Dear friends, allow me to introduce an author I admire: Patti Roberts. Her talent, dedication and sheer strength of spirit are a constant source of inspiration and a reminder that anything is possible, if you are willing to give enough commitment to the task.
This is the first of a series of articles dedicated to the Paradox Series, a world so different and so inspired, you will not be able to resist falling in love with it. Today, I will introduce Patti, give you the chance to read a sample of the first book in the series, The Angels Are Here, a quick look at its new cover (also Patti’s creation), and show you a trailer of the story so far (did I mention that Patti is the artist behind Paradox Trailer Productions, too?).
The Angels Are Here
(Book One) – sample
It continued to rain all that weekend and the week that followed. It rained for nearly a month straight without any hint of stopping anytime soon.
Grace thought about death; it consumed her since her father’s accident. Death haunted her. Death punished her. Other than a conversation with her father once and the occasional dead gold fish that had been flushed down the toilet, Grace had thought very little about death.
Dead gold fish—that was all she really knew of death. Grace liked to believe that a flushed gold fish was happily on its way to a watery fish heaven. The death of a fish was bearable, replaceable by a trip to the corner pet store.
Her father’s death, however, was immeasurably different. It was unbearable and he was irreplaceable. Her father’s death had left her adrift. It punched a hole in her so big that she could hardly breathe. Later, she would refer to her father’s accident as the death of her childhood innocence.
The days that followed Brian’s death was made up of a continual blur of acute microscopic seconds, minutes, hours. There were the endless phone calls, flowers, cards, funeral arrangements.
The only other constant were tears and constant rain.
The days on the kitchen wall calendar rolled over quickly to a miserable Monday morning, the 26th of April. And under the cover of a dense grey sky, a child attended a funeral to say her tearful goodbyes to a father whom she had adored her entire life.
She felt like she had been abandoned in a tiny paper boat and left adrift without paddles or an anchor in a bottomless, unforgiving ocean of wretchedness.
A mass of mourners – some she recognized, some she did not – huddled together under an array of umbrellas in the drizzling rain. Grace saw Mr. and Mrs. Terran holding hands in the front row. The Palmer family, who used to live in the house next door where Angela now lived, was there too, dabbing their eyes with white tissues. They all gave her mournful smiles, even the people she didn’t know.
Did they all think of her now as the poor girl with the dead father? The little girl lost at sea in the sinking paper boat? Why not? She did. She did not comply with the formality of returning their sad desperate smiles. She simply lowered her head from prying eyes and squeezed her mother’s hand tighter.
A small redheaded girl caught her attention twenty meters away. The girl walked toward a stone park bench under a big tree and sat down on the wet slab. She was barely visible under the big black umbrella she held above her head. Grace wondered which of the mourners she belonged to. The girl looked up at Grace and smiled. Not a sad mournful smile but with a smile that radiated joy.
Grace was swept up by an incredible feeling of lightness and peace. She felt like she was floating. She could see her father smiling at her in the clouds above. She was on the verge of smiling back when a tall thin priest spoke, startling her. Stealing her away from the redheaded girl with the infectious smile and the promise of a life filled with joy and happiness.
She felt heavy now—pulled back down a life wrapped in sadness and death. Back to her tormented life without her father. Back into the tiny paper boat, bobbing up and down on a savage ocean.
She looked back toward the stone bench, but the girl was gone, just the priest now, as he raised his voice over the din of the pelting rain. And the louder the priest spoke the harder the rain insisted on falling. Grace didn’t want to listen to his words, words, words.
He continued. “In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
She didn’t want to hear any more.
“We commend to Almighty God our brother Brian and we commit his body to the ground…”
She wanted to scream. You did not know my father, he was not your brother, he was my daddy!
The priest pushed on. “Earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”
Instead, Grace concentrated on the rhythmic drumming of the rain as it pounded heavily on the canopy of umbrellas and the white marquee that sheltered her father’s coffin and an array of floral tributes. But the rain merely mimicked the priest’s words. Earth, earth. Drip, drip. Ashes, ashes. Drip, drip. Dust, dust. Drip, drip.
“The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make His face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him peace. Amen.”
“Amen,” mimicked the swarm of mourners.
Atop Brian’s coffin sat a wreath of red roses and white lilies, her father’s favorites.
“Grace…” She heard her name whispered as the wind swept through the tree branches somewhere in the distance; it was her father’s voice.
Blah, blah, blah. More shouted words from the priest as he moved toward her father’s coffin. Her mother sobbed gently by her side.
Hope was there now, standing at the head of her father’s mahogany coffin. Raindrops glistened on the tips of her outstretched wings. They fluttered gracefully in a gentle gust of wind. Grace knew it was time to say goodbye to Hope, too. It was a day for goodbyes. A day to say goodbye to imaginary childhood friends. This was a day to grow up. Her mother needed her now. Hope would understand that, wouldn’t she? “I’m sorry, but you have to go now,” she whispered to Hope.
“Grace?” her mother asked, “what is it, who are you talking to?”
Grace glanced up at her mother, into her red-rimmed eyes. “No one Mum, just talking to myself.” She turned back. Hope was gone.
Torrents of rain continued to run off the fabric edges from the ocean of umbrellas and to the muddy earth below. The priest stopped speaking. At last, Grace thought. Just the rain now.
All stood silently by and watched as the flower-adorned casket jolted and then commenced its slow journey down into the sodden gaping hole in the earth, devouring the coffin that held her father’s lifeless body.
Kate wept for her husband and best friend. A little girl wept for her adoring father. Officer Wade stood solemnly by her mother’s side, sheltering her, supporting her.
Suddenly Grace panicked and made a quick dash toward the lowering casket.
Her mother gasped and tried to reach out to stop her but Wade took her hand and shook his head. “Let her be.”
Grace reached down and with her fingertips snatched up a long stemmed red rose off the lid of the casket before it slid completely out of reach.
Wade drove them both back home afterwards, in silence.
It had been a miserable day; it had suited the occasion of death perfectly, Grace decided.
When they eventually arrived home, Grace slid quickly off the backseat of the car and straight into a puddle. Muddy water splashed up onto her leg; she didn’t care. She went straight to her room. She needed to be alone, for just a while, she told her mother. Her mother had nodded. Grace went into her room and closed the door quietly behind her.
She sat down on her bed next to a box she hadn’t seen before and opened it. She lifted out a small ornate music box with blue birds on the front and unlocked the lid with a tiny silver key. A small ballerina twirled. Tears ran down Grace’s face as she listened to the melody it played.
‘Somewhere over the Rainbow, blue birds fly’.
Grace closed her eyes and said a prayer. “If there is anyone listening…I just wanted you to know that I’m just a kid. I’m not meant to know about this stuff…death. And I didn’t think it was too much to ask to keep it that way, until I’m a grown up, like when I’m fifteen or something. All I want is a mum and a dad. Birthday wishes that come true. It’s very hard to believe in blue birds and happiness without my dad. I just wanted you to know that. But most of all, please, please, please look after my dad. Keep him warm, he doesn’t like the cold much.”
Grace placed the music box down on her bedside table and curled up on her bed as she listened to the familiar melody. The mud on her leg left a brown stain on her pink bedspread. By the time the music box had wound down and the melody had stopped, she was sound asleep. She dreamt of her father and the time that he had spun her around and around in her pink ballet tutu. She dreamt of a beautiful angel who held their hands and danced along with them.
Hope pulled the bedspread up over Grace’s shoulders and wiped a tear from her cheek.
“Goodbye my friend,” she whispered. “I shall miss you. But I won’t be very far away.”
Her wings bloomed as she slowly faded, and was gone. Just a distant memory in Grace’s mind would remain of an imaginary childhood friend with wings, called Hope. One white feather is all that remained on the carpet beside Grace’s bed.
Ten Questions with Patti Roberts
1) When did you first realize you first wanted to be a writer?
After I finished and published book 1. Paradox – The Angels Are Here. What started of as therapy (the broken heart kind of therapy) has turned into a brand new career path. And I have loved every minute of it.
2) As the Author of the Paradox Trilogy, can you tell us what is difficult about writing a trilogy?
Time, nothing more. I wish there were more hours in the day! I wish I had a fulltime house cleaner, gardener and cook! The bathing and eating I am still happy to do myself J
3) Where do you get information or ideas for your books?
Imagination – definitely dreams. I have also been inspired by movies, TV series and other authors. My current hero in the writing realm is George R. R. Martin – The author of Game Of Thrones. I love his world building and huge cast of awesome characters. It is impossible to pick just one favorite character. I have four.
4) Social media has taken the internet by storm, and you do a fantastic job at utilizing all the web has to offer, what advise can you offer new authors on how to use the internet as a tool for promoting their work?
Facebook, Goodreads and twitter is a must! Along with 20 hour days. There is as much time spent marketing – it not more – as there is writing. And a blog. Blogs are also very handy for communicating with the public that will hopefully become your readers.
5) What do you like to do when you are not writing?
What? Okay seriously… Research. And the best research – homework – a writer can do to get better is to read, read, read. And read some more. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write… I think Stephen King said that somewhere – and he couldn’t be more right about that. And who am I to question one of the great writers of our time.
6) There are so many fantastic characters in our Paradox Series, do you have a favorite one and if so why?
Oh, that is like asking a mother who her favorite child is… But they are not my children so no ones feelings are going to get hurt. I REALLY love the evil characters. Abaddon, Pandora, Theria, Lyssa and Caleb from the first 2 books. Book 3, Bound By Blood, introduces you to many more, like Weasel and Lord Grigori and his sons Grig and Orian. Book 3 also introduces you to the 3 Ancients – 3 wise men. I really like the part they will play… they are good guys though.
7) Can you share a bit about what you are working on currently?
Bound By Blood – book 3. I have to have this one ready by October. I am also doing some rewrites on book 1 [The Angels Are Here] after a wonderful friend – Ella Medler – edited it for me. I can’t wait to republish that one this week with its brand new cover!
8) What do you think makes a good story?
Different things appeal to different people. I personally like a story that holds back, makes you think. Makes you search for the answers and leaves you wanting more. I like it when I have read a book that leaves me hanging and thinking, noooo – crap, I have to have more right now…. Some people like to have all the answers tied up in a nice neat bundle when they finish a book – I’m not one of those people. I promise that none of my books will ever end like that! I enjoy leaving a reader hanging. Sorry.
9) How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?
I’ve written two books in the Paradox Series and number 2 is my favorite… but not for much longer. Book 3 is going to even better still. And then there is book 4…
10) What is one of the most surprising things you have learned in creating your books?
Like the universe – there is no end in sight anytime soon. Another would be how characters, even the ones you didn’t think would amount to much, just take over, to become GREAT characters. That really surprises me. It’s like watching a star being born. And you just think, wow, I never saw that coming.
Next week, we’ll have a look at the second book in the series, Progeny Of Innocence, and try to ferret some more of Patti’s secrets. If you would like to be entered in the competition, please leave your name and a contact email in the comments box, below.
The Angles Are Here is available from (though not everyone has updated to the new cover):