My First Live Podcast – Speculative Fiction Cantina

I finished my first live podcast with S. Evan Townsend of Speculative Fiction Cantina.   I really, really had a wonderful time.  The time went by so quickly.  So quickly, that I didn’t have time to be nervous.  In fact, I was very relaxed.  I hope you would give the interview a listen.

 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writestream/2016/12/16/the-speculative-fiction-cantina-with-natalie-silk-and-brian-pigg

Or the short link: http://ow.ly/k5g3306NqxW

 

If you’re an author, perhaps you would like to be one of his guests.

S. Evan Townsend

 

evan@sevantownsend.com

sevantownsend.com

facebook.com/SEvanTownsend

twitter.com/SEvanTownsend

http://www.writestreamradio.com/

 

A Review by Marssie Mencotti of Windy City Reviews

Snowfall’s Secret. Natalie Silk. Solstice Press, August 23, 2017, Trade Paperback and E-book,
268 pages.
Reviewed by Marssie Mencotti.

capture

http://windycityreviews.org/

Snowfall’s Secret by Natalie Silk is a young adult science fiction novel about a young girl from another planet who arrives on Earth with a past that she can’t remember. Snippets of memory rise to her consciousness every now and then, and readers will find themselves rooting for her to put the pieces together to find the sense of home and family that she craves. Natalie Silk dreamt of her protagonist Dahliea when she was just a young girl. Years passed, as did multiple story drafts, as she persisted with her quest. She had to get Dahliea into print.
Snowfall’s Secret is an introduction to a larger story that promises to unfold in subsequent books. This is Ms. Silk’s third book and the second book in the Dahliea series. It is a wonderful read.

The story begins in late summer at Mike and Jennifer’s summer rental, a few days before they are to return to the city for the start of school. We travel with Jamie through the school year until we arrive at the snowfall that begins the dramatic action of the story’s arc. This long introductory style of exposition seems appropriate as the reader is drawn into the heroine’s plight and is fully
vested in her success by the time the action heats up. The title, Snowfall’s Secret, only becomes meaningful later when a ski trip is announced. I found myself waiting for a snowfall on either planet to reveal the secret.

The reader bonds with Dahliea/Jamie right from the start because she is so eager to adapt. Her confusion over where and why she is in this alien place at this particular time are tempered by her innate kindness and trust. She instinctively knows that she must fit into the family that found her.  Her thoughtfulness towards their younger child is particularly endearing. This young heroine is
smart, naturally curious, and brave. Within those epic attributes, Ms. Silk keeps her as natural as possible.

The overall story in Snowfall’s Secret glows with honesty. There are few dramatic tropes to stop the forward progress of the story.  Instead, a refreshingly real child/princess who is an intelligent young woman cautiously assimilates with new friends and a new family. She is allowed to behave as wisely and foolishly as any young girl does. Her decisions about what to wear and who to befriend are so clearly portrayed that the reader is reminded of their own angst trying to pick the “right” outfit and crowd. Ms. Silk gives us all of the youthful fluctuations between excitement and boredom, absolute judgment and fairness, and cluelessness and instinctual savvy, leading us to believe that the planet from which Dahliea comes is not so different from Earth and that the story will be relatable on a social and scientific level.
The author’s skills are apparent as we find out about Dahliea in the gentlest of ways. Ms. Silk unfolds her story like a beautiful flower, petal by petal. We find that there are powerful forces protecting and nurturing Dahliea as she transitions to Earth girl. For her welfare she is renamed Jamie. Nearly every week during this “enforced witness protection program,” she is asked to
complete more difficult tasks, necessitating that she always balance her two realities. We learn about her status, language, and family in flashbacks and with the addition of supporting friends and enemies.

The author gives Dahliea advantages. She has skills that are far more advanced than those explored and understood on Earth. She has a strong mentor and guide in her tutor. Her half brother binds her to an Earthly heritage through their mother—an Earth-born woman. Through her new friends, diverse and unique, she is provided with examples of how to behave and misbehave. But Dahliea is no angel. At the first opportunity to let loose, she carelessly disregards the rules.

The reader sees the first stirrings of a young woman who can be headstrong and spoiled and realizes that he or she does not know all the complexities of Dahliea’s privileged life on the planet S’Renen or why she is being shielded from that past.
Jamie eventually comes to live with her older brother who is unprepared to be a parent. He adapts slowly and is kind and understanding, but he is slipshod in some ways. This arrangement gives her some freedom and enables her to avoid the problems that could arise from a stricter fostering situation.

I found this book extremely enjoyable. It is sure to engage a young adult audience. The plot moved swiftly and logically. Things that were not fully explained were well within the scope of imagination. Prior to the snowfall, the book was real and gently written. After the snow appears, it kicks into high gear and is thrilling. Snowfall’s Secret is endearing, exciting, and well worth reading. Readers will wish they had the next book waiting so that they can continue with Jamie as she uncovers her true destiny.

Snowfall’s Secret Chapter 7 Morsel

It’s been a long time since I gave a morsel.  I hope you enjoy it . . .

She spent most of the day babysitting Ami. It was more like using the time as a distraction while waiting to be picked up for her first tutoring session. As three-thirty p.m. approached and passed, she began feeling more nervous. Where is Tom?!? It’s now three-thirty-seven and he’s late. Then she felt relief, believing that if he was late enough then, maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t need to go to the tutor. The doorbell finally rang and, with resignation, she slipped into her flip-flops, gave Ami an extra-long goodbye, and then patted and scratched Roscoe longer than necessary.

Smiling at her stalling tactic, Jennifer said, “Have a good time at the tutor’s.” Then she hugged Jamie.

Returning the hug, she said, “Thanks.”

Jennifer patted her back so that Jamie would finally release her.

“Let’s get going.” Tom shifted his weight to the door.

After driving a few blocks away from Mike and Jennifer’s home, Tom turned down the radio. He quickly looked at Jamie and then returned to focusing on the traffic. She barely noticed the volume of the music was lowered because she was so distracted with her own thoughts.

“I don’t think you know anything about American history or any kind of world history.”

“What?” She lost interest in the passing scenery and now looked at him.

“And what about your reading comprehension?”

Images of reading English with her mother flashed through her mind. “My what?”

“What level do you think you can read?”

She shrugged her shoulders as an answer.

Tom smiled. “You’re starting to act like a teenaged girl. I guess watching all that TV is starting to pay off. I hope you won’t need as much help in math or science. I used to watch a lot of science fiction. I wonder if your world is more advanced than we are in math and science.” He suppressed a grin. “Men in silver suits and aliens.”

“Men in silver suits and aliens?” She had no idea what he was talking about. “We probably are.” Her statement was more matter-of-fact than bragging.

“Humh.”  He parked the car in front of a small bungalow house with a porch that reminded her of the beach house. When Tom rang the doorbell, Jamie tried to peer through the door’s curtained window.

A woman with golden skin and pinned-up black hair opened the door. She smiled as she warmly said, “Tom and Jamie! Come in!” She unlatched the screen door and pushed it out.

Jamie’s mouth dropped. It was her Ly-Parz, her teacher from S’Renen. Only her eyes weren’t golden, they were now brown. She quickly swallowed her shock and began to respectfully greet her former teacher in S’Renen, “Chzw—” She didn’t finish saying ‘Good day, Teacher Ly-Parz,’ because a Thought slammed so hard into her mind she almost jumped.

No, Dahliea. Your brother mustn’t know who I am.

Even though Jamie saw that Tom had a fleeting quizzical look, she desperately wanted to ask about their mother. Was she found? What about her family and friends? Then she remembered the shimmer that she kept seeing that night at the beach house.

“Please sit down.” Mrs. Greenfield directed them to her living room sofa. “I have iced tea and cookies. Would either of you like something to drink or eat?”

“Thank you,” Tom said giving a polite smile.

Jamie was a little hesitant. “Yes, thanks.”

Mrs. Greenfield went to the kitchen that was in the next room and came back carrying three plates with small butter cookies, a pitcher of iced tea and three glass tumblers on a tray.

She placed a plate of three cookies and a napkin on the coffee table in front of each of them and began pouring the tea. “I’m so looking forward to helping you, Jamie,” and smiled at her as she handed her a glass of tea. “Tom tells me that you’ll be a very good student.”

Jamie looked at Tom and then at her tutor. “Uh, yes.”

“Thank you,” Tom said after he was handed his glass of iced tea. “Um. Jamie’s on the quiet side until she gets to know you.”

“Of course she is.” Mrs. Greenfield sat down in an armchair opposite them. “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be nervous about,” she said, giving her a reassuring smile.

Jamie couldn’t stop thinking, Why are her eyes brown? Realizing that she never looked up from her plate of cookies, she tried to Block her tutor from Overhearing her.

Her head snapped up when her new tutor Thought while still smiling warmly, We’ll need to practice a lot on your Blocking, which made Jamie blush. At the same time she said out loud to Tom, “I have all the books and assignments for the school year. My goal is to get your sister ready for her first week of school. We have very little time. Yes? Once her classes begin, we can start on each homework assignment as they are assigned. I had suggested to your brother,” Mrs. Greenfield now looked at Jamie, “three tutoring sessions per week when school starts, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for one hour after school. Each session will be at four-thirty.”

Tom looked at his lap and inhaled audibly before looking at his half-sister, “I think you’re up to it even if it sounds like a lot.”

“Yes, I have to agree. It sounds like a lot to expect, but as we progress through the first few months, you’ll see how it’ll benefit you, Jamie, to be well prepared. A lot will be expected in eighth grade.”

“You’re going to start today.” Then looking at his sister’s tutor, Tom said, “Jamie and I agreed about her summer sessions with you until school starts.”

“Yes.” Mrs. Greenfield nodded. “Good.”

“Should I stay or can I come back?”

Jamie tried to hide the pleading look from Mrs. Greenfield knowing full well that her new tutor Overheard every poorly Blocked thought.

“You can finish your iced tea and cookies. Jamie and I will be in the kitchen getting better acquainted. I want to discuss the homework she’ll need to complete for our next session.”

 

 

The Meaning of the Symbol

My books, Stars’ Fire and Snowfall’s Secret, were inspired by a dream I had when I was twelve.  In the dream, I saw five monks standing in a semi-circle.  Their hoods covered most of their faces. They were all wearing a silver triangle-shaped pendant with a red stone in the center.  One of the monks looked at me and said, “You’re not ready,” and I woke.

I couldn’t forget about that dream. Since I loved to draw during my study periods in school (I clearly wasn’t the best student), I drew the pendant:  the triangle was half white and the other half was black with a red stone in the center.  I also drew the girl standing with her riding gear of a jacket and tunic, leggings, and mid-calf boots.

I was in my dentist’s waiting room a few days later.  A man in a green t-shirt (or was it brown?) and jeans came out.  He wore a gold triangle-shaped pendant with a red stone in the center.  My mouth dropped and I knew the dream was important.

I had subsequent dreams of a girl with a pendant almost like the one the monks wore and I wrote them all down.

I don’t remember if I kept my original writings or drawings (I moved around a lot and it was a very long time ago), so I’m submitting two versions of the pendant below.  I would be extremely grateful for any information that you may have regarding the meaning and/or history of the symbols.  I really haven’t come across anything definitive.  Even internet searches have limitations.

2016-08-23T20160823155603

Please reach out to me on:

Facebook  Natalie Silk, Author

https://www.facebook.com/Natalie-Silk-Author-313822162074307/?fref=ts

Twitter @natalieasilk

https://twitter.com/natalieasilk

My website

www.nataliesilkauthor.com

Release for Snowfall’s Secret

All good things come to those who wait” and I can say, I waited for the pre-sale debut of this book.  If you’re an Amazon subscriber, you can get a copy in ebook free; is not, it’s at a low price of $3.99.  I hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think or even write a review (or two).

Thank you, thank you, Solstice Publishing!

Snowfalls-Secret-1-150x150[1]

Amazon US:

https://www.amazon.com/Snowfalls-Secret-Natalie-Silk-ebook/dp/B01KII53EQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1471374694&sr=1-1&keywords=snowfall%27s+secret+natalie+silk#nav-subnav

ASIN: B01KII53EQ

Bookgoodies: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01KII53EQ

http://www.booklinker.net/

 

Snowfall’s Secret, Chapter 7

https://www.reddit.com/r/sciencefiction/NatalieSilk

This scene was one of many from my childhood dreams:

. . .As they pulled into a driveway, Tom pressed a button on his car’s visor and a huge door on the side of the big, yellow brick building opened.

Jamie asked, “Is this where your—our family lives?” when the car pulled into the garage and into a numbered space.

“It’s just the two of us.”

“Oh, this huge building is just for us? I was hoping there would be at least cousins.”

She now felt so foolish because he looked at her bewildered and then took two beats before turning off the car and answering, “There are other families living here.”

He got out and opened the door to the back seat so that he could help with her things. “You can get the rest behind your seat. Okay?”

“Sure.” Jamie got out and retrieved two bags and a box. For being here only a few weeks, she really had accumulated a lot. She followed Tom through a door and down a hall and then through another door that led to the main entrance lobby. While searching for his apartment’s key on his key ring, he pressed the elevator’s button with his right elbow. They waited for the door to slides open.

“We’re on the fourth floor—West. Four-two-four.”

“Four-two-four.” Jamie repeated.

“It’s home.” He shrugged.

She had a fleeting memory of walking through the front gates and then towards the front entrance of her home after school before . . .

The elevator stopped and the doors opened. She followed Tom down another hall way until they came to a door with ‘424’ in gold letters on it. He unlocked the door and pivoted so that he could use his back to hold it open. Before he pushed, Jamie helped her half-brother by using her Skill to hold the door open.

Regaining his balance, Tom looked at her with amazement. “I hope I can get used to that,” and walked over the threshold.

No matter how often he saw her use her Skills, he always seemed to her to be just as shaken as the first time. “Used to what?”

“That. Thing you do. You know—,” he said, looking at the door that just swung closed. . .

 

Snowfall’s Secret, Chapter 6

…Half of the family room floor was soon covered with colorful balloons. Jamie remembered that some of the wealthier Zonpres would purchase decorations that would float for their celebrations. S’Renens, on the other hand, could easily make any decoration float by Thinking.

The metallic sound of the door to the garage opening echoed followed by Roscoe bounding in and barking.

“Oh, no,” Jennifer said under her breath. Then, more loudly, she called to Mike. “Get the dog! He’ll make a mess if he sees the balloons!”

“I can’t, I have my hands full.”

Jennifer put a half-filled party bag down on the counter and quickly walked out of the room. “Roscoe! Roscoe! Heel! Heel!! HEEL!”

Unfortunately, Roscoe managed to escape Jennifer’s grip and bounded in to the family room, scattering balloons all around him.

“No, Roscoe! No! Bad boy!” Eluding Jennifer again, he was now trying to get out to the backyard by jumping at the patio door from the kitchen. In her panic, she was still trying to grab the excited dog but he escaped her reach at each attempt.

Ami, during this time, was giggling at the commotion. 91 • Snowfall’s Secret

Jamie had an idea and still would be able to keep her promise to Tom (sort of). She focused and Moved the button on the door bell.

Hearing the sound of a visitor, Roscoe quickly swerved, managing to escape Jennifer yet again and headed for the front door. Now out of view of Ami, Jamie was satisfied that she could really help by quickly Moving Roscoe out of the way.

“ROSCOE!” Jennifer was beyond exasperation as she ran after the dog.

Mike came into the kitchen. Pushing some of the filled party bags aside to make room for a pink and white long, flat box, he said, “Where’s the dog?”

Jennifer came back in the kitchen, bewildered. “I don’t know. One minute I was about to reach for him and then he seemed . . .”

They both looked at Jamie while Ami started to kick a yellow balloon into the air.

“Jamie, honey, please come over here,” Jennifer said.

Feeling a little guilty, Jamie put down the pump and walked over to Mike and Jennifer.

In a hushed tone so that Ami wouldn’t overhear, Jennifer asked, “Where’s Roscoe?”

“He’s in my bedroin the guest room. I gave him some meat in his dish. And one of his chew bones.”

Mike looked at his wife and then at the spot where Roscoe’s bowl should have been. Jennifer followed her husband’s gaze. They were definitely amused.

“Where did the meat come from?” Jennifer asked.

“From the refrigerator. From the other meat.”

Jennifer reached the refrigerator first and opened the right-hand door while Mike looked over her arm at the two stacks of uncooked burgers. One stack was lower than the other…

 

Snowfall’s Secret, Chapter 5

He held the envelope up to the light as he thought about the necessity of having to help her with her school work, especially with history. He saw the outline of something small still inside. Turning the envelope upside down, he shook it until two cards fell out: a debit card and a business card. He picked them up, suspicious of this new little ‘coincidence.’

He read the name and address on the business card: Mrs. Margot Greenfield, Education. I wonder if she’s any good. It doesn’t state her degrees. He flipped it over to the other side and read her address, e-mail, and phone number that were framed with little gold apples. The tutor was only four blocks away.

He looked at the debit card in disbelief as he read and re-read his name. He needed to turn it over twice to make sure that the card really belonged to him. Do I need to cancel it? Of course I do! What am I thinking?

Tom looked inside the envelope and withdrew a note that was stuck to the side and read it: The tutor is paid in full. The debit card is for all of Jamie’s expenses. The amount is inexhaustible.

Snowfall’s Secret, Chapter 4

When the movie ended, Jennifer and Dean took the empty bowls, glasses, and bottles into the kitchen and then returned to the living room. No one wanted to go upstairs to bed. The mood was contagious to Dahliea (now Jamie). She didn’t want the evening to end either. She knew that in the morning, she would have to be turned over to social services and this scared her. She didn’t want to leave the only family she had here. What if she never saw her half-brother again? Why didn’t he want her? She would also miss Jennifer (who was the closest thing she had to a mother on this world) and the others. Everyone dawdled. She rubbed her sleep-heavy eyes as fought the exhaustion.

Rob finally gave a very audible, very wide-mouthed yawn. “I’m heading up.”

“Yeah. It’s a good idea.” Jennifer looked at her husband and after standing, allowed herself a slight stretch. “I still have some things that I need to pack. But, I’ll do that after breakfast.”

Jamie waited for Rob and Mike to get up from the sofa before she went to the hall closet to pull out the blanket and pillow she used.

There were faint whisperings from Mike, Jennifer, and Tom in the upstairs hallway. It couldn’t be anything good. Deciding to push the dark thoughts away, she made her bed and brushed her teeth. Too tired to change, she kicked off her pants and left them on the floor next to her make-shift bed and then smoothed down the t-shirt (now nightgown) she wore during the day.

Snowfall’s Secret, Chapter 3

Tom looked over at her and saw how sullen she was as she examined her cocoa. He put his coffee down on the table. She flinched when he said, “Jamie.” He quickly followed with, “Dahli-au, want to come with me?”

“Yes,” she responded quietly, trying to fight the urge to correct him for not using her real name in the first place.

He slowly walked to the door and opened it. “We’re just going to be on the porch. If anyone is looking for us.”

She looked at him and decided to follow.

He leaned against the railing while she sat down on the swing with her cup. Careful not to make eye contact with him, she slowly rocked back and forth. She didn’t want to be alone with him even though she was curious about what he had to say. After all, he still intimidated her because of the obvious hostility.

Now she found her courage to ask the question she most needed answered: “Why do you hate me so much?” She didn’t look up at him from the swing, didn’t even look at him as he crossed the porch to close the window before returning to his perch on the railing. She would rather have the window open knowing that Mike and Jennifer were on the other side to protect her.