eight- year- old Chloe to three- year- old Peyton, had been
there to see the water tower come down, all of them lined up so their
hair looked like a forest of autumn trees. Peyton had been holding
a small gray pumpkin that, in that light, looked almost blue. She had
it cradled in one arm, and with the other hand was petting it like a
bird. When she’d taken a step toward Miel, clutching that pumpkin,
Miel’s screaming turned raw and broken, and Peyton startled back
to her sisters.

Once Sam knew about Miel’s fear of pumpkins, he understood,
how Peyton treating it like it was alive made Miel afraid not only of
Peyton but of all of them. But that part would never make it into

the story.

About Anna-Marie:

¡Bienvenidos! I’m Anna-Marie. I’m a Mexican-American author represented by the fabulous Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary. My debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS,a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist, is out now from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. My second novel,WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, will be released in October 2016, and WILD BEAUTY is coming in 2017.

My shorter work has been featured in The Portland Review, CRATE Literary Magazine’s “cratelit,” Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Gallery, and by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. I was a 2011 Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction (you can find my reading here). I live in Northern California with a boy from the other side of the Rockies. 

Make sure you grab Anna-Marie's first book too!

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